Apple is said to be working on next-gen iPhones that looks virtually identical to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models… with one important difference. According to the Wall Street Journal, the upcoming iPhone 7 smartphones won’t have dedicated headphone jacks.

Instead, you’ll be able to connect headphones to the phone’s Lightning port or use Bluetooth headphones for a wire-free experience.

Rumors that Apple would do away with the headphone jack have been making the rounds for a while. But it turns out Apple won’t be the first company to make the move: Motorola’s Moto Z smartphone also lacks a headphone jack. And in April, Chinese company LeEco launched one of the first headphone-free phones.

moto z_01

It’s a bit early to say how widespread this trend will be. It’s possible that one day 3.5mm headphone jacks will be the exception, not the rule. But for now it’s phones like the Moto Z and LeEco Le 2 that stand out (both of those phones let you connect headphones to a USB-C port).

There are some advantages to eliminating the dedicated headphone jack. Including one less hole in the phone’s case makes it easier to produce a device that’s waterproof, dust-proof, and slim.

On the other hand, it could limit your options when choosing third-party headphones… or require you to attach an adapter if you want to use headphones that don’t feature Lightning or USB-C connectors. It could also make charging your phone while listening to music trickier unless you’re using wireless charging or wireless earbuds.

Apple hasn’t confirmed that it’s moving away from dedicated headphone jacks at this point. But the Wall Street Journal’s sources are usually pretty reliable, and the move certainly seems plausible… especially since Apple wouldn’t be the first company to make it.

What do you think?

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63 replies on “Do you care if a smartphone has a dedicated headphone jack?”

  1. This new economy has been brutal for mobile device innovation. You know it’s bad when manufacturers are spreading rumors of skimping out on something as cheap and basic as a headphone jack. Penny-pinching and corporate bean-counting don’t get any more extreme than that.

  2. As an occasional user of headphones I find the functionally useful, much like Disqus comments 🙂

  3. No, I don’t buy device lacks 3.5 jack, so I do care about the jack. 3.5 jack is simple, high reliability, and have a wide of audio-devices (stereo systems, headphones, car enter. systems and so on), made for years. Even then, if you combine with usb, you can’t charge your device, while you’re listening music on the device. (case: you’re charging from powerbank and listen music in headphones, while long trip is going on).

  4. what a complete pain in the ass that would be. I can bet the Apple Adapter costs $30+.

  5. The lack of a 3.5 headphone jack would not disqualify a phone for me. But I would factor in the extra cost of headsets when comparing models. That penalty is lilkely to be far more than the cost of the jack.

  6. I won’t buy a phone w/o a 3.5mm jack. Period.
    It is insane what the
    industry currently is trying to force us into, just to save 13½ cents,
    by using ONE single USB port for everything.
    How the heck are we
    supposed to charge a phone, HDMI its contents to a TV/monitor AND listen
    to audio through headphones – all at the same time, when everything
    gets piped through this ridiculous one USB port? Around 2012 phones used
    to have dedicated jacks for each task, so that all could be done
    simultaneously. I am not willing to carry around a whole zoo of gadgets,
    adapters and hubs, just to be able to use a smartphone in the most
    elementary ways. Screw you, industry.

    1. It’s a lot less than 13½ cents they’re saving. Probably more like 3½ (if that). This is corporate cheapness and laziness at its best. What’s next? The exclusion of the volume control? No built-in microphone? How about bring-your-own screen? The industry has its head so far up its ass, it’s looping around.

  7. Great idea Apple, how long will it be until you push out a software update so that only Apple wireless devices will work with iPhones. This is why I would never buy an Apple product. They’re very nice, but I have no interest in having what I can do with my own property constrained by the cold dead hand of Steve Jobs.

  8. actually my first smarphone (HTC Touch Diamond 2) didn’t have a 3.5mm jack… I had to get an adapter that had usb pass-through and had two(?!) 3.5mm jacks on it – the thing costed less than 10 euro and worked pretty well. If I recall correctly at the time HTC Windows Mobile phones had this UsbExt port that covered those things…

    So the poll question is answered… already did it. Would I do it again? It depends if there was a decent, cheap option to connect a generic pair of headphones.

    Final point is battery life, I value it quite a lot so Bluetooth or similar wireless technologies are not an option, powered usb neither.

