Why Is iPad Mini Headphone Jack On Top?

Much was made of the fact that the iPhone 5 headphone jack has been moved to the bottom of the device. Samsung even ridiculed the decision in one of their Galaxy S III ads. But if it's such a good idea for the iPhone and iPods, why not also the iPad Mini?

Larry Seltzer, Contributor

October 14, 2012

2 Min Read

iPhone 5 bottom

Much has been made of the fact that the iPhone 5 headphone jack has been moved to the bottom of the device. Out of the gate it seemed like a strange design change to make after so many generations of a product. Samsung even made a point of ridiculing the decision in one of their TV ads for the Galaxy S3.

Apple still may not have said word 1 about the iPad Mini, but manufacturers in China are already openly selling iPad Mini cases, wholesale, on Alibaba..

Today I was reminded of the iPad Mini and remembered the leaked pictures we have seen of it. The headphone jack, as with the current (3rd generation) iPad, is on the top! Why is this design change good enough for the iPod and iPhone, but not the iPad?

All this assumes, of course, that the leaked photos are accurate. There seems to be general agreement that the iPad Mini is real and other aspects of the photos -- such as the Lightning adapter on the bottom -- seem to make sense. I'm ready to accept it and I suspect we'll hear about the event invitations this week. The latest rumors place the event on October 23, likely at Apple’s Town Hall Auditorium.

I've seen 2 reasons proffered for why the jack was moved to the bottom: The less-convincing reason is that crowded internal circuitry up top made it harder to place it there. I don't buy this. The more reasonable one is that they honestly think the bottom works better for people. Most users actually put their phones in their pockets upside down they say, and I know I have done this a lot myself. Assuming you hold your phone right side-up, it's easier to put it in your pocket upside-down.

Add to this the fact that Apple has always put the headphone jack for the iPod on the bottom and the decision seems much more consistent. In fact, I have to wonder why it was on the top on the iPhone for so long.

But this "putting it in your pocket" stuff doesn't apply to an iPad, or even an iPad Mini, unless you have gigantic hands and pockets. Given use cases for iPads of either size it probably doesn't matter on which edge the headphone jack is placed.

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Larry Seltzer


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