By now everyone on planet earth knows iPhone 7 doesn’t come with the traditional headphone jack for analog audio, but instead relies on either, 1) Bluetooth (wireless), or, 2) the Lightning connector. The former has been around awhile and wireless headphones and earbuds are growing in popularity. Once you go wireless, you never go back.
The latter is a different issue. While Beats and other headphone manufacturers already have Lightning connector headphones or earbuds, Apple makes is official by including an adapter from Lightning-to-headphone jack for those iPhone 7 users less inclined to upgrade their hardware.
What about the Mac?
The Mac long has provided the standard mini-headphone jack, good for headphones and speakers, but Bluetooth is built-in, too, so wireless options have been available for years. The question is a simple one.
Does the Mac need the headphone jack?
Even Apple is asking that question and posted a number of online queries to users regarding their Macs with Retina display and the headphone port.
Inquiring minds want to know.
iPhones and iPad use a proprietary Lightning connector, while the newest Mac, the thin and light MacBook, use a standard USB-C connector. Most Apple watchers expect Apple to introduce new Macs later this year, so one could rightly ask the obvious, “Will the new Macs have a headphone jack?”
It’s unlikely that Apple would include a Lightning connector but stranger things have happened as the company isn’t afraid to use proprietary technology here and there (A-Series CPUs, I’m looking at you). So, since music listening is moving toward wireless, that leads to another obvious question, “Does the Mac even need a standard headphone jack?”
Such a change would be a dramatic departure from tradition but it’s not as if Apple hasn’t done this kind of thing before. In fact, Apple’s inability to standardize on Mac ports and connectors is a long-standing problem. miniDisplay, USB, USB-C, FireWire, optical digital I/O, ADB, SCSI, and the list goes on. The Mac has a graveyard of ports and connectors, so who would miss the analog headphone jack which dates back to the late 1800s?
There are many facets to the argument for removing the headphone jack in the iPhone. Space is one, and so is the trend toward wireless headphones and earbuds. Space on an iPhone is valuable and in short supply. Removing the analog technology from yesteryear provided space for battery, 3D Touch and the Haptic engine, speakers, etc. But it’s the trend toward wireless that made the change more acceptable.
Does the Mac have similar space issues? Probably not, and while the headphone jack may not disappear with the next round of Mac upgrades, it’s on the way out.