One hole that should stick around. Photo (CC-BY-SA) William Hook.

One hole that should stick around. Photo (CC-BY-SA) William Hook.

Is Apple coming for your headphone jack? It’s a question I’d seen bouncing about publicly. Now, Macworld’s Marco Tabini goes as far as suggesting that the end of the analog headphone jack is a likelihood, and even “might be a positive change.”

Hit the road, jack: Why Apple may say goodbye to the headphone plug [Macworld.com]

See also Forbes’ Gordon Kelly, though that story isn’t as balanced as Tabini’s, and gets muddled on the subject of “digital” outputs and “exceedingly high lossless” output – whatever that means. The difference in output is 48KHz instead of 44.1KHz, which amounts to very little; both can be “lossless.”

I’ll let the (justified) screams of “noooooo” die down for a moment, and then first debunk the notion that this is a good idea (as it apparently isn’t obvious to everyone), then suggest a few reasons why Apple might promote Lightning adapters and its new Beats brand, but leave the headphone jack alone.

I could be wrong, of course. And maybe Apple really is about to embark on a really dumb idea. But before we get hysterical, let’s consider the first two points.

I am completely positive that eliminating headphone jacks is a bad idea – and reasonably optimistic that Apple would agree.

First, one admission (updated, after comments):

This isn’t just click bait from the tech press. Would Apple consider removing the headphone jack? “Consider”? Yes, almost certainly. Any physical jack you put on any hardware design is something you will consider carefully. Those decisions represent cost – in manufacturing, in space for the rest of the design, in support. And that’s true on big hardware; it’s an order of magnitude more true on small hardware.

Furthermore, these jacks really do get clogged with dirt, and, worse, headphone plugs routinely snap off while plugged in. They’re a support issue. The question isn’t whether Apple would consider replacing them; the question is why wouldn’t Apple consider replacing them.

But considering and acting are two different things, and there’s both an argument for keeping the jack from our user perspective, and an argument for why Apple might reach that conclusion from their manufacturer perspective.

Eliminating the Headphone Jack Would be a Huge Regression

Apple has done something Microsoft and Google couldn’t even begin to do with their mobile devices: Apple has made the iPhone and the iPad essential tools for musicians, producers, and DJs. And having already established the iPod as the iconic listening device, they did the same for the iPhone, not only for music, but TV and movies, as well.

Eliminating the headphone jack would hurt that strategic advantage. Apple might well be considering it, but it would be a grave mistake.

The headphone jack isn’t like a floppy disk, or the printer or SCSI port, or any of the other antiquated technologies Apple wisely eliminated from its devices. It’s not a “legacy” port; it’s a standard, and even a necessity — all audio transmitted to speakers uses analog signal. It isn’t like the analog audio in jack, which was ignored both by consumers (they didn’t need it) and pros (they used a more serious tool for better quality). And it isn’t even like the CD drive – indeed, it’s the opposite, as it drives consumption of music and apps through Apple’s own channels.

For new, iOS-specific consumer hardware, Bluetooth or Lightning can make sense. But that shouldn't mean ditching musicians, producers, DJs, and consumers eager to consume Apple's apps and content. Jacks still have their place. Photo (CC-BY) Callan Brine.

For new, iOS-specific consumer hardware, Bluetooth or Lightning can make sense. But that shouldn’t mean ditching musicians, producers, DJs, and consumers eager to consume Apple’s apps and content. Jacks still have their place. Photo (CC-BY) Pawel Maryanov.

Headphone jacks are essential for pros. It’s easy to argue this for creative music users. We use the headphone jack to play iPhones and iPads onstage, something that’s even been featured in Apple TV ads. Sure, an adapter might work, but it’d be a big step backward for mobility, which is the whole advantage. A lot of us do our monitoring on the road with an iPhone, and wouldn’t want a big, clunky adapter dangling out of our iPhone.

In the process, it occupies a Lightning port that we need to use with other hardware. We also rely on studio-quality headphones from makers like Audio Technica, AKG, Sony, Sennheiser, and the like. And no, we don’t ever use Beats in the studio; even Beats executives concede their hardware doesn’t provide the reference-grade audio needed for monitoring.

The issue is so significant to pro users, in fact, that I imagine Apple dropping the headphone jack would lead at least music creation developers to go buy a Microsoft Surface device the same day. That’s not being hyperbolic: it’s such bluntly-obvious necessity that Apple departing from it would shake the confidence of some of its key developers and users.

