Intel pushes USB-C as 3.5mm jack replacement, touts better sound, thinness & power management

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 70
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    cali said:
    Lightning is still smaller than USB-C and I believe lightning is still too large for a headphone standard that will span decades.

    it would be awesome if Apple announced lightning 2 before dropping 3.5mm.
    I remember when people were wanting Blu-ray drives in their MacBook Pros when the clear move was to eschew the ODD altogether. The wired headphone is going the same way. The last sales result show that BT-connnected headphones accounted for 15% of all unit sales, and had just topped wired headphones in revenue for the first time. With Bluetooth 5.0 we'll "quadruple the range, double the speed, and an eight-fold increase in data broadcasting capacity," and that's slated to start arriving in devices later this year or early next. That also means products with BT 4 will come down in price, and since you need the DAC and other components in BT headphones and in Lightning or USB-C headphones since they're digital connections, the cost disparity closes a little more as travel forward in time.
    repressthispropodlostkiwi
  • Reply 22 of 70
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    melgross said:

    eightzero said:
    I call bullshit on "better sound." It's digital. 1s and 0s going down that wire.
    Well, you can make the case either way, depending on your proclivities. Both have advantages. The big advantage to digital is that the signal doesn't deteriorate while moving between steps, or going down the wire. Really, the best case is that the signal remains in digital form until the last amplification step. The closer that last step is to the transducer, the better.

    so, digital to an on headphone amp is the best we can hope for in the present.
    You would have to get to several tens of meters for there to be any practical advantage, over the 0.5 - 2m cable lengths normally employed with cables with 3.5mm plugs on the end.

    There would be no audible benefit whatsoever.   Have iPods and iPhones actually had lousy audio quality all these years and people have been lying about it all this time?
    baconstangwozwoz
  • Reply 23 of 70
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    joe28753 said:
    melgross said:

    Well, you can make the case either way, depending on your proclivities. Both have advantages. The big advantage to digital is that the signal doesn't deteriorate while moving between steps, or going down the wire. Really, the best case is that the signal remains in digital form until the last amplification step. The closer that last step is to the transducer, the better.

    so, digital to an on headphone amp is the best we can hope for in the present.
    And to expand on this, an analog signal going down 3 feet of headphone wire will only have a negligible effect on the sound. You probably won't notice. The noticeable change is the DAC. Right now it's converted to analog inside the iPhone and you have to do the best you can with that signal. If you plug in really high-end headphones to the analog headphone jack on the iPhone, it won't sound optimal. If the output is digital, then the headphones or device you plug in will be in charge of taking those 1's and 0's and converting them to what you end up hearing. So you could potentially have phenomenally better sound than currently possible.
    Total and complete garbage.
    croprwozwoz
  • Reply 24 of 70
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 626member
    Let's see who comes out on top in this debate.  My money is on Apple.
    xmhillxpatchythepirate
  • Reply 25 of 70
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    emoeller said:
    So one concern that is just now popping up ( http://bgr.com/2016/06/29/the-iphone-7-nightmare/ ) about removing the analog 3.5 mm jack is that once everything goes digital it becomes subject to Digital Rights Management (DRM).  Apple once touted that with a Mac and iPod one could rip (music) and store it in your pocket, thus securing iPod dominance.   Now that Apple is in the content provider business, they are tightly controlling DRM for their content (think Airplay).  Once analog options are removed, and there is ONLY digital data streaming (which could be secured by DRM) then content producers and providers will be obligated to enforce DRM.   The "nightmare" scenario is that DRM is end to end over everything (wifi, bluetooth, USB, etc.).  
    That's a weird argument since the Mac, iPod, and iPhone are all digital devices where DRM can't only be utilized, but is utilized. Do you not remember the iTunes Store nee iTunes Music Store and their FairPlay DRM? All those devices had a 3.5mm jack (and some had other analog audio and video out options) and yet DRM still existed on the device since the device is digital.
  • Reply 26 of 70
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    eightzero said:
    I call bullshit on "better sound." It's digital. 1s and 0s going down that wire.

