Apple kills the headphone jack

“It’s official: there won’t be a headphone jack in the iPhone 7,” Timothy B. Lee writes for Vox. “The downsides are obvious: Almost everyone has headphones, speakers, and other gadgets based on the ubiquitous 3.5 mm headphone jack. Eliminating this connection could render these devices unusable, or at least force everyone to carry around an extra adapter. But Apple doesn’t care. Ditching the headphone jack is the next step in Apple’s relentless quest to make the iPhone — and all of its products — thinner, simpler, and more reliable.”

“Apple also believes that the conventional headphone jack has become a bottleneck to improvements in audio quality and headphone design,” Lee writes. “The shift to the Lightning connector will shift audio circuitry from the iPhone into the headphones themselves, creating the opportunity for third parties to experiment with new features and designs. And history may be on Apple’s side here. Customers invariably react badly to big changes in beloved products. But after a few months of grumbling, they usually accept the change and quickly forget about it.”

iPhone 7 with Apple AirPods
iPhone 7 with Apple AirPods

“Over the next year, tens of millions of people are going to buy an iPhone 7. All at once, they’re going to start shopping for new accessories designed to work with an iPhone 7. Dozens of companies are going to be rushing to create headphones, speakers, converters, and other accessories designed to work in a post-headphone-jack world,” Lee writes. “This is one of Apple’s key advantages compared to its Android rivals. When Apple announces a new standard, third-party companies know that millions of customers are virtually guaranteed to sign up, which gives the switch a sense of momentum and even inevitability.”

Read more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, Apple leads. All others follow at a distance. As usual.

Buh-bye, 3.5mm headphone jack – and good riddance! Dumping the 3.5mm anachronism for Lightning will deliver myriad improvements and innovations.

Apple reinvents the wireless headphone with AirPods – September 7, 2016
Apple’s iPhone reveal: Death of antiquated 3.5mm headphone jack heightens anticipation – September 7, 2016


    1. Lets be honest here. You’re a lifelong hemodroid user (google plus user), with much time to waste so you come on here, posing as an apple user claiming your dismay. You’re moms basement is in dire need of your presence.

        1. Cook is not a visionary, that is true, and I don’t agree with everything he does, but the iPhone 7 is a very solid update.
          A good deal faster, brighter screen, water resistant (finally) and a very good camera upgrade.

          I was fully expecting to be underwhelmed and save some cash by getting a 6s+ but it looks like I’ll have to get the 7.
          “Wiki” – If you don’t like it, fine, but ranting like that just makes you look irrational.

          1. @GG

            And don’t forget to contribute to Tim Cook’s $159 POS Airbud fund.

            Or to his billion dollar fund he set up to sell you an unnecessary 3.5mm adapter.

            As long as brain dead idiots take the bait, this incompetent clown will keep killing off decent tech in order to gouge stupid Apple consumers in the name of progress (my ass).

            1. @ Michael: since you are uncivilized enough to deploy the jackass label to others besides yourself, allow me to butt into the discussion (pun intended).

              1) the consumer pays for everything that is in the box. That’s part of why the iPhone 7 series is more expensive than the iPhone 6 series (also you have to pay the Apple Memory Tax). Enjoy your forced bundling.

              2) All adapters for mobile devices are a pain in the ass (or jackass, if you prefer). You never have it when you need it, and they are prone to being damaged and lost.

              3) Apple just removed functionality that many people use: the ability to charge while playing music to an external stereo, for example.

              4) Apple’s adapters historically have been clunky, not durable, instantly dirty and non-matching to my iPhone or other stereo equipment, and overpriced. What makes you think the new one will be different?

              5) Apple never offered the best 3.5mm audio jacks (for those in the know, several high end phones didn’t work well with the Apple jacks because the Apple jack had an incorrect tolerance that led to people inserting the plug too far, leading to erratic behavior of Siri and headphone button commands, look online for tons of documentation of that). But at least the 3.5mm port standard had the ability for relatively strong spring retention. Lightning, like HDMI, has inadequate mechanical retention for my tastes. A good plug would allow you to drop your iPhone and catch it by the cord without the device to fall off. You can’t do that with modern connectors because, obviously, all device manufacturers prefer to sell you a replacement phone, including Apple.

