The Rise And Fall Of The Headphone Jack

The Rise And Fall Of The Headphone Jack


It was in 2016 that
Apple announced it would be ditching the
headphone jack. It really comes down
to one word. Courage. And for the smartphone industry, it was
the shot heard ’round the world. There are several reasons
why Apple removed the headphone jack from the
iPhone 7, and surprisingly, courage is not
one of them. Samsung also just
removed the decades-old technology from its phones,
even though it took every opportunity to ridicule
Apple for the headphone jack’s removal
in the past. Do you want to know
what else it comes with? An audio Jack.
I’m just saying. With the launch of the
Galaxy Note 10 in August of 2019, Samsung ditched
the jack, too. Samsung, was definitely one
of those companies that criticized the rest of
the industry for not having headphone jacks and
conveniently forgot to mention that they got rid of
it in their newest Note 10. The headphone jack has been
around for more than a hundred years. So why are companies increasingly
removing them from our phones? It wasn’t a
pro-customer move. It was it was a way
for them to make more money. Let’s start with a
brief history of the components needed to make mobile
music what it is today, starting with the
beloved audio jack. The grandparent to
the standard 3.5mm jack, the quarter-inch jack was
used all the way back in the late
1800s by switchboard operators. The larger jack continued
its reign until the 1970s, when Sony released
the Walkman, the first widely available mobile
music device. The Walkman was also
the first successful commercial example of
the same 3.5mm jack we use today. An obvious next step was the
rise of the MP3 and the MP3 player, popularized
by Apple’s iPod. It was 2001 when Steve
Jobs took the stage to announce the iPod. This amazing little device holds 1000 songs,
and it goes right in my pocket. The Siemens SL 45 was
released in 2001 and was the first phone that was
also a mobile music device, and that set off
a trend in the mobile world. Music was
now a must. But the SL 45 was not the
first phone with the headphone jack. My first phone was a Nokia
3310 and that had a headphone jack. Back then,
there wasn’t really any wireless communication
standard that was acceptable enough to do
good headset phone calls. So it was kind of born
out of a necessity to deliver high quality, you
know, headset calls. By the mid 2000s, there
were many phones that could also play music, but
were still limited by storage and battery life. Bluetooth grew in popularity
around the same time, and that spelled the
beginning of the end for the headphone jack
now that wireless listening was possible. While wired headphones may
seem antiquated, most audiophiles prefer the sound quality
from this analog port. The reason why you want
to go wired over wireless is that compression that
you get over Bluetooth. All the Bluetooth standards
for the most part have some kind of
compression, which then affects the actual quality
of the audio. But that wire can
be really frustrating, especially when you’re working
out or need mobility. Most the time when I
use headphones, I’m at the gym and have
wireless phones. I mean, it’s not that
important to me, but the few times that I do
need wired headphones, like when I’m traveling or something
like that, it is super inconvenient not to
have a headphone jack. And while Bluetooth technology
has come a long way, it still
has its pitfalls. Bluetooth sucks right now, but
the optimist in me hopes that removing the
headphone jack will act as a springboard for companies
to work harder at integrating Bluetooth and
wireless audio technology. Most cars have Bluetooth audio,
but a lot of people, like, all new cars
within the last five years, cars before that have
the aux cord that you plug into, you know. So why did Apple decide
to remove the jack from the iPhone 7? Maintaining an ancient,
single-purpose, analog, big connector doesn’t make
sense because that space is at a premium. It’s the mental shift
that, you know, flagships have had for the
last couple of years. It’s like, it’s not
a flagship unless the headphone jack is gone. And
that’s kind of, you know, Apple’s fault. Premium
phones are now associated with no
headphone jacks. See, there’s not a whole lot
of space inside of a smartphone. Tech companies have
crammed more and more into that incredibly
limited space, and when something becomes antiquated, it’s
got to go, making the phones thinner and
allowing for other components. The thickest part of the
phone is that headphone jack. I think it was a decision
of, OK, we have to use this space for other
components because we’ve used so much of the
phone’s overall size as screen that we just don’t
have room for other components in other places and we have
to get rid of the headphone jack. The removal of the headphone
jack also helped the iPhone 7 receive its
IP 67 water-resistant rating. So there were some
good reasons behind its removal. As much as I do appreciate
being able to plug in a pair of headphones and
just have them work out of the box, I also
appreciate engineering in the technological space. Most companies have been
