It's Official: Apple Just Killed Off The 3.5mm Headphone Jack

Image:: iStock

The rumours were true: Apple has ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack for the new iPhone 7. All this was done to make the iPhone one millimetre thinner. The decision is a controversial one as many iPhone users, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak himself, wanted the headphone jack to remain; no doubt a lot of people are mad right now. Here's what you need to know.

There had been a persistent rumour that Apple was removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from its upcoming iPhone, sending a load of Apple handset users into a panic. The rumour has now become a reality. iPhone 7 users will have to rely on Bluetooth headsets, Lightning-based headphones or use a Lightning to audio adaptor to listen to music or make hands-free calls.

Image: Getty Images

Why did Apple do this? The company believes it's time to move on from the 3.5mm headphone jack if we want to get more innovation in headphone design and improve audio quality. To Apple's Phil Schiller, who spoke at the iPhone 7 launch event in the US, getting rid of the headphone jack was an act of "courage".

It's not an ideal situation for people who want to charge their phone while listening to music or a podcast (I do this a lot). That is, unless you own a Bluetooth headset and, from my own personal observations, most people don't. Those headsets aren't cheap either. At least with the 3.5mm headphone jack, you could pick up a crappy pair at a service station if you're desperate to listen to audio on your iPhone.

If you're adamant in getting the iPhone 7 and you don't have a pair of Bluetooth headset, we have a few recommendations here.


Comments

    ...getting rid of the headphone jack was an act of “courage”.

    More like an act of stupidity to alienate a whole lot of previously happy users.

      Hmm. This sounds exactly like what people were screaming about when Apple moved from 30-pin to Lightning. People need to get a grip and move on from this legacy hardware. If you really want Apple to "innovate", and cram in things like wireless charging, for example, then you should be prepared for this little roadbump.

        Lightning and its predecessor were Apple-specific connections. The 3.5mm plug is a very widely used standard for audio across a huge range of devices and has been around for ages.

        It seems to me that 'innovate' means that Apple has trashed all the investment folks have in headphones, etc (especially if they want to charge at the same time) in the interests of making their phone *1mm* thinner (and having them locked into the Apple mystique). When I travel long distances, I use my phone as my main source of audio entertainment. Now it would seem those in a similar position can choose if they want to listen or recharge but not both. Not a bright design decision IMHO.

        Just because it's old, doesn't mean it needs to be changed.

    If they made it so you could charge and use headphones (of any sort) they'd lose a few less customers.

    Don't speak so fast. We could be reading an entirely different obituary in a few months. I like Apple products generally but I think a gentle reminder that they should always consider their customers won't hurt them.

    It's Official: Apple's arrogance finally caught up with them or It's Official: The 3.5mm Headphone Jack just killed off the iPhone 7

      It's not just "arrogance" or stupidity by Apple, but outright bastardry!
      If I would be a 'dedicated Apple customer' ... (which I am not out of conviction!), they definitely would have lost me now. Charging an 'fn' premium, and treating their customers like fools to be pushed around! It is outrageous!
      If I had been willing to pay their exorbitant prices, they would have lost me with the omission of USB socket and micro SD slot. - What is this "Lightning" bullshit cable anyway? Another proprietary connection? To hell with that! Or is it at least USB-C?

        Agree. Sony pushed the proprietary bandwagon for too long... look where they are now...

    My partner loves the iPhone, I told him this morning that the 7 doesn't have a headphone and he asked what would he do with his expensive Sennheisers. Throw them out and use the ear buds? I told him about the adapter cable and was told "more tiny cables to lose"

    I'm not so much a Techy as a Trekkie, so could someone explain how the phone will know which way is left and right with a jack that can be used in both directions?

