Is It Time To Bid Farewell To 3.5 Millimeter Audio Jacks?
The 3.5 millimeter audio jack first became popular when Sony introduced its Walkman just before the end of 1970s. In the personal computer age, the technology’s life was extended when users everywhere used it to connect their headphones to their PCs and laptops. On the onset of the smartphone era, the 3.5 mm audio jack was similarly used by people who wanted to listen to music through their smartphones and tablet devices. But the way Intel sees things, the 3.5 mm audio jack could be on its way out. The reason? The rising popularity of the new USB Type C connector, which is now being used by high profile smartphones and even PCs these days.
Of course, the 3.5 mm audio jack will not go extinct overnight. There are simply too many people still dependent on this technology, not to mention countless mobile devices and devices that are still being manufactured with this connector standard in mind. But as revealed by Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail, both Intel architects, a new USB audio standard is coming out before the end of this quarter. This new specification even comes with features that make sure a USB headphone does not drain too much of a battery’s energy, and should define how buttons for playback management should be set up for USB headphones. If this standard paves the way for the USB Type C connector as the new popular standard for audio jacks, then perhaps it is time to say goodbye to the 3.5 mm audio jack.
The changing preferences of today’s mobile users and music listeners do not help the 3.5 mm audio jack’s case. The old standard just takes up a lot space, and consumers nowadays want their devices slimmer. Also, the analog circuitry of the 3.5 mm audio jack can sometimes disrupt other electronic components inside a smartphone. Moreover, the USB Type C standard improves and expands upon the 3.5 mm audio jack’s limitations. Digital audio has made it possible for all kinds of sound processing options that do not require pricey headphone gear.
Furthermore, the USB Type C connector is starting to gain traction. It is now being used on the Apple MacBook, HP’s Spectre laptops, the Google Nexus 6P smartphone (made by Huawei), and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phablet, just to name a few. Of course, when a new type of technology comes along, there is always a period of adjustment. But it can not be denied that more and more users are starting to realize the superiority of the USB Type C’s technology.