Headphone jacks are essential for consumers. I think it’s just as easy to argue that nixing the jack would be a bad idea for consumers. Part of what the iOS platform does is to function as a consumption platform, straight out of the box. Average consumers expect headphones they’ve purchased over the past decades to “just work” with the iPhone, which means they’re listening to music and watching TV and movies straight away. Adding a barrier there to the single most important step in the consumption chain would be just plain irrational from a business standpoint.

Headphone jacks aren’t in need of retirement in the first place. Tabini’s arguments for why the headphone jack is inferior are flawed. It’s true that it adds a hole to the device, and that that hole is subject to physical failure as well as dust and moisture – though adding a big, honking adapter out of the tiny Lightning port is subject to physical failure. But saying the problem with headphone jacks is that “it’s old” is just ridiculous. In the 1800s, people weren’t listening to high-quality digital audio through those jacks on mobile devices. Yes, they were using cables – but we don’t say the iPhone is a 19th Century, Thomas Edison-style device just because it runs on electricity.

Also, much as Apple likes to “own” the experience, they do still own the digital-to-analog converters that drive that headphone jack in the first place.

Lightning and Bluetooth don’t cut it. In order to eliminate the headphone jack, Apple would need all audio on iOS to be routed through Bluetooth audio, certified Lightning hardware, or (while Tabini doesn’t mention it, and they’re not Apple-certified) USB audio devices. (Presently, class-compliant USB audio devices work via the Camera Connection Kit, including on iOS 8, though Apple doesn’t talk much about that – perhaps in a conflict between the people responsible for the actual audio plumbing and the marketing and consumer-facing teams. And, well, yes, it’s weird that something labeled for cameras also happens to support specific pro audio gadgetry.)

Lightning certification is a major barrier for manufacturers. It adds cost and slows device shipment, and places additional requirements on design. That makes it all but untenable for the smaller manufacturers who make higher-end devices – pro audio is out. And Bluetooth audio adds latency, which knocks it out from use for a wide variety of music and audio apps that make use of the low-latency, high-performance, high-quality audio engine Apple built into iOS.

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our jack was still there... Photo ().

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our jack was still there… Photo (CC-BY) Callan Brine.

Considering the Facts: Apple Might Keep the Headphone Jack

Marco Tabini has some strong indications in his Macworld story for why Apple might make the switch. But there may be more than one way to read these indications.

Apple has added Lightning cable certification for headphones. This bit makes a lot of sense. By using the Lightning port, Apple can ensure headphones are made specifically for iOS, using not only playback features but adding high-quality audio in and out, easier configuration, and advanced features like active noise cancellation and other DSP operations.

However, it’s possible to add this functionality without having to eliminate the headphone jack in the process. In fact, the move to certifying Lightning devices makes so much sense that it’s a bit of a reach to assume it has to mean Apple is also dropping the analog jack. It’s a move that could make perfect sense in isolation.

Control. This one’s a mixed bag. It’s true that Apple gets more control over headphones made for their devices by forcing vendors to go Lightning only. But that does nothing for Bluetooth headphones – that’s a standard, and it’s entirely out of Apple’s hands. Bluetooth audio setup has gotten a lot better, but it’d still hurt average consumers to force them through the steps of Bluetooth audio configuration or buy all new Lightning headphones. Some consumers might just give up and use their iOS gadgets for media consumption less often – back to why I think this would be a dumb strategy.

Beats. Here’s where CDM readers started to freak out. At least, the logic in one direction makes sense: if you’re going to force all iOS headphones to use Lightning, you’d better buy a really big headphone maker. But the reverse doesn’t necessarily hold. Buying Beats still makes sense for Apple to get a better foothold in streaming and build better connections with the industry. And Beats is already the most successful headphones company in history, a perfect companion to Apple’s product lines – in a world that has headphone jacks.

Oh, yeah, and another thing – because so many consumers have spent big on Beats headphones, they won’t be very happy if they have to buy those headphones again just to use them with Apple’s devices. Previously, when consumers weren’t spending much money on headphones and used the horrible white earbuds that came in the box, the upgrade cycle would have been painless. But as Beats has grown the high end of the market, people have splurged, spending upwards of $200-300 and more for better cans. Those people won’t be happy with white earbuds, and they won’t be happy if forced to buy an adapter.

Thinking the Unthinkable

Let me be clear: I think Apple should keep the headphone jack. If they kill it, yes – it’s pitchfork time. The analog audio jack is the single most important connection in music and sound in a world that has become increasingly complex and proprietary. For once, we’re not nitpicking: this matters.

