The headphone jack has been around for ages, but Intel and other tech firms are now working on a new standard that will help kill off the beloved technology. According to a leaked document, the 3.5 mm audio jack will no longer feature on Apple’s iPhone 7 for mysterious reasons.
The headphone jack made its debut on Sony’s famed Walkman audio player, which used tapes to render music. Shortly after, it was widely implemented in almost every type of devices and gadgets from personal computers to smartphones and fitness trackers.
Intel now has plans to replace the old jack with the new standard in the coming years. But that not only draws the ire of users, it also has some negative outcomes. For example, removing the headphone jack for good will make most traditional headphones and earbuds useless, unless users decide to buy themselves an adapter.
Furthermore, USB type-C-equipped handsets will have a major drawback: users will not be able charge their handsets while listening to music since the sole port is busy with the headphones.
On Tuesday, however, two Intel developers unveiled an USB standard that may spell the doom of the good ol’ headphone jack. The new tech which is expected to be released this quarter will sport a technology that prevents headphones from using too much battery power. Plus, the new standard will make lowering volume and pausing music more convenient.
The news, however, was met with criticism, as many people don’t see the need to ditch a perfectly functional technology that has been around for more than 50 years. Intel architects said that there are numerous reasons to adopt the new standard.
For instance, the old jack is too large and, thus, bars phone manufacturers from producing slimmer phones we all have been dreaming of. The old audio jack was often behind interferences that can damage electronics inside the devices.
Additionally, the new standard will allow users to have more options when it comes to sound quality without the need of high-end headphones. Digital audio can cancel background noise and can enhance audio playback with various features such as the ‘concert hall effect.’
The new technology has been criticized because USB tech is known to drain life battery like there’s no tomorrow. And while that’s not a problem with PCs and other plugged-in devices, it can become a huge problem with mobile phones.
In response, Intel explained that the USB Type-C will be more energy efficient than other USB standards as it can shut down features that are not currently in use. One Intel employee who is working on the standard said that the difference in battery life between the two technologies will be “negligible.”
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