Apple has A Reputation for Discarding Legacy Features before the Competition

Apple has a reputation for discarding legacy features on their products well before their competition and sometimes before their time. Each time it does so, it creates a firestorm of reaction. You might think Apple does it just for publicity’s sake.

But looking back, their decisions have generally proved to be insightful, if not always understood. I recall the fury over the sealed-in batteries that allowed Apple to reduce the size of their phones and notebooks. It was driven by design but also by longer lasting batteries. Everything Apple does has a strategic short term and long term purpose.

Now, Apple is rumored to be removing the venerable 3.5 mm headphone jack that’s been on nearly every portable radio, TV set and phone since the fifties.

While I think it’s not a particularly wise idea, because, like the battery decision, it doesn’t benefit their customers in the short term, it’s not done on a whim or out of ignorance. While many of us may not agree, here are my nine reasons that likely led them to this decision:

1. Engineers prefer digital – It’s a digital world and Apple’s engineers want to keep things simple. Using the headphone jack to answer your phone and manage audio playback is currently somewhat hokey. Digital makes it simpler and more versatile.

2. Audio quality in not a priority – High quality audio has never had the importance to Apple as its camera image quality. Photos keep getting better, but music quality remains mediocre. So eliminating the headphone jack that delivers quality analog music to analog devices, such as headphones and speakers, is not a concern.

3. Banking on Bluetooth – With Apple not focusing on high quality audio, it’s likely they see the future of audio will be Bluetooth. So, having a single connector for both the audio connection and for recharging the phone is just a temporary inconvenience.

4. Capturing $2 to $3 from every headphone sale for a Lightning connector provides a nice revenue stream for Apple. It also provides market intelligence that lets Apple and its Beats group know what their competitors are doing. They also stand to benefit from all the accessory companies that will make adapters that go from 3.5mm to Lightning for our existing headphones and for charging and listening at the same time.

5. Improves two-way communications – The Lightning connector provides a two-way digital path for communications between the headset and phone. That makes it preferable for supporting Siri, voice search, and other new features on the phone that go well beyond the headset being used just for music.

6. To be different – Apple loves to be different, often for the sake of being better, but sometimes just to be proprietary and special. They are not big players in standard organizations and, just as USB-C is becoming a standard on Android phones, Apple chooses their own path.

7. Apple’s world revolves around Apple products – While we may buy a headphone for uses beyond our phones, such as a stereo system or a music player, and a new connector complicates our decision, that’s not a concern for Apple. They could care less their millions of users will need to buy a $30 adapter to use their current headphone.

8. Benefit to Beats – The Lightning connector and future enhancements to it will give the Beats’ headphones group the inside track for adding new features. It also forces the many other headphone companies to re-engineer their products.

9. Moving audio out of phones – While some competitive phones are adding high-resolution playback capability, Apple has elected to move it to the headphone using enhanced Lightning cables that can contain their own DAC. Along with eliminating the audio jack, it helps protect their phone margins.

While Apple has had success at going their own way with other changes, including eliminating the floppy drive, this decision may prove to be much less popular. Of course, I said that before and was wrong. Can lightning strike twice?

Published by

Phil Baker

Phil Baker is a product development expert, author, and journalist covering consumer technology. He is the co-author with Neil Young of the forthcoming book, “To Feel the Music,” and the author of “From Concept to Consumer.” He’s a former columnist for the San Diego Transcript, and founder of Techsperts, Inc. You can follow him at

181 thoughts on “Apple has A Reputation for Discarding Legacy Features before the Competition”

  1. Out of 9 reasons I only see 2 that concern the customer. Those would be 5 and 9. Tell me again why I should want the removal since the lightning jack is already there?

    1. There are many advantages to moving audio to the lightning port (I’ll let you Google that on your own), which are good for the customer as well as Apple. But for those (like you) who demand legacy ports and as many custom options as possible, the removal of the headphone jack is definitely a negative development. At the same time it’s a positive development for me and many others. There are already lightning headphones available (reviews say audio quality is superior), and Apple will include lightning earbuds anyway (which I would guess is what the vast majority of people use). Here’s one article to start you off:

      1. To begin with most over the ear headsets of any worth will be superior to earphones pretty much across the board. That’s why most recording studios only have that form. Lightning does not intrinsically provide that bonus.

        That is pretty much the only place a Lightning connector can offer an upgrade. Look around you and tell me how many people with iPhones listen with that style headphones. Some, sure, and those mostly Beats customers. Not insignificant, but certainly not even close to a majority.


        1. Most people just use the earbuds included, so those folks will get new lightning headphones for free. I said this in my original comment. But there are many advantages to ditching the headphone jack and moving audio to the lightning port. If the legacy port for audio is high on your wish list then this is bad news, but I doubt many people care, they just want to plug in earbuds and listen to music. And those same people will enjoy the additional features they get because of this change. I don’t see much downside. For musicians like me, in the studio I’ve never using any kind of device like this, I use high quality headphones made for recording music and I’m plugged into the board so I can hear the engineer and other musicians. I suppose the same thing could be done with iPhones or iPads, but the move to lightning wouldn’t mean that suddenly isn’t possible. Granted, it’s been a while since I was recording in a studio, maybe people do use iPhones in professional studios now. Do you know?

          1. As someone who worked in the recording industry and also build amps, the way you listened to playback in the studio is no different than how you currently listen to playback on an iPhone. No one has an alternative, much less an improved alternative, for the “last mile” so to speak. Changing to Lightning does not change that. And continuing a mini-jack does not prevent Apple from offering Lightning connector headphones.

            But if the article you reference is to be believed, I suppose they definitely need more room for the battery since such headsets are active and require power.


          2. Removing the headphone jack makes room for other things as well. And the lightning port is definitely more flexible and future-proof as far as offering additional capability for accessories. If, as you say, moving audio to the lightning port doesn’t change the last mile, then there really is no downside. Maybe the negative reaction is mostly anxiety?

          3. The downside is it doesn’t offer anything superior. And complicates things for the user.


          4. Sure it does. It gets rid of an old port and that space can be used for other tech which benefits the user. You can also do more with audio accessories via the lightning port.

          5. If you want to do more with the lightning port. And you can still do more with the lightning port even if you keep the mini-jack. Ditching the mini-jack does not automatically make the Lightning port superior.


          6. Apple does want to do more with the lightning port, as well as more with the iPhone which I’m sure requires ditching the headphone jack. Apple isn’t doing this on a whim. There may be a requirement for future design or features, perhaps related to AR or VR or future hardware specs. As you say, the lightning port isn’t worse, and while it is no guarantee of better audio, with properly made lightning headphones it should deliver better audio. But forget that, if the switch re: audio is neutral then the benefits of getting rid of the headphone jack make it the right move.

