Apple Explains Why It Killed the Aging 3.5mm Headphone Jack

The fears of many came true today: Apple made the 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone go the way of the Dodo bird, with SVP Phil Schiller saying on stage it takes “courage” to make such a bold move.

In a new interview with BuzzFeed, Apple executives justify why they decided to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack, which has been around for almost 150 years.

Screenshot 2016 09 07 17 47 24

Apple VP Greg Joswiak said “The audio connector is more than 100 years old,” adding “It had its last big innovation about 50 years ago. You know what that was? They made it smaller. It hasn’t been touched since then. It’s a dinosaur. It’s time to move on.”

Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, said “We’ve got this 50-year-old connector — just a hole filled with air — and it’s just sitting there taking up space, really valuable space.”

Riccio explains the 3.5mm jack’s existence was “holding us back from a number of things we wanted to put into the iPhone,” adding it was fighting for space with camera and battery technologies, saying “it’s crazy to keep it around.” He also went on to say the removal allowed Apple to finally meet IP7 water resistance for iPhone, something they’ve wanted to achieve for years.

Here’s how Apple explains the process in which the 3.5mm headphone jack was removed: a “driver ledge”, a printed circuit board which powers the iPhone’s display and backlight traditionally sat internally along the top of devices. But for iPhone 7, its placement interfered with the new camera systems, so Apple moved its position lower to accommodate.

That change interfered with the audio jack—so Apple engineers tested removing the headphone jack altogether. In doing so, they uncovered two benefits: first, it was easier to install the Taptic Engine (which powers the Home button now); second, it allowed for a larger battery, with iPhone 7 seeing a 14% increase and iPhone 7 Plus getting 5% bigger compared to their iPhone 6s predecessors.

Schiller also reassured customers the removal of the headphone jack has nothing to do with DRM or content management, saying it’s “pure, paranoid conspiracy theory,” adding going wireless was a better way to deliver audio.

“Remember, we’ve been through this many times before,” explains Schiller. “We got rid of parallel ports, the serial bus, floppy drives, physical keyboards on phones — do you miss the physical keyboards on your phone? … At some point — some point soon, I think — we’re all going to look back at the furor over the headphone jack and wonder what the big deal was.”

AirPods Last 5 Hours Listening to Music; But Can Recharge Quickly

John Ternus, vice president of Mac, iPad, ecosystem, and audio engineering at Apple, touched on the company’s new AirPods, saying a short 15-minute boost can make the AirPods last another three hours.

As for the Bluetooth in AirPods, Apple said they developed their own chip, to allow them to easily control both ends of the pairing process across iOS, watchOS and macOS devices (tvOS??). Ternus explains “We use a Bluetooth connection, but cover it in a lot of secret sauce,” refusing to elaborate, only to have Schiller add the project is as advanced as Apple Pencil.

You can check out the entire article here at BuzzFeed. So what do you think—does Apple’s explanation make sense? Apple’s AirPods cost $219 in Canada—are you getting a pair?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • ward09

    The battery thing is obviously an excuse.

  • Biggy604

    I can imagine all the lost air pad lol these were designed for the non athletic people in mind.

  • canadan

    I have no issues with the audio jack being gone. I’m used to my wireless Sony MDR’s that I use with my phone and I cannot stand my earbuds that make me curse in French every time I try untangling the damn things and that also accidentally hook onto everything and rip out of my ears while doing my weights or cardio at the gym. If it means Apple can improve on other internals (who knows, maybe that’s why we now have 2 speakers with improved stereo sound), then even better. I will buy these to sync to my watch which I always wear when I workout 🙂

  • jay

    i have wireless headphones and i like them no cable hanging… however i use my phone in my car and yes i need the headphone jack right there while i am charging it. because on a long trip. i also have the screen on due to GOOGLE maps. i dont mind it is gone but at least wireless charging or maybe fast charging. it is how it is and normal user will maybe think about it twice

  • Michal

    deal breaker for me 🙁
    sticking with iphone 6s, i guess…

  • iGard Anderson

    They said they want to be “wireless”… how about removing charging cord first and then audio jack. Lol..
    I don’t mind that the jack is gone now but I’d swap the priorities

  • johnnygoodface

    219CAN$ is lower than most other wireless brands. And I’m not talking of the same common issues all those other models currently have: bad connectivity! I’d only trust Apple to have resolved that problem. I think the Airpods could almost have deserved a “one more thing…” quote!