This isn’t the first time Apple has messed with the headphone jack on the iPhone

Iphone macworld
Jeff Gamet, from the Internet magazine The Mac Observer, looks at the new Apple iPhone at MacWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007. AP Images

Apple will reveal the iPhone 7 tomorrow in California, but the biggest surprise might be the accessories that are included with the phone.

With the possibility that Apple will remove the headphone port from its phones, many are asking whether Apple will include a dongle that lets headphones plug in through the phone’s Lightning charging port.

An analyst at Pacific Crest called it the “world’s most anticipated dongle.”

Although Apple might include new Lightning headphones with the iPhone 7, it seems likely to include a dongle, so that people who own expensive headphones can continue to use them with the iPhone.

And it wouldn’t be the first time Apple has required users to use an adaptor to listen to music.

When the first iPhone was launched in 2007, you couldn’t plug a normal set of headphones into it. Instead of a 3.5mm jack, it had a TRRS jack, which is recessed and required an adaptor.


CNET wrote at the time:

I haven’t heard a single rational explanation as to why Apple would do this … Is it so that buyers will be forced to use Apple’s iconic white headphones so that they can further promote the brand? I hope not. Is Apple creating an “opportunity for third parties.” I doubt it, they’re not that charitable.

Engadget joked:

You’ll need to buy a $10 headphone adaptor if you want most third party headphones to function correctly, which sounds like a great business plan to us: just break an important device function, and sell the solution for fun and profit.

Apple did not include an adaptor with the original iPhone, although the headphones Apple included in the box did plug directly into the phone. However, third-parties like Belkin and Griffin flooded the market with iPhone adapters shortly after it was launched.

And with the release of the iPhone 3G in 2008, Apple restored the original headphone jack and all was well once again. Don’t expect the headphone port to make a return on the 2017 iPhone, though.

This is all to say that a speedbump like the headphone port going away, as the New York Times reported this weekend, will be forgotten in a few short years. Like the floppy disk drive or the CD drive or any of the other standards that Apple has killed, the headphone jack one day will be a piece of history when we’re all jamming with Apple’s new wireless headphones, or whatever the company eventually decides to release.

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