It’s that time of year again: the two week build-up to the release of the next generation of iPhones. Of course, this is exciting news for the more than one in four Americans who own iPhones (Elmer-DeWitt). Mid-september every year marks a revolutionary time, a time in which the entire world comes to a halt in order to speculate and observe exactly what the innovative Apple will do next. The newest release for mid-September of 2016 is, as promised, the notorious iPhone 7. The whole world has been on the edge of its seat, awaiting to see if the rumors are true. Of course, we now know that everyone’s worst fear has surfaced: the headphone jack has disappeared. It’s obvious that this isn’t the only difference between this new model and previous smartphone generations; the camera is an entirely different story, the interface and processing speed have changed, and even the home button has gone through its own transformation. However, it seems that all people can think about is how they’re going to be able to plug into the aux and charge their phone at the same time anymore.
And yet, Apple’s real goal is to move into a wireless earphones stage, a revolutionary new step that not a lot of people are prepared for. The innovative minds behind Apple have created a wireless earphone named “AirPods” to accompany the new iPhone in order to propel this futuristic change in what’s familiar. Although the majority of Apple devotees are concerned about how ridiculous they look hanging out of your ears with no wire, has anyone taken a minute to concern the safety concerns purely Bluetooth earphones present to users? A wireless technological advancement that utilizes electromagnetic waves in order to exchange device data over short distances, Bluetooth inherited its recognizable name from a famed Danish King responsible for uniting Danish tribes within Scandinavia in the 10th century, King Harald Bluetooth (Ghose).
As an advancement that works very similarly to an extremely low frequency Wi-Fi light, Bluetooth has certainly raised fears about the safety of having radiation waves so close to your head, and now, directly in your ears (Ghose). Luckily, according to an accredited LiveScience article, the radiation emitted electromagnetically through Bluetooth device pairing is remarkably low and essentially harmless, especially when the waves come so irregularly. Of course, smartphones themselves have been associated with a number of safety concerns due to the constant radiation emitted as people carry them on them 24/7. A few studies have been conducted, one of which being an experiment that exposes rats to high levels of phone radiation. The results of this study include the concerning outcome of a handful of tumors developing in the rats linked to the nervous system and brain; however, the ratio correlates heavily with the number of rats expected to develop tumors by chance, which at least brings some appeasement to smartphone users (Ghose).
Certainly, there will always be a few risks associated with smartphone use, such as driver safety while utilizing Bluetooth earphones, or eardrum damage as a result of overly loud music, as author Tia Ghose points out in her LiveScience article. However, at least for now, we don’t have much to be worried about when it comes to the new jack-less iPhone, besides losing aux cord duty for a while.
Elmer-DeWitt, P. (2014, January 16). NPD: Better than 1 in 4 adult Americans now own an iPhone. Retrieved September 16, 2016, from http://fortune.com/2014/01/16/npd-better-than-1-in-4-adult-americans-now-own-an-iphone/
Ghose, T. (2016, September 8). New iPhone Lacks Headphone Jack: Are Bluetooth Headphones Safe? Retrieved September 16, 2016, from http://www.livescience.com/56027-bluetooth-headphone-safety-concerns-with-iphone-7.html