What it is: The audio jack is a standard port for plugging into headphones and ear buds, but it’s days are numbered.
In general, people are afraid and resistant to change, even when it’s for their own good. Given a choice between clinging to obsolete, antiquated systems that they’re familiar with or moving to a more efficient and more versatile system that they’re not used to, most people will prefer to avoid the advantages of new technology and suffer with older technology so they don’t have to learn anything new.
When Apple dumped the floppy disk drive, critics screamed. When Apple laptops didn’t offer parallel and RS-232 ports that other laptops offered, critics screamed. When Apple refused to include Blu-ray drives in their computers, critics screamed. When Apple refused to allow Flash on the iPhone and iPad, critics screamed. When Apple dumped CD/DVD drives from their computers, critics screamed.
Yet if you look at all of these past decisions by Apple, they simply helped pave the way to a future without antiquated technology. How many people use a floppy disk today? How many people need a parallel or RS-232 port? How many people watch Blu-ray discs on their computers when streaming video is far more convenient and prevalent? How many people need Flash when even Adobe (the publishers of Flash) have officially abandoned Flash for mobile devices? How many people still need a CD/DVD drive any more?
So when rumors claimed Apple was planning to dump the traditional audio jack just to make the iPhone/iPad thinner, critics screamed. Yet even Intel is looking to use the USB-C port for plugging in headphones and ear buds. The reason why both Apple and Intel are looking to replace the traditional audio jack is because the Lightning and USB-C port offers far greater versatility than the traditional audio jack.
Using USB-C or Lightning ports would allow manufacturers to offer cheaper earbuds that offer features typically found in more expensive headphones, like noise cancelling and bass boosting. You could either stick with the traditional audio jack and buy expensive headphones or switch to the Lightning or USB-C port and get cheaper headphones that give you higher audio quality.
So do you want to stick with an antiquated standard and pay more for better audio quality, or do you want to switch to a newer standard and pay less for better audio quality? For people resistant to change, the answer is to stick with an antiquated standard and complain because the audio quality is inferior.
Standards don’t appear just for the sake of change but because they offer a better alternative. If they don’t, then they simply fade away like Firewire and 3D television screens.
If you want, wait a while to see which standard will offer better audio quality, USB-C or Lightning ports. Chances are good both standard will offer superior audio quality to the traditional audio jack. Apple products will likely stick with the Lightning port while everyone else will adopt the USB-C port because the Lightning standard is owned by Apple. Unless Apple allows others to use the Lightning standard, USB-C ports may become the next audio port standard.