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MacBook owners frustrated by new audio jacks

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
A few owners of Apple's new unibody notebooks are experiencing backwards compatibility issues with the units' redesigned audio jacks, which offer a snug connection for the company's latest headphones with integrated microphones at the expense of a few legacy stereo headsets and speaker connectors.

Threads about the issue began turning up on Apple's Discussions support boards back in November, shortly after the new unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro began shipping. Customers of both models (1, 2) reported that when wearing non-Apple headphones, even the slightest bump or movement of the cord -- such as turning one's head to the side -- would result in a disconnection that caused audio to be rerouted back through the notebook's built-in speakers.

For those connecting external speakers to their MacBook, the mere act of setting a book down on the desk next to the computer would reportedly disrupt the connection. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that some 1/8th-inch miniplugs are left with a tad more wiggle room while in receptacle, namely those lacking a fourth conductor.

"When a jackplug is inserted into the socket there is a degree of play in the socket," wrote forum user movetolearn. "Fully pushed in...it works. Give a gentle pull, the plug moves back out maybe 0.5mm and, even though the plug stays in the socket, the sound comes out of the speakers."

As time went on and posters tested additional playback devices, they discovered longer plugs with four contacts and three separator rings would sit firmly and securely, while traditional stereo jacks with three contacts and only two separator rings resulted in a loose connection.

"One thing I notice is that my iPhone 3G headset works fine," wrote user Toronto-Ty. "What I am thinking is that since the plug has integrated stereo l/r and mic, there are 3 plastic bands around the metal plug, thus creating 4 metal sections. The fact that the headphone jack on the new MacBook is integrated mic as well, is what I feel the problem might be."



The same poster later reported a secure connection using Apple's in-ear headphones with mic. He also claims to have e-mailed Steve Jobs about the matter, only to receive a response from the company co-founder essentially telling him he was "wrong, literally."

Last year the company transitioned a number of its headphone jacks to quad-conductor jacks with microphone capabilities. Users who are experiencing the loose connection issue with third-party headphones on their new MacBooks may want to explore iFrogz $4 adapter solution suggested by one forum member.





For more on the differences between Apple's various audio and video cable connectors, see the article titled Using iPod & iPhone Video Out: Background and In-Depth Review.
post #2 of 82
Call me retarded for defending this one but isn't this exactly what USB audio interfaces are for? The use of non proprietary audio equipment like headphones, monitors, etc? Just sayin.
post #3 of 82
Here come all the class action bozos...
post #4 of 82
what a bunch of fucking morons, just don't push it all the way in. If you push it in and you fee the 'click' stop pushing it.

My iMac 2.1ghz G5 and iMac intel core duo and my current Alu iMac are exactly the same with some 3.5mm jacks.

Get over it.
post #5 of 82
This is quite sad for those affected, but those are clearly "crap" connectors despite the price of the headsets mentioned. Apple could have stopped it by actually testing the plug with other jacks though, which is a bit of a fail on their part.

Sadly for almost everyone else, there will undoubtedly be a class-action lawsuit about this as it is more of a concrete problem than the other problems that have engendered class-action lawsuits in the past.

Stay tuned for at least a year or so of articles, blogs and whining about this one.
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post #6 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

You're retarded. The standard 3.5mm headphone socket is loosing connection with standard 3.5mm headphones. There's clearly a problem here!

Please don't indulge in attacks against an individual. You can say that his idea is retarded.

Even if he was being literal.
post #7 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

You're retarded. The standard 3.5mm headphone socket is loosing connection with standard 3.5mm headphones. There's clearly a problem here!

If you're going to call someone retarded... use the proper words. it's "losing", not "loosing".
post #8 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by federmoose View Post

If you're going to call someone retarded... use the proper words. it's "losing", not "loosing".

In mrochester's defence, the OP asked to be called retarded. I don't think responding with "your retarded" is out of line at all in that situation.
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post #9 of 82
I encountered the same issue like everybody else in this forum, but found a cheap solution that resolved the problem.
There is a small adapter called "Fitz iPhone headphone jack adapter" which is made by iFrogz. It works perfectly fine for the new Macbooks.
check it out on: http://ifrogz.com/products/fitz/
The price is $3.99 - not a lot of money to end your frustration.
post #10 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

In mrochester's defence, the OP asked to be called retarded. I don't think responding with "your retarded" is out of line at all in that situation.

Exactly. Said in Jest perhaps? Jesus, you guys take yourselves way too seriously sometimes.
post #11 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Here come all the class action bozos...

Calling my lawyer now. Speed dial, no less!

