What it is: Apple is rumored to be ready to dump the standard headphone jack on a future iPhone model.
One of the latest rumors that will likely come true eventually is that Apple may dump the traditional headphone jack and force iPhone users to plug a headphone directly into the Lightning connector instead. This would allow Apple to make the iPhone even thinner since the size of the headphone jack limits how much thinner the iPhone can get.
While the elimination of the headphone jack would likely cause short-term problems for many people, it’s simply the way Apple works. Apple tends to lead the crowd in dumping older technology. Remember the old days when ever PC came with a 3.5-inch floppy drive even though hardly anyone used 3.5-inch floppy disks any more? Apple was one of the first to dump the floppy disk and all the same cries and complaints about the lack of compatibility swelled up, until everyone realized they really didn’t need a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive after all.
Critics also complained when Apple not only failed to support Blue-ray discs, but dropped CD/DVD drives as well. That’s when everyone complained that being able to listen to audio CDs or watch movies on DVDs was critically important – right up until people realized they hardly used audio CDs any more or watched videos on DVDs either.
Apple was also one of the first companies to abandon Adobe’s Flash on mobile devices. That caused a gleeful response of Android manufacturers who claimed that their products offered full Flash support, even though Flash never ran well on Android anyways. Eventually, Android manufacturers stopped gloating about Flash support when Flash ran poorly on Android, and when Adobe stopped developing Flash, that pretty much justified Apple’s earlier decision to abandon Flash in favor of HTML5.
So the idea of losing the traditional headphone jack might seem like a drastic move, but it only makes sense. Whether Apple forces headphone users to plug devices into a Lightning connector or a USB-C port remains to be seen, but most likely Apple is looking to cut the cord altogether.
If you look at Apple’s keyboard, trackpads, and mice, they all used to plug directly into the Macintosh. Now if you look at the latest versions, they all work wirelessly. That avoids a tangle of cables and the nuisance of plugging in a device in the right port.
It makes little sense for Apple to dump the traditional headphone jack and replace it with a Lightning or USB-C port instead. It makes far more sense to drop the traditional headphone jack and replace it with a wireless connection to a headphone instead, such as through Bluetooth.
Now only would that avoid a tangle of wires, but it would also provide greater convenience for uses. Just as it’s a nuisance to plug in a keyboard or mouse to a Macintosh and have a wire stretched across your desk, so it’s a nuisance to plug in ear buds or a headset into an iPhone with a wire. Changing the traditional headphone jack to a Lightning of USB-C port simply replaces one type of wire with another. Dumping the need for wires altogether is a far more elegant solution.
Now you’ll be able to wear headsets or ear buds that won’t physically connect to your iPhone at all. Instead, you can just hear your music without the nuisance of a wire dangling from your ears to your iPhone.
So you can expect Apple to dump the traditional headphone jack eventually. Just don’t expect them to replace one wire connection with a different wire connection. do expect Apple to eliminate wire connections and extra ports altogether.
Simplifying designs is the future of the iPhone, and cutting the need for wires is just the first step to making the iPhone more elegant to use.