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Apple retire sooner than later the standard headphone jack on the iPhone, making it one of the first portable music player that disregards it . The why, the advantages and disadvantages of a change that, as usual for the company and not leave anyone indifferent.
Apple’s decision to dispense with a connector on one of its products regardless of what is or is not the standard in the industry should not surprise anyone. The company has always been defined by their aggressiveness and different way of seeing and doing things by ignoring the provisions when they believe there is something better. There was Apple since it is Apple, sometimes early, sometimes late, but always made it clear in its products how should the future they want for their customers and the industry.
This is the DNA of the company . And in 1984 they replaced the floppy 5 1/4 “standard by 3 1/2” developed by Sony in the Macintosh 128K. The change caused a stir, although the magnitude of that Apple Computers has nothing to do with the present. Consumers were adapted and enjoyed a smaller floppy fit in their pockets and with a much lower failure rate.
A decade and a half later the floppy disappear from the iMac, which incorporated the CD as a substitute. It was another decision that annoyed many users, but it has eventually to be much better. Apple and in 2008 he put everything upside down removing the CD from your MacBook Air, which would become, years later, the most influential and popular handheld until today. The new MacBook 2015 went further, replacing all inputs and outputs of the device by a single multi-purpose wire: the USB-C
There are precedents for believing firmly – with reliable reports Mark Gurman – Apple will get rid of another connector this year . To eliminate an analog output port would be replaced – for one purpose – for a more versatile port with a smaller connector able to do thinner iPhone with larger battery or waterproof . The 3.5mm jack connector is a more than 100 years and is no longer equated with the current demands and possibilities offered by the Lightning.
The jack and occupies almost the entire thickness of the iPhone and an important part of its case that could well be used by another set of speakers for stereo effect or an increase in the length of the battery. Such is the current level of miniaturization that 3.5mm jack has become the biggest stumbling block to progress , especially if we consider that is a connector whose work can be replicated in the only not replaceable connector. The charging / Lightning
The problem is that, although it seems logical change, the solution is not clearly better as in previous cases in the history of Apple. Not replace the diskette with the CD or CD for USB drives, is to replace an analog output – audio -. By a digital, involving the use of an intermediary who could have several negative or positive implications
Remove the analog audio output makes the digital audio from Lightning is to be converted and amplified in a further step to be audible – can not hear ones and zeros. One possible solution is to replace the Lightning connector for USB-C, since the latter incorporates analog output and adapter would be very simple to perform and inexpensive to produce.
The problem is that the USB- C is a connector made by and for computers: It is thicker than the Apple Lightning and adds possibilities that involve a clear advantage. They would in space by removing the 3.5mm jack would lose with this new connector. Android manufacturers have no other possible solution, but Apple does not have to adopt a connector that does not involve advantages in all areas of the connector and use.
Another possibility is that Apple enable analog pins in his Lightning protocol that can carry the analog audio output coming from the chip DAC (digital analog converter); but it is very unlikely because the specifications that should require manufacturers would build headsets for the iPhone, with particular emphasis on the inclusion of an audio chip inside the headset or cable published. Take a step back now is not typical of the company and use the Lightning, although more costly for manufacturers, involves a number of advantages that can not be provided without a digital dialogue between headset and phone.
As always, it’s likely that Apple priority to his vision, forcing manufacturers to submit Bluetooth headset or Lightning.
What kind of change
Remove the jack would provide several benefits Apple, consumers and handset manufacturers. The future iPhone will be thinner and still maintain the same autonomy – thanks to the battery can be longer keeping capacity in mAh is made even thinner . In turn, this space can be exploited to include another speaker and produce a stereo experience with more volume if the microphone is housed elsewhere or fail to merge.
