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USB-C vs. the headphone jack | Manton Reece

Manton Reece expresses an opinion similar to mine when it comes to the new MacBook Pros with nothing but USB-C ports and the comparisons of them to a headphone-less iPhone.

I have no problems with USB-C on the new MacBook Pro. It will be a small headache at the beginning, for sure. But because it’s a standard there’s no long-term compatibility risk the way there is with removing the 3.5mm headphone jack.

USB-C vs. the headphone jack | Manton Reece

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USB-C everywhere is a good thing, an iPhone without a headphone jack is not

Followers of this blog, or people who have been having coffee and nerd talk with me for the past weeks, know that I don’t like the absence of a headphone jack on the iPhone 7. I don’t think Apple removed it to mess with us or to squeeze us for some extra bucks for adapters1. I think they2 did it because it makes the iPhone a simpler product for them, one less thing to think about in manufacturing, one less potential source of failure, and they made the bet that most iPhone owners won’t miss it, as long as the included headphones use a connecter that is present.

I think that they are mostly correct in their analysis but this kinds of simplification always leaves one or more people behind. I, and most of the pro audio world at large, am most certainly left behind by this. I often use my iPhone with ”studio” headphones, I often connect it to recording consoles and PA desks and so on, so I would need to make sure that I always carry the lightning to mini-jack dongle and that’s a hassle. As more and more of these simplifications are done more and more people are left behind because it’s not the same people that keeps being left out in the cold. On top of that, I as a consumer/user don’t get any benefit from this exclusion. Apple’s executives may call it ”courage” as much as they want, whatever the reason for the removal, consumers see zero benefit from it.

And in those last two sentences lies the reason for why I’m not upset by the new MacBook Pros lack of any ports besides USB-C/Thunderbolt 3. Sure this will be a painful transition in some ways. Yes, we will be forced to buy more dongles, adapters and docks and lugg them around, but there is a very real benefit to it in the long run. A truly Universal Serial Bus. One connector to rule them all. And it’s a good connector!

Also computers generally lasts longer than phones, so if you – yes you dear reader – don’t want the hassle of dongles, then wait an extra year or more to buy a new MacBook Pro and in that time the world will start to catch up to the idea of One Connector.

Sure, it would have been great to have a new MacBook Pro that had every port that the old ones did in addition to ten USB-C port, four times longer battery life, a CPU powerful enough to do anything imaginable in the blink of an eye, a screen that can’t be cracked and that would weight an once. Okay, I’m being silly here. I know that fantasy beast is not what you, the people who don’t like the new Macs, have been asking for. I’m merely saying that these new computers have a clear benefit that the old ones didn’t have, partly as a result of removing things from the old ones and when it comes to these kinds of ports I do think that Apple can heard the industry infront of it and force a more timely transition away from the old and toward the new. It has happened before, it will happen again. However I do not think that Apple is that strong in the pro audio world.


  1. In that case they wouldn’t have included one in the package and it would have been more expensive than $9 to buy an extra one. 
  2. Yes, I will refer to Apple as they, not it. I know it is the correct grammar but I think ascribing it to a faceless massive corporation i asinine. 

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