Apple’s latest iPhone models, the 7 and 7 Plus, were released earlier this month to slightly subdued delirium.
Oh, make no mistake: The new gen phone was considered an improvement over the old, what with its longer battery life and better camera and its water resistancy (something I could’ve used two generations earlier when I fell in a lake). But many have also lamented what the new iPhone didn’t have: a headphone jack. The tastemakers at Apple decided to eliminate it, leaving users with three choices: 1. Use the headphones that came with the shiny new iDevice (which plug into its Lightning port); 2. Buy an adapter for your old earphones; or 3. Plunk down piles of cash for a set of wireless headphones.
But, according to a YouTuber calling himself TechRax, there may be a fourth option: You can just drill your own headphone jack.
The video is a joke, by the way. Drilling a hole into your iPhone may allow you to plug your old headphones into it, but you won’t hear any music through those treasured earbuds. But if you listen closely, you may hear the sound of $650 being flushed away.
Alas, some of the nearly 12.5 million folks who’ve watched the video weren’t, apparently, in on the joke.
“Help,” one person wrote in response to the video. “now my old headphones fit but the phone doesn’t work anymore!” Another user wrote “I drilled the hole in it. The headphone doesn’t go all the way in. Do I need to drill deeper? Also my phone turned of [sic] because of low battery I think. I’m charging it for an hour now it doesn’t turn on, is this normal?”
And then there’s this:
“It’s not as easy as the video shows. If you drill to [sic] deep, you can in fact destroy the phone. All you have to do is drill through the casing. If you want, pm me. I’ll give you a PO box you can ship it to and I’ll do it for free. You just pay the shipping. I’ll need your username and password to make sure everything is working.”
For me, it’s all an interesting illustration on the wonders, and the frustrations, of modern technology.
The beauty of this technological age that we live in is obvious: It makes our lives easier and better. And it does! Back when I was a kid, I’d need a watch to tell time, a phone to call someone, a level to straighten out a painting, a flashlight to look under my bed, a bulky map to find my way to a new movie theater, a newspaper to tell me what was playing at that movie theater, a car to buy tickets … well, you get the idea.
The phone I have in my pocket does all that and about a gazillion things more.
So when our technology does so much, it’s frustrating when it stops doing something for no good reason. Like playing music through our favorite set of headphones. Technology should be eliminating our headaches, not causing them.
So what’s our natural inclination? To make it do what we actually want it to do. That’s what we, as a species, have always done. God wired us to look around make what we see a wee bit better. We plant trees. We tighten leaky faucets. We mod our games. We trick out our cars. We fix. We improve. We like to make things better. That inclination of ours doesn’t stop at the smartphone. Frankly, that instinct is why we have smartphones in the first place. If we were satisfied with the way things are, we’d still be texting each other via smoke signal.
But our phones are so smart these days that they’re beyond most of our abilities to improve. We interact with them as we might a pocketful of magic—a servant we don’t control as much as we make an uneasy alliance with. And when its mysterious makers in Cupertino, Calif., tell us that we don’t need earphone jacks anymore, well, there’s precious little we can do about it.
Maybe that’s why I smile a little when I think about people drilling holes into their iPhone 7’s. Sure, it’s silly. Sure, it’s a waste of a perfectly good phone. But it also expresses an innate desire to look at the things around us and make them better. To become masters of the technology we use rather than its servants. It’s almost like an innocuous, expensive rebellion: Don’t tell me what I want, these techno-drillers are saying (in their own rather expensive way). I know what I want.
When we look around our world today, there’s a lot of folks telling us what we’re supposed to want: Lots of sex and language in our movies. Lots of grit and grime in our television shows. Don’t even get me started on politics. You’ll take what we give you and like it, they say.
But there are others who push against what we’re supposed to want and trying to make things better. And iPhone carnage aside, that’s not a bad thing.