    {extra: this article mentions this also…… i.e. nothing new here}

  9. I do care. I have one headphone and I can use it on every device. Should I buy one for the phone? WTF!?

  10. While it may be aesthetically pleasing to have no headphone jack I would always prefer a phone with one. This port is a standard for over 25 years.
    I have three very good headphones and I can use them in the office, on my tablet, on my gaming pc, with my notebook and with my phone without ever thinking about charging them or having bluetooth dongles. And neither my office PC nor my gaming PC have bluetooth.

  11. With hardware it’s better to have a feature and not use it than to not have it and then want it someday. Apple has never really understood that, or if they have, they haven’t cared.

  12. I care because I have a set of true studio headphones. They’re older and actually use the big jack, which requires an adapter. I’ve yet to try a pair of bluetooth headphones that have studio quality, even cheap studio quality. There’s often bass boosting, or treble reduction, or other problems.

    But I’m hardly representative of the populace. And Apple always goes for the wider populace in their decisions.

  13. I use BT ear buds while working in my shop. They are OK for quality. The big advantage is I can work without a cable. But sometimes my BT ear buds are not fully charged, or for some other reason I need to fall back on my wired headphones. I prefer to have the choice. I expect OEMs are going this route to free up space in today’s thinner devices, just like they are using smaller batteries. Some are already too thin for my taste. I’d rather have a more ergonomic phone to hold than a thin one.

    I did not like using the Load Comments button. I see no advantage for its use on my end, reading this site on a desktop PC. Perhaps there is one for a user on a cellular connection.

  14. i’ve been using bt headphones recently and i like them. no cables to get tangled in door handles is a positive offset by been another thing needing to be charged. but i suspect i’ll go back to my wired headset as i need them for my fm radio on my phones smart and dumb. not a problem iphone users will ever have as they want you buying music from itunes, not free radio…

  15. wish apple would stop innovating crap where people have to buy all new accessories to do what they have been doing for 10 years..

  16. For me the biggest thing is still wireless charging.

    I understand that it is less important with fast charging, but placing on a pad at night does well enough for me most of the time. I realize they don’t want to add thickness, but the original Nexus 5 is very thin with supporting Qi charging. Does anyone look at it and think, “This is just far too thick of a phone?”

  17. I prefer having the jack. But I did just get an Aumeo recently which gets its signal via BT and the headphones plug into its standard 3.5mm port.

  18. You guys realize all you have to do is attach the USB-C to 3.5mm adapter to your existing headphones! You’re carrying headphones around anyway, so what’s the difference (a little extra bulk)?

    1. The cost of an adapter, and without the ability to charge and play at the same time plus big brother drm copyright enforcement technology to boot. for what, a thinness savings of .0001MM’s compared to a phone with a jack. No thanks!

  19. I’ve been using bluetooth for my car (because the audio sounds like crap over my aux cable) and occasionally with a portable speaker.. but I still use a nice pair of headphones with a cable for private listening. So it’ll be a while before I’m ready to let go of the 3.5mm jack.

  20. No need to worry. Apple will sell you a headphone jack adapter for $29.99.

    1. Tacitus, I think that price would more like $69.95. There would also be a problem with studio-type closed-ear headphones which Apple won’t likely sell for this phone. Of course they own Beats now so they could surprise me but that brand of headphone starts at $200 so anything from them would be super-expensive!

  21. Unless USB C ports become ubiquitous (which they are not yet), and a USB C headphone has a working 3.5mm jack adapter, then 3.5mm jacks need to stay on phones. And apple proprietary port headphones? @#$%^&* no.

  22. I care about using standard ports rather than proprietary rubbish that only works with one make of phone – I don’t want to need a different set of headphones for my phone, mp3 player and laptop. At least the Moto Z is using USB C.

    This is not the first attempt to change from 3.5″, my 2005 Motorola smartphone had a 2.5″ headphones, but these died out after a while.

  23. Considering i own like almost 5 different pairs of earphone/headphone, yea I care. I also have two Bluetooth headset but remembering to charge them is a PIA.

  24. Oh — and while we’ve got a post that’s likely to generate a lot of comments, I’ve got another question for you. I’m experimenting with a new “load comments” button.

    My hope is that this’ll make pages load slightly more quickly by only loading Diqus/comments upon request. But if you find it annoying to have to click an extra button to view comments, now’s your chance to let me know.

    Update: Alright, day 2 of the grand experiment and now I’ve configured comments to only load once you scroll down the page. No clicks required. Feel free to continue letting me know what you think!

