Like it or not, the days of the 3.5mm headphone jack are numbered. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the governing body who sets the standards for USB, has released their latest spec update this time for USB Audio Device Class 3.0 – or more simply: USB Audio over USB Type-C.

The concept for the USB Audio Device Class 3.0 specification is simple, it basically sets the path for manufacturers to use USB-C as the primary method to deliver digital audio through the USB-C jack to deliver audio to ‘headsets, mobile devices, docking stations, gaming set-ups and VR solutions’.

So why do we want to get rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack? You know the jack that’s been around since the 19th century providing a standard that’s been used across almost every device since then. Well, the USB-IF says it will let OEMs shave ‘up to a millimeter off product designs’ and reduce the number of connectors on devices. It will also make it easier for OEMs to provide waterproof or water-resistant devices – and they say will lead to innovation…yeah, we’re not sure about that either.

So far only Apple, with the iPhone 7, and Motorola with the Moto Z have actually gone forward with removing the 3.5mm headphone jack. The removal has met with mixed reactions, but I do recall using the HTC Dream when it first came out with a mini-USB to 3.5mm adapter and it sucked. But, progress and all that, perhaps the upcoming Bluetooth 5 spec may bring better quality wireless audio and the removal of 3.5mm may not matter so much.

The USB-IF will be running developer days in Hong Kong on October 19-20 for any OEMs or interested parties wanting to take part in discussions on USB standards. But we should be seeing some USB-C audio products hitting the market soon.

Source: USB-IF.
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments

    Nah not for me. I still haven’t heard of a good reason to prefer any other audio connector over the ubiquitous 3.5mm jack. I’ve never worn one out or damaged one, on the other hand I’ve had USB ports fail from overuse.

    Dean Rosolen

    Still a crappy idea. Thinner phones aren’t always better and you can still get IP68 ratings with a headphone jack (Galaxy S7 anyone?).

    Gray Fox

    Who says you need to remove the headphone jack for water resistance.

    Galaxy S5 and newer say otherwise.
    1m for 30m is more than good enough.

    And nothing is water proof, even submarines have limits