              6) the longstanding gripe of square edges on Apple connectors remains. It catches on everything. Is there a reason Apple can’t chamfer the ends of its plugs and adapters? Just another stupid Ive design meme that has overstayed its welcome.

            2. Where are you getting your data? Prices jumped $100 from the 6S series to the 7 for equivalent memory.

              On the Apple US store, the 128GB iPhone 6S costs $650; the 128GB iPhone 7 costs $750.

              What does the user get out of the 7? Faster chip, more waterproof, better camera, black color is back. That’s about it. Standby battery life is better thanks to throttling through lower performance processors, but active use is no better for the 7. For existing iPhone 6 users who don’t care about having the best camera or the fastest chip, the extra $100 plus maybe another $50 or more on a few audio adapters to jump on the bandwagon maybe isn’t worth it right now.

            3. Really!? My post was uncivilized? Did you not read what I was responding too? Calling him a “jackass” has nothing to with disagreeing with him, but rather that he’s clearly a hateful jackass.

              First of all, whether or not the adapter is included in the box, the price of the iPhone would still be the same. The end user is not, paying “extra” for that – it’s part of the cost of the iPhone. If it was not included, the material cost of the iPhone would go down, but not the price.

              And guess what!? Adapters ARE a pain in the ass. I completely agree. I don’t like needing them either, but when you want to move onto something new, it’s a necessary evil – I have tons of adapters, even for analog; to connect my AirPort Express to my stereo, I need a 3.5mm to L/R RCA adapter. To connect my headphones to the same stereo I need a 3.5mm to 1/4″ adapter. If I want to connect my TV to my stereo I have to buy a digital to analog converter, because the TV doesn’t have any analog out ports. That’s 3 different “adapters” to get audio into the same device. This is the nature of electronics.

              And I also agree it sucks that there is no built in ability to charge my phone and listen to music at the same time through a wired connection. I will also need to eventually buy an adapter when the time comes for me to upgrade to a new iPhone. The difference is, I’m not freaken whining about it, because it’s not a big deal. Why isn’t a big deal – because it’s not an issue I NEED TO DEAL WITH RIGHT NOW! When the time comes I’ll worry about it then.

              The grip on my Lightning cable is almost the same as it for the audio jack on my iPhone. In fact, I pull and lift my iPad Pro out of my “charging basket” by the Lightning cable. And have done so for several months now – and the cable is fine. So is the port.

        2. I’m sure there are a lot of people unhappy with him, but for REAL reasons – Not for whatever delusional, ignorant reasons you may think. However, even that group is a tiny fraction compared to the people who actually think Tim is doing really well considering the circumstances of what’s been happening with Apple over the past several years.

          1. “at least force everyone to carry around an extra adapter.”

            Some people can’t be satisfied no matter what you do, especially those with a genetic disposition to hate all things Apple.

            The truth is that your analog headset will continue to work with the iPhone 7, and it won’t cost you a dime for it to do so (free included adapter). About that adapter. Nobody is going to “carry” it, you headset will plug into it making your headset cable about 4″ longer. Oh the horror, that’s just terrible.

            In the next 12 months Apple is going to sell more than 180 Million iPhone 7s (my estimate). If only 1% of iPhone 7 buyers purchase a new DIGITAL headset the headset industry will be all over themselves offering new, BETTER, models to address that 1.8 Million unit market, and that’s just this year. The benefits of going digital far outweigh the grumblings of those unwilling to give their old $39 headsets.

            For those that don’t use headsets the benefits are just as great. Because sound circuitry is now in the headset (and not the iPhone) iPhone battery drain is lowered.

            In my opinion the headset jack crybabies can go to hell.

            1. Agree.

              Actually, I was hoping they’d get rid of the thunderbolt and have some kind of magnetic connector on the bottom. This could also have a thunderbolt/headphone adapter that magnetically connected like the power cord on the laptops.