    They mean better than analog over 3.5mm, not better than Lightning.
    It is not physically possible to improve on the analogue audio quality you can deliver through a 3.5mm connector.
  • Reply 27 of 70
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    cnocbui said:
    joe28753 said:
    And to expand on this, an analog signal going down 3 feet of headphone wire will only have a negligible effect on the sound. You probably won't notice. The noticeable change is the DAC. Right now it's converted to analog inside the iPhone and you have to do the best you can with that signal. If you plug in really high-end headphones to the analog headphone jack on the iPhone, it won't sound optimal. If the output is digital, then the headphones or device you plug in will be in charge of taking those 1's and 0's and converting them to what you end up hearing. So you could potentially have phenomenally better sound than currently possible.
    Total and complete garbage.
    What's garbage about it? Are you saying the DACs in Apple's devices are so good that a better one—while not impossible—isn't going to make a lick a difference?
    baconstang
  • Reply 28 of 70

    Mmm ...

    I didn't know that you could charge a 12.9 iPad Pro using USB 3.1 through the Lightning port (I don't have any USB 3.1 devices or chargers).

    I compared the Lightening and USB 3 pinouts and appears to me that the Lightening port cannot take advantage of all USB 3 capabilities.

    My AppleTV does have a USB 3 port -- and it appears to be slightly thicker than a lightening port ...

    To me, It would make more sense, at least on the iPad Pros, to replace the Lightening Port with a full featured USB 3 port & 3.1 support if there aren't other issues like power requirements, etc.  That way, for example, you could use the iPad Pro on a Mac instead of a Wacom tablet.

    I suspect that IBM will pressure Apple to include a USB 3.1 port on the new iPads.

    One problem with a single port on the device, be it USB or Lightening, is that you can't do 2 things at once -- say, charge your device and use wired headphones or transfer data.


    "One problem with a single port on the device, be it USB or Lightening, is that you can't do 2 things at once -- say, charge your device and use wired headphones or transfer data."

    .... this is not true. Apple in the past has circumvented this issue by creating a dongle that extends the singular input port into a power + port output. This was done on the 30-Pin for including HDMI output plus power and also for lightening to HDMI + lightening ( 
    http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MD826AM/A/lightning-digital-av-adapter?fnode=97 ). another example of this port expansion can be found in apple USB-C digital AV multiport adapter for the new Macbook. ( http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJ1K2AM/A/usb-c-digital-av-multiport-adapter?fnode=8b )
  • Reply 29 of 70
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    venti21 said:

    Mmm ...

    I didn't know that you could charge a 12.9 iPad Pro using USB 3.1 through the Lightning port (I don't have any USB 3.1 devices or chargers).

    I compared the Lightening and USB 3 pinouts and appears to me that the Lightening port cannot take advantage of all USB 3 capabilities.

    My AppleTV does have a USB 3 port -- and it appears to be slightly thicker than a lightening port ...

    To me, It would make more sense, at least on the iPad Pros, to replace the Lightening Port with a full featured USB 3 port & 3.1 support if there aren't other issues like power requirements, etc.  That way, for example, you could use the iPad Pro on a Mac instead of a Wacom tablet.

    I suspect that IBM will pressure Apple to include a USB 3.1 port on the new iPads.

    One problem with a single port on the device, be it USB or Lightening, is that you can't do 2 things at once -- say, charge your device and use wired headphones or transfer data.


    "One problem with a single port on the device, be it USB or Lightening, is that you can't do 2 things at once -- say, charge your device and use wired headphones or transfer data."

    .... this is not true. Apple in the past has circumvented this issue by creating a dongle that extends the singular input port into a power + port output. This was done on the 30-Pin for including HDMI output plus power and also for lightening to HDMI + lightening ( http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MD826AM/A/lightning-digital-av-adapter?fnode=97 ). another example of this port expansion can be found in apple USB-C digital AV multiport adapter for the new Macbook. ( http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJ1K2AM/A/usb-c-digital-av-multiport-adapter?fnode=8b )
    Let's not forget the magnetic Smart Connector, or another method of charging, not to mention BT headphones when one is making the argument "you can't do 2 things at once" in reference to the device.
  • Reply 30 of 70
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Soli said:
    cnocbui said:
    Total and complete garbage.
    What's garbage about it? Are you saying the DACs in Apple's devices are so good that a better one—while not impossible—isn't going to make a lick a difference?
    That would be one aspect.  I have yet to be convinced there is an audible difference between well implemented decent DACs, though I remain open minded.

