The End of the Headphone Jack in Apple Products?

apple jack

The rumour mill has been spinning again. Apple are no strangers to this situation, with people constantly trying to pre-empt what their next move will be. This time, questions are raised over the fate of the headphone jack in Apple devices and if a Lightning connector will replace them.

The rumour spawns from two connecting pieces of information. The first, the recent acquisition of Beats music and Electronics for $3.2 billion. The second, a leaked piece of information reported by 9to5mac.com stating that Apple has changed the manufacturing specifications of its MFI (Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod) program that allows iOS devices to connect to headphones using a Lightning connector instead of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

The benefits for the consumer is that the Lightning connector will allow digital audio to take over from analogue. Forbes comments that this will allow, ‘an exceedingly high lossless stereo 48 kHz digital output and mono 48 kHz digital input.’ However, for people such as myself, for whom that benefit doesn’t strike you off your feet, the main selling point is the increased functionality that will come with the Lightning connector. The headphones will still allow the listener to change the volume as well as tracks but there is potential for more than this. These improvements could include the control of certain apps as well as the ability to charge your device through a headphone connection.

However, there is no denying that a large motive behind this switch is a commercial one. Currently, the headphone jack is standard across Apple devices and most other non-Apple products as well. By making this conversion, Apple creates a further exclusivity to their products. Through this they’ll be able to charge an increased amount for their new “Apple Beats” headphones. People who would want to stay with their current headphones would have to buy an adaptor. Which if you’re anyway like me, you’d find slightly cumbersome and frustrating.

There is a possibility that if this rumour became a reality some people would be put off Apple products, with this distancing between Apple and all else becoming the “line in the sand”. Although I doubt this will be the case. I may find myself having to dedicate an entire pocket to different headphones and adaptors just to hear my favourite tunes.

Jack is a Falmouth University graduate and a self-employed writer with a love of technology.