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

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52 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)
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52 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)
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52 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)
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52 months ago
Apple is going to surprise everyone by going to FireWire on the iPhone 7!
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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52 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)
Avatar
52 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)

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