New USB-C audio standard joins the iPhone 7's quest to kill the headphone jack

USB Type-C audio is finished, and the 3.5 mm headphone jack's days are numbered.

The future of mobile device audio is here, and if you hated the iPhone 7’s Lightning connector headphones, you’ll loathe this new solution. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) recently announced the audio specification for USB Type-C was now complete.

Officially named the USB Audio Device Class 3.0 specification, this new release sets the standard for how audio should work over USB Type-C. The USB-IF hopes the new specification will be the “primary solution for all digital audio applications, including headsets, mobile devices, docking stations, gaming set-ups and VR solutions.”

The new audio specification can help reduce power consumption on devices, and will come with advanced features like hotword detection. The USB-IF says routing audio over the USB Type-C connection rather than a standard headphone jack can shave up to 0.03 of an inch (1 mm) off of product design. That may not seem like much, but it’s a big deal in mobile devices where every little bit of space counts. Losing the headphone jack in favor of the USB Type-C also means it will be easier to design water-resistant devices, according to the USB-IF.

Why this matters: If the lead up to (and the fallout from) the launch of the iPhone 7 has taught us anything, it’s that losing the headphone jack is a controversial advance. Sure, there were a few earlier Android phones that already did so, but with an official specification it probably won’t be long before USB Type-C headphones become standard. The change won't just affect mobile devices, either. The USB-IF sees USB Type-C audio as a solution for desktop PCs and pretty much anything else that requires headphones or speakers. It may take a while before the headphone jack is gone forever, but it definitely feels like the change is coming.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags USB-C

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?