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RIP, headphone jacks. Apple’s bad design decision is now an industry standard

Leaked images suggest that Samsung will be including a dreaded dongle with its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 10. Hang on to your iPhone 6S, people!

RIP, headphone jacks. Apple’s bad design decision is now an industry standard
[Source Image: Samsung/Sammobile]

The dongles have won the smartphone wars. Alleged renderings of the Galaxy Note 10, the upcoming version of Samsung’s flagship phone, were leaked to the site SamMobile, and they suggest that the phone will not include a headphone jack. Instead it would come with a dongle that converts a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack to a USB-C connector.

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Samsung was the last major smartphone maker to hold out against the overwhelming shift away from wired headphones that Apple began in 2016 with its release of the iPhone 7. Apple’s decision to ditch the jack so that the phone could be ever slimmer is one that has made many people desperately unhappy—in part because wireless headphones (especially lower-end ones) just don’t work sometimes, but also because of the terrible solution that Apple came up with so that people could still use their old headphones: the dongle. The only way to use your wired headphones rests with that devilish, much-hated bit of wire that can break and is so easy to lose that it has become Best Buy’s number-one-selling Apple accessory. If you do lose it and you don’t have wireless headphones, you won’t be able to privately listen to music on your phone at all. (All these details earned the dongle a place on Fast Company‘s list of the worst designs of 2018.)

But perhaps most unforgivably, Apple’s decision to ditch the headphone jack led to a string of other smartphone makers jumping onboard. Google, HTC, Motorola, Huawei, Xiaomi, Nokia, and Sony all have started releasing phones without a headphone jack. Samsung previously announced that the Galaxy A8 would not have a headphone jack, but it hasn’t made the change consistently across its product line—the Galaxy S10 did have a jack. But this new leak suggests that Samsung is indeed moving in the direction of killing the headphone jack.

That means the dongle is probably in your future, if it hasn’t already arrived. I, for one, have held onto my iPhone 6S and will continue to do so for as long as possible to preserve my beloved headphone jack. But with a Samsung dongle likely coming, there will soon be no escape.

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is an associate editor based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and follow her on Twitter @kschwabable

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