moving away from the headphone jack, partially because
a lot of the wireless capabilities of
earbuds today have gotten much better. The quality is
not perfect yet. There’s still lots of room
for improvement, but I think for most people it’s
pretty good and it satisfies their needs. But some folks don’t
agree that the headphone jack had to go at all. When you’re designing the
circuit boards and stuff like that, you can make
as much room as you want. I mean, I’ve taken
apart phones that have, like, projectors inside of
them, and there’s room for a projector, there’s room for an S Pen,
you know, there’s room for a headphone jack. You could look at any
tear down that doesn’t have a headphone jack and
say, oh, yeah. There’s no way that there
could be room in there. But then you look at a
tear down of a phone with a headphone jack
and it’s there. This choice to leave off
the audio jack came simultaneously with the
announcement of Apple’s $159 Air Pods, which
called into question Apple’s real motives behind
the exclusion. Personally, I do think
that it was monetarily motivated, at least
in some way. It wasn’t a coincidence
that they released the AirPods at the same time
they took away the headphone jack. It was
something that wasn’t making them money, so they
got rid of it so people would buy
the AirPods. Not to mention the fact
that the Lightning port is a proprietary
connector, meaning companies have to pay Apple just
to make a compatible device. Apple charges a fee
to license their Lightning port. They can get more money
if you have to make a Lightning accessory,
whereas the 3.5mm jack, just anybody
can make. I think there are going
to be people scrambling to license it, and if
they can’t afford that Apple license, essentially
there’s gonna be headsets that work well
with iPhones and there’s gonna be headsets that
don’t work well. And when Apple kills
something, it usually creates a domino effect
in the tech world. They removed the floppy
drive, they removed the CD-ROM drive from
their Macs. And people went crazy. Right? But people kept
buying the devices and their competitors, quite
frankly, followed their direction only two or
three years later. So, slowly other larger companies
started to follow suit. But Samsung kept its grip
on the audio jack. Whether you’re listening to
the S9’s amazing new speakers, or on your own
pair of headphones by simply connecting them
to the convenient headphone socket at the
bottom of the device. Can I still use these
headphones with the X? Yeah, but you’ll need an
adapter, or as most people like to call it,
a dongle. A what? But, with its most
recent phone release, Samsung finally left out the
headphone jack without mentioning anything during the
keynote about why it left it out and
even took down some content that challenged
Apple’s decision. If you are going to
take such a solid stance against Apple for not putting
a headband jack in the phone, at least own up to it,
I feel like, in the moment, you know? There could have been a
story where, “This is the best, most compact device
we can make. There’s some compromises. If you don’t like it,
we have a bigger version for you. If you don’t
like either, you can still get an S10.” But the
fact that they didn’t even address it was a
little bit not great. Samsung did tell CNBC
it removed the headphone jack to make more room
for its powerful battery. There are still some brands,
like LG, that find the space for a headphone
jack, whether it be for its audio phile customers
or its customers who don’t want to, or
can’t afford, the switch. In, you know, other markets
like China and India, the headphone jack and
actually micro USB are still important because people
can’t get rid of their old chargers or
can’t afford them. Luckily for those who
want to keep their headphones, many of the
big phone makers are coming out with lower-cost
models of their flagship phones like the Google
3a and 3a XL, which include a
headphone jack. There’s still a considerable
amount of people that want the headphone
jack because they can’t afford, you know, wireless
earbuds that are good. There are so many awesome
phones at the $500 level that still have
the headphone jack because people who are buying
cheaper phones probably don’t have an extra $100,
$200 bucks to throw down on some
wireless headphones. But those $500 phones are, they
do 95% of what a $1000 phone does. Like it or not, it
looks like the headphone jack is gone for good when
it comes to the top-end flagship phones. I think they are going
for the portless phone and they won’t stop until
they get there. In fact, some speculate we
might not even get buttons in a few years. There is no fingerprint
sensor, no buttons and, you know,
charges wirelessly. So it might even be, you
know, no more USB port. So what can you do? You can go spend $1000
every year if you really want to, but you’re not
getting a return on that $1000. A $500 phone is
more than enough for the average person. And whether
it has the headphone jack or not, I would just
say, you know, use your phone as long as
possible because there’s no reason to upgrade. Which
is kind of strange coming from a tech reviewer
who makes a living off of
reviewing cellphones.