...even though I don't own a uMB. Apple makes this too easy.
post #12 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlanslots View Post

I encountered the same issue like everybody else in this forum, but found a cheap solution that resolved the problem.
There is a small adapter called "Fitz iPhone headphone jack adapter" which is made by iFrogz. It works perfectly fine for the new Macbooks.
check it out on: http://ifrogz.com/products/fitz/
The price is $3.99 - not a lot of money to end your frustration.

The amount of adapters we mac users need to use 3rd party products is rather funny.

\
post #13 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogerman2000 View Post

Exactly. Said in Jest perhaps? Jesus, you guys take yourselves way too seriously sometimes.

We should just stay away from it.
post #14 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlanslots View Post

I encountered the same issue like everybody else in this forum, but found a cheap solution that resolved the problem.
There is a small adapter called "Fitz iPhone headphone jack adapter" which is made by iFrogz. It works perfectly fine for the new Macbooks.
check it out on: http://ifrogz.com/products/fitz/
The price is $3.99 - not a lot of money to end your frustration.

And the fact that even one adapter that is not made by Apple works as well as the Apple plugs does, kind of puts the lie to the whole premise as well.

The plug is "captured" by means of the knob at the end connecting to embedded leaf springs at the back of the socket. If the socket as designed captures some plugs but not others it kind of implies that the plugs are at fault, not the socket.

Apple's plugs look pretty standard to me, and Apple has a history of exacting adherence to specs in things like this, so what are the odds that Apple's plugs are going to turn out to be exactly on the mark and that the plugs in question that don't work are actually just poorly made?

High IMO.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #15 of 82
Huh. Bought my MBPro the first day it was available and have had no issues with the headphone jack whatsoever. I've plugged in everything from regular Apple earbuds to Philips noise canceling headphones to Bose desktop speakers with not one issue.

I obviously believe most of the complaints, but anyone who would sue over this should be beaten in the face with a rubber hose. If a product doesn't work for you, return it. If the replacement still doesn't work, return it and don't do business with that company anymore.
post #16 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

And the fact that even one adapter that is not made by Apple works as well as the Apple plugs does, kind of puts the lie to the whole premise as well.

The plug is "captured" by means of the knob at the end connecting to embedded leaf springs at the back of the socket. If the socket as designed captures some plugs but not others it kind of implies that the plugs are at fault, not the socket.

Apple's plugs look pretty standard to me, and Apple has a history of exacting adherence to specs in things like this, so what are the odds that Apple's plugs are going to turn out to be exactly on the mark and that the plugs in question that don't work are actually just poorly made?

High IMO.


I believe you are forgetting the original iPhone or you didn't own one. In order to use any headphones (other than those that shipped with the iPhone) you had to buy an adapter.

They got so much shit over it they changed it to a standard headphone plug in for the 3G model.
post #17 of 82
It's easy to understand what Apple is trying to do with these various adapters, as they been doing it for many years, but I wonder if it's such a good idea.

Unless they offer these systems as standards, and they are accepted, it's just going to continue to cause confusion, and frustration to many people.

They offered the Mini Displayport to the standards board, why don't they offer these as well?

Then we might see other companies using them, and more plugs will be compatible.

This isn't something that crucial to the company's survival that they keep it to themselves. They would benefit from everyone using it.
post #18 of 82
Let me see:
1.) No HDMI
2.) NO FireWire
3.) Bad audio jacks
4.) Hi-gloss screens

Apple hardware may start a new trend of switchers goin' the other way-to the dark side!
post #19 of 82
So Apple has found yet another way to piss its customer off!
I had started hating them quite a while ago for the degrading customer satisfaction hardware-wise. It's things like this that will keep the hate going.

I still prefer Mac OS X as my primary OS. What to do, what to do...
post #20 of 82
I thought Microsoft was only allowed to make things non backwards compatible? LOL

Apple is following in the footsteps.... haha
iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
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iPhone 2G/3G
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iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
Nano 3rd/4th gen
iPhone 2G/3G
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post #21 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

I thought Microsoft was only allowed to make things non backwards compatible? LOL

Apple is following in the footsteps.... haha

OSX anyone? Not that compatible with os9. And "classic" was a farce... so few applications worked when they were needed.

and for the record, Microsoft has compatibility options that work well back to programs from 98. Of course, that makes for a BLOATED OS that has a lot of problems... but that isn't the point. your statement is incredibly off-base.
post #22 of 82
Same thing with expresscard 34 port! I bought a Lacie expresscard 34 with 2 firewire 800 and i can't connect it! Apple support does not have an answer for this! But if you search the internet you'll see that are other consumers with this problem! This only happens with the late 2008 Macbooks...
post #23 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by federmoose View Post

OSX anyone? Not that compatible with os9. And "classic" was a farce... so few applications worked when they were needed.

and for the record, Microsoft has compatibility options that work well back to programs from 98. Of course, that makes for a BLOATED OS that has a lot of problems... but that isn't the point. your statement is incredibly off-base.

