If you have been paying attention to technology news at all lately, it would be a miracle if you haven’t seen any headlines with the words, headphone jack. This is all because of the rumor, essentially a fact at this point, that Apple will be eliminating the headphone jack on the next iPhone. There have been countless rumors and leaks pointing to this and it turns out that people have very strong feelings about the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Ever since the first rumor appeared on the internet claiming that Apple would be axing the 3.5mm headphone jack on this year’s new iPhone, many people have been up in arms. Certain “audiophiles” and geeks believe wholeheartedly that the headphone jack is a perfected piece of hardware that doesn’t need changing. You see, the original headphone jack was invented way back in 1878, about 130 years ago. This is an astounding length of time for a hardware standard to stick around in the fast-paced world of technology. If you take a look back at some of the other very well known technology standards you’ll see that they usually don’t stick around for very long before innovation inevitably takes over. Probably the best example to use for this would be the infamous floppy disk. Even that was only around for about 15 years before being replaced by the CD.
So, if technology standards are always changing so quickly then why has the 3.5mm headphone jack defied all odds and stuck around for over 100 years? Simply put, because there really isn’t anything wrong with it. Ever heard of the phrase, “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it”? Despite this, the headphone jack needs to go away and be replaced by something better. Sure, there technically isn’t really anything wrong with the headphone jack as it is, but with all of the amazing technology that we have at our disposal these days, we can do better, and soon we will.
If Apple was to eliminate the headphone jack on the next iPhone, and with others OEMs planning to do the same, the tech industry would need to have a superior replacement up its sleeve. So, what would said replacement possibly be? The answer is pretty clear, the charging port. For Apple that comes in the form of a lightning port and for other devices it could mean USB C or microUSB. For example, Apple could make it so that headphones for the iPhone 7 would be plugged directly into the lightning port or through some sort of adapter. They could also get entirely behind Bluetooth headphones. For a majority of people out there, neither one of these solutions is necessarily desirable. There are ups and downs to both ideas, but current headphones also have both their ups and downs.
Nobody is really sure what Apple will do for sure if they decide to get rid of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. Something we do know, though, is if Apple does then whatever the company decides to replace it with will likely become a new standard on down the road. Even though Apple wouldn’t be the first smartphone manufacturer to eliminate the 3.5mm headphone jack on a device. There have already been a couple smartphones released this year without a headphone jack, most notably the Moto Z. The way that you use headphones on those devices is via the USB Type-C connector.
On the Moto Z, Lenovo helps to make the transition to a world without a headphone jack easier by including a USB C to 3.5mm adapter. Will the rest of the industry do the same? That remains to be seen, however in the case of Apple, I wouldn’t put any bets on it, especially look at the example set by their Macbook earlier this year.
Throughout this piece you may have noticed a concentration on Apple, and for good reason. Despite the popularity and OEMs like Samsung, Google, and others, Apple stills tends to be the one to get people’s attention. With a change as major as the removal of the headphone jack, Apple’s pursuit of this course will likely trickle down the entire smartphone industry.
So, will Apple’s iPhone 7 be released without a 3.5mm headphone jack this year? All of the latest leaks say yes, but things change and leaks aren’t always reliable. Whatever Apple decides to do they have to do it carefully. Like discussed above, it’s a touchy subject for a lot of people and it’s probably going to have a major impact on the industry as a whole. Apple has a lot of different people to please that all want different things. Would you buy your next phone if it didn’t have a headphone jack? Let us know in the comments below!