Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Apple Is Forcing Us All To Put Our Phones In Our Pockets Upside-Down?

By Will Oremus

I was sitting at my desk Wednesday, idly trying to fathom what had possessed Apple to put the headphone jack on the bottom of my new iPhone 5 rather than on top where it belongs, when I ran across an answer on an Apple forum that spun my world topsy-turvy. The explanation started innocently enough: “Internal space. There is not enough space in the top of the phone for the jack.” Right—an engineering decision, as I had suspected.

Still, it seemed unlike Apple to sacrifice design for performance. A bottom-mounted headphone jack means a cord poking out the bottom, an unwieldy hassle when you’re trying to listen to some tunes or a podcast while toting your phone in your pocket. Then came the spit-take: “Also, people usually put their phones upside-down in their pockets, so it works that way too.”

They do?!? My mind lurched to recalibrate itself around the notion. Not once in my decade-plus of mobile phone ownership had it crossed my mind to store one in this perverse manner. Could it really be that there were normal, healthy individuals who had been quietly walking around all these years with their phones stuffed in their pockets the wrong way around, like sleeping bats?

Unready to accept the far-reaching implications of this revelation, I stood up and marched over to the adjoining cube. “You guys don’t really put your phones in your pockets upside-down, do you?” I demanded. One after another, my colleagues confessed that they did just that. Not only that, they insisted that their bizarre method was “natural,” allowing them to stow and retrieve the device single-handedly without shifting their grip. In fact, they thought I was the weird one.

Now I was entirely out of sorts. Was nothing in this world what it seemed? Just as I was on the precipice of Kierkegaardian despair, one colleague piped up that she too was a right-side-upper, and that she was as baffled by the upside-downers as I. Heartened, I took another look at the online forums and saw there were plenty of people there as well who were nonplused by the bottom-mounted jack. It became clear that the smartphone world is divided into two camps, neither of which realizes that the other exists.

Read the rest here.


  1. Next I would like to read a piece that explains why Jello doesn't make a good door stop.

  2. I too put my phone in my pocket upside down. I always have; it seemed the natural thing for me to do.

    You need to go have a listen to Play That Funky Music White Boy and how he learned his lesson that day.

  3. If the interface rotates automatically, is the phone really upside-down?

  4. I store my phone upside down. When I pull it out, it's rightside up. This is the most convenient way of storing my phone in my pocket, I have found.

  5. It is ludicrous to pocket your phone any other way than facedown and upsidedown. That way, when a call or text is incoming, preposterous contortionary measures aren't required to retrieve, review, and respond to the situation. Those that pursue other pocketing methods must be obsessively compulsive to some weird and perverse notion of order and orientation.

  6. Dear Will Oremus,

    If you don't like the new iPhone, don't buy it. It's that simple! Fortunately (for Apple), there are people who like that the headphone jack is on the bottom. I happen to be one of them. It was rather annoying before, since you couldn't really use the iPhone while listening to some music (or whatever audio). The cable always found its way in front of my display. This won't happen anymore.

    In terms of ''putting our phones in our pockets upside-down''... why is that a problem again? Does it really matter which way you put it into your pockets? It's not a Nokia 5110 anymore. It has no antenna. The iPhone looks the same from both ends. How is that a problem again?

  7. I always place my iPhone in my pocket upside down (and with the screen pointed toward my body) so to avoid lint getting into the dock connector.

    Also, I applaud Apple for putting the headphone jack on the same side as the Lightning connector because with previous versions, if you were say using it in your car with a DC adapter plugged in, it was often extremely difficult to get the device to sit neatly anywhere because you had cables coming out of both ends.

    1. Your second paragraph has the same point I was going to make. It would be far more convenient to have both connectors on the same end.

  8. I put mine in my pocket upside down because, for some reason, it pocket dials a lot when it is in "properly".