The headphone jack has been the standard for audio on portable devices, since the inception. Despite major cosmetic changes to smartphones, tablets and laptops, headphone jack is one port that has stayed on, no matter what. So, the news of Apple ditching the 3.5mm jack with the iPhone 7 sure caught the tech world by surprise. Adding to that, LeEco, China’s Netflix, went on and removed the port from their latest smartphones, pointing out the fact that this is the future.
Since the rumors of iPhone 7 doing away with the headphone port, you must have read dozens of opinion articles about how it is good or it is bad for the company, the industry and the consumers as a whole. Before we go into judging the designers and developers that are involved in these multi-billion dollar projects, we should get a hang of what technology suits what kind of situation. Maybe, it is in the best interest of the consumer to switch over to a single port for charging and audio output. It might be much more convenient and/or product higher quality.
USB Type C + CDLA Technology > 3.5mm Audio Jack?
The headphone jack, as mentioned earlier, has been the standard on smartphones for the past decade or so. The best thing about it is that it is a universal port and works on a lot of your personal devices. Add to the fact, you can attach your headphones in any direction into the port. So, when Apple wants to phase it out so abruptly, questions are raised.
The primary reason here could be that Apple, like its past record, has always had a history of getting rid of older technology, even when the industry is fine with it. Whether be it the floppy disks or CD-ROMs, Apple has been the first mover in recognizing the fact that these mediums are outdated for the consumer. In short, they dictate what their customer wants, and it is usually in everyone’s best interest.
Secondly, they might be striving for some extra internal space. While the 3.5mm jack seems to be a miniature port that doesn’t seem to take up space, the internal length of the port is worrisome, especially in the age of thinner and lighter phones. Apple could pave the way for companies to remove headphone jacks and probably put in some extra battery units, but I am just being optimistic. With LeEco bringing in the CDLA (Continual Lossless Digital Audio) technology, they are trying to be the first movers in the age of USB audio. It brings with it pure audio, one that is untouched by analog and digital repeaters, as in the case of the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Another alternative could be the wireless technology, that although already present in the market, hasn’t quite taken off due to steep pricing as well as average audio quality. All in all, it seems like we are headed towards the first major revolution in smartphone audio technology, and whatever happens from here, it definitely won’t be anything like the past. If you have any feedback, feel free to leave that in the comment section below.