Will We Only Have Portless Devices in the Future?

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To much recent dismay, Apple eliminated its audio port starting with iPhone 7. Google left it off the Pixel 2. While we don’t have completely portless devices yet, it certainly seems that we’re moving in that direction.

Headphone jacks aren’t the only feature tech companies have been removing from their devices. Some smartphones today are capable of charging wirelessly, and you can transfer data over Wi-Fi or just use streaming services. As this trend takes hold, are we moving toward a future with only portless devices?

Moving Toward Wireless

We might not recognize it because it seems so commonplace now, but we’ve actually been moving toward a future of wireless and portless devices for some time.

Our cell phones are, of course, wireless, allowing us to take them everywhere. Not too long ago, home phones were the only option. We no longer need to plug in an ethernet cable to get an Internet connection — we just connect to the Wi-Fi network.

The advent of Bluetooth technology enabled us to connect our devices to speakers, headphones, smart devices and more. The more you realize how much we can do without a wired connection, the less necessary ports seem.

Portless Devices

Portless Capabilities

Devices without ports have the same functionalities as those with them, just without the need for physical connectors. Modern technology enables us to talk on the phone, listen to music and podcasts, charge our devices and transfer data – all without a port or cable.

Wireless charging, one of the more recent technologies, uses electromagnetic fields to power a device. You just lay your phone on the charging pad, and it transfers power to your device.

The rise of the cloud and other internet-based storage systems means we don’t need to physically transfer data between devices. We can download if from the cloud on the go.

 

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The Benefits of Going Portless

Eliminating the need for a physical wired connection offers a few obvious benefits. One of the most prominent is the increased mobility it allows. You don’t need to stay near an outlet to charge your device, making it easier to stay powered up on the go.

You also have much more freedom of phone placement. You can put your phone in your pocket or set it down on the table and still talk on the phone or listen to music. With this increased freedom, you can walk around, ride your bike or cook dinner without worrying about cables getting in the way. If you want to listen to a song that you don’t have on your phone, you can even stream it over Wi-Fi or download it from the cloud without plugging it in.

The Drawbacks of Going Portless

The main drawbacks of going portless involve technologies that aren’t yet fully developed and compatible with older technologies. They’re still relatively new, so they have some kinks to work out.

Portless features also aren’t available on all devices or in all areas. If you want to listen to music in your car, for instance, you can’t plug it into an audio jack. If your vehicle or speaker system isn’t new enough to have Bluetooth capabilities, you’re out of luck. And if you’re somewhere without Wi-Fi, you won’t be able to access that information you have stored in the cloud.

A Portless Future?

The current issues with portless capabilities are those that always come with new technologies in transition. As we move toward a portless future, they’ll resolve themselves as more devices become compatible and technologies become more advanced and widely available.

Although we’re likely headed for a future without ports, we probably have some time before it’s our only option. Even after companies stop producing phones with ports, older tech will still be in use. Like the switch to mobile from landlines, this new leap will be a gradual one.

Once portless is the standard,

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we hope the capabilities will have no strings attached.

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Kayla Matthews is the editor of Productivity Bytes and a regular contributor to VentureBeat, Motherboard, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.

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