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USB-C Has A New Audio Standard That Spells Bad News For The Headphone Jack

USB-C Has A New Audio Standard That Spells Bad News For The Headphone Jack

The decision by Apple to do away with the headphone jack in its newest iPhone 7 devices was not met with a standing ovation, especially for those who prefer this traditional port for audio. Well, they better steel themselves again because the USB Implementers Forum has finally gotten to publishing its long awaited Audio Device Class 3.0 Specification, which effectively provides manufacturers of devices a new standard in which to course sound by way of USB-C ports on everything from smartphones and tablets to personal computers. And the Forum is quite deliberate on its objective, and that is to encourage more and more tech firms to get rid of the old school 3.5 millimeter port, in order to make way for a new audio spec that allows for a thinner design in handsets, improved water proofing capabilities, and making room for other new exciting features in the future.

Of course, not everybody will agree to the Forum’s goals. After all, one can still actually take advantage of the new audio spec without getting rid of the headphone jack. But the benefits of the new standard are hard to deny -- it can offer enhanced digital audio support (like headphones with custom audio processing abilities, for instance), as well build on earlier USB designs by focusing power saving protocols and keyword detection. Shorthand, the new standard could allow for longer battery lives (because of the tech’s power efficiency), and allow support for voice operated controls (which would really be cool).

Still, even with the new audio spec now officially published, it does not automatically mean that all manufacturers of devices will walk the same path as Apple or Motorola, companies that appear to be intent in making the 3.5 millimeter headphone jack extinct. Some may remember that Samsung, considered the biggest seller of smartphone devices in the world right now, still keeps the headphone jack in its more popular handsets. 

On the other hand, those forward thinking phone makers may have been just waiting for this standard to become official in order for them get a move on with regards to their plans in shifting to a new audio tech. After all, now that there is official support, why not do it now and just take a first step to the future, right? And if enough manufacturers get in with the program, change is indeed coming, and supporters of the old headphone jack may be left with no other choice but to adapt.