The 3.5mm Port Died of a Slow Death

The 3.5mm Port Died of a Slow Death

July 13, 2016 12:02 EST • Alexandre Vallières-Lagacé • 3 minute read

I did not want to participate to the whole headphone jack is going to be replaced by a Lightning port nonsense, but even after all the words laid on paper and all the words spoken in microphones there still seem to be people that think the 3.5mm will stay. Or be replaced by another port.

There are no ways to put this gently. The headphone port has been dead for a while now and it won’t come back in the fall.

Sure, I get it that it’s much easier to just use that standard 3.5mm piece of metal, since when does an existing technology we are all comfortable using kept Apple from innovating?

The floppy drive, the CD/DVD and a bunch of different ports over the last four decades are living proof that Apple does not live in the past.

What Then?

Bluetooth. Now, I know you all have been using Bluetooth with your iPhones for the last few years and you have pairing issues, signal drops and pops, etc. But this is still the future nonetheless. Just not as you have experienced it. Of course, Bluetooth will always be better next year with the new revision of the specs, this has become a running gag.

But what if Apple all of a sudden takes Bluetooth seriously and starts using the latest profile to make audio over Bluetooth great? After all, both the 6S generation, the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 all have a Bluetooth 4.0 chip that was recently updated to support Bluetooth 4.2.

Once again this Bluetooth update adds more speed and more bandwidth, exactly 250% faster and 10x more bandwidth. Perhaps this year Apple can leverage this new update to allow for better wireless transmission of audio?

What About AptX and the likes?

These add-ons are not required and according to the Bluetooth specs if both the receiving device and transmitting device can decode the file, there is no need for another compression engine. Basically your phone can send the raw MP3 to your headphones and they can decode it there.

This is probably why Apple never got on the AptX wagon in the first place.

What’s the Lightning Port for?

Over the last year that Apple really aimed at using it to recharge accessories like the Pencil. So we are going to see some kind of Bluetooth headset or earbuds that can recharge from the iPhone or iPad Pro’s Lightning port. Not to transmit music in replacement of the 3.5mm cable.

When Apple comes out with a new generation of Beats headphones or earbuds, they are going to use the Lightning port to be recharged. Or perhaps the new iPhone 7 Smart Connector? But one thing is sure, we won’t see wired earbuds that plug into the Lightning port.

The 3.5mm port is dead and it is time we welcome our new Bluetooth headphones overlords!