Hey, hey, this is the best news in years when it comes to plugs and connections. The jack, and particularly the 3.5mm jack (1/8 inch in the US), is the oldest connector used in modern technology. Actually, I discovered the 6.35mm (1/4 inch) jack, the one style used on most musical professional headset and cabling, dates from 1878… Yes, it’s not a typo, it’s from the nineteenth century. Remember those WW2 movies where you see those telephone operators plugging in cables on wooden panels, well those were 6.35mm jacks…
Any phone, MP3 player or even laptop today has a 3.5mm jack socket… and once again, Apple may (will? This is only rumors for the moment) lead the way in ditching the 3.5mm jack for a modern connector, like the Lightning port. Of course, abandoning the 3.5mm socket will alienate users of current headsets, some having invested in expensive noise reduction ones for instance. But it will open the way to new benefits: waterproofing the phone, as it’s almost impossible to waterproof a jack socket, or high resolution audio to go beyond the CD sampling rate we are used to today.
Apple has always created markets with bold moves. I can say that since Steve Jobs passed away, there has not been that bold move we used to see, this could be it! Yes, it’s just a plug, but ditching a 100-year old plug that is THE norm of an entire industry is bold!
Update! I just discover a petition against the abandon of the jack. The main argument is the following: “Not only will this force iPhone users to dole out additional cash to replace their hi-fi headphones, it will singlehandedly create mountains of electronic waste — that likely won’t get recycled.” Well… nobody forces a current iPhone user to change iPhone and therefore to ditch headphones. Furthermore, for a couple of additional bucks, you can find a lighting to jack adapter which will increase the life of your headphones if you want to keep them. So yes, planned obsolescence is definitely wrong, but innovation requires choice and change. So instead of asking to come back to past technology, let’s see how we can adapt and make technology more relevant.