That little headphone socket on your smartphone dates all the way back to 1964. Its bigger brother, the 6.35mm jack is one of the oldest connector standards still in use, and got its start in 1878. While various music devices and smartphones have gone without the 3.5mm socket over the years, it’s still almost universal. But the new iPhone 7 is rumoured to be using the lightning connector exclusively, and the recently launched Lenovo Moto Z is 3.5mm free. But with almost everyone owning a pair of headphones using the 3.5mm jack, is it too soon to move on?
Whilst robust and simple to use, the 3.5mm plug and socket is quite basic, and new connection types offer certain advantages. Already you can buy USB powered headphones, which offload the DAC and AMP to the devices themselves.
The advantage here is that users can pay extra for a higher quality audio system, without being limited to what’s in their music player of choice. Sure, you can get a similar result using Bluetooth, but wired audio can be better quality, and not need it’s own power supply.
But over at xdadevelopers, an analyse of the potential pros versus cons of ditching the 3.5mm socket doesn’t come out in the consumer’s favour.
The suggestion is that if Apple movies to using the lightning port for headphones and not USB-C, it will create two different markets for new audio gear.
Of course, adapters will be available to allow use of existing headphones, but will likely be an extra cost, as well as hassle to use.
Part of the problem is the jump straight to the new standard, rather than a slower phase in of new headphones, and the phase out of 3.5mm. This forces users to spend money either way, be it on a new pair of headphones, or an adaptor.
Whilst Apple is keen to throw out the old to make way for the new, Android implementation could be a lot slower. Here’s hoping that the next generation of droids all feature both USB-C and 3.5mm audio options.
Are you ready to ditch the 3.5mm socket? Tell us in the comments.
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