RIIIIIIGHT...the MS compatibility back to 98 works sooooo well.
post #24 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by federmoose View Post

OSX anyone? Not that compatible with os9. And "classic" was a farce... so few applications worked when they were needed.

and for the record, Microsoft has compatibility options that work well back to programs from 98. Of course, that makes for a BLOATED OS that has a lot of problems... but that isn't the point. your statement is incredibly off-base.

You just contradicted yourself. does it work well, or have a lot of problems?
post #25 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by federmoose View Post

OSX anyone? Not that compatible with os9. And "classic" was a farce... so few applications worked when they were needed.

and for the record, Microsoft has compatibility options that work well back to programs from 98. Of course, that makes for a BLOATED OS that has a lot of problems... but that isn't the point. your statement is incredibly off-base.

Sorry... correct me if wrong... here we go...

New LED display only works with new MacBook lineup. Yes or No?
First gen iPhone only allowed Apple earpiece. Yes or No?
iLife '09 - GarageBand works with PowerPC? Yes or No?
FW400 taken out of the new MacBook lineup. If you had a FW400 Storage device you would be screwed? Yes or No?

The list goes on. If you answered Yes to 3 or more, than you are correct. You are screwing your customers.
iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
Nano 3rd/4th gen
iPhone 2G/3G
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iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
Nano 3rd/4th gen
iPhone 2G/3G
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post #26 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

Sorry... correct me if wrong... here we go...

New LED display only works with new MacBook lineup. Yes or No?
First gen iPhone only allowed Apple earpiece. Yes or No?
iLife '09 - GarageBand works with PowerPC? Yes or No?
FW400 taken out of the new MacBook lineup. If you had a FW400 Storage device you would be screwed? Yes or No?

The list goes on. If you answered Yes to 3 or more, than you are correct. You are screwing your customers.

And lets not bring up third party adapters eh... Who needs the extra cost on top of the cost of Apple products....
iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
Nano 3rd/4th gen
iPhone 2G/3G
Reply
iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
Nano 3rd/4th gen
iPhone 2G/3G
Reply
post #27 of 82
What is it with Apple monkeying around with mini jack connections? First the recessed iPhone jack... then the 6th gen iPod Classic messed up 3rd party video cables... now the MacBook (and perhaps the MacBook Pro too)?

While I cringe looking at the usual design of PC laptops and the unnecessary gaggle of connectivity options... It's getting to be ridiculous the number of extra cables and connector the average Apple laptop - sorry, I meant "notebook" needs.

For a company that does so many ingenious things they sure get tripped up by a lot of no brainer stuff like basic mini jack design which has been around for decades.
post #28 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacOldTimer View Post

I believe you are forgetting the original iPhone or you didn't own one. In order to use any headphones (other than those that shipped with the iPhone) you had to buy an adapter.

They got so much shit over it they changed it to a standard headphone plug in for the 3G model.

Actually, the original iPhone jack did adhere to the spec. The problem was that the spec does not cover the plastic bit, just the plug itself.

It would probably be fairer in that case to describe the plugs with the giant plastic housing that would not fit into the iPhone as "non-standard" than it would be to describe Apple's plugs as such even though as I said, I don't think the spec covers the housing.

I agree that such slight variations from the spec are pretty common though and Apple could be faulted for not making allowances for that.
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post #29 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by h3ndrix View Post

Call me retarded for defending this one but isn't this exactly what USB audio interfaces are for? The use of non proprietary audio equipment like headphones, monitors, etc? Just sayin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogerman2000 View Post

Exactly. Said in Jest perhaps? Jesus, you guys take yourselves way too seriously sometimes.

Sometimes it's hard to tell. As many sarcastic jokers as there are, there are also equally nutty people that actually believe the the preposterous things they say. It's not necessarily so easy to write a good sarcastic joke.
post #30 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

Sorry... correct me if wrong... here we go...

New LED display only works with new MacBook lineup. Yes or No?

Yes (as designed)
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

First gen iPhone only allowed Apple earpiece. Yes or No?

No (it just didn't fit for *some* jacks)
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

iLife '09 - GarageBand works with PowerPC? Yes or No?

Yes (with minor exception)
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

FW400 taken out of the new MacBook lineup.