          7. But the switch is not neutral. And if this about AR/VR they would have been better served to wait (IF they are changing, which is still not 100%) until they have something better to offer in that regard to more clearly demonstrate the benefit of the change.

            Otherwise the change is quite whimsical and unnecessary.


          8. You said the switch doesn’t change the last mile as far as audio goes. Did I misunderstand that? Do you mean audio quality will get worse? Nothing I’ve read says that. All evidence points to either no change or some improvement in audio quality.

          9. No, that last mile (from DAC to speaker) will always require analog electricity running through wires (or PC board) driving analog drivers. Switching to the Lightning port will not change that, only where the processing happens. Changing to a Lightning port does not change the physics involved to make or receive audible sounds.


          10. Okay, so we’re back to neutral as far as the audio goes, which means no downside on that front. And there are obvious benefits and improvements which are made possible by this change, so it is not whimsical or unnecessary.

          11. So, as I said, the change is very whimsical and ditching the jack offers no benefits. The Lightning port is already part of the phone. Any changes they want to introduce does not require ditching the mini-jack. So there is no benefit to ditching the mini-jack.


          12. Ditching the headphone jack offers no benefits? That’s not even remotely true. Lightning is more flexible and future-proof, you can do more with lightning accessories. The old headphone jack takes up space that can be used for other things. I understand you don’t like the change but we need to stick to reality here. There will absolutely be improvements and additional capability if Apple makes this change.

          13. I am sticking to reality. All the benefits you claim for a Lightning port can still be accomplished with an onboard mini-jack. Now you’re just making s**t up.


          14. The mini-jack takes up space which Apple could use for a number of other things. Apple controls the lightning port and accessories so they can make improvements faster and add new capabilities, this is obvious. You’ve agreed that the audio experience will be the same (possibly better), so why keep two ports?

          15. One last time, nothing is improved, audio technology is not advanced, by eliminating the mini-jack; the change is whim, not innovation.


          16. As far as the audio you’re mostly right. Although noise cancelling headphones require power and with the lightning port those headphones won’t need a battery pack. Also, since more than just audio can be sent over lightning we could see interesting new features in audio apps, like doing some things automatically when you plug in your lightning headphones. There should be more control of audio apps as well because of this, when using lightning headphones. Hmm, so actually even when we’re just talking about audio, it is incorrect to say there is no advancement.

            Of course this change also means making a bit more space available within the iPhone, and there really is no way to argue that Apple isn’t going to make use of this space. So in a ‘whole device’ sense there will be innovation and benefit related to this change.

          17. I think the argument for freeing up more space wit the removal of the jack may be specious. The inside of an iPhone is not so tightly packed that the volume of the jack is a significant percentage of the available volume.

          18. I agree the space is small, but it isn’t zero. It could be used for something else, more specifically it may be in the way of something Apple wants to do. Take a pair of headphones and instead of plugging the jack in, lay it on top of an iPhone. Notice anything?

          19. Agree, but it would be hard to believe that this would be the primary reason for removing the port.

          20. I don’t think there’s one reason, I think there’s many. But expanding the screen could be an important factor. It’s also possible that wired lightning headphones are a bridge to wireless audio. Then you’d have the wired connection with quality headphones for those who want the best audio experience and wireless audio for those that want the convenience. If Apple goes wireless that means they believe they’ve solved the pain points re: wireless audio.

          21. I think you are correct in that the long game is getting to wireless headsets, that might even recharge from the Lightening connector. Apple likely assumes that the audio quality over BT will be “good enough” and keeping the batteries charged, one of the pain-points of BT, will now be simpler.

          22. There’s also some talk of Apple modifying the lightning port to also pass analog audio out, which means adapters could be very simple. I agree that pairing and charging of wireless earbuds would be done via lightning, and a couple minutes or less of charging could give you a lot of listening time (reminds me a bit of the Apple Pencil).

          23. The podcast with Nilay Patel (“user hostile” position) is good, too. Both contending that there are too many pain points to smooth out.


          24. Yes, that would certainly temper some of the objections, trading one audio feature for another. I use the speaker a lot, but mostly as a speakerphone.

          25. I appreciate that they also pointed out how adding a second speaker, though, would be half a solution and would need to be something akin to the iPad Pro and it’s four speakers to be truly effective as a stereo environment (to accommodate landscape viewing of media). hard to get around that.


          26. The one thing I came away from this discussion and the podcasts is that removing the audio jack would definitely inconvenience the customer, By removing the jack the customer cannot use the same headphone in multiple devices he already owns without buying an adapter. Nothing they can say will eliminate this inconvenience, even adding some different feature.

          27. I listened to that, Marco says he has a closet full of wired headphones and yet the headphones he uses most with his iPhone are wireless, because even though they are worse in many ways, they are “more compelling”. Marco compares it to wifi vs ethernet which also started out “worse but more compelling”. He goes on to say the market is moving towards wireless and that is “worse but it’s okay”. Another great quote from Marco “Once you get used to using bluetooth headphones, using a wire feels barbaric.”

            If Apple can also modify the lightning port to pass analog audio out, then it’s a cheap adapter and we have a good wired bridge (simply moving analog audio out instead of getting rid of it) as we move to wireless audio.

            Marco also says this change could enable a second speaker, and he knows from his own user metrics that “tons of people use the iPhone speaker”. As I’ve said before, if Apple goes ahead with this change, there’s no doubt they’ve thought it through and have plans for the space they free up within the iPhone.

          28. And all agree, this is at best speculation on something that hasn’t happened yet, so they have no idea what Apple _will_ do vs what they could do. And neither Marco nor Nilay see anything about this that helps or is pro consumer, except possibly the second speaker.

          29. Marco describes how his own use of audio re: the iPhone mirrors the move towards wireless and calls it “more compelling”, and he talks about how the second speaker could also be a good reason. While Marco would prefer the mini-jack stay in the device, he clearly understands that it will be removed at some point and he understands why. And, if Apple passes analog audio out through the lightning port, there is very little downside. Marco touches on this as well.

            My advice to you is to have faith in the profit motive. Apple is strongly aligned with consumers, and while they do make mistakes from time to time, the profit motive keeps them on track.

          30. Don’t see how analog can pass over the Lightening port. Regardless, look for lots of companies to come out with new adapters. Cirrus Logic announced a new chip and I expect we will see adapters with all sorts of ways to modify the sound to “add value.”

