The question is not if Apple will axe the 3.5mm headphone jack, but when

“There are once again rumors that Apple is going to remove the 3.5mm audio jack from the next iPhone, this time courtesy of a report from Japanese website Macotakara,” Graham Spencer writes for MacStories. “The Macotakara report goes on to suggest that audio output on the iPhone 7 will be handled via the Lightning connector and Bluetooth, and that the EarPod included with every iPhone will be upgraded and use the Lightning connector.”

“It’s too early to tell whether Apple really will get rid of the 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone 7 next year, but I think the real question is when will they get rid of it, not if they get rid of it,” Spencer writes. “In my eyes, it’s either going to happen in 2016 with the iPhone 7 or 2018 with the iPhone 8.”

“I think the removal of the audio jack on an iPhone is a much more significant change than switching from a 30-pin connector to the Lightning port. It is inevitable that the removal of the 3.5mm audio jack will cause pain, frustration, and annoyance amongst virtually all iPhone customers (to varying degrees),” Spencer writes. “Apple is well aware of this, and I think they should be doing everything they can to minimise these adverse effects on customers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Can’t happen soon enough! The standard 3.5mm audio jack is an anachronism and a design limiter that begs to die.

Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. — Steve Jobs

SEE ALSO:
Apple rumored to replace 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7 with all-in-one Lightning connector – November 30, 2015
Why Apple may axe the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 20, 2014
Apple may be poised to kill off the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 7, 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

43 Comments

  1. “Can’t happen soon enough! The standard 3.5mm audio jack is an anachronism and a design limiter that begs to die.” MDN

    How is it better for anyone if users are forced to either replace their current headphones or buy and carry an adapter? How is it better for anyone if users can’t charge and use their headphones at the same time unless they buy and carry yet another adapter? The 3.5mm headphone jack is an anachronism? Like the steering wheel?

    1. Exactly the correct question:

      Without a clear articulation of just what problem this ‘solution’ allegedly resolves, this is nothing less than YA example of “Change for change’s sake” which is always a failure.

      And one would think that even MDN would understand this, rather than to be a screaming fanboy…Journalism FAIL too.

      If one can’t clearly articulate what the specific customer benefit is, then the proposal is (at best) half baked and needs more work…or it should just be killed.

      Form over function equals Failure.

  2. MDN says ” Can’t happen soon enough! The standard 3.5mm audio jack is an anachronism and a design limiter that begs to die”

    Based on what? It’s a solid connector that gives a positive connection that’s reasonably robust mechanically. How is Lightning better? Because it locks out the best earbuds on the market (a long list, none of which include Apple)? You veered just a little too far into fanboy territory with that one. I guess on the positive side, we didn’t get the standard founding father quote.

  3. Back when iPods mattered much more, Apple did an “experiment” with iPod shuffle (3rd gen). Apple removed all the control buttons from iPod (except on/off switch) and included headphones with remote control buttons on the cord (similar to iPhone’s earbuds). I personally thought this was a good move. Most third-party headphone makers would follow Apple’s lead and add compatible buttons to their products, which would not only benefit iPod shuffle but also other Apple products. In the interim, customers could simply buy adapters (with the control buttons) to use their existing favorite headphones.

    But that did not happen… That new shuffle was not popular and Apple went back to a design that looked like the previous iPod shuffle, with control buttons on iPod. Now, I don’t think iPhone customers will start buying Android phones, but Apple should not abandon something as ubiquitous as the 3.5mm audio jack without careful consideration of impact to customers. Apple is all about usability, and taking away that dedicated audio jack WILL affect usability.

    1. The 3.5mm “mini jack” is not accepted as a standard anything in the “audio industry”it is a consumer sunstandard of a 1/4” stereo jack which is a consumer/musician standard of an XLR, which is the audio imdustry standard.

            1. Nope, just pointing out that it’s not (only) a mono signal.

              I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that XLR is a viable replacement for 1/8″ stereo, just that TRS is the prosumer/consumer implementation.

              Lightning would presumably be digital out of the phone and D2A inside the headphones?

