The iPhone Is Probably Losing Its Headphone Jack, and I Feel Fine

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It’s a move that’s been rumored for past iPhone updates, but a relatively reliable Japanese source now says (according to MacRumors) it’s really happening on the next edition: the standard headphone jack will be gone. People across the Internet are losing it over the small change—literally, the reason is to make the iPhone smaller. Thinner, to be specific. Really, though, everyone should calm down.

After all, this is just Apple doing what Apple does. The company has never been afraid to make big changes that leave old technology in the dust—even when it’s their own technology. For the discomfort it may cause some people, these decisions are usually made for an overall benefit in the long run. When Apple changed its computer hardware over to Intel chipsets from PowerPC, they dropped support for PowerPC applications like a bad habit.

Again, it caused some people distress at the time, but it happened in the interest of improving their computers without forcing them to become backwards-compatible messes. (A problem Windows has long struggled with.) For most people and for most purposes, the change was fine, and the headphone jack will likely go the same way.

After all, the iPhone has come a long way from its main feature being, “You don’t have to carry a separate iPod and cell phone anymore!” For most users, the device is so much more than a music player, and the stock headphones that come with it are just fine. That means they’ll barely even notice when they buy a new iPhone and the headphones plug into the Lightning charging port instead of a standard headphone jack.

Even better, maybe the standard headphones wouldn’t need to plug into anything at all. Even if it doesn’t happen at the same time as losing the headphone jack, an eventual transition to wireless Bluetooth headphones seems fairly inevitable. People will initially complain about having headphones they have to charge, but it seems impossible to avoid that becoming an eventual fact of life. Hey, with wireless charging technologies rapidly growing in popularity, it might not ever seem like an issue at all.

For people who are serious audiophiles and feel the need to use an expensive set of headphones with a standard jack, I’d be surprised if those same people don’t already have another, better device they can use to listen to music. If not, I’m sure they’d be willing to buy a (probably relatively cheap) adapter along with their incredibly expensive, brand new iPhone to make it compatible with whatever headphones they like. Or hey, maybe Apple will start selling some high quality lightning-enabled headphones those people might even want to switch to. For the (relatively, out of the crazy number of iPhone owners) small number of people who just really like traditional headphones, the adapter will probably be fine and is unlikely to break the bank.

Of course, that’s not to say that no one will be bothered by this. It’s just that Apple knows how many people use their phones and for what, and they’re making this call based on the bulk of their users. For those who are unhappy with the change, they’ll quickly choose a solution and get over it, and all the outrage will seem overblown.

If there’s anything truly ridiculous about this development, it’s the idea of a thinner iPhone. They’re already more than thin and light enough—a bigger battery at the same (or even slightly wider) thickness would be a much better feature than making the device thinner and more fragile than it already is. That’s silly, but removing the headphone jack isn’t nearly as big a deal as the few people who will care would have you believe.

(image via Hirotomo T on Flickr)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>