          31. Apple should be able to modify lightning to support analog audio out (as an option of course). That’s one of the advantages of controlling the spec. Then it really should be a ten dollar simple adapter to use all your old audio gear. Or bypass analog out and take advantage of lightning in different ways. But I do think Apple is pushing us towards wireless, and even the two critics of this change mentioned here (Marco and Nilay) think the move to wireless audio could be a good enough reason.

          32. You have totally spun [out] what they have said to mean something other than what they said. They do not agree that this move would be aligned with customers.


          33. Not at all, I’m just good at listening to what people actually say.

          34. The entertainment industry does this all the time, find the one statement, sentence, even one word, that makes it sound like a reviewer is raving about a show or movie, while the actual review totally pans the production. This is exactly what you did.


          35. I suggest you read my comments more carefully. I provided contrast to PhilipGBaker’s comment about what Marco said “Says no matter what Apple does, it will be worse without it. Worse audio, difficulty charging and less convenient.”

            That quote was only half the story. I simply pointed out what Marco went on to say, including that while he has a closet and two drawers full of wired headphones, he uses his wireless headphones most with his iPhone.

            Rather than cherry pick quotes, what I actually did was provide the full story, and the full story is that both Marco and Nilay do seem to understand that there are scenarios where this change will bring advancement. Listen carefully to Nilay on Gruber’s Talk Show, near the end he comments on Gruber’s case re: wireless audio and says that line of argument is “a fine set of arguments”. Nilay also said his position on this issue was something along the lines of a strong conviction, weakly held (I’d have to listen again to be sure, I don’t have time).

            It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Nilay changed his mind on this, assuming Apple’s implementation of this change is very good and satisfies most of his concerns.

            Let me ask you, if Apple can pass analog audio out via lightning (meaning a simple cheap adapter is all you need to use all your audio gear), and Apple puts a second speaker in that mini-jack space which significantly improves audio quality, and Apple nails wireless audio, what is your position then?

          36. They never used or implied the words “advancements” or “improvements”. The most positive either Nilay or Marco offered was once “compelling” when discussing an additional speaker, which they then went on to discount since they could not envision a way to provide stereo in landscape with four speakers, ala iPad Pro.

            You’re the only one cherry picking.


          37. Marco on the Talk Show: “Why is it good for customers? I can come up with one reason, and that would be if they replaced the space used by the headphone jack with another speaker, and if by doing this they can dramatically improve the quality of the built in speaker output of the iPhone.”

            Marco and Gruber go on to talk about how great the new iPad sound is, but they are not discounting the possible improvement of one additional speaker in the iPhone. You should listen to the podcast again, you’re not remembering it accurately. What they discuss is whether it is possible to do a four speaker arrangement in the iPhone and they conclude that it is not.

            Marco goes on to say “… they’re just going to put a second speaker there that’s roughly as good as the one we have now or maybe a little bit better and that will still be a big improvement to the speaker, but not as big an improvement as we have in the iPad.”

            Interesting, he used the word “improvement” 🙂

          38. No. I quoted Marco directly. Obviously he can see both sides of the issue. Marco clearly wants the headphone jack to stay, he says that. But he can also see what Apple might be planning to do that could be good for customers, and requires getting rid of the jack. He even goes as far as using the dreaded word “improvement”, gasp!

          39. Very true, which makes this much of a game to try to predict what Apple will do. But whatever Apple does, they will have their huge PR machine ready to cast it in its best light. So its useful to be prepared.

          40. I could actually believe freeing up space to get rid of it for physical design reasons, whether to make it thinner or full body screen as some have speculated (such as for getting rid of the physical home button) or whatever else they want to do with the physicality of the phone. Then moving audio to bluetooth makes the most sense. Losing the jack does not eliminate a DAC, it is still needed for the internal speaker.

            I don’t see Apple moving their own headsets to attached lightning except _maybe_ for charging and/or pairing. That would keep within how they’ve handled wireless overall. Ditching the mini-jack but still make people connect via wire does not jive with SOP.

            Not that this couldn’t be an exception. but I doubt it.


          41. Why keep two ports?
            Why to give the user choice of course. They already have lightning, the other way your losing something. Why lose anything?

          42. You don’t lose anything, the audio experience is the same or better (actually much better with good lightning headphones), with the addition of capability in software, not to mention whatever Apple is planning to use the extra space for (once the mini-jack is gone). How you use headphones is different, that is true, but you don’t lose anything. One port does audio. The other port does audio plus. So you’re arguing for two audio ports, which makes little sense. You want the user to have the choice between audio… and audio. You’d be better off arguing for Apple to change the mini-jack into some other port that actually does something different from what the lightning port does. That would at least make sense.

          43. This is mathematical, it’s not even subject to opinion. We have a lightning port now, thus all the potential benefits. We lose the ability to use headphones of our choosing. Adapters are easily lost. We also lose the choice of not buying additional things, such as adapters, from Apple.

          44. So, you really are choosing to argue for two audio ports, defending the user’s choice of audio… and audio. That’s an interesting angle to take. Good luck with that.

          45. Yes, as it is now.

            No worrying about losing/forgetting your adapter.
            Choice in headphones, choice in how they’re used.

            You are still free, as am I, to use lightning headphones if you choose.
            Choice is good.

          46. I most certainly do have the right to use 3.5 inch floppies, and I have an external USB floppy drive for that very purpose.

            But I get your point, my point is.. “who decides when to stop using a device?” I say, ultimately, it’s the user. Manufacturers should offer progress, they can even give that solution preferred status. What they should not do is impose progress by impeding existing devices.

          47. Than there’s no reason to upgrade for some. Really, my 6S Plus is more powerful than many laptops and should be relevant for years to come. This is about those of us who want to advance with technology.

          48. There’s nothing stopping us now. Having to be tied to an “Apple Approved” solution is limiting.

          49. You say approved; I say curated. They do an excellent job. I have a degree in computer science and electrical engineering. I am always impressed and even inspired by there choices.

          50. Whose censoring you. You can buy whatever you want. If you want to stay in the 90s that’s your choice. And to your advantage today’s analog devices will even be cheaper next year. So enjoy the past as much as you want. Cheers.

          51. No, it’s basically choosing the past or the future. So buy an older model for a little cheaper and stay in the past. Nothin wrong with that. But I’m a technologist and there is no reason for me to use an old large analog plug when I can get a lossless digital signal.

          52. Then as a technologist, I’m sure you appreciate the freedom of being able to innovate without other’s permission.

          53. Yes, of course. Innovate don’t stay in the past. Lossless is the way to go. Apple’s lightning connector will give your headphones lossless 48K digital audio. That’s the height of modern audio innovation.

