Apple’s desire to rid the world of the 3.5mm headphone jack has gained some momentum following the publishing of a new industry standard which could encourage other tech manufacturers to follow suit.
Of course, the release of the iPhone 7 and its headphone jack-less design has left users questioning what options they’re left with. There are Apple’s new Airpods, but its price point will put them out of reach, or undesirable to many users. However, following the USB Implementers Forum’s Audio Device Class 3.0 specification, a new industry standard for USB-C ports (first championed by Apple on its 12-inch MacBooks) has been outlined for manufacturers.
The intention in the report is clear – that the group also wishes to encourage the removal of the 3.5mm input, and outlines the best way to implement USB-C and its benefits over transferring audio via a standard headphone jack.
Now that these companies have a standardized approach to using USB-C for audio; a technology that allows for more customized sound processing and higher quality, it’s likely many more will begin losing the headphone jack.
The result will be twofold – one, Apple’s decision will no longer seem so ‘out there’, and two, the more manufacturers ditch the aging technology the better replacement technology will get – even if this is primarily focused on USB-C, the loss of headphone jacks will allow more progression in Bluetooth pairing technology, or other solutions.
The USB-IF is a group that promotes and supports USB, the bus connection used for connection, communication and power supply between computers and devices.
Other key benefits that come from audio via USB-C using this new standard is the ability to save power, improved voice recognition, more room for other tech or thinner devices, and easier waterproofing.
So, even though Apple is currently following the Lightning connectivity route for its headphones, or whether it eventually employs its Smart Connector tech on the iPhone, its support of USB-C on other devices and a general shift away from the headphone jack could see far better technology put in the hands of users.
Will it be all thanks to Apple’s first strike in the battle against the headphone jack?