    This:
    If you plug in really high-end headphones to the analog headphone jack on the iPhone, it won't sound optimal. If the output is digital, then the headphones or device you plug in will be in charge of taking those 1's and 0's and converting them to what you end up hearing. So you could potentially have phenomenally better sound than currently possible.

    Is utter garbage.  I have a pair of really high end headphones and if I plug them directly into my CD player with it's separate dedicated DAC's for each channel, my Samsung Wave with its Wolfson DAC or my daughter's iPhone 5, or my 2003 3rd gen Apple iPod with a Wolfson DAC, they all deliver quite superb audio quality that is indistinguishable from each other.

    For 'Phenomenally better sound'  to be possible, it follows logically that the audio quality from iPhones must be quite poor, compared with what is possible.  Do you believe that to be the case?  Does anyone believe that to be the case?  Has there ever been an iPhone review that said the audio quality of music played on it sucked?


    edited August 2016
  • Reply 31 of 70
    Soli said:
    cnocbui said:
    Total and complete garbage.
    What's garbage about it? Are you saying the DACs in Apple's devices are so good that a better one—while not impossible—isn't going to make a lick a difference?
    Apple's DACs are better than they used to be, but only somewhat better than average. From 2008 to 2010 things were quite rough as Apple transitioned from Wolfson to Cirrus Logic.
    repressthisbaconstang
  • Reply 32 of 70
    venti21 said:

    Mmm ...

    I didn't know that you could charge a 12.9 iPad Pro using USB 3.1 through the Lightning port (I don't have any USB 3.1 devices or chargers).

    I compared the Lightening and USB 3 pinouts and appears to me that the Lightening port cannot take advantage of all USB 3 capabilities.

    My AppleTV does have a USB 3 port -- and it appears to be slightly thicker than a lightening port ...

    To me, It would make more sense, at least on the iPad Pros, to replace the Lightening Port with a full featured USB 3 port & 3.1 support if there aren't other issues like power requirements, etc.  That way, for example, you could use the iPad Pro on a Mac instead of a Wacom tablet.

    I suspect that IBM will pressure Apple to include a USB 3.1 port on the new iPads.

    One problem with a single port on the device, be it USB or Lightening, is that you can't do 2 things at once -- say, charge your device and use wired headphones or transfer data.


    "One problem with a single port on the device, be it USB or Lightening, is that you can't do 2 things at once -- say, charge your device and use wired headphones or transfer data."

    .... this is not true. Apple in the past has circumvented this issue by creating a dongle that extends the singular input port into a power + port output. This was done on the 30-Pin for including HDMI output plus power and also for lightening to HDMI + lightening ( http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MD826AM/A/lightning-digital-av-adapter?fnode=97 ). another example of this port expansion can be found in apple USB-C digital AV multiport adapter for the new Macbook. ( http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJ1K2AM/A/usb-c-digital-av-multiport-adapter?fnode=8b )

    That's using a dongle ...

    repressthisbaconstang
  • Reply 33 of 70
    melgross said:

    eightzero said:
    I call bullshit on "better sound." It's digital. 1s and 0s going down that wire.
    Well, you can make the case either way, depending on your proclivities. Both have advantages. The big advantage to digital is that the signal doesn't deteriorate while moving between steps, or going down the wire. Really, the best case is that the signal remains in digital form until the last amplification step. The closer that last step is to the transducer, the better.

    so, digital to an on headphone amp is the best we can hope for in the present.


    The real benefit isn't how close the amplifier is to the transducer. The real benefit is that an amplifier output stage can be matched to the type of transducer. Headphones come in all sorts of impedances (32 and 600 ohm being common). It's more difficult to make a single amplifier that's capable of providing optimum output to headphones with such a wide range of impedance or transducer types. Matching the amplifier circuit to the specific transducer can have a huge increase on sound quality and output level.