          54. So then, the 3.5 connector cannot properly play lossless? If not, it’s the fault of the iDevice (DAC, or whatever within), not the connector which can be connected to all sorts of the most premium headphones.
            Look at the Pono player, it doesn’t need lightning.
            Still, lightning remains available, as it should.
            Apple frequently likes to champion a connector (look at the Mac) and have everything tie in, spaghetti style into it in a proprietary way. Proprietary only serve Apple, it’s not a technical matter.

          55. Apple’s SE, 6 & 6S all have both. Your badmouthing them for something they haven’t done yet. Worse, the author postulated that the quality in the sound would not be the best out of the lightning connector, which is completely wrong, the audio from the lighting port produces lossless digital audio. So no audio information is lost at all.

          56. Digital is just data. The lightning port produces nothing, it just carries the data. If sound is being held to inferior levels, then it’s the device that is limiting the quality of the sound. The lightning port allows off loading of the data so that it can be processed by a more capable device. That’s a good thing, and it exists now.

            Messing with my existing equipment, as well as limiting my choices on future equipment is the problem. I will decide when, and how I endorse the future, at my own pace and budget.

          57. Not accurate. The Lightening port is limited to 48/24 and does limit playing higher res content. I use a Pono player to play 192/24 content and the difference with many albums is apparent.

          58. But then, our technologist friend still doesn’t understand that the digital audio still has to be converted to analog in order for any sound to come out of his headsets, aka a DAC. Somehow he think those 1’s and 0’s magically turn into sound waves, 48k or not. I guess that’s Apple magic for you.


          59. Hmm, Jack Zahran already said in a comment that the digital to analog converter then moves to the headphones where it can be higher quality. It isn’t very cool to misrepresent his position. I just came across a review of a number of lightning headphones and across the board from $45 headphones to $800 headphones, they delivered better sound than their mini-jack counterparts, and in the case of the $800 headphones it was the same pair (which comes with both cables) with remarkably better sound via lightning because the DAC and amp are no longer constrained by cost and size once they’re outside the iPhone. I’m not going to get drawn into this debate again, I just noticed your post here and how you’re being just a tad uncool.

          60. That’s not exactly what he said because what he explains in that same comment shows he has no idea how any of this works. Moving the DAC to the headset does not in and of itself guarantee any greater audio quality. The digital source, which he keeps harping on, is no better at the DAC in the headset than it is at the DAC in the iPhone (and still at the mercy of the actual audio file, which may not be as good as what is possible to transmit).

            And, again, your point shows that this is just as capable now with the lightning and mini-jack port as is, no changes necessary. Are there better DACs than the one Apple supplies? No doubt. Is the DAC that will come with the included Apple or any other headsets going to be better _just because_ it is in the headphones? No.


          61. Correct. And headphones with DACs are incompatible with hi-res audio players that have their own DACs

          62. Apple limits the Lightning port to 48/24 digital files. It’s not capable of transmitting 96/24 and 192/24 properly, two levels of resolution better, and often detectable (ask me how). The analog port does not have that limitation.

  2. #9 Unless Apple is also eliminating the internal speaker they are not eliminating an onboard DAC.

    #1 & 5 totally ignores how sound is actually translated to digital. Unless they have figured out a way for speakers to be driven by 1’s and 0’s instead of electrical impulses and for microphone elements to be driven by something other than air that creates electrical impulses. Nothing is improved or made simple, only shifted in location.

    #8 The only benefit Beats gets is for iPhone users. Now, maybe those are the only users Beats has anymore since Apple bought them, but I would bet there is still a large part of non-Apple Beats users. This complicates manufacturing for Beats.

    #4 I have serious doubts that this will create any industry adoption beyond Apple. It might drive some Bluetooth adoption, but it won’t drive Lightning connector adoption. And this further eliminates yet another user base from upgrading iPhones.

    Everything else is really not worth discussing if those are really Apple’s motivations.

    This is in no way comparable to any computer technology moves they have made in the past. There were already superior solutions simply needing to be adopted. Headsets are not a strictly computer accessory. All the other moves could be seen as simplifying computing for the customer. This does not. This complicates things for the customer because headsets are not singularly computer technology. For those who wanted bluetooth headsets, they already have them. The rest of us do not.


  3. Phil,

    Here’s 2 other reasons. Both come from Apple’s design studio and both use BTLE wireless.

    AR, VR, and ‘air gap connectivity’.
    (No jiggling wires screwing with the VR/AR experience.)

    Also, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and Mac – “One (air gap) earphone to unite them all.”
    (Airphone ‘promiscuous’ connectivity. Use them with whatever device you’re using and rest assured, pairing will be as easy as 1-2-3, perhaps very clever too.)

    1. As Gruber is fond of saying, maybe this will finally be the year for Bluetooth? Like this will finally be the year for Linux desktop?


  4. In terms of Apple philosophical business motivation, it really seems odd to me that Apple, who is notorious for wanting to own the full vertical integration would give up a large portion of control of the audio experience (the headphone DAC) to third parties, and unarguably one of the primary uses for not just smartphones, but iPhones in particular, one of the original three legs when the iPhone was introduced.


    1. I guess you cried when quarter-inch headphone jacks were replaced. Oh, boo-hoo. It’s just a stupid 3.5mm jack. Get over it. Wait until Apple shrinks down their ethernet ports, then your world will really be rocked. At some point it absolutely has to happen or everyone would still be using parallel ports because some whiner refused to let them be taken away. In the overall scheme of tech it’s just not important enough to cling to the old ways. It’s out with the old and in with the new.

      1. No, the 1/4 inch jack is just a different mechanical configuration than the 1/8 inch jack. A lightening to audio jack is quite a bit more complex and costly.

    2. Audio quality through those analog ⅛” headphone jacks has always been terrible. In addition, it’s too easy to get static and crosstalk with the analog jack.

      Digital (Lightning) audio is cleaner, and offers a much wider data stream than the analog audio jack, so you get full spectrum sound with wider dynamic range.

      And Lightning headphones usually have excellent DAC and amplifier built-in, giving you much higher quality audio than you could get using those built into any smartphone.

      1. When you mention it, the crosstalk is less with an analog jack then with a digital jack and I would be surprised if that was a primary reason for replacing it.

      2. Since Lightning is not built to deliver an analog signal, any headset you get for a device without a jack is going to need both a DAC and amp, which is no guarantee of superior quality.

        And it still does not eliminate the need for a wire transferring electricity to an analog diaphragm. The 1/8″ jack is no less constrained to deliver full spectrum with wider dynamic range than a DAC and amp closer to the output diaphragm.

