Apple supports the average port for 15 years; the headphone socket is at 32 years

“Many are viewing the expected removal of the headphone socket from the iPhone 7 as a radical move, even by a company noted for its readiness to abandon what it considers to be legacy ports,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac. “But a fascinating chart put together by The Verge suggests that perhaps it’s not so radical after all.”

Lovejoy reports, “It shows that Apple typically supports a port, or I/O standard, for around 15 years.”

“The headphone socket has been in every Apple product since 1984 – some 32 years,” Lovejoy reports. “Given that Apple has supported it for twice as long as most everything else, perhaps we shouldn’t be quite so surprised.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If and when Apple removes the 3.5mm analog headphone jack, it’s because they can do so much more with a modern port than by wasting space for an anachronism which basically dates from 1878.

Mossberg: New Even earphones tune themselves to each individual’s hearing – June 29, 2016
Alleged iPhone 7 chassis lacks 3.5mm headphone port – June 28, 2016
iPhone 7 rumored to get second speaker, larger camera – June 27, 2016
Apple is known for dumping legacy tech before the rest of the world catches up – June 27, 2016
iOS 9 code reveals Apple’s plans to dump 3.5mm headphone jack in future iPhones – January 20, 2016
Apple’s intention to kill the 3.5mm headphone jack is brilliant – January 13, 2016
iPhone 7 said to be waterproof, replace 3.5mm headphone jack with Apple’s Lightning – January 8, 2016
The fastest Lightning cable is also one of the least expensive – January 8, 2016
Apple will drop headphone jack to make the iPhone 7 super slim, source confirms; wireless charging and waterproof, too – January 7, 2016
Petition demands Apple keep 3.5mm headphone jack in the ‘iPhone 7’ – January 7, 2016
More reports claim Apple has dumped the 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7 – January 5, 2016
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


  1. The difference is that the headphone port provided a level of quality that people have been more than happy with. Upgrading to something else hasn’t ever really offered as much of an advantage as getting rid of legacy data ports did. Sure, a digital connection might offer the possibility of better sound quality, but people have shown that sound quality is not a huge factor – hence why compressed audio is used due to the smaller size.

    Personally I won’t miss the headphone socket but not because I will use lightning but because I use bluetooth buds so that I’m not tethered.

    1. If Apple removes the headphone port, then that would be the time to stop buying apple products or support for it. I also think it’s is time for a new CEO. It’s time for cook to leave now, he has already damaged Apple Inc with his political views and by bad products he puts out now. John Sculley 2.0, it’s time for cook to go!!!

    2. You are 100% correct on just about every front:
      No, Cook should not be using Apple to promote his radical leftist political agenda and to force us all to accept homosexuality as normal. (The former is just nutty and the latter is indefensible morally and biologically.)
      Yes, many of Apple’s products and services are lackluster.
      Yes, many had a botched launch.
      Yes, the failure of Apple to support professional users is a travesty.
      All of this is true.


      Posting rant after rant after rant here does nothing but harm your cause. You just come off as a bigot. This is ironic, since leftist bigotry is far, far worse.

      Consumers are already “speaking with their money” (FYI – the term is ‘putting your money where your mouth is’) and disenfranchised professionals have been moving away from Apple for some time.
      Samsung and M$’s customer satisfaction ratings are now just about on par with Apple’s, and Cook’s Apple is seen as a follower, not an innovator.
      Also, Cook’s double dealing in communist China is backfiring. His hypocrisy in ignoring communism’s appalling human rights record while promoting same-sex “marriage” as a ‘right’ is glaring.

      You’re not convincing anyone of anything. Cook will fire himself, it’s just a matter of time.
      Let the leftists do the ranting.

  2. It’s not that Apple has supported the port for 32 years, it’s that they have ALWAYS supported the port — because there is nothing better. In the latest Upgrade Podcast ( – starting about halfway through is relevant) Jason Snell lays out the case better than I can about why no one has yet made a convincing case as to WHY Apple would do this (eliminate the jack) at all.

    1. Well said – – and its not like there aren’t other examples of interfaces which Apple has supported for even longer than 32 years.

      For example, there’s one which was 50 years old when Apple was founded 40 years ago in 1976 which has been in continuous use by Apple … pretty much every product they sell in the USA still uses this now 90 year old interface, either directly or indirectly (through an adaptor) .

      Give up? Well, it is the ANSI / NEMA specification that gives us our interface for our devices’ power (100VAC, 60Hz in the USA). Similar interface standards, which are also decades-old, exist for the other continents.

  3. Um, what? This has anything to do with the situation?

    How about considering what this change would entail, if it’s even real:

    1) Power must be provided by the port to the headphones in order for the digital-to-analog hardware to work. Is this power requirement going to be higher than that required by the digital to analog hardware that ‘was’ in the iPhone? We’ll find out! The worry is battery life.

    2) The digital-to-analog hardware is now going to have to be incorporated into the headphones. For USB headphones, that has mainly been in the form of a small box added to the headphones cord. Will this weight and size addition to the headphones upset users?

    3) Apple MUST provide an excellent set of such headphones with the iPhone. What will they be? Earbuds? Actual headphones? What if they provide nothing?

    4) Is this actually part of a push to get users to put up with Bluetooth headphones and their compressed audio range? Yuck.

  4. The goal for me is not a ports-free computer, not as a pro user. That would be called a painful anathema. On a mobile device the only time I plug in my iPad or iPhone into anything would be an upstairs amp that feeds constant online music to patio speakers. Rarely use headphones with my iPhone, occasionally, but still rare, with the iPad.

  5. Logic tells us that if Apple decides to replace he 3.5mm jack with the lightning, the result would have lightning carry analogue and digital audio out, in addition to power. They will continue to bundle their EarPods, but with the Lightning connector, but those who want better will be able to get em with lightning, and their own built-in D/A converters.

    In the past 40+ years of dealing with analogue audio devices, I can’t remember how many 3.5mm jacks have failed me because of the physical complexity and frailty of the 3.5mm format. It is simply physically too fragile for robust use. Lightning is much more robust, and the world of Apple hardware users will likely save millions in unnecessary replacement jacks or earbuds.

    I have some 10+ pairs of various headphones with 3.5mm connectors at home and am not exactly thrilled at the prospect of replacing them all by the Lightning port version, especially since some, if not all, of those will have to continue to serve on other non-Apple gear. Until the rest of the world catches up and all other hardware is on lightning, we’ll have to settle for adapters. Third-party cable makers are already rubbing their hands together…

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