There are a lot of questions being asked when it comes to Apple’s new iPhone set to show up later this year. Will they opt to use the same 16GB of base storage they’ve been using, or will they finally work their way up to 32GB? And even if they choose to go with the 32GB variant, is that enough to warrant praise these days? Will the iPhone finally support wireless charging? And last but not least, will Apple really phase out the 3.5mm headphone jack?
Naturally these questions will remain unanswered until the phone is official, but that doesn’t stop people from talking about this very real possibility.
I can see where the argument for getting rid of it holds leverage, but I'm skeptical that Apple would take this route with the consumer's best interest in mind. I might be inclined to agree that's the case if Apple were to completely remove any headphone jack at all, but according to rumors, Apple would instead only support wired headphones through the Lightning port. Should you want to use a pair of headphones you already have laying around your house, the iPhone will likely still oblige – as long as you use an adaptor. Alternatively, you could also use a pair of Bluetooth headphones. The downside to that option being that Bluetooth headphones die and need to be recharged.
I see Apple doing this for two reasons: more money, and continuing their quest to make the iPhone as thin as a credit card. And maybe trying to make it seem like headphones that connect via Lightning will have some wondrous advantage to the likes of which we have never seen - or maybe they would just hope that people will skip the Lightning headsets and go straight for wireless, which I could also see people doing.
Personally, I don’t think that the world is ready to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack, or let go of wired headsets at all. I honestly don’t see anything wrong with the way they operate. The only downside to them is that they have “pesky” wires, but there are more positives than negatives to wired headsets with a 3.5mm headphone jack – the first of which being that I’m willing to bet most people have several pairs strewn about their house. Another benefit is that, generally speaking, they sound perfectly fine. I don’t think most smartphone users are audiophiles to the point where the sound quality of a headset using the 3.5mm headphone jack negatively affects their listening experience.
However, another valid point to support Apple’s alleged decision here is that this move is nothing new to Apple. Apple has already successfully killed off several technologies in the past such as the floppy disk, CD Drive, their own 30-pin connector (which many people were initially unhappy about, including yours truly, and yet here we are), USB-A, etc., so it’s not like this is something completely farfetched or out of the ordinary. And if the rumors turn out to be true, I can’t see the end result being much worse than vocalized annoyance about it before moving on. I predicted a doomsday occurrence when Apple introduced Lightning a few years back, and that didn’t do much of anything to Apple in the end.
Do I think people other manufacturers will follow? Probably not. If the rumors turn out to be true, I can see Apple sticking to their guns about it and making that the new norm for the iPhone from there on out, and perhaps aiming for a primarily wireless future. As for other smartphones, I imagine they’ll continue to include support for wired headsets for a good, long while via the 3.5mm headphone jack. I just don’t see it becoming some widespread phenomenon, at least not yet. If anything, I think it’s just going to be another “Apple” thing – and despite the fact that other phones, such as the Oppo R5, have already nixed the 3.5mm, it’s only going to be a big deal if Apple decides to do it.
Personally, I'm just hoping that it's all a big misunderstanding.
Readers, what are your thoughts? Do you think that the world is ready to move on from the 3.5mm headphone jack, or do you think there’s still enough reasons to keep it around? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!