        If Apple were delivering new audio technology, I would have no qualms about the change. The only thing happening here is shifting where the technology resides, which again, is no guarantee of quality.

        As a matter of fact I am surprised that Apple is so willing to relinquish control to such a vital part, not just of media playback, but also audio input for Siri.


        1. The move to lightning actually increases control. It’s their own standard so Apple can move faster and make changes to the tech. And since Apple certifies products made for the port there’s no issue with that aspect either.

          1. Except for that most important last link from the source to processing in the DAC or mic input. Apple will be at the mercy of third party developers who may or may not care about the same things Apple does.


          2. How so? Apple controls the quality of third party lightning accessories through certification. Any aspect of an accessory will have to meet Apple’s standards or it won’t be certified. If all aspects of the accessory do meet Apple’s standards, where’s the issue?

          3. You have a point. To that end, it just pushes Apple even more niche than it is. And I really will not upgrade if there is no mini jack, since continuing a miin-jack does not prevent Apple from pursuing a Lightning based standard. My current, not cheap, earphones work with all my audio gear. I do not plan on carrying around a separate set just for the phone.


          4. You’ll just get an adapter, the same as when everything moved from the large headphone jack to the small headphone jack. I’m old enough to remember having to do that, I still have a bunch of adapters laying around. Apple is hardly niche, they’re approaching a billion users.

          5. Actually a simple adapter won’t work since the Lightning port cannot pass an audio signal. So then I’m stuck with something sucking my battery. No thank you. I’d rather switch to a Windows phone if this is truly the direction Apple is heading. And dump my Apple shares along the way because this would be clear evidence of jumping the shark.


          6. Adapters already exist. Now, maybe they suck a lot of battery, and maybe they don’t. I’m fairly sure Apple has considered this.

          7. I am not so convinced Apple has considered the affect on the user.


            [ETA: And no I will not “just get an adapter”. I will get a new phone, and for the first time since 2007 it won’t be an Apple phone.]

          8. Sure they have. Apple is strongly aligned with the customer through direct financial profit. There’s a rumor that Apple will include an adapter with the next iPhone, or whatever iPhone they make this switch on. There has also been some talk of the old headphone jack being a security risk (I don’t know if this is true or not), but if there’s any security risk Apple has to ditch the old port for sure, given how Apple is moving towards iDevices as digital ID.

          9. IF they do make this change, this will be the first time I completely disagree with that sentiment.


          10. People also disagreed with other tech changes Apple has made. It tends to work out fine. Plus, you won’t be left with no solution for your old audio gear, you’ll be able to buy a cheap, small adapter, just as we all had to do when headphones themselves changed.

          11. And all that tech was singularly computer tech and there were already superior technological alternatives. This is not just computer technology and not a superior technological alternative. How we make sound waves will not magically alter. The same analog technology will still be required. All this will do is offload where the processing occurs.

            [eta: Now, if Apple DOES offer a new, superior technology, I will be all in!]


          12. It does more than offload where the processing occurs, it allows Apple to get rid of a legacy port and that will have real benefits for users. So if Apple can move the audio, keep the audio the same or better, why not make the change?

          13. In terms of what happens with audio? Sure it simply offloads the processing. And at the same time, unless they are ditching the internal mic and speakers, still requires internal circuitry.

            The port is only “legacy” if there is something superior to replace, something that moves audio processing forward. Ditching the mini-jack does nothing of the sort. And keeping it harms nothing Apple wants to do.

            The mini-jack is still contemporary because no one has come up with an alternative, much less a superior alternative (save a balanced output, which builds on, but does not replace the audio tech involved). And unless Apple is keeping that part secret (and they well could), they haven’t come up with an alternative either.


          14. If Apple has plans for the space taken up by the mini-jack then keeping it most definitely harms what Apple wants to do. Given how far ahead Apple plans I don’t think we can reasonably say Apple doesn’t have any idea what it might do with a bit of extra space inside an iPhone.

          15. “I am not so convinced Apple has considered the affect on the user.”
            “Sure they have. Apple is strongly aligned with the customer through direct financial profit.”

            Sorry, but I think that is rather short sighted and shows either a considerable lack of knowledge concerning the process of product development and/or blind faith in the capabilities of Apple engineers. If “direct financial profit” would be all it takes to make successful products we’d have hit after hit being released on the world. I wish it were true.

            In face of the mixed reception regarding the single USB-C port on the macbook I think it is fair to doubt a little.

            As for being familiar with adapters. Yes. I did not have to deal with the old headphone adapter outside of my home, but I did have to deal with VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters. It was an utterly horrible experience and I celebrated the day Apple finally had the miraculous realisation that the customer really did very much want to have a HDMI port on their macbook.

            They did indeed listen very well to their ‘direct financial profit’, eventually. Or perhaps all the time, because I’m sure the adapters did make them a lot of profit – like Phil points out may be the same reasoning for the phone jack change.

            In sum, I really like Apple and they do a very good job of building products, but Apple is definitely not infallible – particularly not when it comes to ports.

            “If Apple has plans for the space taken up by the mini-jack then keeping it most definitely harms what Apple wants to do.”
            No doubt Ive wants to make it thinner. To what end I do not understand. Thickness has become a minor issue in comparison with battery life.

            Finally: have any of you considered that in lieu of a proper headphone jack people will simply use the phone speakers themselves? I’m always terribly annoyed when someone does that.

            With all the typical Apple managed secrecy it is impossible to tell wether this will be a good move or not. If it really is about ripping the port out just to make the devices more streamlined & thinner and force people to purchase iBeat headphones or (bulky) adapters I will be sorely disappointed. And I will probably purchase the iPhone SE, to get the last iPhone without such crap.

          16. If the iPhone ditches the mini-jack it will come with lightning earbuds, so you don’t have to worry, Apple won’t be forcing you to buy anything, and the vast majority of people just use the earbuds.

            I’m not so sure it’s all about the thickness of the device, the mini-jack is pretty thin. But it is fairly deep, that could be the more important aspect of getting rid of it.

            I agree that Apple makes mistakes. No company or product is perfect. But at least Apple is trying, moving forward. I think you misunderstood my point about profit motivation. It’s not about doing things just to make money, it’s about how strongly a company is aligned with the customer, and in Apple’s case that alignment is very strong. Of course this doesn’t mean Apple will act perfectly all the time, but generally speaking Apple does a good job of serving their customers because Apple’s self-interest aligns with their customers.

          17. Sure, one can use the free earbuds included, but hat doesn’t address the millions of headphones many of us already own or will buy. Beats alone is selling about $1.5 billion yearly. If the entire market is $5B, and the average headphone is $100, then that’s 15 million units per year. Most users eventually buy something better to replace the buds they get with the phone.