Now, is Apple pondering doing something this barbaric, this strategically unwise, this … um, stupid?

Yeah, possibly. I disagree with Mr. Tabini about the merits of such a move. But I think he’s got a reasonable argument for why Apple might really be doing it. I just think he ignores the reasons why Apple might – and I hope I’m right, and he’s wrong, for the good of audio humanity.

Would we survive? Probably. We’d all wind up buying big, stupid adapters just to do exactly the same thing we do now. iOS software is good enough that some of us would go through it anyway. Other musicians would wind up spending huge amounts of money on inferior, consumer-grade headphones from companies like Beats. Audio quality or convenience would suffer, one way or another, and you’d pay for the privilege of things being mostly worse.

It wouldn’t be the end of the world, or the end of iOS. But it would be a regression, and I do hope rational voices prevail at Apple, and it doesn’t happen.

There’s no point in getting angry about this until it actually happens. But now is a great time to point out just how bad it’d be. Because, at the very least, we can hope someone at Apple is reading. Lightning headphones and Bluetooth wireless are great – but not at the expense of one jack that makes the platform so great for music. And yes, Apple, the rabid pro audio users and music-making celebrities who stood by you in your darkest hours do keep a ready supply of pitchforks and torches, right in the supply closets in our studios, actually.

You know how all those complaints about floppy and SCSI turned out to be wrong, and Apple was wise to move into the future because it was better?

For that to work, you need the future to be better than the past. This time, it isn’t.

So, let’s wait it out and see if Apple has already worked that out.

My money is, they have.

  • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

    The very idea of ditching jacks for Lightning ports feels like some manufactured tech media click bait hullabaloo, explicitly designed to cause a ruckus without any actual foundation. For all the reasons you mention so emphatically Peter, I don’t see it happening.

    • renderful
    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That Forbes article goes a bit overboard. (And it’s technically muddled on what it means to have a digital output on Lightning connectors.)

      I think it’s worth looking at the Macworld article. He has a case. It’s all speculative, but it is possible to speculate rationally. I just happen to disagree.

    • renderful

      I agree, but the Forbes article is a better example of clickbait because he has absolutely no substance in his article. Also, it’s the first article I saw on the subject.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I think it’s still worth discussing, however – and, actually, whether this is idle speculation or not, I would imagine this *is* something you would want to discuss internally if you were Apple. I think when you’re in the business of hardware manufacturing, whether you’re a small maker or a company the size of Apple, you look at every single port and every single screw and consider whether it really needs to be there.

      And if you read the Macworld story, while I disagree with the conclusions, there is a foundation for making the argument.

      There just happens to be, I think, a better foundation for the counter-argument. ;)

      But believe me: the audio jack isn’t safe just because it’s there. It’s something manufacturers will all consider removing at one time or another, and Apple is one company that probably is able to force its users and accessory suppliers to switch formats. So it’s worth putting the pro-jack argument out there.

      (But yes, somewhere in Cupertino, let’s hope someone brought up that horrible Game Boy thing.)

  • chaircrusher

    Apple has gotten to the point where they float proposals like this and see how people react. Apple is a marketing and design company as much as it is a technology company; implementing unpopular ideas — at considerable cost — is a bad idea.

    The one thing they could do that they haven’t done is figure out a more mechanically sound miniature audio connector. The 35 MM jack is not mechanically sound, and with frequent use, they fail. Nearly everyone who uses audio gadgets regularly has had a jack fail or go intermittent.

    If they came up with something more reliable, the world might well follow. But it should pass analog audio, to mate with the billions of analog earphones and other devices. At this point DtoA converters are cheap and compact enough that they should remain inside Apple devices.

    • Dave Whiting

      I think the Jack connector is quite well tried and tested. The one part that does always seem to give way is where it meets the cable; one part of cable engineering apple have never come to terms with.

      I do suspect that this whole thing is some kind of bait/rumour, but we will see…

    • James Husted

      Only they didn’t “float proposals like this” – all they did was file a specification for audio over the lightning connector, that’s all. People read that and assumed all this about killing the headphone jack.

  • regend

    Wireless is the way to go.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I’m curious if wireless *audio* can reduce latency. Until then, over Bluetooth, there’s a pretty major issue with real-time apps – like instruments.

