The iPhone 7 wasn’t the first phone to axe the iconic 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, but it is likely the most popular to have done so thus far in the history of mobile technology. While a number of great Bluetooth headphones are available, 3.5 millimeter classic headphones are common, cheap, and most importantly, produce amazing sound in the high end of the market. The backlash that Apple has received so far for their unveiling of a headphone-free iPhone 7 has been quite significant, and it’s only natural that their rivals would capitalize on that. In a Tweet that is most likely aimed at Apple given the timing, but could also apply to Moto, OnePlus touts a killer feature of their OnePlus 3: a headphone jack. “It’s not rocket science”, the Tweet reads. That line is directed at the reader on the surface, but the subtext is pretty clear.
Apple’s axing of the jack will inevitably echo across the industry, though with the demand for headphone jacks on phones right now, it obviously won’t cause a surge of imitators. Still, there have been a few, and there will likely be more. Oppo eliminated the headphone jack in their razor-thin Oppo R5, and Lenovo (Moto), who fired off their own incendiary Tweet recently, got rid of the jack for their skinny flagship Moto Z and its tough-as-nails Force variant, leaving it intact for the Moto Z Play, a slightly more pedestrian number that keeps the Moto Z’s design and modularity.
USB Type-C and Apple’s proprietary Lightning port will be battling it out in the digital audio stage soon, and it’s unclear whether this will turn out to be a win for users. Digital audio can produce some incredible sound, but the technology is in its early days right now, and thus quite expensive at the high end. Users can always simply take advantage of an adapter to turn their trusty old headphones into a Bluetooth set or to give them a Lightning or USB Type-C tip, but some users may decry the inconvenience of having to carry said adapter around. Whatever may happen from here, it’s sick burns all around as we move toward the iPhone 7’s release and the end of a very eventful year for smartphones.