              Integrated home button and magnetic thunderbolt and then you’d be looking at something really water resistant. Still have the side buttons to worry about but I think that would be far easier to solve.

              I for one like change.

    2. I just don’t get how you can bring this decision down to just Tim Cook. Do you think he was in a room with tons of the best engineers in the world and they were all telling him not to ditch the 3.5mm audio jack and he just ignored them all and decided to ditch it? That sounds absolutely absurd.

      My guess is this has been requested by engineers at Apple and Beats for a while now and it was a decision made by a group of well qualified people. If you take the time to understand the benefits removing the audio jack offers (not physically, but technically) you’ll understand that this is definitely the right decision. Look at the chip in the new EarPods – in 5 years time when the audio quality in your ears has matasticied to a level where today’s standards seem antiquated, you’ll probably still be wondering where your floppy drive is.

    3. Since 1986, I’ve seen many technologies come and go: Syquest Drives, Zip Drives, floppy disks, CD/DVD drives and more. In each case, I thought that it was going to make my job harder. But after a few months, I got used to it and moved on.

      Your ad-hominem attack on Tim Cook is unjustified and immature.

  1. So the big explanation is that the earphone jack is over 100 years old? I guess we should stop using electricity as that discovery is much older.

    Usually something that has been around that long has some utility or it would have been gone. Plugging an audio output into any apple product not called iPhone 7 just works. I can’t speak for everyone but this feels to me like designer hubris as there is not much space to work with in an iPhone anymore. No one wants to do the hard work of thinking what people want and would wish for in these pocket computers we call iPhones.

    I’m not impressed.

      1. You have a point.

        I do love my analog music blasting through my old McIntosh receiver and giant Klipsch corner horns. Just can’t get that from my iPhone but that OK, each has a different purpose and I like it that way. I’d really hate to try and carry around that 70 lb amp and 300+ lb speakers everywhere. Heck, I don’t even worry about someone stealing or me losing them, unlike my phone. haha

    1. @Tak

      I agree.

      Tim Cook has made billions by killing off perfectly useable tech (30-pin).

      The 3.5mm kill off is just another money grab for this greedy, incompetent, clueless excuse for a caretaker CEO!

      I think Apple consumers will speak with their wallets and pocketbooks on this one. I’m not buying another Apple product until Cook is given the boot.

    2. “So the big explanation is that the earphone jack is over 100 years old”

      No. That’s not the “big” explanation. It was merely brought up to demonstrate that maybe it was time to move on – for other reasons which were brought up immediately proceeding that first explanation.

      “No one wants to do the hard work of thinking what people want”

      Uh, that’s exactly what Phil said they were doing… thinking about what capabilities would be needed in future headphones and pushing their way towards that future. The 3.5mm analog jack had no part of that future because it simply cannot support it.

      Apple also demonstrated that they understand it is not going to be an immediate jump – they included the adapter in the box. Something which almost everyone who whined beforehand said they would never do.

      Furthermore, this single purpose component was also taking up too much space – very valuable space. This was obvious when they showed the inside and you could clearly see that the new Taptic Engine was sitting in part of the area where the analog jack resided.

      You may not be happy, but you should be impressed. Apple is one of the few companies willing to take a chance and make a change. EVERYONE hates it and bemoans it …at first.

    3. It’s a 1/8th inch jack to be precise and it’s the miniature version of the real headphone jack, the 1/4th inch job. Remember when you could wear headphones and they would never short out?

    1. I suspect they are assuming a bluetooth connection rather than the physical connection. That certainly puts a number of cars out of the equation, but I imagine they know the numbers of cares on the road less than 4-5 years old that come with bluetooth. I imaging a (majority?) of car owners lease, putting a large percentage of cars under 3 years?

    2. Digital is not a one way street. You can do both simultaneously. If you can’t the problem isn’t the iPhone its car. Damn I wish objectors knew what they were objecting to.

    3. Umm… Here’s an idea. I came up with it just for you, since you seem to post this same thing on every freaken article…

      When the iPhone 7 comes out… DONT FUCKING BUY IT!

