Intel Touts USB-C as Future of Digital Audio as Apple Set to Ditch Headphone Jack

While the consensus is that Apple will remove the 3.5mm headphone jack on new iPhones unveiled next month, in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and accessory connectivity, Intel continues to position USB-C as the open standard of the future for digital audio.

iPhone_lightning_USB_C
At IDF 2016 this week, CNET reports that Intel architect Brad Saunders addressed the USB Type-C Digital Audio specification due this quarter, noting that its improved power management for USB headphones and other new features "will really make USB Type-C the right connector for audio."

Apple has adopted USB-C on the 12-inch MacBook, but new iPhones are expected to retain the proprietary Lightning connector in lieu of the open standard. USB-C, meanwhile, continues to see wider adoption in popular Android-based smartphones like Google's Nexus 6P and Samsung's Galaxy Note 7.

Apple has equipped its mobile devices with proprietary connectors for over a decade, including the 30-pin dock connector used for iPhone, iPad, and iPod models between 2003 and 2012. Apple's notebooks, beyond the 12-inch MacBook, are also equipped with a proprietary MagSafe connector for charging.

For that reason, it is likely that Apple will continue to favor Lightning over USB-C for at least the foreseeable future.

Tags: Intel, USB-C

Top Rated Comments

Derekuda Avatar
75 months ago
I don't care what Apple or Intel says. I WON'T be buying any phone that does not include a headphone jack.
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djeeyore25 Avatar
75 months ago
I wouldn't mind losing the headphone jack as much if Apple switched to USB-C. At least it'd be a more universal standard than Lightning.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HarryPot Avatar
75 months ago
The way Apple has made choices lately is strange.

If they are using USB-C in the MB (and I believe the MBP and the MBA are going that way, eventually), why not also use it for the iPhone/iPad?

Or if Lighting offers more advantages vs USB-C, why not use it in their laptops?
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bryan Bowler Avatar
75 months ago
Apple is going to surprise everyone by going to FireWire on the iPhone 7!
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dukeblue219 Avatar
75 months ago
Just like the floppy disc, people will bemoan the removal of the traditional headphone jack...but in time, ALL other smartphone makers will follow Apples lead.
Everyone knew the floppy was dying. It was slow and way too small, even for the late 90s. The question was what would replace it (which super floppy / zip disk technology). Apple just saw the writing on the wall that portable hard drives and flash memory were the future, and nobody missed the floppy.

The Lightning port was clearly better than the old 30-pin connector. People hated changing, but it had to happen eventually.

The 3.5mm analog headphone jack is still the king. They aren't replacing it with something "better." It's not like HDMI replacing RCA cables on your TV. For most iPhone users it will seem like change for the sake of change -- with no clear benefit to the user and lots of downside. That's why this is different.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
reallynotnick Avatar
75 months ago
Yeah it'd almost be acceptable to replace the headphone jack with a universal wired standard such as USB-C but replacing it with Lighting and Bluetooth is terrible.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
iPhone 13 Face ID

'High-End' iPhone 14 Front-Facing Camera to Cost Apple Three Times More

Monday May 23, 2022 7:05 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 will feature a more expensive "high-end" front-facing camera with autofocus, partly made in South Korea for the first time, ET News reports. Apple reportedly ousted a Chinese candidate to choose LG Innotek, a South Korean company, to supply the iPhone 14's front-facing camera alongside Japan's Sharp. The company is said to have originally planned to switch to LG for the iPhone...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
apple music

Apple Increases Apple Music Subscription Price for Students in Several Countries

Sunday May 22, 2022 1:57 am PDT by
Apple has silently increased the price of its Apple Music subscription for college students in several countries, with the company emailing students informing them their subscription would be slightly increasing in price moving forward. The price change is not widespread and, based on MacRumors' findings, will impact Apple Music student subscribers in but not limited to Australia, the...
EA Apple Maybe Feature

Apple Reportedly Talked With Electronic Arts About Potential Acquisition

Monday May 23, 2022 10:58 am PDT by
Apple is one of several companies that have held talks with Electronic Arts (EA) about a potential purchase, according to a new report from Puck. EA has spoken to several "potential suitors," including Apple, Amazon, and Disney as it looks for a merger arrangement. Apple and the other companies declined to comment, and the status of the talks is not known at this time, but Apple does have an ...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...