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Intel pushing for USB-C to become the new audio standard

by Jacob Kleinman | April 27, 2016April 27, 2016 6:30 pm PST

The headphone jack may be headed for the dustbin of obsolete technology. AnandTech reports that Intel wants to replace the 3.5mm port with USB-C for future devices.

Intel laid out the plan during a presentation at its developer forum in China. The company argued that traditional headphone jacks represent one of the few remaining analog systems in a digital world. It also promised to reveal a new USB-C audio specification within the next few months.

In the short term switching from 3.5mm to USB-C could be a huge headache for everyone. It will mean replacing all your old headphones and speakers or buying lots of adapters. It could also raise the price of new products, particularly when it comes to cheaper headphones.

On the plus side, relying on USB-C will mean a simpler design with just one port for audio, data transfers and charging. Switching from analog to digital also opens the door for tons of new features beyond what the older technology is capable of.

Even without Intel’s help the headphone jack is already starting to lose ground. Chinese tech giant LeEco recently revealed a trio of Android phones with USB-C and no 3.5mm port. Apple’s also expected to ditch the headphone jack later this year with the iPhone 7, though that device will likely rely on the company’s Lightning technology rather than USB-C.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...