Headphone makers: No headphone jack = no problem

“This week Apple launched a new iPhone without a headphone jack and stirred up an understandable furor of discontent,” Vlad Savov reports for The Verge. “But you won’t hear any headphone companies complaining about the move, even though it takes away their familiar entry point into the Apple ecosystem.”

“Most of them have already been preparing for this change for months,” Savov reports. “I spoke with a few of the major headphone manufacturers in the wake of Apple’s announcement to gauge their reaction to the news.”

“Here’s what co-CEOs Daniel and Andreas Sennheiser had to say about the Lightning-only iPhone: ‘Sennheiser has seen many different connection standards come and go in the audio world over the years. Audio connections have always been continuously evolving. Digital outputs, such as Apple’s Lightning connector, will offer new opportunities to take a step forward and to further enhance the sound experience for the customer. For example, 3D audio technology using digital signals is just one possibility,'” Savov reports. “To Sennheiser, Apple’s hardware change is just another opportunity.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s amazing it took Apple this long to ax the antiquated 3.5mm jack. Next up: iPads, iPods and Mac, please!

Why Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 – as explained by Steve Jobs – September 9, 2016
By killing the 3.5mm headphone jack, Apple is doing something extraordinary for music sound quality – September 8, 2016
No headphone jack? No problem: How to listen to music while you sync and charge your new iPhone 7/Plus – September 8, 2016
Apple VP calls 3.5mm headphone jack ‘a dinosaur,’ says ‘it’s time to move on’ – September 8, 2016
Apple kills the headphone jack – September 7, 2016
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 see… Margin minded Apple (for no real reason) removes the “antiquated” headphone jack from iPhones.

    Now they can license the Lightning interface to anyone who wants to make compatible with Apple (only) headphones. (Apple earns millions)

    They get sales of Beats headphones. Beats is the number one bluetooth headphone company. (Apple earns millions)

    They just got rid of one port that costs nothing to use and earned them nothing.

    Now they get millions in sales of licenses or headphones. Steve is probably a little pissed off now. Zero benefit to the consumer. Perhaps the iPhone 8 or 9 will remove the analog audio output functionality for the Lightning connector. Where will we be then?

    Next up? The Keyboard.
    The modern QWERTY keyboard was invented 1868 so it must have to go too…

    1. @beosjim: You miss the point. This is just Apple, once again, dragging people kicking and screaming into the future. The Lightning connector allows huge advances in earbud technology – active noise cancellation and digital soundscaping, for example. Huge benefit to the consumer. Previously, active noise cancellation required separate battery power, so only full sized headphones had the feature. Several companies are already making lightweight earbuds with it, using the Lightning connector.
      And if you don’t want such earbuds, then use your old ones with the adapter Apple provides with every phone.

      1. Out of curiosity, what was stopping Apple from offering Lightning connected headphones before? All these benefits of Lightning have been available since the Lightning connector has been available, no?

        1. The question is the same as the one about USB twenty years ago. USB had been in existence for a few years, yet nobody bothered to build peripherals, nor did any PC maker bother installing it. USB took off when Apple removed ADB and put only USB on the first iMac. In less than a year, all major peripheral makers were making USB devices. And PC makers followed.

          1. What you say is true, although as usual you give Apple far too much credit for the success of USB 1.0. Apple didn’t even participate in the USB consortium to develop the connector — it was Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel. Intel introduced the first integrated USB controller chips in 1995, and Windows 95 supported it. Several PC makers included USB-A ports in their machines along with the legacy serial ports. Needless to say, computer owners tended to continue to use the mouse and keyboards that worked best for them, the serial ports. It wasn’t until well into the 2000’s that peripheral makers had discontinued serial ports. Why? Because on a desktop computer, connector size isn’t a big deal and serial ports worked just fine. Only when keyboards and mice wore out did the mass market adopt the new connector.

            Which is exactly what I predict for Apple’s choice to remove the headphone jack. For 5 years to come, people will keep using their preferred analog headphones with a goddamned adapter if necessary until their headphones are worn out. Then they will buy new headphones that have whatever native connector they really need. It’s what has always happened before. Look at how slow Thunderbolt has taken hold. Only a fanboy assumes that people are going to ditch their existing peripherals in order to conform to the new connector. If I was Apple, I would have included Lightning earpods in the box with every iPhone 6 model starting in 2014 while retaining an analog 3.5mm connector with a dust cover plug on it. By 2016, the public would be accustomed to Lightning headphones and the aftermarket would be spooled up to deliver all the Lightning accessories people want. Then the iPhone 7 removal of the analog jack would be seamless. As Apple chose to do it, it’s just not. Apple just provided a good reason for a lot of people to choose the 6S models instead of buying the latest 7 models.

            1. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but I was there and I remember very well. Back then, I wasn’t really a Mac user. Keyboards and mice were rather stubborn on PCs with their PS2 connector, but printers, scanners and other external peripherals were quite quick to adopt USB once Apple came out with USB-only iMacs. It is funny how, even though Apple wasn’t really involved in development of the USB, they ended up being the driving force for adoption. Yes, you could buy a Windows PC with USB ports, but there wasn’t really anything you could connect to them, until the iMac came out.

