Will your next smartphone have a headphone jack?

13 August 2019 - 11:44 By AFP Relaxnews
Smartphone manufacturers continue to phase out the 3.5mm audio jack.
Smartphone manufacturers continue to phase out the 3.5mm audio jack.
Image: Slavica / iStock via AFP Relaxnews

As smartphones get slimmer and users' expectations for device performance become higher, phone manufacturers are choosing to swap bulky headphone jacks out for something thinner or to omit them completely. How popular is the latter?

At Samsung's Unpacked event this week in New York, the company announced its latest flagship devices - the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ -- neither of which have headphone jacks. This is because this type of port takes up a significant amount of space that could otherwise be used for performance-improving internal components or even a larger battery. Essentially, as smartphones become thinner and more advanced, the space taken up by a headphone jack is considered wasted.

Samsung's Note 10 series devices are the first by the company to go without a 3.5mm audio port; instead, users will need to go wireless or invest in a set of headphones with a Type-C plug so that they can use the charging port as the headphone jack.

In 2014, Apple launched the iPhone 7, the first model by the company to omit the port. The change was received with mixed reviews; however, no complaints ever pushed Apple to bring the jack back. Instead, users were encouraged to go wireless with a pair of AirPods or to get a Type-C wired set of headphones.

Oddly enough, the newest generations of the iPad Air, iPad, and iPad mini don the 3.5mm port, but the new iPad Pro does not. This suggests that the whole segment may eventually drop it.

Neither the Pixel 3 nor Pixel 3 XL have headphone jacks either, but a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter does come in the box to help users manage the transition. The lite version of the series, the Pixel 3a, does retain the conventional jack.

It's clear that industry-leading smartphone manufacturers are committing to this change, and as a result, smaller brands are following suit. Among the other companies dropping the 3.5mm audio jack in some of their latest releases are OnePlus, Motorola, Sony, and Huawei.


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