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If you have purchased a phone in the last few years, you probably noticed that the headphone jack is missing. This can be concerning if you still use wired headphones. But why are they doing this?
Can You Still Buy a New Phone With a Headphone Jack?
If you still have wired headphones, you are not completely out of luck. You can still buy certain new phones with a headphone jack.
Of course, you won’t be able to get a new iPhone with a headphone jack as they stopped adding those back in 2016. However, there are still plenty of options out there for you.
First, it is important to know that you can still use wired headphones with iPhones. Apple released an adapter that allows users to plug their wired headphones into the charging port. So, if you really want an iPhone but still have wired headphones, there is a way for you to use them.
Regarding Android phones, you still have some options for a headphone jack. You will have to settle for a mid-range phone to find a headphone jack, as their biggest models do not feature one. However, you can still buy a new Android phone with a headphone jack.
There are some alternative options for you with Google and Sony phones as well. People may not consider these phones to be top-of-the-line, but they can provide you with cool features and a headphone jack for good measure.
So, finding new smartphones with a headphone jack is still possible. However, the biggest flagship phones will not have one available. Instead, you may need a converter or switch to wireless if you prefer those.
Who First Removed Headphone Jacks and Why?
Apple was the first smartphone company to remove headphone jacks from their new phones in 2016. Much to consumers’ dismay, there is much debate as to why they removed the headphone jacks.
We know that around that same time, Apple released the first-ever AirPods. Apple also owned Beats at the time. This made them completely confident in their ability to make wired headphones obsolete in the coming years.
What made the transition from the headphone jack to wireless so much easier was the adapter. While it was another expense, it gave iPhone users the ability to use their wired headphones without needing to purchase wireless.
Why Companies Followed Suit
After Apple removed its headphone jack from iPhones, many companies followed its lead by removing theirs over the years. Many companies did not share their exact reason, but we have some ideas about why.
Making Devices Smaller
Many tech companies have been shifting toward smaller devices for a while. There are many different sizing options when choosing a new device. However, many companies aimed to make their devices as small or thin as possible.
Removing the headphone jack allowed companies to make their devices even smaller, sleeker, and thinner. Smartphone designs have always been innovative. So, the sizes have changed over the years. Without the headphone jack, companies could alter the sizes even more.
Many companies may have considered removing the headphone jack to make room for a larger battery. As phone sizes and thickness continue to change, companies have to look for ways to fit large batteries into those small devices.
This is especially relevant because of the demands that we put on our smartphones every day. Larger batteries can help our phones keep up with everything we need them for without the battery draining quickly.
Larger batteries mean that we can go for longer periods without charging and rely on our phones even more throughout the day. Ultimately, this is an important investment for smartphone companies as consumers don’t want to charge their phones constantly.
Another possible reason that companies have said goodbye to the headphone jack is that it is not waterproof. While it can resist moisture, we should not put a phone with a headphone jack in water and expect it to still work.
Waterproof smartphones allow consumers to take their phones wherever they go without risking any damage to the phone. A smartphone dropped in the bathtub or a sink full of soapy water used to be a disaster.
People would put their phones in a bag of rice and attempt to salvage their devices. This would also put the consumer at risk of losing pictures, contact information, and their apps.
Most smartphone companies are choosing to make their phones waterproof. Some even encourage you to take them swimming with you for underwater pictures. However, a headphone jack would get in the way of being able to do this.
Now, phone manufacturers could have found a way to make headphone jacks waterproof if they wanted to. However, with them becoming increasingly obsolete, most companies do not see a reason to invest in them.
Instead, many companies have removed headphone jacks altogether rather than attempting to make them more waterproof or water resistant.
The problem with having a headphone jack is that there are a lot of things that can go wrong with it. While we know it is not waterproof, it is also not impervious to damage.
If something gets in your headphone jack that shouldn’t be there, like dirt or debris, you can run into problems with your audio experience. Many things could cause the wiring to become damaged and affect how well you hear through headphones.
Wireless audio connections aren’t perfect. Our article here discusses some potential problems you may face with wireless audio.
You can fix many connectivity problems with Bluetooth audio connection by reconnecting your device or using different headphones. Headphone jacks are much more difficult to troubleshoot and cost a lot to replace. So, companies lean toward a more reliable connection.
Let’s not forget the main reason companies decide to change the products they offer. Many companies follow whatever trends they believe will make them more profitable. With Airpods and acquiring Beats, Apple protected its investments by moving toward phones with no headphone jack.
In fact, Apple came out after making the change stating that they believed wireless audio options created a “better standard” for audio. They had a lot to gain from the removal of the headphone jack.
When other companies began following suit, they also understood the potential profit. Companies became more interested in Bluetooth and wireless audio options that now rule the market.
Apple and other similar companies had much to gain from losing that headphone jack. Wireless headphones tend to cost more than wired. And once people got used to wireless audio, companies hoped they would not go back.
Finally, some companies decided to come out with their own smartphones without a headphone jack simply because it was trendy. Trends are a big deal in the tech industry, and following or creating trends can make or break a company.
Some companies may have waited to see how consumers reacted to the removal of headphone jacks by other companies before they made their decision. With consumers still regularly buying those phones, other companies followed the trend.
Following trends in tech is how we got smartphones to begin with. Now, we see things like touch screens, apps, colors, sizes, and many other factors that have changed with technological developments.
As tech companies continue to try to keep up with trends, they will continue to do what those large companies like Apple and Samsung do. So, companies may have seen headphone jack removal as just another trend that they wanted to follow.
Will the Headphone Jack Come Back?
While we can’t predict the future, it is highly unlikely that the headphone jack will make a return. Companies have been successfully selling smartphones without headphone jacks for years now. So, there is really no need to bring it back.
For this to happen, companies would need to see a decline in the profits of smartphones without a headphone jack and potentially an increase in the profit of those with one.
Of course, this would need to be a significant profit change for the company to decide to put them back. Even then, we can’t predict what they would do. In addition, there are adapters you could buy such as a usb-c to headphone jack adapter that allow you to connect a headphone jack to your phone.
With the way smartphones are still selling, it is unlikely we will see a major resurgence of headphone jacks with new flagship phones.
You must also consider that there is a lot of money in the wireless headphones industry. Most start around $100 or more, and most consumers don’t have any reason to prefer wired headphones over wireless earbuds.
There is little doubt that the popularity of wireless earbuds will continue. Unfortunately, that means we need to say goodbye to the days when we got a new pair of headphones for free whenever we bought a new smartphone.
The headphone jack removal from smartphones happened without much preparation, and we still don’t know exactly why companies made that decision.
There are still some new smartphones available with a headphone jack for those who still want one, but they won’t be major flagship smartphones.