              The problem is, as always, chicken-and-egg.

              As for headphones, over 300 million sets are sold every year. With Apple’s move on iPhone 7, there is no doubt that next year, a significantly higher percentage of them will be with Lightning connector than there were this year, even though there were already plenty of devices with lightning port.

    2. Wrong. They removed it to make room for battery & other internals. And rather than eliminate it entirely, they made it external with a tiny adapter. If you don’t want to pay $2 for lightning, you can use Bluetooth and go wireless. So these phones have three ways to use headphones: lightning, Bluetooth, and 3.5 mm audio jack. Just like the previous generation.

      Stop complaining and move on.

      1. They removed the headphone jack and used that space for another tinny speaker.

        Why not let all of the millions (billions?) of headphones keep working and go to a SIM free phone design for all iPhones. The SIM tray is not really needed, but the headphone port is highly used.

        1. Because if you get rid of the SIM, there is no way you could connect the phone to any of the global GSM networks. There is no alternative solution right now.

          But I’m sure Apple is working with mobile operators, trying to bring technology that will allow virtual SIMs.

        2. @beosjim: “Why not let all of the millions (billions?) of headphones keep working …?”

          Those millions/billions of headphones do still work with iPhone 7. Via the little adapter that is included with every phone.

        3. Do you additional speaker had nothing to do with it the additional speaker is in the top. I suspect it lessened holes for the waterproofing and provided some additional space for something else

    3. That’s so clueless. Simple math disproves it.

      Most people buy third-party headphones, not Beats (which are too expensive). Lightning licensing costs just a few dollars. Even if every single iPhone owner on the planet (a billion sold) buys an accessory, that is still only $2B revenue (compared to $50 just last quarter, and it was a bad quarter!).

      Revenue that Apple can potentially gain in Beats sales and port licensing is significantly lower than the number of iPhone 7 sales they can potentially lose because of the 3.5mm port loss.

      This is why everyone is calling them courageous. It is a code-word for foolish, or risky. Apple took this risk, driven by their decades-old drive towards design perfection. Holes on the device are ugly. Look at any Lenovo laptop with 10 different ports, compared to MacBook with just one. People simply fall in love with the uncompromising, pristine, clean design lines and curves of Apple. They will continue to remove ports until all of them are gone and everything is wireless.

      It may not happen quite soon, but it is the direction Apple has been taking for twenty years.

    4. If you spend a little time searching you would have found this:
      “In the world of extremely tight dimensional tolerances and microcircuitry inside the iPhone, every millimeter of space counts, and different components can interfere with each other.

      Riccio explained, for instance, that the “driver ledge” board that powers the iPhone display and backlight was interfering with the much more sophisticated iPhone 7 camera system, and when they tried to move it lower down in the device to avoid that interference, they encountered interference with the audio jack instead.

      Once they tried simply removing the audio jack, Riccio explains, they discovered that they suddenly had more flexibility to install features like the “Taptic Engine” for the new pressure-senstitive Home Button, and were able to also increase battery life by using larger batteries — a 14 percent larger battery in the iPhone 7, and a 5 percent larger battery in the iPhone 7 Plus.
      In the end, as the article explains, it was “simple math that did the audio jack in” — a tradeoff between supporting a legacy analog audio port against wireless audio technology, improved cameras, and other marquee features on the iPhone 7 that Apple obviously deemed were far more valuable to customers than simply preserving a decades-old headphone jack.”

    5. “Zero benefit to the consumer.”

      Except, you know being able to put more stuff in the phone like battery, sensors, more cameras, stuff like that. No, no, let’s keep alive this analogue antiquated do-nothing-else port forever. Seems legit to me.

      Why aren’t you upset there’s no PC printer port in your iPhone?

  2. Before I post what I was going to post, up there, beosjim, you are a little late, the DVORAK keyboard has been around since 1936.

    And now for the regularly scheduled post brought to you by The Joy of Tech field guide to iPhone reviewers, which is great. He must check out MDN on a regular basis.

    I’m leaning towards Mr. Positively Unbelievable myself.

  3. Of course they are happy. Why wouldn’t they be? More revenue, but I bet you won’t see any of them offering to swap from their 3.5mm to lighting for customers. Nah, why do that, when they can just sell more? Capitalism is alive and well, thank you.

    1. Why?

      Apple is bundling wired headphones with the iPhone 7. They are also including an adapter, so that you can use any other headphones. Exactly who will be compelled to suddenly buy new headphones? If that ends up being the case, and headphone sales spike big time because of this, then it would be better to buy AAPL, since it would mean that Apple is shattering all the sales records with the 7.

  4. This is such a yawn. 100% of current iPhone owners have an audio jack. IF you are that much of a laggard that you don’t want wireless connectivity, digital or lightning powered headphones or dual stereo speakers or better battery life or a waterproof phone, then stick with your existing phone. You still get the new OS, which is really great from what I’m seeing with the Beta. If you have any imagination or sense of more convenience, performance or quality then get the iPhone 7. The tradeoffs are so wildly in favor of removing the audio jack, this is not even worth discussing. But it is worth discussing because it gives Apple more mindshare – which is good.

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