      Problem solved.

      Or you could simply buy an adapter, which I’m sure by the time you’re even able to get an iPhone, there will be many adapters to choose from. Hell, Apple already sells a dock capable of that.

      1. I will heed your advice. Most likely so will hundreds of thousands of other potential iPhone 7 customers. We maybe will buy iPhone 6S models, or maybe something else that offers the functionality we desire. You have been warned, watch as AAPL stock price gets stuck at its current level for the next year.

        1. I have been warned? LOL

          What do I care what you buy or what Apple stock does?

          I don’t care that Apple removed the jack. I don’t care if I have to use an adapter. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a rather small, insignificant matter. Anyone who makes a big deal about this really needs to get another hobby. It’s such a stupid waste of time to get upset over and in the end no one cares. Life will go on. Apple will go on, with or without you… definitely without the 3.5mm audio jack.

          I can tell all you this… get ready to pack up your dongle, the “industry” is pushing for USB-C as a standard replacement for the audio jack.

      1. No, Apple didn’t pack in a larger battery. As Schiller pointed out, the iPhone 7 volume vacated by the missing analog DAC and 3.5mm jack has been filled by:

        1. quad core processor + processor management chip that directs the phone to use either the high power or low power chips
        2. the tactic engine that provides vibrational feedback
        3. stereo speakers
        4. a thicker camera assembly

        The battery isn’t bigger at all, or if so, its imperceptible. Battery life is enhanced only by throttling background processes through the new low power chips.

        I don’t think I will buy one until there are iPhone 7 cases that integrate a DAC and replicate the lightning so i don’t have to dedicate the one lighting port only to audio.

  2. In reality Apple did not kill the headphone jack at all, they merely added yet another connector to the mix.

    There are literally hundreds of thousands of devices that use the standard headphone jack and will always use the standard headphone jack. It is not an “anachronism” in any way.

    The word MDN is struggling to spit out is – ubiquitous.

    Speaking purely as a musician looking at my gear, the Aviom stage monitors, my drum machine and synths and so on and so forth. There is no reason on earth why these devices will ever need anything more than a simple headphone jack, period.

    Not to pour cold water on the idea. I’m getting the iPhone 7 and the EarPods, but the 3.5mm jack is not going anywhere.

  3. Hmmm. So, how would I connect my Xkey 25 and earbuds at the same time? That is now impossible if I were to purchase an iPhone 7. Currently I connect the Xkey 25 via the USB connector and the earbuds via the 3.5mm jack. So, I guess I’ll stick with my older iPhones. :-/

  4. Apple will do what Apple will do. As for the excuse of needing more space, I call BS. The only reason they need more space is because they keep trying to make the phone thinner and thinner. It should be pretty obvious that most customers don’t have this relentless need to make the phone thinner, or there wouldn’t be such a large market for cases. As for making the phone water resistant, that can be accomplished already via other means. Do a search and you’ll find plenty of companies offering methods to waterproof electronic devices of all kinds. Apple could have opted to use one of these methods *years* ago. Not to say that having water-resistance be part of the core design is bad, but it’s only just another excuse for getting rid of the audio jack.

    Apple could have released the AirPods without having to remove the audio jack. If the sound quality and gained capabilities are worth it, they’d sell well. Apple could convince people that wireless benefits outweigh drawbacks and change the market through normal market forces, instead of Apple trying to force a change.

    Personally, I don’t like Apple’s earbuds- they simply don’t fit my ears well and are not comfortable to wear for me. I much prefer earbuds that have a silicon tip- much more comfortable, much less likely to fall out, and better reduction of ambient noise.

    Thankfully, I upgraded my phone last year, so I can skip this upgrade. I simply do not have a need to upgrade phones every year. The performance gains that the phones offer do not offset the cost of the new phone in a year. Perhaps for others it does, or perhaps others just prefer to have the latest and greatest regardless of economics. That’s all fine. I have better things to spend my hard-earned money on than the latest electronics every year.