    Further, besides the DAC and AMP in the headphones you will also usually have a DSP (digital signal processing) module. For example, EQ to modify the frequency response characteristics of your headphones. While many portable devices have the ability to change the EQ, these are nothing more than glorified tone controls. By EQ I'm referring to highly specific boost/cut at certain frequencies to compensate for any deficiencies in the transducer/headphone.

    And we haven't even gotten into other possibilities like noise cancellation or other real-time audio adjustments based on your environment or activity (like gaming vs listening to music).
  • Reply 34 of 70
    eightzero said:
    I call bullshit on "better sound." It's digital. 1s and 0s going down that wire.
    On 3.5mm port you go through a shit DAC inside the phone to convert 1s and 0s in analog, with USB-C/Lightning you can get a better DAC resulting in better sound
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 35 of 70
    foljsfoljs Posts: 383member
    cali said:
    Lightning is still smaller than USB-C and I believe lightning is still too large for a headphone standard that will span decades.

    it would be awesome if Apple announced lightning 2 before dropping 3.5mm.
    After a certain size (and USB-C is that or close to that) devices won't have smaller physical ports for headphones or whaever. They'd just use wireless transmission.

    So it makes no sense to say "lightning is still too large for a headphone standard that will span decades" -- as if in 2030 we'll be using some thinner and brittler cable and tiny physical port for sound. That would be so brittle, it would break at the first push or tangling. Instead we'll go from something like lighting/usb-C to wireless sound in smaller future devices.

  • Reply 36 of 70
    xmhillxxmhillx Posts: 112member
    mac_128 said:
    mazda 3s said:
    If USB-C is the future, and Apple definitely thinks so given the adoption of the standard on the MacBook, why doesn't Apple just go all in and put USB-C on the iPhones going forward? You'd have a universal standard and you could use just about any USB-C cable between ALL of your Apple devices.

    Better yet, what's the advantage of Lighting over USB-C anyway? Aren't they pretty much at feature/speed parity?


    Because I have a 4 year investment in Lightning cables and accessories for my iPhones and iPads. Apple will add a Lightning port to all of its Macs to facilitate those who have a need to use wired audio, but Apple's not looking to establish a new wired standard. They are pushing forward to wireless everything. In 5 years when USB-C is finally reaching market saturation as older devices start to be replaced, Apple will be moving to wireless charging, wireless audio, and wireless data almost exclusively. Apple is saving me money by not switching over to a new "standard" that for the next couple of years is going to be even harder to find than a Lightning cable out in the real world, and isn't forcing me to buy all new USB-C accessories and cables, only to toss them out in another 5 years or less anyway.
    Exacccccctttttlllllllyyyyyy.

    That's my thinking too. Apple made the usb-c competitor in 2012, Lightning. It's a competitor at least for mobile, because usb-c has many features that much larger capacity devices need so usb-c isn't specifically for mobile devices. Now, soon everything's going wireless. Not "just any" wireless, good wireless. Wireless charging that's as good or better than current wired charging for the average consumer. I doubt Apple will include wireless charging while it's still inferior to wired charging; the gimmick outweighs the benefits (imagine Apple Pay was more cumbersome than a chip reader credit card..... it'd be counter productive). Wireless audio surpassing the 3.5mm quality and performance features. Cloud storage is wireless already.

    With Bluetooth 5.0 coming out late 2016 / early 2017, and wireless charging improving to match or go beyond wired charging, and cloud services being more widely used...... industry is headed towards wireless. I don't expect Apple to invest in usb-c on their iPhones, deal with all the drawbacks of transitioning, undo much of their efforts for a proprietary ecosystem, just to eventually move towards wireless anyway, and when there is no glaring need for it and the biggest benefit is aligning along with the rest of industry.

