Apple first started the trend of leaving out the 3.5 mm jack from their smartphones two years ago. The first casualty was the iPhone 7. Motorola followed suit with the Moto Z. Since then, a number of other mobile brands have joined the bandwagon and released smartphones without a headphone jack.
What is a headphone jack?
Now, just in case you are not clear what we are talking about, I shall explain what what a headphone jack is. It the analog socket used to plug in a headset, earphones or headphones. It comes in either 2.5 mm or 3.5 mm sizes for smartphones. The 3.5 mm jack has become the standard for mobile phones.
Why ditch the 3.5 mm jack?
As we have seen, most smartphone makers are doing all they can to reduce the dependence on cables to the barest minimum. We are seeing wireless charging gaining ground. Eventually, sooner or later, everything will go wireless.
So what are the reasons that smartphone manufacturers are giving for removing the 3.5 mm jack from their recent smartphones?
OnePlus claims that removing the 6T’s headphone jack affords more room for an in-display fingerprint sensor. Talk about sacrificing Peter to bail out Paul.
Apple says that no headphone jack means less openings in phones and that it will make the phone more water resistant. But we see other manufacturers release water proof phones that have audio jack.
Lastly, there is the claim that no headphone jack may mean a larger battery. Don’t even get me started. Apple removed the audio jack but still has the stingiest battery capacities on their smartphones. Somebody is being clever by half.
Follow the money
If you want to know why businesses make what seem to be unreasonable choices, just follow the money trail. Both Apple and OnePlus, for example, have released accessories that you can use in place of the removed jack. Apple has the Airpods ($159), wired EarPods ($30), and the Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter ($9). OnePlus has the Bullets Wireless set that costs ($69).
Do you get the picture? At the end of the day, it is not difficult to conclude that these companies want to sell you extra stuff and make more money off you. It is capitalism at work.
The good thing is that there are other smartphone brands who have refused to go in that direction. If you cannot do without a 3.5 mm jack yet, spend your money there. If you do not care about a headphone jack or spending extra, then you are good.
I wonder, though, how long it will be before they all capitulate and throw away the 3.5mm audio standard entirely from their smartphones. And then, the dear old headphone jack will become extinct.
So, over to you. Can you do without the headphone jack or not? Or perhaps you have already dumped it too because your favourite brand did away with it. What are your thoughts on this matter?