      I'm not sure how Lightning cables do it but the concept isn't as hard as you'd imagine. If it's a simple cable you can do the easy solution of just having each pin split in two so it goes ABBA, which is the same regardless of which way you plug it in. You can also do that with the important parts of the cable, then just use a software solution to determine which data goes down which line. If you have ABCDDCEF, where F is blank, C/D are power and the rest are data, the power will work and the software can then say 'ok, F is blank and there's nothing in the left socket, so F must be on the left which means A is on the right'.

    So on long trips I can't charge from my powerbank and listen to anything on my headphones at the same time? Surely they've considered these sorts of scenarios?

      Their solution: go wireless.

        So you can't use Apple earphones to listen to Airplane entertainment (seats have 3.5mm jacks).
        Worse, if you try using Apple earphones on a plane trip they won't last (5 hours quoted ) on international flights... so you need to recharge your bluetooth earbuds.

        The spectacle of an Apple fan wrestling with adapters & charge cables on a long haul flight will be a wet dream for Samsung advertising.

      I'm sure they have.. they just don't care (or in their words, they're "courageous"...)

    I think it's a great move. The improvements to sound quality and using a newer connection will be good.
    And for those people who say "now I can't charge my phone and listen to music at the same time". How often does that actually happen?
    Charge your phone only at night, while you're sleeping.
    Or, if you're out and about, listening to music, you can't charge your phone anyway.
    If you're charging at your desk and want to listen to music, use the computer.
    Problem solved.

      Please tell me how this new connector will provide better audio quality.

        Apple are working on providing you with better ears...

      How often does that actually happen?

      Quite often actually.

      Charge your phone only at night, while you're sleeping.

      Not always possible. With regular usage most phone batteries will need to be charged during the day.

      Or, if you're out and about, listening to music, you can't charge your phone anyway.

      Ever heard of a powerbank?

      If you're charging at your desk and want to listen to music, use the computer.

      I have podcasts and music on my phone. It's a pain to maintain multiple copies on both my phone, computer and laptop. And if I'm halfway through a podcast on my phone, then the same podcast will be out of sync on the computer.

      Not everything is as simple as you make it out to be.

        Yeah, I understand what you mean. I guess my point was that not being able to charge your phone and listen to music/podcasts at the same time isn't a major issue, as there are ways around it. Sure, it's annoying to have to unplug one cable and put in another, but people will adjust.

          ...but people will adjust.
          Quite possibly, but I think the question here is *why* do they have to adjust when previously they had a solution that didn't require 'adjustment'?

    It's a fascinating sociological experiment. The mental gymnastics required to convince yourself this is a good idea reveal an obvious cognitive dissonance. How far can Apple push its users? I wonder what they could actually do at this point that would be a deal-breaker for slavish fans? What if you could only rent the phone? What if you had to kneel down and say three 'Hail Steves' before every call? What if you had to give blood for the priveledge? Would this be enough? Or are we too entrenched in iTunes and technically challenged to consider the OS that doesn't hold you by the short and curlys?

    Last edited 08/09/16 11:30 am

    Note to Apple: Why not include the 3.5mm jack while promoting digital-out via lightning and wireless audio. If it's so good everyone will switch in a gen or two and you could have taken the jack out without a big drama.

    Oh wait that wouldn't work, because many people value open standards and the ability to switch between devices. Others don't want to add another battery and another thing to charge to their list of devices. Once again Apple has invented solutions for problems that don't exist. Their go to reason: courage! What a Richard move.

    (Full disclosure: I am somewhat butthurt right now) :p

      If there is a bump in the case for a camera lens, surely you can add a bump for a 3.5mm phone jack?

        It's just an example but my phone (Oppo R7) is 6.3mm and accommodates a 3.5mm jack just fine

    im all for having to adjust for new tech. But a basic function made impossible to do while doing another basic function is a 10 year leap backwards. if they had some sort of double adapter so you could do both at the same time there would not be as much written about this.

    How much strain can the lightning ports tolerate before they pull free? I'd worry that the whole dongle assembly would be relatively fragile which doesn't hold the cable with the same resistance as the 3.5mm jack, and you'd be constantly plugging the damn thing in all the time..,

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