          18. Some will buy new lightning headphones (and very likely many of those new products will have additional capabilities), and some will buy an adapter or two (same as I had to when headphones changed to the smaller jack). Yes, the adapter is technically different, but the general use is the same, plug X into Y.

            Do we have any actual data to prove your statement “Most users eventually buy something better to replace the buds they get with the phone.” I agree a lot of users do upgrade, but do we know for sure it is a majority?

          19. Millions certainly buy new headsets, judging by the market size for headsets. Most, I suspect use them along with the supplied buds, depending on their location and need. Don’t know if it is a majority.

          20. Then you should find out before you make statements like “Most users eventually buy something better to replace the buds they get with the phone.”

            We have no idea if that is actually true.

          21. Frankly I would be surprised if Apple offered a wired headset. I could be wrong, but I think their push is wireless (re: mouse, keyboard, trackpad, etc.) so I would expect bluetooth.

            I also gave up on any bluetooth device I rely on regularly (like for my laptop when at home) because it just isn’t there yet. Just like Linux desktop.

            My wife loved the promise of bluetooth headsets until it wouldn’t work for both her phone and laptop (even willingness to put up with constantly re-pairing when not changing devices).

            “This is bluetooth’s year” has been Gruber’s mocking meme. I’m surprised he doesn’t question Apple’s possible adoption for headsets.


          22. Yes. Look how well BT headsets have worked for Jawbone. Great idea that doesn’t perform to expectations. The pairing problem has improved, at least with Android, but quality issues effecting performance still exists.

          23. “If the iPhone ditches the mini-jack it will come with lightning earbuds, so you don’t have to worry, Apple won’t be forcing you to buy anything, and the vast majority of people just use the earbuds.”
            Yes they will. To me (and many with me) those Apple earbuds are utterly useless.
            – The Apple earbuds are infamous for their horrid quality. The new ones are better, but still not particularly great.
            – They’re plain earbuds, not in-ear earbuds. That’s a big deal in a city.
            – Contrary to what you’ve experienced I’ve seen the vast majority of people use a vast variety of earphones / headphones. Personally I have a nice B&W headphone and a set of Trinity in-ear earbuds that sound better than the B&W headphone. Why should I give that up?

            “I’m not so sure it’s all about the thickness of the device, the mini-jack is pretty thin. But it is fairly deep, that could be the more important aspect of getting rid of it.”
            Think in terms of volume. Components can be rearranged.

            “But at least Apple is trying, moving forward.”
            I have a great dislike for Samsung, but so are they, and so are many others. One of the lessons in my innovation management studies was that innovating for the sake of innovation is bad for business. “At least we’re doing something” is a rather weak argument that actually has the potential to undermine an otherwise good proposition.

            “I think you misunderstood my point about profit motivation.”
            “because Apple’s self-interest aligns with their customers.”
            Am I correct to understand you mean interests other than financial interest? Like a deep appreciation for keeping things simple and great design – again focusing on simplicity? I would agree, but there is also the matter of a great user experience. In that regard the removal of the jack is an anomaly. I think financial reasoning prevailed in this decision.

          24. Fully concur. Particularly any need to make the phone even thinner. I also believe Apple has gone too far already at the expense of compromising the most important function next to calling, battery life.

          25. It is still an “analog” connection (which is why I say it builds on current technology). That seems to be everyone’s boogie man for some reason, without understanding there is no escaping an analog connection of some kind with audio technology. Somewhere along the chain, there will always be an analog connection. And, electronically speaking, signal interference is at its worst potential pre-amp.


          26. Obviously you can do what you like with your Apple shares, but I think it would be foolish to sell now based on an emotional reaction to one specific change you don’t like. Every piece of evidence points to Apple shares increasing in value over the next ten years.

            The worst case scenario here is you carry around a $30 adapter to use your audio gear. It’s quite possible the battery drain is X but the additional space inside the iPhone (without the mini-jack) means Apple can deliver X + 2 battery life in relation to your adapter, so once again we might see no downside. Sure, the adapter is a bit of a hassle, but I already lived through this when headphones changed to the smaller jacks, so it doesn’t bother me. Surely you lived through that change as well?

          27. I agree. It’s about enabling more capability for audio accessories, taking more control of accessories and technology, and also freeing up some space inside the iPhone for other tech/features.

          28. I believe I’ve articulated my position quite rationally without appealing to emotion. And ditching my Apple shares because they are resorting to whim rather than thoughtful innovation would be quite the rational move.


          29. You haven’t though, you’ve mostly said over and over that ditching the headphone jack offers no benefit, no innovation, no improvement, no advancement, that the change is whimsical and unnecessary, and I’ve given you a number of concrete examples to the contrary (which you seem to be ignoring).

            I could argue that the software control alone that is enabled by lightning audio accessories makes it a superior solution.

          30. You actually haven’t provided anything concrete, only spin based on hopes and dreams.

            And again, a software solution does not need to remove the mini-jack, because, software.


          31. The examples I’ve talked about are very real and almost certainly going to be available in new lightning products, and some are already available. You’re choosing to discount them. The lightning port is more capable than the mini-jack, that can’t be argued. The market will take advantage of that capability, and is already doing so. I’ll give you one more interesting example, lightning headphones may be able to act as an additional battery pack, charging your iPhone while you listen to music. There are just so many possibilities with lightning, from app control to sensors to automation. The market isn’t going to ignore the opportunity.

          32. So you admit, Lightning connection is already doing things that most people don’t care about and doing so with the existence of the mini-jack. So as I said, there is no rational reason to ditch the mini-jack. It’s a whim.


          33. I didn’t say anything remotely close to your summary of my position. You are demonstrating confirmation bias, which isn’t useful. The lightning port is more capable than the mini-jack. We don’t need two ports for audio, especially not when the lightning port is essentially audio plus. Apple can use the space taken up by the mini-jack for other things. I understand you don’t like this decision, if indeed Apple goes ahead with ditching the mini-jack, but that’s just your personal opinion, it isn’t a logical argument against the change. Lightning audio accessories will be more capable than their mini-jack counterparts, there is no debate on that point. I think we can just agree to disagree on this issue.

          34. It most certainly is a logical argument. You just don’t agree, and as usual, even when I am on your side, you think anyone who disagrees with you can’t be logical. It’s your own form of confirmation bias “They disagree. They must not be rational”.

            For all you know, Apple may want to save space simply to save space. There certainly isn’t anything keeping them from taking full advantage of lightning now (if there is that’s their own fault, not mine), much less that mini-jack.