On the other hand Apple, the company that bought Beats in 2014, could promote a new line of headphones made especially for the iPhone Lightning connector and offer several advantages impossible to achieve with a simple analog connection as noise cancellation, more advanced touch controls, EQ …
In the premium range would enjoy headsets them to sound better , to include sound chips with better amplification than we currently have in the iPhone . One proposal already presented Audeze, one of the leading manufacturers of headphones, earphones with Lightning EL-8 Titanium led to enthusiastic audiences. These headphones incorporate high-resolution audio 24bit – DAC iPhone is limited to 16bit / 48kHz – and the possibility of changes in the sound of headphones through an application that serves as a global equalizer without having to adjust the sound of Music application iPhone.
In turn, headphones may be able to detect “Hey Siri” or implement different functions because the range of possibilities that opens up a digital connector is much more extensive than output / analog audio input . Since improvements in sound quality possibilities of interacting with the iPhone, removing the 3.5mm jack may induce manufacturers to launch better products to complement a possible thinner iPhone.
Every change has bad things, especially remove the jack. The headset will be more expensive, much more expensive in some cases ; we can go forgetting to have a good quality sound with headphones as the Xiaomi Piston less than $ 20 Bluetooth headset or headphones Lightning will always be more expensive than wired headphones by the simple fact that they have to include a DAC or DAC chip and a Bluetooth chip in the event that they are wireless.
Bluetooth Headset battery that can be recharged with the iPhone Cable Lighting will be the case great convenience, versatility and sound quality; but it’s hard to fall in the 3 digits. To make matters worse, users who already enjoyed high-end headphones will have to change or buy a converter. If Apple takes an adapter, you must include the DAC chip that incorporate the iPhone into the connector, with a solution more uncomfortable and more expensive than the current . It may not be an adapter – changing connector that keeps the protocol -. Must be a converter
Finally, we must be aware that the sound quality that gives the iPhone DAC chip is very good. It is a very low output impedance, distortion and good amplification; Lightning or cheap Bluetooth headset does not have as good or as well-implemented chip and degrade sound quality in comparison. Of course, the tendency is to go to the Bluetooth headset and although in the low range sound is not so good or been so much choice catalog comfort always wins . We have countless examples where comfort beat quality in the past 20 years.
At the high end there will be no problems and everything will be advantages as Lightning and 3.5 mm jack input will be included.
What will the industry?
Adapt as users, as it has always happened. All companies contacted who made statements to Hypertext showed no surprise at all for change and seemed well prepared for it as it is the trend that they themselves have received in recent years.
“Sennheiser has experienced several changes in connection standards in the world of sound throughout their history. Always have been constantly evolving, and if Apple chooses to enter a new standard, we as specialists we are able to bring out the best change, “he said Sennheiser goblal to Hypertext . “Digital outputs, as the Lightning Apple will offer new opportunities to improve the customer experience, for example, using 3D audio.”
Philips , pioneers in creating Lightning headphones with Fidelio M2L believe that there is a wide range of advantages: “HD sound, DAC chip and built-in amplifier and the ability to recharge the Bluetooth headset from the mobile,” yes, the official view is that the true trend is to go wireless. “We believe that the business strategy is sound headphones incorporate a Lightning cable, but all with Bluetooth or other wireless standards.” Said Philips Spain. “That’s what really the market demand, ease of use and freedom it gives you to be wireless and improving quality, and a good design and a good price. I do not think that disappears 3.5mm jack, so least the next 10 years, but there will be a proliferation of Bluetooth headphones. “
Sony line of work are the Bluetooth and headphones the high-resolution audio, which fits perfectly with the theoretical plans Apple. The Japanese company is cautious about the introduction of the Lightning in their headphones, indicating that the clear trend is to create wireless headsets that are capable of being used with any device thanks to an additional 3.5 mm jack connection. “The trend is to decrease wires in the middle and upper-middle range,” Sony said in a statement to Spain Hypertext .
The users were eventually adapted as usual, using the Bluetooth EarPods Lightning or included or discovering new possibilities thanks to brands focusing on premium products.
February 2, 2016
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