Why Apple Killed the Headphone Jack

To the surprise of exactly no one, Apple killed a standard 3.5mm headphone input. The decision signals the demise of an audio port that’s been used for more than 100 years—and honestly, it’s about time. The death of the headphone jack is actually a very good thing. Here’s why.

circa 1880:  American inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) receives the first phonogram from England in his laboratory. His research greatly increased the efficiency of the telegraph line as a means of communication.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

circa 1880: American inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) receives the first phonogram from England in his laboratory. His research greatly increased the efficiency of the telegraph line as a means of communication. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The headphone jack is an analog connection originally designed for old-fashioned telephone switchboards in the early 20th century. It can’t transfer nearly as much data as a digital connection like a Bluetooth or Lightning connection. Plus, the headphone jack only sends information one way: from power source to speaker. But that’s all beside the point. The most obvious reason why the headphone jack had to die is simply because the new wave of wireless headphones will be more convenient and enjoyable to use for everyone. For most people, wires are obsolete.

“The reason to move on comes down to one word: courage,” Apple SVP Phil Schiller said during the iPhone 7 announcement. “Our smartphones are packed with technologies, and it’s all fighting for space. Maintaining an ancient analog connector doesn’t make sense.”

He’s right. This is exactly what Apple does best: it single-handedly abolishes outdated technology standards that are begging to be shelved. Apple did it with the 3.5-inch floppy disk, disk drives in your laptops, and Adobe Flash. Now, it’s doing music-lovers a favor by killing a cable that’s had it coming for a long time. This makes room for better technology and new possibilities.

So the headphone jack is finally dead. And the saddest part? No one is going to miss it.

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