The War Of The Jacks For Headphones Is Still Alive

The headphone jack is one of the elements that is never missing in any sound device, including smartphones. Not even the rise of Bluetooth connectivity in mobile phones, MP3 players and all kinds of devices has managed to end this connector … at least so far. And it is that in recent times there are several manufacturers of electronic products that pose to eliminate this type of connections from their devices. A war on the connector that Apple started at the time and now poses to follow Samsung, being likely to produce a waterfall effect, as has happened with other advances of these leading manufacturers.


A little history

But to understand this decision, it is necessary to take the time machine and travel until 1964. This was the year that this connector was created, already thought to simplify the process of connecting all kinds of audio devices. And it is that this simple plug solved the problem of connecting equipment that, until now, required copper wires and other more complex connections. However, this product would have its peak with the arrival of portable radios, such as the Sony EFM-117 in 1979 and the popularization of the Walkman a few years later.

As of this moment, the presence of this type of headphone jacks in all types of equipment related to image and sound has been almost essential. These connections are present in MP3 players, portable radios, stereo systems, sound cards for computers, laptops or even in modern Smart TVs. It is also present in mobiles, although as we are seeing, its end in this type of devices may be close.




Why this connector disappears

The main reason for this disappearance has a very specific name: Bluetooth. This connectivity, which is version 5.0, not only allows us to dispense with the cables when connecting our best headphones , but also generates high sound quality. In addition, it has the additional advantage that it is bidirectional, as is the case with traditional 3.5 mm Jack connections, so that with a Bluetooth device we can talk on the phone, answer calls and get better control options than with conventional wired models.

So this would be the main reason why manufacturers eliminate these connections from their devices, which really are not as necessary today as they have been until now because there are already proven alternatives to replace them.

Anyway, in the case of manufacturers of mobile phones and smartphones there is an additional reason. And it is that the general tendency is to make these models increasingly flat and more compact. An approach that can clash with the design of this type of connectors, which require enough space to be installed in the circuitry of these devices.

As much as the 3 or almost 4 millimeters thick required by the connector, both for its own installation and for the housing part and the rest of the elements necessary for its assembly. So the removal of this connector would further refine this thickness and these terminals. All this without forgetting that the space left by not having this connector also makes it easier to rethink the structure of these plates and to be able to expand the battery space, reduce the weight or make more efficient equipment.


Current and future situation

So, the first to launch the ring to remove the Jack connectors from their devices was Apple, back in 2106. In this case, this change also meant eliminating from their terminals the only thing they had in common with the rest of the market , because the included Lightning connector already made a difference compared to the micro USB connectors of other devices. However, in the case of Apple added one more aspect to the improvements we have commented on in the previous section. And it is that the situation of the port interfered in the new photography systems of the Apple 7, so with its elimination the company solved the problem.




The second great company that takes the step forward and will proceed to eliminate this type of connections from its devices is Samsung, who plans to start executing this plan in its designs launched from 2019. In this case, there is no approach or need specific, as was the case with Apple models, unless it is known. Although the space gain and the extra class that seems to add this aspect to high-end models is already sufficient.

As for the rest of the manufacturers in the market, there is no tendency especially declared in this regard, nor does it appear that they are running to eliminate those connectors. In any case, certain digital media suggest that low- and medium-range mobiles may maintain the connectors, for reasons of cost, while high-end models do add to this new standard. Anyway, we’ll see what happens as time goes by.


Wired Alternatives

Luckily, for those who prefer to keep traditional wired headphones, there are still alternatives. And it is that within those trends that we were commenting on there is one that aims to maintain the DAC or digital to analog signal converter, which is what wired headphones need to function. In fact, there are more and more wired headphones that work with type C connectors, so the removal of the Jack port would be nothing more than a change in format.

As an alternative, there are also several manufacturers that already have connectors, so that the ports included in the terminals can become this Jack connection. A somewhat cumbersome solution, but that may be suitable for those who want to continue using those traditional headphones in which so much money was spent.



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