Apple cuts headphone jack, will anger everyone or something

“Last year Apple appeared to deliver the death knell to the iPhone jack before going silent, but now it appears to have something far more silly in mind,” Gordon Kelly writes for Forbes. “In its quest to create ever thinner iPhones, iPads and Macs, Apple has obtained a patent to cut the 3.5mm headphone jack and the less common 2.5mm variant down into a slimmer ‘D’ shape.”

“It is totally ludicrous. Let’s look at this rationally for a moment. Where is the real benefit in cutting down the headphone jack?” Kelly writes. “Should Apple introduce the D-shaped port on devices it would gain maybe an extra millimetre (the benefit comes from the proportional decrease to the internal receptor) but it would simultaneously make billions of pairs of headphones incompatible.”

Apple slim headphone plug patent
Source: USPTO

“This gives conspiracy theorists a field day. Apple makes the headphone jack a pain to use in order to ease the path to remove it entirely and transition users to the proprietary (thin and reversible) Lightning port. After all Lightning headphones are already on sale,” Kelly writes. “According to a recent leak, Apple plans to make the iPhone 7 significantly thinner than the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus (which are actually fractionally thicker than their predecessors due to 3D Touch)… Loyalty to the iPhone brand is unprecedented, but if a future model features a D-shape headphone jack I would hope everyone jumps ship.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, puleeze. “Jump ship” to what? Everything else is crap. Over a measly headphone jack? Stick an adapter on your headphone plug.

Hello? It’s 2015. Our earphones don’t even have a cord!

SEE ALSO:
Apple prepares for even thinner iPhones, files patent application for shaved down headphone plug – September 23, 2015
Philips debuts Lightning-powered noise-cancelling headphones, no batteries required – January 8, 2015
Dumping the headphone jack for Lightning and other ways Apple could reinvent headphone tech – June 22, 2014
Why Apple may axe the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 20, 2014
Apple may ditch analog 3.5mm headphone jack for Lightning to make thinner devices – June 6, 2014
Apple introduces MFi specs for Lightning cable headphones, iOS software update to deliver support – June 5, 2014
Apple preps HD audio for iOS 8 plus new Apple In-Ear Headphones and lightning cable – May 13, 2014
Apple patents biometric sensor-packed health monitoring earphones with ‘head gesture’ control – February 18, 2014
Apple paves way for more affordable iOS accessories with lower MFi and Lightning licensing fees – February 7, 2014

34 Comments

  1. I could see Apple doing this. It would require a small dongle for regular headphones, but I don’t see a huge issue with this.

    Though, I don’t see why they don’t just use the 2.5mm headphone jack and be done with it.

    1. The problem with going 2.5 is that a 2.5 plug won’t work in a 3.5 port. By going with a 3.5 D-plug, any headphone or accessory maker can adopt the new plug without having to have two SKUs (one for new iOS devices and one for older ones).

      One thing this patent is missing and I hope they realize this if they go with it, is that the plug should be beveled and the socket counter-beveled so that when plugging in, you don’t have to align the D, but instead, it should twist into place upon insertion.

      In the end, I don’t personally care as I use Bluetooth.

      1. Your very last sentence said it all. I’ve been Bluetooth for years because the earplugs killed my ears. When it’s not feasible to use Bluetooth, I simply use the handset but these days the watch is more and more useful unless I want privacy.

    2. First thought, the shaved D-style plug looks like it would be fully backwards compatible with the current round jacks.

      Second thought, I believe that I could quickly grind 1mm off of existing plugs to make them fit in D-style jacks.

      Too many people are making a big deal out of an Apple patent. Apple brings out the hyperbole in journalists to both extremes, positive and negative.

    3. I don’t think the issue this time is about making the iPhone thinner or going Bluetooth; or even transitioning to Lightning earphones/headphones. The jack is an entryway for liquid damage, corrosion or metal fatigue. It’s been a problem for some time. Apple’s probably trying to reduce points of failure, or eliminate repair costs.

  2. I am an Apple fanboy, but this is stupid. No, I wan’t leave Apple or anything silly like that.

    But I have quite a few really nice headphones. And carrying an adapter, come on, for what, a thinner iPhone?

    Just keep the same size and make the battery thicker.

    1. If they keep the same size, they’d probably keep the battery the same size, too.

      Of course, thus far everyone seems to have missed the fact that the plug would only insert one way (like USB-A connections). That would be a *huge* design error on Apple’s part. I couldn’t see Sir Ive letting that one pass.

  3. The real question is whether iPhones actually need to be so thin that a 3.5mm jack is too big?

    If they can make an iPhone that thin, then my preference would be to make it the same thickness as now, but with a bigger battery so that the operating life is greater than 24 hours. That would sell far more iPhones than making it thinner. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say that what they really want is a thinner iPhone.

    I’m even more confused by the quest for thinness when the screens are so large. Why does a large screen iPhone need to be super thin? I could understand it if Apple were trying to make the smallest iPhone possible, but they’re not. They use bigger screens than before.

    1. First of all, why do people assume this is always about trying to make current devices even thinner then they already are? Maybe Apple is trying to shrink ports in order to build new types of devices. Take the Lightning port/connector and its use on the new Apple TV Remote and Apple Pen.

      Second, this patent was originally filed in 2011 – more than a year before the first device shipped with a Lightning port, which coincidently can be used for analog audio, hence the headphones with lightning connectors.

      This is obviously “just an idea” they had and patented it, like most companies do. It doesn’t mean they’ll ever do it – in fact, it doesn’t even make sense at this point in time.

    1. Bluetooth sound quality is less than wired provided you have a good set of cans.
      Bluetooth requires energy thus drains the battery.
      If you want to drain your batter while listening to less quality sound choose current Bluetooth technology.

  4. #1. Bluetooth headphones.

    #2. This is only a patent. Apple patents hundreds, maybe thousands of ideas every year and only a fraction have found their way into final products. Just because they patent this doesn’t mean they’ll incorporate it.

  5. Perhaps the overall thickness of the phone wouldn’t change, but having a thinner headphone jack (and, accordingly, a thinner receptacle in the phone) would leave more space for other things (yes, like a bigger battery or other electronics).

    It may not be about making the phone thinner at all- just providing more free space to use for other things in the existing thickness…

  6. Why is it necessary to make the iPhone even thinner? Its already thin enough. And with round edges, it’s very difficult to pick up. I ended up putting a skin on it so that I would have less chance of dropping it, which defeats the purpose of making the phone thin. Unfortunately, now I can no longer admire its original gold color.

  7. Looking further at the documentation of this patent, I NOW see a point in all this. Look at the diagram at the top and notice numbers 214b and 218b. They appear to be referring to lateral (versus vertical) connection points. You can’t do that with any of the standard phono connectors. The result is added connection surfaces that require KEYING in order to connect properly.

    √ I get it now.

    Without that feature, I’d been worrying Apple was going to save a mere 0.5mm in connector thickness merely for the sake of creating proprietary cables, never a good thing.

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