Removing the 3.5mm headphone socket


I’ve gone back to a 5S from a 6S, and I’m very happy! :slight_smile:

I simply couldn’t live without SMS/iMessage on my Mac these days. I send 5:1 messages from my Mac vs iPhone. I’m stuck in the eco system unfortunately… [Not to mention I’m a freelance Mac/iOS consultant! :wink: It’s hard enough having to explain that I choose to have an iPhone 5S because of the screen size!]

I remember people saying the same thing when Apple removed Serial Ports and SCSI! :wink:


Good point. I hadn’t thought of that. Bummer.


Serial ports are STILL an issue for me, the only way to update the (current model) TAIT 2 way commercial radios in the fleet is using a laptop with a serial port (or a dodgy USB to serial adaptor).

I get that the MacBook Air and the MacBook are minimum port devices but the MacBook Pro isn’t supposed to be (at the high end), it’s supposed to be the luggable version of a Mac Pro (and it isn’t anymore).


Ah… but are you using Apple Serial or PC Serial? :smile:

I feel your pain though - I have a custom piece of hardware one of my clients uses that is reliant on not just PC serial, but a specific chipset such that only certain USB -> Serial Cables work! :frowning: I bought about 5 different ones 3 years ago before finding the cheapest MSY $6 option was the best (and then I bought 25 of them!)

Actually, it is - they just took functionality out of the Mac Pro to balance it! :wink:


Apple calls it “Pro”, but…

P.S. I love apple, but they are really moving away from the “prosumer” market…



The 3.5mm headphone jack is an accepted industry standard for audio output devices and unlike previous instances of connection interfaces and devices being superseded (SCSI, COM, Floppy Disk) it isn’t like a newer connector offers any bandwidth, performance or quality improvements over the standard already in place. Audio is analog by nature, whether the output from the Lightning connector is digital or not makes no difference. It still has to convert to analog somewhere along the chain.

A common claim is that an improvement could be made when it comes to durability. However it isn’t as though we have widespread issues with the 3.5mm connector as-is, with the exception of some of the dollar store specials that use the cheapest, nastiest built connectors money can buy. I don’t believe moving to Lightning connectors would resolve this issue either, based solely on the fact I can walk into Kmart and purchase an off-brand lightning cable that doesn’t correctly fit the connector on my iPhone 5C.

So what reason does that leave. A thinner device? A waterproof connector? The iPhone is already ridiculously thin, second only in Apple’s product lineup to the iPod touch which in itself contains a standard headphone jack. Once the form or appearance of a device starts dictating the removal of some fairly useful components, I think that’s where someone needs to draw the line. Cue everyone that complained about the protruding camera on the iPhone 6. Whether the device is waterproof or water resistant remains somewhat of a moot point as long as the device retains its multiple other points of entry, including the removable SIM tray, which I should mention contains a warranty-voiding liquid contact indicator while the headphone jack currently contains none.

Don’t even suggest that removing this supposedly unnecessary component would result in cost savings that would then be passed on to the consumer either. No chance in hell.

So the obvious benefit here lies directly with Apple. For every iPhone they sell, another set of Beats headphones with a built-in Lightning connector goes out the door. For every customer that buys a different brand of headphones, Apple receives a licensing fee through the Made For iPhone (MFi) program, and for every customer that chooses to use a set of standard 3.5mm equipped headphones, Apple makes a sale on another most likely expensive adapter.

I remember using Motorola, Samsung and other manufacturers phones in the past, each with proprietary headphone connectors, each with an optional adapter to adapt them to the standard 3.5mm jack. I rejoiced when the industry finally standardised on the 3.5mm connector. Finally, I could use the same set of headphones with my phone, my iPod, my computer and just about everything else. I could purchase any set of headphones I wanted without worrying about attempting to find a set I liked that also happened to use the same connector as my devices. Now, I can’t imagine why anyone would consider a return to every manufacturer having their own proprietary connector a good thing, optional adapters be damned. Alas, that’s where I fear we’re headed should this rumour be true.

Perhaps Bluetooth will offer a viable alternative to the venerable old headphone jack. Another expensive device with an internal battery that needs to be constantly charged and will inevitably become useless as soon as the battery starts to degrade.

Can’t wait.


Ah, that does make a lot of sense. Probably a bit of a niche but does make sense.

Sounds like your commercial radio manufacturer needs to get with the times. I ditched my Scubapro Uwatec Galileo dive computer in favour of a Shearwater Petrel for a similar reason. The Galileo communicates over IrDA and only has a Windows application which meant I had a VM and IrDA adapter just for getting dive data (The Shearwater works over Bluetooth and has a Mac app, it runs on Adobe Air but that’s still better than requiring a Windows VM).