    • J_

      peter what do you think about the latency of speakers, like while playing live? http://www.gbaudio.co.uk/data/time.htm

      or using this calculator my studio speakers at 4ish ft away add 11ms, some times i’m 6 or 8ft from them… http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-soundpath.htm

      if they add in some good psychoacoustic processing to make headphones sound more like speakers in real space…a fair amount of latency might not be a problem? good psychoacoustic modeling could actually be a boon to producing on headphones and playing live?

    • CymaSpace

      A new wireless audio protocol would be needed. Line 6, Sennheiser, Shure etc all have developed their own high quality wireless audio solutions that do not have perceivable latency. However I think power drain would become the prime culprit by that point.

      As with any technology, it will be convenience over tech specs that will drive adoption, the feature will just be much more convenient than the old standard and people will flock to it (MP3 anyone?).

  • DisqusHater

    Is there any evidence, anywhere, that Apple is considering eliminating the headphone jack?

    This seems like the kerfluffle when Apple introduced the Mac App Store and bloggers went link bait crazy, saying that it was going to make it impossible to load indie apps.

  • cbannis

    I have two devices that became obsolete with Apples move away from the 30 pin adapter. These include a car stereo head unit and a clock radio. I am sure that I am in agreement with many-a-consumer that I will definitely not be buying accessories that rely on a proprietary Apple protocol. The fact that Apple did not go with micro USB on iPhone 5 is perhaps the more bold faced strategic move that exacerbates the situation. Rant over.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Well, fortunately, you don’t have to get upset about it before it happens – and it might not happen. ;)

  • cbannis

    I have two devices that became obsolete with Apples move away from the 30 pin adapter. These include a car stereo head unit and a clock radio. I am sure that I am in agreement with many-a-consumer that I will definitely not be buying accessories that rely on a proprietary Apple protocol. The fact that Apple did not go with micro USB on iPhone 5 is perhaps the more bold faced strategic move that exacerbates the situation. Rant over.

    • Dave Whiting

      Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin with 30pin connector sitting redundant here.:(

  • itchy

    first off i had 2 cans of cherry coke witch is the most soda i had in years. this stuff is crack i feel crazy . my iphone is dumping like everyday. i need a new one. they should put a 1/4 inch jack on that sucker. :)

  • http://melodiefabriek.com/ Marco Raaphorst

    “Headphones utilizing the spec will be able to receive stereo 48 kHz digital audio and send mono 48 kHz audio.” Well, a jack plug can deliver a lot more than 48 kHz can deliver. Be even so, Apple is a little weird sometimes. I am guessing it’s about control. Jack is too open system…

  • garyg2

    Sony have been here: I had one of their ‘walkman’ phones a few years back, nice phone but no jack, you either used their phones (shite) or a 3rd party adapter that wobbled and crackled like heck.

    I think Apple are smarter than this.

  • lala

    rumors are still going crazy over the Beats thing

    The only reason why they may want to remove it is because of thickness of the device, but the camera in it is thicker …
    And it would block the powerport, so no power when listening with headphones with Lightningjack – not before there is wireless power something

    And you can pry my sony cans from my could dead hands

    • garyg2

      To clarify: shite Sony earbuds and lightweight phones with the custom connector marketed for phone use NOT phones like the venerable 7506s. :)

    • lala

      And it would be headphones you couldnt use with the Mac ⛄️

  • J_

    lightning ports to audio adapter? or even better to usb to good audio interface. i’m totally fine with that. the built int 1/8″ jack is “useless”, it is convenient, but it doesn’t sound “good” no matter what headphones you use. i like the idea of the jack being modular, like the iconnect midi (which also does digital audio)

    or i mean whatever these use for headphones, get a cheap pair, cut those up and wire it to a jack or plug?

    the main issue i think is one of DRM or content protection which could end up being a huge pain to for creators. imo if they want to do this the main reason why. it could be why apple wants iovine, to negotiate with the music labels and movie studios to convince them that apple is going to protect them better. DRM on the other hand i am against as it harms creativity and fair use.

    i could see this being done as a ploy to sell proprietary headphones too – (beats acquisition) – people buy beats even though they’re terrible so i doubt they’ll have a problem with a special with this, if they market it “right”. like beats are a status thing, so if dre tells them it’s better people will probably go along with it.

    also, check Yosemite – you can answer and talk on your phone in it. what is that bluetooth or wifi? and i think i read that they’re making it so the iPad can answers calls too? personally, low latency wireless audio and midi is dream, so i’m all for anyone that attempts it. :)

    in 15 years from now when they pay/force :) you to use a phone or at least give them away free ;) i can hook one to the back of every bit of hardware i have in my studio and have no cables! but tons a wonderful radiation…wait a second..haha. still. i’m all for the experiment. apple doesn’t owe me anything. i can (and will) always build and hack my own stuff when i want it the way i want it.

