I’m not here to debate the funcionality or utility of wired and wireless headphones, I’d like to discuss the sustainability aspect of the decision to remove the port.
I think this is an extremely counterproductive decision, and here’s why. The usability of the device does not change for users with wireless headphones, but let’s consider an example for a wired headphone user: They have two choices if they want to continue listening to anything on the new phone.
The first option is buying a wireless headset/headphones. Now let’s look at the components that make up these headphones. The difference between wired and wireless is that the conductive (usually copper) cable component has been replaced (but not really since you still need to charge it) with a chip which receives the signal and generates it’s own audio separately. This chip requires a circuit and a battery to function. In the case of a wireless headset that is one larger circuit with a single battery, but in the case of untethered headphones you are usually buying 3! new batteries, 1 in each ear and another in the carrying case usually. I am sure I don’t need to remind anyone of the extremely poor sustainability and pollution of battery manufacturing, it being one of the most difficult and costly components to recycle, and the manufacturing of which using up scarce resources which we are rapidly running out of on the planet. This adds up very quickly when we consider every person buying a set of them. Adding to this, wired headphones don’t have any ports which wear off since they have a cable permanently attached which can’t be disconnected.
The second option is buying a converter cable and using it with wired headphones. This is a much more sustainable approach than the first option, but lots of people find it unnecessarily inconvenient, and as far as I’ve seen, they tend to break often, a lot more often than the phone’s built in port would, so this option generates a lot of unnecessary waste still.
In my opinion, everyone should be able to have the option to use whatever kind of accessory they want for listening to music, and the best approach would be to provide a model in the new fairphone series which does have a port, and let everyone decide for themselves which one they’d like. All I’m asking for is to have an option, and not be forced into polluting and generating more waste unnecessarily.