Let’s be real — the latest batch of Samsung ads are more about the company’s perception of Apple than its own devices. But hey, that tact has worked for the company in the past, so who can blame ‘em? They do, however, offer at least one key bit of insight into the company’s on-going plans.
In a spot titled “Dongle” that takes aim at the easiest possible joke in the smartphone world, Samsung takes Apple to task for the iPhone for its lack of headphone jack. A conversation ensues between a customer and Genius Bar employee, the term “double dongle” is coined and the former grimaces like someone just explained the plot of Human Centipede to him for the first time.
Again, the ad’s less about what Samsung has, than what Apple doesn’t, but it does appear to reaffirm the company’s commitment to the headphone jack. Granted, we’ve seen companies do about-faces on the issue before. The most notable instance is probably Google, who called Apple out one year and dropped the jack the next.
But releasing such an openly mocking ad a month or so before dropping the headphone jack would not, as the kids say, be a great look for the company. The inclusion of the port has been a selling point for Samsung ever since Apple dropped it way back in 2016 for the iPhone 6. It’s an easy win for Samsung. All the company has to do is literally nothing.
And from the leaks we’ve seen of the Note 9, it appears that the 3.5mm will once again be returning.
Of course, what felt like an act of aggression to some two year back has become increasingly common amongst the competition. I’ve talked to a number of manufacturers who’ve retained the jack over the past two years, and nearly all have acknowledged that it’s simply a matter of time before they go that route as well.
It’s tough to say how much of the decision to keep the jack around is Samsung simply giving customers what they want, and how much is the company simply trying to distance itself from Apple. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Samsung can continue to use its (admittedly pretty nice) wired AKG headphones as a selling point, while making all the “double dongle” jokes its hefty ad budget can support.