  • SomeDude

    Amazing how something that started as a simple and silly “what if” thought by a guy in Forbes ( that Apple has bought Beats mainly to kill the headphone jack..), became a rumour, and now a fact ( forums are already filled by people screaming and crying about the headphone jack they already lost by anticipation ).
    Dissolving the boundaries between mere thoughts, rumours and facts has become the main function of Internet.

    • SomeOtherDude

      +1 Valuable energy and time transformed into anger and posts about speculative thin air.

  • Nikolozi

    I kind of agree, but then I look at my iPod touch headphone jack and it’s the ugliest thing on it. And it’s because iPod touch is quite thin. If it was any thinner you physically couldn’t have a 1/8″ jack anymore. So whether we like it or not it will happen. Probably it will happen to iPod touch first.

    The second thing I find interesting is evolution of display connectors: VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI etc. Nothing like that has happened for headphones.

    • Dude

      I don’t think you can compare a headphone jack to display ports. The technology of analog audio hasn’t changed in the past decades, it stayed the same and there was no need to upgrade it.

      Display technology on the other hand has made huge steps, up to a point where analog signalling just did not cut it any more and with the step to digital and then ever increasing bandwidths you get this evolution.

  • Jonathan Lackey

    The iPhone can already output 48kHz. Not digital audio, but analog. Most users (and tech writers, apparently) don’t realize that the iPhone can handle 24 bit / 48kHz audio.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      Maybe you don’t realize that a sample rate like “48kHz” has absolutely no meaning whatsoever in the analog realm?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Wording above is poor, but the information is otherwise correct – iOS can have its audio engine set to 24-bit / 48 kHz. And, of course, there’s no need for a “digital” output here to headphones.

      I’m not sure what this means, though:

      http://news.yahoo.com/ios-8-leak-suggests-much-better-music-experience-175159852.html

      – whether this involves higher-definition settings or, rather, that there will be media playback from iTunes at 24-bit/48k.

    • Jonathan Lackey

      Yes, I know. I’m an audio engineer. What I meant is that you can put 24 bit / 48kHz files on your iPhone for playback. Yes, it’s then converted via the DAC on the output side.

  • Microwave Prince

    Apple is shity evil company that just don’t give a fuck about consumers. They are intersted only in sucking all your money.

  • DPrty

    “Apple has done something Microsoft and Google couldn’t even begin to do
    with their mobile devices: Apple has made the iPhone and the iPad
    essential tools for musicians, producers, and DJs.”

    Oh… so I guess I’m not a musician, producer, or DJ. I don’t use any Apple products? I dont find anything they make essential.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Perhaps effective, rather than essential. They’re certainly widely used. I obviously wouldn’t suggest they’re universally used.

      I don’t think there’s any compelling argument to choose a non-Apple mobile platform for use as a music tool. You might not use your phone or a tablet at all with music apps – SMS and calling might be enough, of course – but if you wanted to select a tablet or phone for use as a controller, as an instrument, or as a DJ tool, etc., it’s almost impossible to recommend Android or Windows over iOS (with the exception of desktop Windows tablets, which compete more directly with laptops than tablets).

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      True, but then perhaps a rewording is in order: “Apple have managed to make their hardware and their OS the only real choice in town if you want to use multitouch consumer surfaces for music making purposes”.

    • Matt

      If android wanted to make hardware that could be used for music they easily could have. Look at the new htc phone, it’s got better touch latency than the iPhone 5s or iPad air. So they can do it but nobody does, or develops enough software. although if good latency becomes a thing on androids universally that may turn around, I’m not sure how hard or exclusive a feature it is to include or if it going to be htc exclusive.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yes, I can get behind that wording.

      I’m still meanwhile searching for standalone hardware step sequencing I like… ;)

    • Dartanyan Brown

      I got an MSQ-700 you might like..=-P

    • DPrty

      I can get on board with that. ;) I have a fairly extensive studio and do the occasional DJ set. Writing music and working on 9 albums that are yet to be released and not one Apple product in the entire studio or rig. I am very happy with the gear and the PC I have chosen …. I swore off any products by Apple when they killed Logic on the Windows platform. I am happy I did Reaper’s a great DAW. I use my android device to check mp3s after mastering and use a APC40 + Laptop for DJ sets. My wife has an ipad she doesn’t like it, she won it in a contest. The ipad is not allowed in my studio because it might taint the good gear karma I currently enjoy.