    Thing is, I don't think we're there yet this year. Perhaps in 2017 we'll start to be there, and 2018 much more established. If Apple does remove the 3.5mm jack, I think it may have been a year too early, and maybe not Apple's fault. They could've expected BT5.0 to be released by the time iPhone was being manufactured, but BT took longer than anticipated and won't be released until after iPhone's release. I dunno. Maybe it's an early transition and we'll have to see what Apple releases in September to make an honest/accurate judgment on the justification and supposed benefits. C'mon September 7th....
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 37 of 70
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    venti21 said:
    "One problem with a single port on the device, be it USB or Lightening, is that you can't do 2 things at once -- say, charge your device and use wired headphones or transfer data."

    .... this is not true. Apple in the past has circumvented this issue by creating a dongle that extends the singular input port into a power + port output. This was done on the 30-Pin for including HDMI output plus power and also for lightening to HDMI + lightening ( http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MD826AM/A/lightning-digital-av-adapter?fnode=97 ). another example of this port expansion can be found in apple USB-C digital AV multiport adapter for the new Macbook. ( http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJ1K2AM/A/usb-c-digital-av-multiport-adapter?fnode=8b )

    That's using a dongle ...

    There are several simple ways to achieve this with out dongles:

     An pass-through connector is the most obvious in the Lightning power cable. Insert the charging cable, then add whatever device you want to add. Optional pass-through Lightning cables for headphones and devices will allow you to add as many Lightning devices as Apple allows. 

    A Lightning port in the charger block itself, in addition to the USB port. That way, a set of Lightning equipped headphones can plug into the charging block along with the iPhone and the signal will be based through.

    Assuming a pair of Beats Lightning headphones, a pass through built into the headphones like the 3.5mm passthrough is already built into some. Plug power into the headphones, and the headphones into the iPhone. 

    And so on ... it's not rocket surgery. The implications presented in these threads that no one at Apple has given this any consideration, and that the only solution they will have thought of is for some kind of splitter/dongle is astounding.


    edited August 2016 patchythepirate
  • Reply 38 of 70
    xmhillx said:
    mac_128 said:
    Because I have a 4 year investment in Lightning cables and accessories for my iPhones and iPads. Apple will add a Lightning port to all of its Macs to facilitate those who have a need to use wired audio, but Apple's not looking to establish a new wired standard. They are pushing forward to wireless everything. In 5 years when USB-C is finally reaching market saturation as older devices start to be replaced, Apple will be moving to wireless charging, wireless audio, and wireless data almost exclusively. Apple is saving me money by not switching over to a new "standard" that for the next couple of years is going to be even harder to find than a Lightning cable out in the real world, and isn't forcing me to buy all new USB-C accessories and cables, only to toss them out in another 5 years or less anyway.
    Thing is, I don't think we're there yet this year. Perhaps in 2017 we'll start to be there, and 2018 much more established. If Apple does remove the 3.5mm jack, I think it may have been a year too early, and maybe not Apple's fault. They could've expected BT5.0 to be released by the time iPhone was being manufactured, but BT took longer than anticipated and won't be released until after iPhone's release. I dunno. Maybe it's an early transition and we'll have to see what Apple releases in September to make an honest/accurate judgment on the justification and supposed benefits. C'mon September 7th....
    I think Apple often does things a year too early, but I feel like this time won't be as painful as past occurrences since options do exist now. It's not like when the iMac dropped every legacy port and the floppy drive and there were only a handful of USB devices on the market.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 39 of 70
    bwikbwik Posts: 564member
    Just another example of Apple's dozens of failures on the adapter/connector front.

    Apple has made some advances in connectors.  But typically and I am talking over 35 years, Apple indulges in almost perverse levels of failure with respect to connectors.
    entropys
  • Reply 40 of 70
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 817member
    mazda 3s said:
    If USB-C is the future, and Apple definitely thinks so given the adoption of the standard on the MacBook, why doesn't Apple just go all in and put USB-C on the iPhones going forward? You'd have a universal standard and you could use just about any USB-C cable between ALL of your Apple devices.

    Better yet, what's the advantage of Lighting over USB-C anyway? Aren't they pretty much at feature/speed parity?


    You know how USB-1 had one end of the USB with the flat rect? then the other end with the square? Expect to see Apple doing the same with USB-C and Lightning. Basically to Apple, a standard "In-Control" USB-C cable is one that has the USB-C end for one and Lightning on the other end...
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