              Generally speaking, I’m against it. (Many) headphones are treated roughly and meant to be disposable. The electronics required in lightning headphones or adapters would increase price significantly.

      1. On the contrary, the 3.5mm mini jack is now being seen on professional audio equipment when it never used to be.

        I’ve got two location sound mixers ( each costing $5,000 plus ) that have both 1/4″ and 3.5mm jacks. I also have a number of digital recorders that also feature 3.5mm jacks.

        If you want to go back further, the 3.5mm jack has been the standard for in vision earpieces and in-ear monitoring for as long as such things have existed. It’s very unusual for such devices to use anything other than a 3.5mm jack. The most common exception being some Telex units that use a 4 or 5 pin XLR – which is due to requiring compatibility with other accessories.

        Many pro headphones come fitted with a 3.5mm jack as standard, but are supplied with a 1/4″ adaptor. All my Sennheisers came with 3.5mm jacks.

        1. “Many pro headphones come fitted with a 3.5mm jack as standard, but are supplied with a 1/4″ adaptor”

          …and why to you think that is???

          Mini jack is a consumer/ produmer product,
          1/4″ is industry standard for headphones.

          XLR is audio industry standard professional connector.

  4. “Can’t happen soon enough! The standard 3.5mm audio jack is an anachronism and a design limiter that begs to die.” MDN

    What other bold design changes are needed, MDN? Or do you simply mimic the rambling thoughts of others? I suspect that the MDN crew couldn’t collectively come up with an original and perceptive thought if they tried.

  5. While you are at it, remove any way to charge the phone. Remove volume switches. Remove power button. Remove Home/Touch ID button. Remove silent/vibrate switch. Remove the screen.

  6. All of these arguments against a Lightening Connector reminds me of the arguments when Apple dropped the floppy disc drive or the ADB port(in favor of the USB port).

    My question is: What has taken Apple so long to dump the 3.5 mm RCA jack? I can’t even guesstimate the number of 3.5 mm RCA jacks I’ve broken over the years. For durability alone the Lightening connector is far superior.

    To the cry babies, an adapter until you upgrade your accessories is NOT an inconvenience.

    1. As has been pointed out elsewhere many times, the Lightning connector is not a suitable substitute for the audio connector. The Lightning connector does not pass through analog audio so headphones using it must supply their own DAC. This is a deal breaker for low cost headphones and earbuds. What about cases like aux inputs for car stereos, amplifiers and powered speakers and such? Do you have to buy an adapter with a DAC for all of those cases? That is too painful. I can see Apple inventing a new audio connector standard, but it won’t be the Lightning connector.

    2. YMMV … but I’ve had more Lightning charge cards fail than I’ve had headphone cords break down.

      And what’s totally missing from this fanboy discussion is an articulation of just what is supposedly “wrong” with the current 3.5mm interface standard.

      That needs to be answered first, because without a clear benefit to justify the change, it isn’t worth doing: change for change’s sake is another way of spelling FAIL.

    1. Except that it probably won’t be $29. As others have mentioned, Lightning connectors don’t pass analog audio out. The adapter will have to contain a digital to analog converter, so your $29 adapter will be more like $49.

  7. I’m all for it. An adapter will work just dandy until I get a pair of headphones that have a lightning connection. And I already have bluetooth headphones so I’m already just fine. Ultimately we need to move away from any cord connection between the phone and the headphones.

    1. Bluetooth:

      1. General Sound is okay, sometimes superior to other technology
      2. Paring is a pain, it relegates the device to a single source.
      3. Charging is a pain. The set I have can’t be used while charging.
      4. On my iMac, I prefer Bluetooth over the 3.5mm jack, because jack is behind the screen, and inconvenient. Balance – Bluetooth pairing.
      5. It’s cordless. Pure win in my book.

      Wired headsets seem to only last so long. A lifetime pair is a rare oddity. So compared to the lifespan of a Bluetooth headset seems like a wash.

      However it is a known fact that Bluetooth has compression issues.

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