    1. “I call BS. The only reason they need more space is because they keep trying to make the phone thinner and thinner”

      You might be onto something here… except for the fact that removing the headphone jack DID NOT MAKE IT ANY THINNER!!! It is still 7.1/7.3 mm. It did however make more room inside to allow them to include their new Taptic Engine.

      “there wouldn’t be such a large market for cases”

      There’s a large market for cases because people are afraid of dropping a $500 mobile computer and breaking it.

      “Through normal market forces”

      Tell that to USB which sat around for years before Apple decided to “force” their users to adopt it.

      Apple did not remove the audio jack because of AirPods. They had nothing to do with that. It had everything to do with moving towards digital headsets with features that simply aren’t possible on analog headsets. This was the largest portion of Phil’s speech when talking about all of this.

    1. Hey Other Steve,
      How will many others benefit from not having something? Wouldn’t many others benefit from having something? We already have the lighting port. We don’t need a thinner phone. I do need to be able to plug in the same headphones as I switch from my MacPro, my MacBook Pro, My iPad, and my iPhone. And I want wired headphones….. There is no lightning port on any mac made. Why not?

      1. When Apple announced they where taking away Rosetta, then and only then did some software companies transfer their software over to Intel. Before that, we had to sloge through emulated software.
        When Apple took away the built-in CD, then and only then could we download all of our software we purchased. It also freed up an enormous amount of space in my laptop. Don’t even get me started on floppies.
        When Apple got rid of SCSI, then and only then was I able to acquire the hardware I needed in FIreWire. (they still run on my Thunderbolt port on my other Mac)

        Now third parties will be making Lightning headphones and earbuds in volume, making them affordable, better sounding, and consume less power. This move is also freeing up valuable space inside the iPhone as well as making it easier to waterproof (water resist) the iPhone.
        Apple is also including an adaptor for your old headphones. A win/win for you.

  5. I’ll wager that all those bemoaning the loss of the 3.5mm jack are still crying over the loss of the command line interface, SCSI port, floppy drive, ADB port, parallel port, AppleTalk, CD drive, 101 keyboard, internal modem, ethernet port, CRT display, etc.

    Hey Rumpelstiltskin, when you wake up it will be the 21st Century.

    1. Real men compute in the command line Greg.

      OSX is a pretty picture overtop of a command line.

      Ports I agree on though.. Apple won’t kill the TRS jack. They are just a little phone company, not the Broadcast industry.

    1. Chances are… if I need the dongle, it’ll be because I have a set of analog headphones… and if that’s the case, the dongle will be attached to those headphones. So, nothing “extra” to carry around with me.

      However, if I’m going some place and might need to connect my iPhone to an analog system, having a 3″ x 1/4″ adapter in my pocket isn’t going to be a big deal when there’s already a 6″ x 3″ phone in the same pocket.

  6. “Dozens of companies are going to be rushing to create headphones, speakers, converters, and other accessories designed to work in a post-headphone-jack world” and you can only connect one of them at time!

  7. The current Bluetooth headphone sound quality is “crap” compared to the wired analog 3.5 mm audio headphone connection!

    Why not wait until Bluetooth is updated to decent sound quality before ditching the 3.5 mm jack?

    1. I did a review of what Apple has both said and written about their wireless AirBuds. I have to conclude that they do NOT use Bluetooth. They instead are likely to be entirely Wi-Fi. This means there is NO bandwidth limitation, therefore, there is no ridiculous compression of the data sent to the AirBuds. This is likely to result in FAR better audio quality than lousy Bluetooth audio gear.

      IOW: No need to wait for Bluetooth 5 a year from now.

      We’ll have to wait until October for actual specs.

      1. It is actually Bluetooth. The W1 is a Bluetooth chip and Apple has gone on record saying so. The reason they work so well, is because they’ve added something proprietary on top of the spec (Phil called the “special sauce”) that “turns on” when the communication is with devices running Apple’s latest operating systems.

        So while apparently non-Apple devices will be supported, performance and efficiency will not be optimal.

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