Intel wants to replace the 3.5mm headphone jack with USB-C

By , Apr 27, 2016

Intel USB C audio slide 001

Apple may not be the only company about to ditch the century-old 3.5mm analog audio connector with the release of the next iPhone this fall. AnandTech reported this morning that the semiconductor giant Intel is backing the industry’s “strong desire to move from analog to digital” by proposing that the 3.5mm audio jack be replaced with USB-C on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

USB-C audio with smart features

Unlike the industry-standard 3.5mm analog audio, USB-C provides a number of benefits in terms of audio equipment connectivity, including sending data along with audio, no shielding required to prevent interference, the ability to draw power from the host device, automatic device discovery, easy software updates, a much smaller form factor versus the 3.5mm jack and more.

Replacing analog with digital

The move would require the USB Audio Device Class 2.0 specification to be updated to include more recent audio specifications and features like a simplified discovery model. The new specification should be finalized “later this quarter”,  according to Intel’s slide.

Intel USB C audio slide 002

Good-bye 3.5mm jack, it’s been nice knowing you!

I’m glad that the 3.5mm jack’s days are finally numbered and that the industry is working now to phase it out as soon as possible. However, legacy audio equipment will need to be updated if the aging plug is to be replaced with USB-C everywhere.

Intel acknowledged as much, saying that the new digital audio “needs to offer significant value at higher end” so that makers of inexpensive devices like feature phones see commercial feasibility in adopting digital headsets that connect via USB-C cables.

Source: AnandTech

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  • Anonymous

    I agree audio jack needs to go

    • SouthMouth

      Definitely not only people who don’t have any friends think this, I need the jack for parties, when I’m in a car, at work, the beach basically everywhere there’s speakers. Bluetooth is BS and isn’t the same

      • Anonymous

        Bluetooth has served me well. In ever case you suggested audio jack, and usb-c adaptors can transfer higher quality audio. Which is far superior to audio jack. Also consdierf the next iphone has wireless chargering… Then there would be no reason to keep the audio jack… Unless its because someone wants to keep there old tech around. Which in that case i would say buy the adaptor. No need to keep old tech around when most people are moving forward.

      • Jerry

        LOL! People who don’t have friends think this

    • 5723alex .

      What should I do with my $50,000 Sennheiser Orpheus headphones ?
      You can’t ditch the the 3.5 jack unless the smartphone gets 2 USB-C ports (for charging & headphones) or OTA charging.

      • Anonymous

        If you spent that much on headphone, im sure you afford an adapotor or upgrade everything to usb-c

      • 5723alex .

        or upgrade everything to usb-c?
        Are there any audio/video devices that support USB-C ? there are none.

      • ravinigga

        For audio and video there is a cable called HDMI.

      • Anonymous

        Well the audio jack is still very much current, however, if companies like apple are going to remove the audio jack there will be an alturnitive.

      • Jackson Grong

        Sell them, get off the internet, buy yourself a girlfriend.

    • Matt

      I heavily disagree.
      The 3.5mm jack is so widely adapted that letting it go simply isn’t going to be that easy. As SouthMouth said, he needs it for things like cars, parties, etc. Not everything runs on Bluetooth and Bluetooth is nowhere near perfect.
      Also, I have a few pairs of ‘nice’ headphones/earphones. My favorite pear of earphones or earbuds (whatever you want to call them) are the Yamaha EPH-100SL, I bought them almost two years ago for $150 and since then they have served me like no other earphone. I am not trying to sell the product, but they are the best in-ear headphones I have heard so I am not going to be giving that up for some ‘sub-par’ earphones provided by apple that I can buy for $20 on Amazon.
      Also you might bring up adapters…. Look at the current MacBook and see how well that is going.
      When you say it can transfer higher audio quality, sure it can, but will you ever notice that? Most likely no especially with those $20 Apple headphones lol so what you’re saying kind of sounds like saying that a $1000 HDMI cable is better than a $7 Amazon Basics HDMI cable when in reality you won’t ever notice a difference in quality. The quality of the audio coming through depends on the bit-rate of the track, the amp that is in your phone and the headphones. I am by no means an audio engineer or expert, but listening to music through the Type-C or lightning cable won’t make much of a difference. The only difference it will make will be added inconvenience

      • Anonymous

        I would have to disagree, the type of cable you use to follow a network of electrons down a cord will make a difference in your audio quality. Kinda like the reason i buy nice head phones, and im guessing the same reason you spent more money on a pair of nice head phones as well. Apples complimentry head phones are junk. And even with out a head phone jack there head phones will suck. I guess all im saying is if your willing to buy a nice paur of head phones for quality sound, why not inbrance change if it will bring better sound quality.

  • Satyam Panchal

    I also agree audio jack need to go Why ppl still want 3.5mm jack … They are trying to bring new think and if they don’t then also still ppl complain about ..

  • Nagy Gábor

    im not happy about that get rid of 3.5 jack thing. everytime im at a friend, and having a little party or something, everybody only has 3.5mm jack speakers, and the music is always comes from phones. and i dont want to buy and keeping in my pocket an adapter for 20$.. no thank you

    • ravinigga

      Every phone also 1$ phone have Bluetooth.
      And quality is also good.

      • Jackson Grong

        Only if your speakers are 90$ or less, and you can hear the difference even on 6$ headphones.

    • Sikozu

      Something has to change first. Once major mobile devices make the switch, within the next few years everyone will have speakers that are either Bluetooth or have a USB type C input.

  • 5723alex .

    LeEco has already smartphones without 3.5mm jack.