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

(View all)
Avatar
55 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)
Avatar
55 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)
Avatar
55 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)
Avatar
55 months ago
Apple is going to surprise everyone by going to FireWire on the iPhone 7!
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
55 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
55 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)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Pro Demand Higher Than Expected

Sunday October 18, 2020 10:39 pm PDT by
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a research note this morning detailing what he's seen with the volume of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders in the first weekend of sales. Kuo had previously indicated that Apple's estimated shipment allocations for the new iPhone models placed the iPhone 12 at the top with 40-45% of inventory allocation (up from 15-20%). However, ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12

Monday October 19, 2020 11:54 am PDT by
Alongside the new iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a MagSafe charger that attaches to the back of the iPhones using magnets embedded both in the charger and in the iPhone. It allows for speedier charging and paves the way for a portless iPhone in the future. MagSafe chargers are shipping out and are in some Apple retail locations now, and we picked one up to check it out. Subscribe to the ...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Some Apple Watch SE Owners Experiencing Issues With Overheating [Updated]

Monday October 19, 2020 11:38 am PDT by
There may be an issue with the new Apple Watch SE, which some users have found is overheating after a few hours of usage. Several Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea have run into problems, as noted in a Reddit post chronicling the complaints. There have been six reports from Apple Watch SE owners in South Korea who have had their Apple Watches get hot and malfunction, with a yellow spot...

Gold Version of iPhone 12 Pro Apparently Has a More Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Frame

Tuesday October 20, 2020 11:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro reviews hit the web today, and one of the more interesting tidbits came from TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, who revealed that the Gold version of the device apparently has a more fingerprint resistant coating applied to the stainless steel frame. From his review:Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

Hands-On With Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro MagSafe Cases

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:33 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are launching this Friday, and ahead of that release date, Apple is shipping out various accessories like the MagSafe charger and MagSafe cases. Yesterday we took a look at the MagSafe charger, and today our MagSafe case came in the mail, so we thought we'd take another look at the charger to see how it works with the case and just how strong the case magnets are. S ...