Unified World Communications A year without a headphone jack

Just over a year ago Apple confidently decided to tell us that the 3.5mm headphone jack was obsolete and we could learn to live without it. People were furious and competitors were quick to jump in and promote the headphone jack as a dominating feature of their devices as if it was a brand new invention that will save us all from a wireless future.

Bluetooth options

Bluetooth headphones were already available and quite popular in 2016. Available from just £15 ranging up to options from Bose and Beats for upwards of £200. Brilliant for cutting the cord especially during outdoor activities or anywhere a cable may have been in the way. These Bluetooth headphones typically had a single cord that ran between the two earpieces and that was all. No cable tucked underneath shirts and around belts or leading into armbands. Convenient and surprisingly good sound quality.

Apple went one step further and introduced us to Airpods. Bluetooth earphone without any cable at all, 100% wireless. They can be used independently or together and work exceptionally well when paired with an Apple Watch to play music.

One year with wireless audio

I purchased an iPhone 7 a year ago and some Airpods in December. I was an avid user of Bluetooth headphones primarily due to the amount of running I do. Cables were always in the way, too short or being frayed and damaged by wear and tear. Bluetooth was the way forward. When I purchased the Airpods, my first few runs with them I was afraid. No cable meant if they fell out of my ears, they would hit the floor or worse I would run over them and damage them.

It has been a year now and I couldn’t imagine going back to anything else and whenever a situation comes about where I need to use wired headphones, it’s a hassle. I find myself pulling on them out of my ears when I move due to short cables or from a personal habit of not expecting a cable to be restricting me.

Truly wireless headphones have given me an abundance of freedom when it comes to listening to audio, I no longer have to tether my phone to me at all times. I have even been on a run with nothing but my Apple Watch and Airpods. Purely from a convenience point of view, they have been amazing but from a cost point of view to get to this point it has been quite an expense.

What’s next?

Now over a year since Apple declared that the headphone jack is obsolete there are over a dozen smartphones without a 3.5mm auxiliary port. It seems Google has also joined the ranks with their flagship Pixel phone. Some are expecting next years Samsung S9 (Samsung X) to follow. It is becoming clear that 3.5mm ports are slowly being removed from smartphones. Apple Airpods are no longer the only option when it comes to truly wireless headphones. Options such as Sony WF-1000X and the Samsung Gear IconX are widely available. Do you use Bluetooth or wireless headphones, and what are your thoughts on a truly wireless future? Could other features in future phones disappear?


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