    1. Comments usually load last and no need to wait for them to load before reading the contents of the page so not sure it helps hiding them.
      An extra click is a downside but the bigger downside is waiting for the comments to load.

      1. Yeah, this plugin also supports “lazy loading,” which just makes sure they don’t load until you scroll down the page. I might try that instead of the “load comments” button in a few days.

        Really the only thing I know I could do that’d have more than a 2% impact on page speed would be to eliminate all the ads on the site. But then I’d also probably have to go get a day job. 🙂

        1. I experience problems with Disqus comments from time to time.
          But the problem doesn’t seem to be on your end, its from Disqus.
          That was with your previous setup which wasn’t automatic loading, you actually had the lazy loading running.
          So I normally have to push the “Retry Load Comments” button anyway.

          So for me, and probably everyone who has problems with Disqus from time to time… this Load Comments button is actually an improvement. The page actually loads slightly faster, and Disqus loads the same-slow-speed.

          For those that have fast access to Disqus servers (USA-metro only), its a minor hassle. Not sure if that makes your choice easier or harder Brad.

          edit: Best thing you can do is to look at all the traffic that is on Liliputing, and see what total percentage of the readers are from USA and Canada. If they make up less than 70% I would say make Disqus a from Load Comments. This might have an added bonus of stopping those pesky “first” comments too, and encourage people to read the article before commenting.

        2. I usually use a computer with a higher-end Core2Duo CPU so my computer isn’t a slouch in the speed department anyway but ads on this site usually don’t affect usability. I actually have an ad blocker but have enabled ads for this site so you can at least get your half-cent for every page I load. I have a laptop with a really slow processor, maybe I should get it out and see if I have any problems loading this site with ads.

          1. Yeah, if you’ve got a modern(ish) computer, a reasonably fast internet connection *and* visit the site often (so your browser caches some assets), the site loads pretty quickly. Clearly I’m on the site all the time, and for me it loads almost instantly.

            But usage stats and third-party performance tests tell me that it can take a very long time for the site to load for some users.

            I do what I can to keep ads non-annoying while still generating enough revenue to make a living. But I’m also always looking for ways to speed up the site… even if the improvements are often barely noticeable.

          2. I just loaded this site on that super-slow laptop (with an AMD E1-2100 CPU), it is a bit sticky until the page is fully loaded. Loading this page (with ads) took about a minute and a half. My desktop takes less than 20 seconds on the same internet connection. With computers made in the past five or six years that is likely a worst-case scenario, though.

        3. I like that better. Most articles, I don’t feel the need to comment, so I never get down that far, and for the ones that I do, there it is.

    2. I didn’t really see an improvement. Normally I scroll down to the comments, and then they load.

    3. Sadly I’ve already discovered that this does nothing to prevent comment spammers.

    4. I like it. Site feels faster to me. You could add “auto-load comments” checkbox that stores it’s state in localStorage for people who always want to see the comments.

    5. Couldn’t you load Disqus comments once you’ve scrolled down to them? The button and click annoyed me for a sec but I’m sure I’d get used to it

      1. That’s probably what I’ll end up doing. But I figured I’d give this a try for a day or two first.

    6. I prefer it to automatically show comments. Sometimes it’s hard to find the “show comments” button on other sites amongst the ads.

    7. I like the “load comments”, but I could see being disappointing on some of the articles that don’t generate many (or any comments).

      As a WordPress blogger, can I ask what plugin you are using?

      1. Yeah, it does seem odd to click the Load Comments button only to find no comments. I could try a different phrase, but I’m leaning toward just loading it when you scroll down.

        Here’s the plugin I’m using:

        1. I don’t see it being annoying at all, because just before you click on the heading/link of the article there is a little writing that says Date, Time, Editor, and how many comments.

          And if there are no comments it simply says “0 Comments”… but its still Hyperlinked to open the article’s page, scroll to the bottom, and auto-load the comments.

          So its a moot point.

    8. I’m always a fan of clicking to load comments. That’s not a problem here. But it’s an essential feature for maintaining sanity when visiting any news site, especially those involving politics.

    9. It’s annoying… for a moment I thought there was something wrong with my browser.

      Perhaps what you can do is to only show up to 20 comments and load others on request.

      The lazy-loading looks more interesting….

