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article imageApple working on fix for broken iPhone 7 EarPods buttons

By James Walker     Sep 20, 2016 in Technology
Apple's iPhone 7 comes without a headphone jack, giving owners the choice of wired or Lightning headphones. The company's own EarPods supplied in the box are causing problems though, with the company admitting there's a bug in the remote control.
AppleInsider reports that "numerous" social media posts have shown a glitch in the EarPods' controlling software can render the inline remote control module entirely useless. After a few minutes of inactivity, the volume and call answer/end buttons become unresponsive. The audio keeps playing and the microphone remains active if it is turned on.
The bug leaves users unable to adjust the volume, accept or end calls or trigger Siri from the inline control module on the EarPods' cable. The issue is said to appear sporadically but the widespread reports suggest it is easily reproducible. The problem won't help Apple to convince consumers to abandon 3.5mm headphones for Lightning ones.
Apple has acknowledged that the problem exists, confirming that there is a bug in iOS 10. It told Business Insider it is aware of the issue and is preparing a software update to remedy it. The annoying glitch should then be patched, although users will need to put up with it until the update is released. It is currently unclear whether similar troubles affect third-party Lightning-based earphones.
The Lightning port is a far more advanced connector than the humble 3.5mm analogue jack it replaces. It's partially controlled by software, allowing flaws such as this to creep in and affect accessories. It looks as though a bug in the port's controller is preventing presses on the EarPods' buttons from registering correctly, causing the intermittent problems.
Apple has defended its decision to remove the 3.5mm jack from the iPhone 7. It claims it makes space for advanced features including a larger battery, improved cameras and an enhanced haptic feedback system called "Taptic Engine." However, critics of the move have viewed it as an aggressive way to lock customers into Apple's ecosystem.
The Lightning port is a proprietary connector that only works with Apple's products. Once you've bought a pair of Lightning-based earphones, you're less likely to switch to a competitor platform as you'll also need to purchase new accessories. Sceptics have poured scorn on Apple's reasons for removing the 3.5mm jack, pointing out that rival Android phones continue to include the port while boasting far larger batteries and cameras than the iPhone 7 has.
Apple hasn't said when it intends to get the EarPods update rolled out to customers. It is the second issue to be discovered on the new iPhone 7. Some owners have reported hearing strange hissing sounds being made by the processor when the device is under load. Apple has not yet responded to the claims, popularly dubbed "Hissgate."
More about Apple, iphone 7, iPhone, lightning port, Mobile
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