Author:

100 thoughts on “The Rise And Fall Of The Headphone Jack”

  • Patrick Harris-Worthington says:

    I agree, I will not buy headphones or a watch that I have to charge everyday. My 1more Quad driver earbuds are better than ANY Bluetooth set (period)

  • Samsung always copies Apple lol. Nothing new here. They just try to make it not as obvious and the fanboys fall for it lmao.

  • I have a Slight Theory, I feel that Samsung Will no longer have Headphone Jack's In the Note phones but on all their other Phones I think they will keep it for the time being.

  • Fall? This whole movement is insane. I use my 3.5mm jack at work interchangeably between my phone and laptop. Just unplug from phone, plug into the laptop in 2 secs. Bluetooth simply doesn't compare.

  • JerryRigEverything isn't even on his own channel and he's still finding a way to complain about Apple at every waking moment

  • I bought a phone last year with a headphone jack and use it all the time. Bluetooth headphones can't be trusted all the time. All my future phones must have that and a media card slot.

  • Of course I make more money. When I heard the announcement I said. It's to make more money. Besides people lose those all the time. Especially young people

  • Skull Candy earbuds for 3.5mm jack, $20
    Powerbeats Pro, $250
    I have 2 phones with 3.5 jack that have the IP68 rating, what they don't tell you, is that the water and dust resistant rating is only garanteed when it is recently unpacked, after months of use, no phone maker can garantee that rating, jack or no jack.
    So the only real reason to remove the jack is to make money of the accesories that they force you to buy.

  • Mario Angel Ruiz says:

    I do use Bluetooth headphones, but I wish they bring back the headphone jack since they don’t require battery life and it was easier to connect…. and imagine if laptops and pc desktop computers remove the jack… I mean at least you can listen to music wired on the new iPhones but sadly you can’t do it while charging… R.I.P Headphone Jack 18??-2019

  • I just bought the last mobile phone with a removable battery and a headphone jack….for under $200. The LG V20 also comes with a dual screen, dual SIM card, and fingerprint security lock. Awesome!

  • Aw crap I lost my airpods, a expensive small ass item that needs to charge. Looks like I have to use a more visible, cheaper, and do not need to charge earbuds…

  • The story is much simpler. Beats Electronics sales were plummeting for a wide variety of reasons such as overinflated price and bad quality compared to much cheaper competitors. In order to force customers to purchase ear phones, Apple decided to get rid of the headphone jack with the excuse that they couldn't fit more technology. This was proven to be false and a predatory practice when several engineers manually created a headphone jack without jeopardizing the performance of the iPhone. I'm afraid courage had nothing to do with Apple's decision but just another predatory practice just like when they admitted purposely slowing down their products with updates to force consumers to purchase another $900-1100 phone. Samsung will never get rid of their audio jack because Asians are not stupid and a mistake like that will only give leverage to Sony or Huawei which is why global sales of iPhones are at historic low especially in Asia.

  • The arrival of wireless audio to mainstream phones is one of the best things that could have happened. The price of bt headphones has dramatically dropped, you can find them for as little as 30 USD, while they used to be above 100; wires would always entangle, get in your way while moving, or they would entangle on something else all the time. On top of that, they were really delicate, just one bad pull and they could die no matter how expensive they were. Finally, the jack may look small but that thing sticking out of your phone would always make it difficult to take them out of your pocked, or else it would poke at the hip while sitting down and it would wear out quite quickly

  • Weatheronthe8s says:

    Yeah, I love the headphone jack, but I like my flagship devices too. Not bashing LG but I never have really had the best experience with other people's phones and even my first phone. Sure they were cheap phones in the first place but still. Other brands I’ve never really experienced much. I just associate Nokias with being possessed because my dad managed to keep his Lumia 635 alive through so much torture without a case. I already adjusted to Samsung when I switched from an iPhone 6S(when the backlight went out in the water) to an S8. Now with Samsung getting rid of it too, I’m contemplating going back to an iPhone for my next phone next year. There are things I like about both Android and iOS. But I mostly like Android just for the freedom to install crazy stuff on my phone and iOS for things just working simpler. Either way though, if I was to switch back to an iPhone, I would definitely be buying an adapter because I have no desire to switch to Bluetooth.

  • It's not just Headphone Jack that's disappearing. Recently, new cars that are sold in Indonesia lacks a CD Player. It's not just entertainment problem as well. Since Oct 31st, 2017, Indonesian Toll Roads no longer accept cash and only accept Bank smart cards, Airport Railway only accept Credit and Smart Card and 5 KCI stations in Jakarta no longer accept cash and only allowed smart cards.