(and yeah, I realise part of my day job is connecting into Cisco devices using a serial - console cable)


Don’t forget the Siri remote. My understanding is Lightning was designed to be future proof for many years so we don’t end up with another 30 pin dock connector.

I like Lightning, it’s a great connector.


I think removing the headphone jack to slim it down is stupid, and annoying, but on the plus side I bet it would create quite a bit extra space inside the phone itself if the jack wasn’t penetrating deep inside anymore. Just saying. For something else other than extra battery of course. Anything but that.


I agree but regrettably they’re almost without competition in the sector. The Police, Ambulance, Many Fire Brigades and most serious commercial installations (except for text style taxi installations) use TAIT radios these days (at least in Victoria where we are).

Telstra support them on their trunked fleet coms network and that’s also got easily the widest coverage as well.


Gee 1 rumour from an obscure Japanese site and the whole world has gone into meltdown :stuck_out_tongue:
Don’t worry Apple will release a “budget” 8gb model with old headphone jack for $799


What I find interesting isn’t the rumour itself, it’s that with the reputation Apple has forged itself these last few years, people find it credible.


It’s sort of like the Rocco Siffredi of phone connectors these days.

I don’t really care if they kill the interface. I’ve never used it much. I am surprised at the negativity about the prospect here though. Apple is, after all, a company that has never been sentimental about the past. Apple moves forward. Relentlessly. And not always perfectly. Their innovations invariably mean leaving something behind and it’s often something we’ve invested in, relied on and possibly even loved. I remember being crestfallen at the end of SCSI and I still have a lot of FireWire stuff, but time marches on, USB 3.0 is faster than FW800 and who would ever go back to peripherals that couldn’t be hot swapped, or even plugs that can’t be reversed?

USB-C looks like the business to me - high power, crazy high bandwidth, multi protocol, reversible. I’m on the C-train, even though I have no devices using it yet.


There is moving forward, and there is removing useful features for stupid reasons, and removing the 3.5 mm jack is one of the later - there is no advantage. Most people (well most I’ve come into contact with) are not interested in the iPhone becoming any thinner. Most also seem to find simply plugging in headphones as an easy, industry standard way to do things.


I wouldn’t consider eliminating a rather useful industry standard interface in favour of a proprietary connector that does exactly the same thing “moving forward”. Apple seems to have everyone thinking that almost everything they do is innovation or progress, that removing functionality and then selling us an adapter for an extra cost is somehow doing us a favour. I would understand completely if we were transitioning across to a newer, smaller standardised connector such as the 2.5mm headphone connector, but this is removing a connector that the audio industry has settled on for consumer devices in favour of a proprietary solution.

Nothing about this feels like natural forward progression anywhere near as much as it feels like building that “Apple ecosystem” that they’re so proud of. You buy your phone from us, you buy your music from us, you buy your headphones from us. It’s a sound business strategy but lets not pretend it isn’t what it is.

(As a disclaimer, I voted with my wallet. Haven’t bought into that ecosystem since 2012. I do however work in this industry so I don’t think I’m completely out of line to voice an alternate point of view.)

As for the internal layout and battery capacity, the headphone connector doesn’t take that much internal space. Those small grey / white boxes are the entirety of the connector and the self contained circuitry. I’m not even sure it would be possible or viable to make a custom shape battery that would effectively fill the space left by the removal of the headphone jack, so I wouldn’t expect any battery life gains.

It would make more sense from a cell packaging perspective to increase the thickness of the battery and add another layer internally, but since it would also require an increase in overall device thickness, I can’t see that happening any time soon.


This rumour’s popped up before (September of last year if IIRC), it didn’t gain much traction, this time the feeling seems to be where there’s smoke there’s fire. Definitely more of a possibility this time round.


Some pretty good points here:

It is only just a rumour, and a recurring rumour at that.


One less port to trap dust and pocket fluff. I’m all for it. As long as they use the iPad Pro’s lightning connector and finally move to USB3 so syncing my music from iTunes is slightly faster.


Sorry to go off-topic (Mods, split this if you feel the need) but,

They really cemented this view in my head when they wound down Aperture, their last really ‘prosumer’ grade program and one of the reasons that I returned to Mac 10 years ago after a very long hiatus.

If it weren’t for the iPhone or the fact that I’m heavily established in the Mac ecosystem I’d probably be jumping ship mac to a Windows box.


I’ve paid for Lightroom, but I’m still using Aperture - so easy to use, creates movies for me that exports straight into iTunes, uploads to my iCloud, jumps into my plugins… I will miss it the day it truly breaks in the latest OSX…