Why the Headphone Jack is Fading Away

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It isn’t surprising why the headphone jack is fading away. Let’s face it! With the fast evolving technology, every part of every gadget upgrades and this doesn’t exclude the headphone jack. This convenient feature that’s provided by almost all audio devices is about to be upgraded.

We’ve seen this obvious development when Apple dropped the headphone jack last year with their iPhone 7. But they aren’t the only company who’s going to put the headphone jack in history books. Users may have experienced several concerns regarding the use of a headphone jack.

Let us cite several drawbacks of using a 3.5mm headphone jack.

  • The metal part of the plug (especially the gold-plated plug) wears out easily from constant usage.
  • When you connect or unplug the headphone jack into the audio device, there are audible snaps that can be annoying and painful to the ears.
  • It’s not a wireless feature. Stumbling or accidentally unplugging the wire may cause damage to the headphone jack.
  • On prolonged usage, there are issues in contact resistance between the headphone jack and the audio port.
  • It involves a great deal of vertical space unlike the USB port and the lightning port of audio devices.
  • The 3.5mm headphone jack is already considered “large.” Most users prefer compact sizes as they’re lighter and more convenient to carry around.

There may be more user experience concerns not mentioned here. And these issues were brought to the minds of manufacturers and thought that headphone jacks need upgrading. The recent development has found advantages, especially in the audio quality.

While headphone jacks use analog signals, digital connectors like lightning/USB-C are slowly clearing the headphone jack away from the audio devices.

They’re aesthetically and functionally better than the headphone jack. There’s better sound reproduction with minimal power requirements.

With the advancing digital sound formats, audio quality using headphone jacks are limited because they’re usually not designed for high-frequency electronics. Conventional headphone jacks need an analog signal for audio reproduction. Audio devices need digital audio converters (DAC) to be able to convert frequencies into audible sound. Most often than not, there’s a sub-par sound quality reproduced during the transmission. With digital connectors like lightning and USB-C, the need of DAC chips is eliminated, so the audio quality is possibly better.

Headphone jacks are behind the technology, and sound quality needs improvement to satisfy everybody’s audio needs. The reasons mentioned above prove why the headphone jack is fading away from the market. While the advancing technology requires thinner and superb sound reproduction devices, headphone jacks just aren’t apt for this development.


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