Why is the iPhone 7 getting rid of the headphone jack?
- ApplejackLv 45 years agoFavorite Answer
Apple bought Beats headphones 2 years ago now. And strong speculation is swirling about that Apple has multiple motives for removing it in reality. Not just one. Apple is looking at new ways to generate new revenue right now. And right now they are heavily looking at trying to get more out of Beats. Apple is looking into expensive wireless headphones that will strictly use the Lightning connector. Apple is thinking of eliminating the headphone jack, in order to up sell it's customers expensive revenue generating Bluetooth or Lightning compatible headphones to turn a quick buck.
The second reason is that Apple wants to continue making the iPhone ever thinner. The third is that if they choose not to make a future phone thinner, than the internal space they save can be used for other technologies to better fit in the phone such as the camera. Or perhaps it will give a little wiggle room for a force feedback home button? Who knows.
Now Apple is claiming that the Lightning jack can pass better quality sound than the 3.5mm headphone jack as one if it's major selling points since the Lightning connector is all Digital. However this isn't true. While the 3.5mm headphone jack is Analog, that has nothing to do with sound quality. The 3.5mm headphone jack can infact pass up to 24-Bit 48,000Khz Studio quality sound perfectly. (That's "way" beyond CD quality even!)
And even then, scientific listening tests and hearing professionals as well, have repeatedly shown humans can't hear beyond CD quality sound anyway. The difference is that the Lightning connector is proprietary and Apple can control what is made and isn't made for it since they own the copyright to the Lightning connector. The 3.5mm headphone jack is open source and anyone can use it and make components for it. The 3.5mm headphone jack has been used for decades on high end audio equipment and professional headphones for ever now without issue.
But that won't stop Apple from trying to claim that the Lightning connector is better, since that's the only way they can charge other manufacturers when they want to come out with their own accessories, or headphones for the iPhone 7. Apple will get a percentage of all sales and for all devices regardless who makes them since they own the rights to the port.
Most manufacturers and non phone device manufacturers continue at this time with the 3.5mm jacks as the industry standard.
About the only thing that the Lightning connector can do that the headphone jack can't, is pass an electric current. So for example if I wanted to make a pair of headphones that had a built in amplifier in them to make sound louder, I would have to use 2 AAA batteries in the headphone jack version. However with the Lightning connector I could eliminate the batteries in the headphones and make them a bit lighter.
This is fine for phones since they have small built in amplifiers. However there is one drawback now. The Lightning connector will drain the battery of the iPhone faster now. This is because you're not supplementing the main battery with AAA batteries. So it now has to power the phone and the headphones amplifier.
The other problem is that the iPhone can't be charged at the same time like a phone can utilizing the 3.5mm headphone jack since the USB connector is free to still use. But if you have only a Lightning connector plugged into headphones, then how do you charge the iPhone at the same time??? Easy! You don't!
Most tech enthusiasts look at Apple's upgrade as a downgrade in reality. By all accounts it really is a downgrade. Why? Because it's simply being implemented since Apple wants more profit from Beats and a percentage of accessory sales. It's that simple!
Other manufacturers didn't run out and buy a headphone company for 3 Billion dollars (In which most audiophiles considered a junky overpriced product to begin with.) Just because they were popular at the time and just looked stylish.
And Apple hasn't shown anything for that acquisition to date. (Outside of making Dr. Dre a Billionaire) As you can imagine, that Apple's investors are pushing for something to show for such a large purchase.
And this is why other manufacturers have never even entertained the thought of switching to their own kind of audio port.
Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in a cash and was the largest acquisition in Apple's history! And they have hardly anything to show for it! So Apple needs to get a huge return on that $3 Billion dollar deal. Apple needs to generate $3 Billion+ before they even get their money back. Let alone a profit.
And what could do that? A Lightning connector and millions of expensive bluetooth and Lightning headphones being sold across the world in addition to many other audio accessories.
- SteveOLv 75 years ago
Apple isn't the only one. If you look at the Moto Z there also is no 3.5mm jack there. You'll start seeing more and more manufacturers going that route as well once people figure out that you can get a better DAC on the headphones themselves to process the digital signal being sent from the device over Lightning or USB-C. Both are versatile enough and Bluetooth is a very viable solution, especially with Bluetooth 5 coming along in the very near future which would mean better signal sent via Bluetooth to a better DAC on the Bluetooth device.
To answer your question as simply as possible: you can get better audio quality over digital connections since you can get better quality DAC chips. DACs on mobile devices are garbage compared to even a cheap USB DAC and amplifier. Basically what you'll have is a cheap desktop DAC and amp package put into a smaller form factor where the USB-C or Lightning connection is the signal source and the headphones themselves process and deliver the analog audio. The analog component doesn't go away, but you can get better quality compared to the cheap DACs phone on phones. While Applejack's answer is mostly correct, it does a poor job of explaining why and just complains about Apple's business decision behind it even though the current Lightning headphones you can buy (which are stupid expensive) have a noticeable quality difference compared to what I hear on my Audio Technicas when hooked up to my iPhone. My iPhone audio also sounds better when I hook it up to my cheap Schiit Magni 2, Modi 2, and Mani setup using the same Audio Technica headphones (and Schiit isn't even that particularly great). Theoretically you can get better quality audio equipment by going the digital route like what Apple and other mobile device manufacturers are going to start doing. Apple is, however, going to release an adapter that solves the problem of not having the 3.5mm jack on the device itself.
- BlkBearLv 75 years ago
Basically to get the new phone owners to buy newer accessories that would normally plug into the headphone jack. Also to use the thinner connector of the USB-C/lightening connector, and whatever adapters there will be to convert old headphones to the new style.
- SRΛSCLv 75 years ago
Sort of along the lines of why the floppy disk went away, & the CD drive. Outgoing tech, though this one may have more opposition than the others.
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- 4 years ago
Just another way to earn more money
- Anonymous4 years ago
Cause they wanted to try something different they said.