Samsung might be next to ditch the headphone jack

Galaxy S7

One of the most eye-catching elements of the iPhone 7 is that it lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, instead relying on the Lightning port or wireless headsets, and it seems that Samsung might be planning something similar.

A pair of sources "involved in the broader supply chain of Samsung's smartphones" spoke to Digital Music News, saying that Samsung, alongside other Android manufacturers, might not just release a proprietary headphone jack of its own, but also block Apple from licensing it.

If true, this could be seen as a revenge move by the Android community, potentially forcing headphone manufacturers to choose which port to prioritize – and with more Android than iOS devices in circulation Samsung's port could well get priority.

That would be bad news for Apple and bad news for anyone who uses both Android and Apple devices, since it could force the use of adaptors.

Not all bad

But the move wouldn't be an entirely bad thing. While Apple's choice of a proprietary port may understandably anger Android manufacturers, there is something to be said for ditching the 3.5mm port – it takes up valuable space and newer technologies can potentially offer greater sound quality.

In fact, one of the sources claims that Samsung aims to improve the sound quality with any new headphone port.

The move also shouldn't pose much problem for anyone who sticks with Android, since Samsung's proprietary jack will apparently be designed with all Android manufacturers in mind, offering them cheap or free licensing of it.

But it could further fragment the headphone industry and make wireless audio a far more appealing option – freeing users of not just wires but competing formats. Or at least it could if multiple wireless technologies don't start presenting the same problem.

For now though this is all just a rumor, and while the 3.5mm port's days are likely numbered it's too soon to say exactly when or how it will be killed for good.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.