The lightning headphone adapter

Rumors are circulating that Apple’s next-generation iPhone will drop the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, with new iPhone headsets relying on the lightning port or Bluetooth instead.

Whether or not this is true, there is another report of a Chinese accessory maker advertising a series of Lightning-to-headphone adapters with separate volume controls.

This all makes sense to me, feels believable. Used to be, high end studio equipment came with a 1/4″ jack and studio headphones shipped with a 1/4″ plug (the same size jack as you find on an electric guitar). As the 3.5mm jack became the standard, headphone manufacturers started shipping headphones with a high quality (usually) screw on adapter. With the adapter in place, you had a 1/4″ plug, without the adapter, 3.5mm. Easy-peasy.

The original iPhone shipped with a wide, 30-pin jack. When Apple shifted to the lightning jack, there was much gnashing of teeth as well as a short-lived market for 30-pin to lightning adapters. Instantly, your 30-pin iPhone/iPad felt old, outdated. But over time, as you replaced your 30-pin devices, the older standard fell into the dustbin.

Will Apple drop the 3.5mm headphone jack? Perhaps. But if they do, I suspect we’ll have no problem finding the right adapter for our existing headphones. You’ll no doubt find them in the Apple Store, right next to the USB-C adapters.