    10. I have to reload the page three times to see comments, and that is only after being forced to scroll down to the blank area to get Disqus to wake up. It goes like this:

      1. Scroll down to the blank area.

      2. Enable scripting for Lilliputing. Page reloads.

      3. Wait for Disqus to show up, then allow scripting for it. Page reloads.

      4. Wait for Diquscdn to show up, then allow scripting for it. Page reloads.

      5. Wait again for comments to load from Disqus.

      6. Reverse above when done.

      You must do this in three steps; you can’t do it all at once because all the scripting is nested.

      The take away here is: Too much scripting not good.

      1. That’s the issue most people have. And its an issue mostly for overseas visitors (i.e./ not USA or Canada).

        1. Interesting, so you’re saying Disqus treats users outside of N. America differently for some reason? Maybe the URLs are a clue: Disquscdn may be an alias for some global Content Delivery Network, like Akamai.

    11. If faster page loading times equals higher SEO rankings, and higher SEO rankings means more page visits, then it’s a no brainer.

  25. While not as dedicated to the idea of hardwired headphones as some users, I still think that it represents a well-engineered, highly interoperable fallback position that allows you to pipe the audio from your phone to pretty much any audio device under the sun, from headphones to a stadium PA system, in a pinch so long as you have a cable of the appropriate type. I think over-complicating things by relying solely on wireless or digital standards is ultimately a reduction in quality.

  26. I use the headphone jack for everything
    – To actually use headphones (i hate the idea of bluetooth headphones… i already have to charge my phone, i don’t want to have to charge my headphones too).
    – To hook up to my car stereo (as well as my wife’s car stereo)
    – To hook up to my living room stereo
    – To hook up to my office stereo

    If I need a OTG-to-Headphone adapter, will i have to carry it around with me everywhere??

    If I need to use bluetooth, do I then have to get a BT receiver for every location?

    Headphone jack is universal, simple, and easy.

  27. Here’s the problem. If I’m using Bluetooth headphones at the time I am looking to buy a new phone then maybe. But wired headphones are still the fallback. Unfortunately I don’t want to use my headphones in the same port used for charging. All my headphone jacks (on tablets, low end phones, high end phones, etc.) end up failing at worst or becoming “finicky”at best. I also remember mini-usb charging ports becoming “finicky”. micro-usb ports have been better but it remains to be seen if they can stand up to the strain of being used as headphone jacks. It’s one thing to survive being plugged in at home on a desk and the occasional pull, quite another being plugged into several times a day, the strain of having it in a pocket as pressure is applied to the Jack from all the movement, the times the headphone cable snags on something and is the address stress on the cable/jack that comes with that.
    Plus if device makers start removing the DAC to save costs since they can be integrated into headphones using usb-c connectors (one of the arguments I saw I favour audio over usb-c), I doubt any headphone, except for the really high-end ones, would have a better DAC than that incorporated into most phones.

  28. YES I care. Wouldn’t even consider a phone without a headphone port.

    Do not want headphones that need charging (IE bluetooth) and I want to be able to charge and use at the same time, not to mention not to be using adaptors, or buy new headphones that don’t work on anything else. Getting rid of the headphone port– which is a cost cutting exercise let’s be honest, and not a very effective one either– is a complete abortion of an idea.

    1. Yeah, it’s not as if the “savings” will be passed on to customers.

  29. I wouldn’t consider buying a device with no headphone jack. I’m not interested in Bluetooth headphones, and less interested in USB-C headphone adapters.

    However, I would be interested in a device that has a USB-C connector, with the option of connecting a DAC/amp via USB-C. But I would still not give up a 3.5mm connector

    If Motorola is going to abandon the the 3.5mm jack, they should take the opportunity to make a Motomod module that is a DAC/amp with a 3.5mm jack.

    1. FYI that is called a USB port. You can do that with regular micro USB already and I assume that hasn’t changed with USB-C either. Just needs software support, which I think android has, definitely some versions.

      1. I’m not sure what you’re trying to correct me on here, I’m aware of what a USB port is.

        1. You say you’d be interested in a device that does exactly what already existing solutions do. “well I’d be interested in having a phone that makes and receives calls”.

          1. I’m fully aware that current devices and Micro-USB is capable of doing that.

            What I meant was, if they are going to get rid the 3.5mm headphone jack, it would be nice if they offered an OEM solution, such as a DAC/amp.

            When I said that I want it to be USB-C, that is simply because I want USB-C, not because I think it is required to do that.

            I’m aware there are already such devices, I just want it to have the fit and finish of a thought-out product. Not like the external amps that audiophiles strap to their players with rubber bands.

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