Analog? Who needs analog? No one uses composite or even component video cables anymore, because an HDMI or DVI connection to your giant flat screen TV is so much better. Why is it, then, that the 3.5mm headphone jack has persisted for so long when we could be moving toward digital for that purpose too? Intel thinks it’s time we send the 3.5mm headphone jack out to a farm in the countryside where it can roam free, replacing it with the USB-C connector instead.

Put forth during the company’s developer conference in Shenzhen, the proposition is that the 3.5mm port on mobile devices like smartphones can be eliminated in favor of USB-C for digital audio. You have to remember that the 3.5mm mini jack has been around since way back in the 1960s and it’s simply the smaller cousin of the original 6.35mm connector from 1878. Over the years, we’ve added the extra contact ring for a mic and some rudimentary remote control, but not much has changed in over 50 years.

Intel isn’t the only company that foresees the inevitable demise of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Apple is rumored to be getting rid of the 3.5mm port on the iPhone 7 later this year, replacing it with the Lightning connector. Intel would rather us take up the USB-C port for greater universal support, of course, since Lightning is an Apple-only tech.

It’ll take some time for us to abandon the 3.5mm headphone jack altogether, as we still have so many speakers and headsets kicking around that use it, but just as we’ve been able to transition away from PS/2 and serial ports on our computers, we can move away from the mini jack for USB-C too.



Via AnandTech

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