No (only removed from entry level model)
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post


The list goes on. If you answered Yes to 3 or more, than you are correct. You are screwing your customers.

Your score:

1 out of 4 correct. (that's a failing grade, probably a "D")

PS - You can't use "the list goes on" unless you actually have more points, which you don't.
PPS - Your implied answer to point 2 is actually No, so your summation statement is wrong also.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
post #31 of 82
This is just a lack of proper product testing. I am sick of using adaptor after adapter (they keep breaking) for my phone, I'd really be upset if I needed a second one for my laptop. Take this as a tiny part of the lesson we all probably know by now:

DON'T BUY 1st GEN HARDWARE!!!

I'm wainting until they refresh the bastards with SLI and a matte screen. Until then, no wasting money on you Mr. Apple.
post #32 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by sausage&Onion View Post

This is just a lack of proper product testing. I am sick of using adaptor after adapter (they keep breaking) for my phone, I'd really be upset if I needed a second one for my laptop. Take this as a tiny part of the lesson we all probably know by now:

DON'T BUY 1st GEN HARDWARE!!!

I'm wainting until they refresh the bastards with SLI and a matte screen. Until then, no wasting money on you Mr. Apple.

I don't think it's a lack of testing. They work fine with the proper connectors.

As far as them breaking, well, all of these small plugs break. That's not an Apple exclusive.

The real question here, is whether they could do this in a more standard way, without having to use more than one port for it.
post #33 of 82
I have a Late '08 MBP and have used it with a number of headphones... from logitech to sennheiser with absolutely no problems at all. I wonder if this is brand specific problem or if there are other issues. Seriously ALL of my headphones snap in really nice... tight... no wiggle room... just a solid and tight connection.
post #34 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacOldTimer View Post

I believe you are forgetting the original iPhone or you didn't own one. In order to use any headphones (other than those that shipped with the iPhone) you had to buy an adapter.

They got so much shit over it they changed it to a standard headphone plug in for the 3G model.

The original iPhone never had a non-standard jack, it was just too far recessed into the case that some plugs didn't fit all the way in. Yes, it was a stupid design.
post #35 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

If the socket as designed captures some plugs but not others it kind of implies that the plugs are at fault, not the socket.

I don't see how that follows at all. The 1/8" audio jack has been a standard for over three decades. It stands to reason there would be a plethora of peripherals out there using it and it's incumbent on any manufacturer to ensure their jack works with those existing devices. It's a case of lighting a candle vs. cursing the darkness. I fear Apple has chosen the latter instead of the former, leaving its customers in limbo.
post #36 of 82
People are so critical. Maybe if you didnt just BUY the new Macbook even though you had last generations because its not as cool now you wouldnt be complaining right now. and Well it works with NEW headphones with a mic. So i dont understand why you would return your computer 8 times over a stupid headphone jacks. Use this opportunity to upgrade your headphones for your laptop and call it a day. Apple isnt made for backwards compatibility its made for whats happening now and will be happening tomorrow.

I read someones complaint list and:

Personaly I like the glossy screen. I Probably look in mirrors just as much as I do computer screens so a little mix of the both is nice.

I dont want firewire because Im not gonna be using it anyways and it just add an extra port to sit there and do nothing

I have the new headphones, which by the way stay in it fine.

So really i aint got nothing to bitch about. and I dont even use one 3rd party accessory so AH!
post #37 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

The original iPhone never had a non-standard jack, it was just too far recessed into the case that some plugs didn't fit all the way in. Yes, it was a stupid design.

To me, this seems like fertile ground for cognitive dissonance.

I don't understand why it's not a non-standard jack when most standard plugs don't fit into it without an adapter and added risk of damage that an unnecessary adapter entails.
post #38 of 82
I can't manipulate the same problem as the guy he got in the youtube video with my usual headphones(not Apple's in-year headphones) as well as external speakers, I feel sorry for them though.
post #39 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by talkshowonmute View Post

Use this opportunity to upgrade your headphones for your laptop and call it a day. Apple isnt made for backwards compatibility its made for whats happening now and will be happening tomorrow.

... (snip)

I have the new headphones, which by the way stay in it fine.

So really i aint got nothing to bitch about. and I dont even use one 3rd party accessory so AH!

Are you joking? That's good for you if the first party equipment is all you want. I can't even use the frakking earbuds, I wonder if my headphones would even work.
post #40 of 82
This happens to me, I try not to move it around much.

I just thought it was my 1/8 to RCA adapter......As a DJ this is important to me.
But not enought to cry about it.....

ROCK ON.

One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

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One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

Reply
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