  • genjutsushi

    Don’t forget that Apple already have a requirement from the European Parliament to use micro-USB compatible ports by 2017. Any move to delete the phones port could be to give preferential treatment to Beats h/phones and would therefore run foul of the EU too.

    • rant

      Exactly.

      Also, what kind of a sentence is this…”There’s no point in getting angry about this until it actually happens”. Youth of today :P

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That’s not necessarily correct. As I understand it, some key details:

      - Apple adopted the standard for MicroUSB chargers prior to the EU ruling. (I believe this was at least partly voluntary.)
      - The EU ruling still is draft legislation, not yet approved.
      - This requirement covers power charging – not data.
      - I don’t know the specifics of the draft legislation, but there has been wide speculation that an adapter would satisfy the charger requirement – that it wouldn’t necessitate changing the Lightning port on Apple devices.

      Now, yes, I think if audio jacks became proprietary, that might (perhaps should) raise red flags among EU regulators. But there doesn’t seem to be any direct bearing of that decision on this discussion.

      Anyway, folks seem to be arguing with the air here; a number of the comments say essentially what I said in the story.

  • Bynar

    Apple should eliminate the screen. The screen makes the iPhone too big.

    • Felix

      You, sir, just made my day.

  • http://flexyvoid.com/ Yanakyl

    “I’ll let the (justified) screams of “noooooo” die down for a moment” (^_^)
    Can you imagine not being able to plug your old headphones? That’s unthinkable to me.
    And if we need headphones with dac in it, what when there’s no battery to run it. Would it be powered by the iphone overall?
    I’d like to be able to send more than two audiotracks if I had audio over lightning, but I don’t think apple is thinking about me there.

  • http://www.afrodjmac.com/ AfroDJMac

    No!! I’m pretty upset that the new Macbook Pros don’t have an audio input anymore. I use that jack probably close to as much as my headphone jack. It’s a shame…

    • Matt

      They do, sort of. It’s a 3 pronged combo jack. If you where motivated enough it wouldn’t be super hard to make an adapter cable with two female 1/8 jacks or even 1/4 if you need to interface it with gear. That being said making a y cable is much more annoying then just having an input on there. I’m pretty sure native instruments has a similar cable for iOS devices.

  • Michael

    I have a couple of Bluetooth headsets (one at the office and one that I carry around with me) and I use those to listen to my iDevices when I’m not using the built-in speaker. It’s nice to not have to deal with wires and the Bluetooth devices have gotten a lot better over the years.

    I could envision Apple making a short adapter that fits onto the bottom of the iPhone into the Lightning port that provides a headphone jack out the side and maybe two female Lightning ports on the bottom on the opposite side of the jack. You’d get your headphone jack and two ports, one for charging/syncing and another for an external device.

    You’d have to remove it if you wanted to use the internal speakers though.

  • Taylor

    Isn’t it inevitable that as phones get thinner we will eventually need to ditch the headphone jack?

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    I have no idea about their plans for the headphone jack, but I do know that they managed, intentionally or otherwise, to eliminate JACK from iOS :(

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Unless you know something I don’t, I would be very surprised if that were somehow done in spite. But yes, this was unfortunate. On the other hand, I think developers will be kept busy with IAA and AudioBus … and JACK lives on on other platforms, of course.

  • eshefer

    I think Apple WILL get rid of the headphone jack. but not in the iPhone. not in the next few versions of it, anyway.

    apple will probably get rid of it when they introduce a new class of product. iWatch? iSomething_wearble? where size will be even a more significant concern then it is now.

    once they grow the ecosystem of lighting-connector based peripherals they might kill the headphone jack.

    it might happen in the next few years. but it won’t happen soon, and not with the Mac, iPhone, ipod or the iPad.

    or maybe it will. who knows.

  • Fabricio

    Couldn’t the connector be flat? Must it be round?

  • synapticflow

    I’ve never Apple’d and I never will, but even if they removed the headphone jack, they would still sell of ton of overpriced electronics. That’s just how the fan-base rolls.

  • http://centralmovers.com.my/ Central Movers

    Digital still can not replace analog transmission at all, not a smart move!