            So yes, all you think Apple could do with that space is simply hopes and dreams and nothing concrete. And you have already pointed out people doing things with it now, with the jack still in place. You have provided no material argument for removing the jack. You call it redundant. I call it perfect.


          35. You bring up a good point. What happens if there are 2 audio ports and a user plugs into both.

          36. Double plus good audio? 🙂 I have no idea, but I know users don’t actually need two ports that handle audio. Some users want it, that is true, but the inevitable march of progress tells me they aren’t going to get it.

          37. Still disagree with removal, but why must the “inevitable march of progress” be through a proprietary port? Proprietary sucks!

          38. In some circumstances, for you, proprietary sucks. In other circumstances you use and enjoy proprietary systems, devices, hardware, software, etc, often without even being aware of it. This is reality, I invite you to accept it.

          39. My knowledge, or not, of a proprietary part does not condone proprietary as an acceptable practice.

          40. Proprietary is neither good nor bad, there are advantages and disadvantages. In some cases this approach makes good sense and is even necessary. In other cases it can be a negative development. There is no ‘principled stand’ to take here. Just as with closed and regulated systems, when a proprietary approach benefits you, you are fine with it, you say nothing. This is normal human behaviour of course, but if you’re going to pretend to be principled you have to be consistent, and you are not. So why not stop pretending and just tell the truth? You don’t like this particular use of proprietary hardware, and that’s the end of it.

          41. Proprietary is “generally” bad. I may admit ignorance to other proprietary systems, but you have done nothing, not one singular thing to prove my “approval” of anything proprietary, so cool your jets.
            You are right about one thing, if I don’t complain about something being proprietary.
            a) I don’t know.
            b) I don’t care.
            c) You are clueless as to whether I complained about anything other than Apple.

          42. I didn’t mention Apple at all re: this topic (proprietary). You’ve actually just agreed with me, admitting that when you use proprietary systems, etc you either aren’t aware of it, or you don’t care about some uses of the proprietary approach (don’t look too closely at your BMW). Proprietary is not generally bad and is often used along with standards to deliver some specific benefit. In some cases it is the right approach, in other cases it is not. Why not just admit the truth, that you’re not against a proprietary approach in general, you’re just against the cases that affect you personally in a negative way. Again, that’s just normal human behaviour. When we gain a benefit we’re fine with it. When it affects us negatively, we’re against it.

          43. We have that everywhere. On Android, there’s an option in Settings to switch sound output between Jack, HDMI, a USB soundcard if present…. Ditto in Windows, and I’mbsure in MacOS

          44. You don’t know that yet, as signaling through pins is not required to be only digital. We’ll have to see what Apple engineered. But in the least case, you’re getting error corrected digital straight to the head phones or amp, leaving the quality of the DAC with the end device, where it belongs.

          45. Since my current headphones have neither a DAC nor an amp, then, no, a simple adapter won’t do. It will have to be an active adapter which will need power, either from the phone or built in, which requires batteries.

            The current headset solution doesn’t get any simpler. Changing to Lightning only adds complexity. Apple used to be pro simplicity.


          46. Again you’re being rediculous. And, the issue was about the quality of the audio coming out of the iPhone not the quality of your headphones. As has been clearly shown, a digital interface will ensure the highest quality transfer of audio information.

          47. You simply don’t know what you are talking about. You don’t know DSP, you don’t know audio. You should stop before you get even more ridiculous.


          48. Apple iPhone provides Lossless 48K Digital Audio through its lightning port and jfutral is trying to make it seem that the Audio will be inferior. He’s trolling… Anyway, I blocked him so I don’t have to read his garbage and I suggest others should to…

          49. That does limit higher res audio files. I typically listen to 96/24 and 192/24 and there can be a discernible difference, but that’s another column,

          50. More niche? It’s the widest selling smartphone. And, it raises the bar in delivering higher quality audio. Leaving it to the consumer to determine the quality headphones they want.

          51. Which is interesting since Apple is the poster child of the benefits of niche. Read some Guy Kawasaki books. A company that makes a product for a certain stream of customers is niche. You’ve said it yourself, Apple doesn’t try to do satisfy everyone or even most. That’s the definition of niche. Niche is not bad. According to many, that is where the money is. The Mac is niche. The iPhone, even with the size of its base, is niche when compared to the overall smartphone market. That’s not a slight. That’s just the facts.


          52. Niche is the wrong word to use, it’s too easy to misunderstand that as small. I find it more accurate to talk in terms of market segmentation and the absolute size of the available segment. Most smart companies focus on specific segments, and that can be referred to as niche, you’re correct. But for normal folks it’s too easy to take ‘niche’ as meaning small. At Apple’s scale (and because of the segment they dominate), even though they are technically niche, they don’t have the same problems and concerns that a truly niche company has. So when we refer to Apple as niche that can confuse the analysis, because people have preconceived notions of what that means.

          53. In other words, people who don’t know what they are talking about and shouldn’t be commenting on other comments about niche.


          54. Possibly, but it’s just too easy to confuse the discussion by using the word niche, which is why I try to avoid it. I’m sure I’ve made the same mistake from time to time.

          55. That’s a very good point, and if, for example, a company wanted to add their own accessory using the lightening connector, Apple must approve it.

          56. Yes. And because of this control Apple can move this particular piece of technology forward faster. The lightning port is also more integrated with the device, since you can send more than just audio through it. There’s no question lightning audio accessories will have more capability than mini-jack accessories. There may be a whole range of very useful audio accessories that simply aren’t possible via the mini-jack.

      3. That’s entirely dependent on how good the hardware is, you can’t make such a sweeping generalization. You’ve got good jacks and bad jacks, good headphones and bad headphones, good DACs and bad DACs…
        I’ve never heard a chorus of “the iPod would be soooo muuuuch better without a jack” ?

  5. Phil, you say “Music quality remains mediocre.” Not true. Apple does offer high-quality AAC format in iTunes Plus, so eliminating the headphone jack that delivers quality analog music to analog devices IS a concern.

    You say “They could care less their millions of users will need to buy a $30 adapter to use their current headphone.” What a strange thing to say! Apple has a well-deserved reputation for designing products that will delight the user.

    You generated NINE reasons for eliminating the 3.5 mm headphone jack. I am not impressed. You leave the definite impression that you sat down with the intention to come up with as many reasons as possible, even if the reasons were not true, or even if your inadequate research misled you. You have an obligation to readers to be honest, and to do adequate research – not to write BS.

  6. Hey Phil Baker, stop boring us with rumor articles. I guess you just don’t care about your customers or high quality writing. I hope it happens and I’m going to buy a new iPhone 7 and possibility new headphones. Yes I like shiny and expensive things that “possbility” may not have a headphone jack.