  • Don't buy their phone and let apple lose money. Then apple will change their behavior. Apple phone sucks and it's over charges on their phone. Your not getting my money.

  • Wired headphones are more compact, cheaper, higher quality, and I can switch between PC and phone without any issues. It's not that I can't afford bluetooth headphones. I have those, wired headphones are just better.

  • I've been using BT headphones for the last 5 years. Apple didn't have courage. They just released a product when there was already a market for it built by other companies. They just pretend they're the 1st as usual.

  • The first thing you do when you get a new phone is to get a protective case which then automatically makes it thick. It defeats the purpose of having a thin smartphone.

  • RarelyAccurate says:

    There isn't room for a headphone jack and a big battery. It's not like the Asus Zenfone 6 has a 5000 mAh battery and a headphone jack… That would be impossible.

  • Hisham Alhusaini says:

    They definitely couldve added the headphone jack on the xr the xr is really thick and big no reason not to add it

  • Harshal Chaudhari says:

    I was planning buy 35 iPhones for my in laws family but because of only this reason i didnt buy i phones….. Had to go for Samsung

  • Comment Highlighted says:

    My worst iPhone upgrade was to the iPhone 7. I have been an iPhone user since the very 1st one. I have NEVER heard anyone complain about having the headphone jack on their phone. 🤨

  • Wires are reliable. It don't have to be recharged. And you can use 3.5 mm Jack as a microphone source. These are real things for a lot of us. It's going to be a note 9 for me. Note 10, thanks but no thanks.

  • I was definitely expecting Samsung to ditch the headphone jack sooner or later. Those spineless tards really aren't at the same level as Apple and its iPhone.

  • I avoided BT headphones for a long time cuz of cost and battery life. Bought my first one and have to say the battery life is a non issue. I mostly listen to music and the battery lasts probably 2 weeks between charges. It might be longer its so infrequent I don't keep track. My phone has a headphone jack and the headphones actually can go wired but I haven't troubled that since the BT has been so great.

  • Sarfaraz Shaikh says:

    All big manufacturers omitted the headphone jack n then suddenly releasing thr new wireless headphones, like iPhone, Samsung, Google n one plus……so that ppl keep on buying thr headphones atleast if the one in the box is damaged after few months of using….so thr yearly or quarterly earnings goes higher…..I have a Huawei mate 20 which is 6.53 inch screen as iPhone X's max n has bigger battery n still has a headphone jack.

  • Muhammad Hadrami says:

    I do like having that jack but you know some thing will be gone. if ut not now mybe later. but if they gonna remove it, they need to to give the customer free wireless earphone when buying a mobile phone not that bs dongle.

  • Having to charge headphones is the biggest issue with it.
    And the company removed it make more room for more battery life ❔❓ what's the point of more battery life when you have to separately charge headphones too 🤷‍♀🤷‍♂

  • samsung are cowards. Why did they delete the videos and articles where they made fun of apple for removing the headphone jack after they released the galaxy not 10 ?

  • I will never buy a phone without audio Jack. Removing it is just a show of corporate greed. I always buy Samsung high end phones. If they remove it I will go to mid level phones. Simply

  • Why can't other companies just use the mini usb port if they don't want to pay Apple to implement that lightning port?

  • you guys just poor

    bose has 5 years garantie my old one broke after 2 years they give free new model
    20 hours battery life
    noise changeling
    always hand free in gym no Kabel
    long flights with airplane adapter 30 hours noise changeling
    or music
    exzellent quality for iPhones or just for phones
    or just for apple watchs

  • I have an LG G6+ which includes the hifi quad dac, and that's one of the main reasons i bought this phone, for listening with my top of the line DJ headphones. I dont think i will ever buy i phone with no headphones jack. I will probibly buy another lg when this one breaks. I do have some Bluetooth headphones too which i use when I'm on the go.

  • 5.23 😂🤣 you can still have it IP67/68 with the headphone jack. Jerryrigeverything has proven the removal of the headack on the iPhones was just a move of pay more get less

  • Apple removing the headphone jack is a lie it doesn't help, look and any Samsung phone, my s10 has IP 68 water resistance which is better then any iPhone is production and it can still have a headphone jack.

  • Patrick Baptist says:

    I like my Samsung Intensity , under $20, not a smart phone and i can still use the internet… G3 but it still works well enough. Smart phones are a joke.

  • The reason why it was removed was because of phones makers fetish for making stuff as small as possible and because they can sell wireless headsets.

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