- It isn't standards compliant. When standards disintegrate the consumer pays.
So the only innovation that should be allowed is innovation qualified through IEEE or another standards body? This way, we immediately have a race to the bottom on price? How would any company ever make money?
- It promotes vendor lock in.
So what? If you bought an SLR, you understood the consequences of the connection between the camera body and the lens - or you should have. Where is the limit? Would you propose that GM, Honda, and Toyota all be forced to use the same air filters and fuel filters? What about speedometers and engines? At what point do we accept competition is about solutions and not about making every component in a solution interchangeable?
People buy things that are "locked-in" because they work. If this weren't true, then almost no corporation would have purchased an IP phone system. While there are base standards (SIP), just about every vendor has proprietary extensions that ensure you can actually perform many valuable functions a modern phone system should be able to perform. Note that this does mean the single-source vendor can charge higher prices for additional equipment (i.e. phones), but any company that installs them presumably is saving money vs. their original phone system. So while it's "locked-in", it's still a savings to the purchaser. Decisions are a series of trade-offs, and others will not make the same trade-offs that you make.
When a market leader pulls this crap, others do too and pretty soon all the MP3 players you can buy have this "feature".
...and if that happens, I suspect you'll find it turns into a standard. Lots of things start out proprietary and migrate to standards in order to assist both the manufacturers and consumers. What are now WiFi, HTML, SIP, and many other protocols followed this path. It only makes sense to standardize if the demand and volumes justify standardization.
That's nice. They get what they want. What about those that do care about the headphones? What about those who can't use ear buds due to hearing or ear problems?
Then they have product requirements that will lead them to investigate and purchase a different music player. Apple produces a product for a specific segment of the market, they are not required to serve other segments (e.g. those that do care about the headphones)