  7. Music now comes to us in high quality digital form. So the quality will transfer to the digital headphones without degrading the quality. It’ll be up to the quality of the headphones not the iPhone connector anymore, which is a better place. It’s a better design for the audiophile, especially the ones laying down $$ on their headphones.

    1. You know that’s not how digital headphones works, right? Sound is analogue. The way we turn digital music to analog sound waves is the same way we turned analog sources to sound waves—analog electrical impulses to an analog diaphragm of some sort. A digital connector does nothing to improve that. In reality you will be at the mercy of a DAC no less than now. This is no different for the audiophile with $1000 headphones vs the non-audiophile with $10 headphones, including with their home stereo system. There is no such thing as digital sound waves.


      1. Yes, I understand. That’s my point. The iPhone will deliver the digital bits to the headphones DAC. So the iPhone will not touch or degrade the audio as every conversion does. The quality of the headphones will determine the sound quality. The iPhone will thus deliver an unadulterated pure digital “signal”. So audio coming out of the iPhone will be the highest quality it can be based on what the user downloaded or is streaming.

        1. It won’t provide any purer a digital signal than it does now. It does remove Apple processing, which is nothing to sneeze at. And if you want to bypass Apple’s processing you already can.

          And it doesn’t eliminate the internal DAC and amp, unless Apple is also planning on ditching the internal speaker and microphone.


  8. Yes, Bluetooth headphones make a lot more sense in some cases, such as while doing sports. Another probable use case for Bluetooth is when the phone is docked and the user walks in the room untethered (many apps allow a dictation nowadays). Inspite of a very cool design of Apple audio jack headphones, I don’t think I will miss being tethered that much.

  9. I’d heard that Motorola already introduced two smartphones with no 3.5mm jack, so Apple won’t be the first company to supposedly ruin consumers’ lives. The Moto Z and Moto Z Force discarded the legacy headphone jacks before Apple has even introduced its next smartphone. Why is there no nine reasons of hate for Motorola? Oh, that’s because Apple is the company tech critics love to hate and more clicks can be generated using Apple’s name than Motorola’s name in the headlines.

    I mean, really, when exactly is the right time to eliminate legacy ports or devices where it doesn’t upset someone? The world is changing around us all the time and nothing can stop that. New consumers come along and they’re not tied to the old ways. I’m glad Apple killed off floppy disks. They were crap storage devices.

    1. When it comes to computer technology, I completely agree. When it comes to audio technology, the change is unarguably questionable.


  10. The best example of Apple abandoning a platform in favor of another more obscure platform would the the introduction of USB on the original iMac. At the time of that introduction the USB spec had been around for a while but the PC industry wouldn’t adopt it and was stuck on serial and parallel. After Apple dropped serial in favor of the floundering USB platform the after market flourished for peripherals using the new comm bus. Everybody screamed and yelled when Apple made that switch and now the USB interface is so mainstream that the youngest generation doesn’t remember RS232 or Parallel.

    I’m sure if Apple does decide to send the 3.5mm audio jack the way of the dodo, then in 10 years we’ll be looking back and thinking how archaic that technology was and how we did without the new technology.

    Change is inevitable and the pain of change will never diminish. Whatever happens, happens. I breathe much easier with that attitude.

  11. Android OEMs have started jettisoning The Jack too. I hate it:
    1- BT is not a substitute. I religiously buy a BT headset every few years (since the Nokia era), and proceed to never use it because charging.
    2- My headset jack is usually the first thing to flake out on my phones, because I keep violently ripping off the cord (doorknobs, oven/fridge handles, drops …). The Jack getting flaky is annoying (the phone still works, sound still works via BT, by the time I kill The Jack I’m usually due for a new phone anyway and the old one get repurposed to quasi-tablet…). The One Port to Rule Them All getting flaky is worse and kills the whole phone because no more charging.
    3- it’s probably a bad idea battery-wise, because 2 DACs (one for HPs, and then one in the headset)
    4- it solves no issue because people who want better DACs have been able to use them for years at least on Android via the USB port.
    5- it makes comparing battery life, sound quality harder
    6- it’s probably more expensive all things equal
    7- of course there’s the special Apple twist that they get to tax all wired headsets, but that’s minor.
    If they really really must need do it, I want 2 USB ports.

      1. C or not-C doesn’t make any difference to me. Unless it’s significantly more rugged than both The Jack and non-C.

        1. Interestingly, the other connector on the MacBook is the 3.5mm audio port. That brings up the question of whether Apple will also eliminate the audio jack from their notebooks.

      2. I have a MacBook with a USB-C and, unfortunately, it’s been added before its time. Some cables have caused damage to the product and you need to buy an adapter to both charge and connect a peripheral.

        Apple’s product, the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, lets you connect your MacBook with USB-C port to an HDMI display, while also connecting a standard USB device and a USB-C charging cable. Costs $79.

        If you check out Type C products on Amazon you’ll find many adapters that don’t work reliably and some that work only on last year’s MacBook, but not on the newest model. If Apple is going to make these changes, you would hope they would think through all of the implications that result from what they set in motion.

  12. I guess I should not be surprised to learn that my opinion differs from most others. I’m looking forward to wireless speakers. It seems to me that’s the only way to go. Obviously, mine is a minority opinion.

    With regard to point #6, I found this Steve Jobs quote:

    “Apple doesn’t have to be viewed as different. Apple has to be viewed as much better.” ~ Steve Jobs at Macworld in 1997

    1. I wonder if we’re getting close to a tipping point re: wireless speakers and headphones. I would also prefer wireless, and if we are in fact getting to the point where wireless is very good then the whole debate over wired lightning headphones is mostly meaningless. Perhaps Apple has a better idea of where the tech is going to be a year from now.

    2. I don’t you are in the minority. I suspect most people us Bluetooth or cheap earbuds and won’t be impacted too much by the change. The minority are those who are heavily invested in 3.5 mm headphones, but as usually is the case, those most impacted are just the loudest.

  13. Apple might include wireless earbuds when they ditch the mini-jack, but with a cord that allows ‘plugged in’ use and also incorporates an adapter (integrated adapter might be a stretch). Could be a fairly elegant solution. Wireless audio needs to be made easier, and Apple has all the necessary pieces to solve things like pairing and charging.

  14. Here is another impact on removing the audio jack. All of the aftermarket battery cases rely in a USB connector for charging and have a pass through for the 3.5mm jack. With a case attached you will not be able to listen to audio. So case makers will need to use a Lightening connector instead, much like Apple does on their battery case.

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