If the rumors are true, Apple is about to cause big changes for headphone companies, by removing the 3.5 mm headphone jack from future iPhone models. This means other electronics manufacturers are likely to follow with their phone models and other devices like laptops. While the standard up to now has been the classic 3.5 mm headphone jack, for almost every electronic device, the use of Bluetooth headphones has certainly been on the rise.
Apple is reportedly looking to remove extra ports from their phones by using just one port for both charging and headphones. This could mean users will need an adaptor to connect their headphones to certain devices, or worse, be forced to carry multiple types of headphones. The most reasonable solution would be to switch to wireless headphones which could easily be connected to most devices using Bluetooth.
While this change can be cumbersome for most users, this would definitely cause an increase in sales for headphone manufacturers who are investing in creating wireless headphones. There are some downsides to wireless headphones, such as battery life, connectivity issues, and sound quality.
What does this change mean for the mobile accessories market?
Headphone prices will most likely increase. While the price increases might not be too dramatic, using technologies like Bluetooth and the lightning jack can increase manufacturing costs.
What are the benefits of the new lightning headphone jack for users?
More “smart” capabilities for headphones. This will make it easier for headphones to directly connect to a voice assistant, heart-rate monitor, or any other sensor. Play and pause buttons will no longer be the only built in feature on headphones.
What are the benefits for Apple?
Apple will be the biggest winner with this change, since the lightning jack is something that is exclusively on Apple products. Manufacturers will have to pay to create headphones with the Apple lightning jack and consumers will have to buy new headphones exclusively for their Apple products. This is nothing new for Apple, since they typically create products meant to exclusively accompany other Apple products. The fact that Apple owns the lightning jack will put Beats on the forefront for lightning headphones initially. Introducing lightning headphones will also make it easier for Apple to waterproof the iPhone as a response to competitors like Samsung.
While these changes are approaching, the use of the 3.5 mm headphone jack is not going anywhere anytime soon. It will be several years before devices discontinue the use of the 3.5 mm jack, if they choose to. The true benefits of alternative headphone connections must first be demonstrated before any drastic change happens, although Apple usually paves the way for other tech companies to follow. The real question is whether users will be willing to purchase separate headphones or adaptors just for their iPhones.
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