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The iPhone 7’s Missing Headphone Jack: So How do We Listen to Music Now?

The iPhone 7’s Missing Headphone Jack: So How do We Listen to Music Now?

When the iPhone 7 was launched in September, the most newsworthy headlines about the new device weren’t what you might expect. In fact, the most talked about aspect of the iPhone 7 is what wasn’t included: a headphone jack.

Anyone who owns an iPhone has most likely used it to play music; for most, the phone replaced their iPod. Simply plug a set of earbuds into the 3.5mm jack, and it was no different than listening on any other digital music player. Yet while an auxiliary jack for headphones or earbuds was an expected feature on an iPhone, it also represented some issues for Apple.

For starters, any type of jack is a potential failure point for the device. Now granted, most people are able to protect the iPhone jack fairly well, thanks to phone cases and the fact that most devices are kept safe from dirt, moisture, and other contaminants, but there is always a risk. Who doesn’t know someone who dropped their phone the wrong way or had another accident that led to the headphone connector snapping off and getting stuck in the jack?

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Perhaps more importantly for Apple, though, is the fact that a 3.5mm headphone jack adds width to the iPhone – and Apple is all about making their devices thinner and more streamlined with every iteration. Without the headphone jack, it was possible to shave a few more millimeters off the thickness of the phone, and create the thinnest device ever. Given that all engineers in all industries are being challenged to develop ever smaller microcontrollers and small model PICS, this quest for a thin device makes sense.

Despite the benefits of removing the jack, though, consumers still had concerns about the change – most notably, how would they listen to music or other content without a headphone jack? The answer was a Lightning jack, and as it turns out, it’s actually been a welcome change for iPhone users.

Digital, Analog, and Better Sound Quality

When the news broke that the iPhone 7 would not have a headphone jack, users were concerned. However, what they failed to realize was that while we may be used to the technology, it’s not the most efficient – and it’s not necessarily the best way to listen to music.

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Without getting into the differences between analog and digital recordings in general – and perceptions of the quality of either – it’s important to realize that all music played on an iPhone is digital. However, a 3.5mm headphone jack is an analog device, meaning that the iPhone must use a digital to analog converter, contained in the phone, to convert the binary code of the music into an analog form, which is then amplified so it can be heard in the attached headphones. This process can have a significant effect on the quality of the sound heard through the headphones.

By removing the headphone jack, Apple is accomplishing several things. For starters, music can potentially sound better because it isn’t being converted to analog and amplified – it’s being transmitted in digital form to the headphones via a Lightning jack. Not only that, but by removing the DAC and amplifier from the phone, the phone can accommodate a larger battery, thus helping ensure a longer battery life for the device.

So How Do We Listen Now?

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    Some iPhone users were concerned that the removal of the standard jack meant that they would not be able to listen to music on their phones with headphones at all. This is not the case. The new phones come equipped with a Lightning port, as well as a single pair of Lightning headphones. The new Lightning headphones contain a DAC and amplifier in them, but because the new port and jack are digital, the process of converting sound does not need to take place in the phone.

    This has the potential to improve the sound of music in several ways, not the least of which is the fact that headphone manufacturers are now going to have to work harder to create headphones that have exceptional sound, especially with a wireless focus. Apple has essentially put that pressure on the headphone manufacturers, and with that competition will come better sound.

    Of course, using non-Lightning headphones will require a Lightning converter (one comes with the phone) but most users who have upgraded to the iPhone 7 have found that the change is not as bad as they expected it would be. And since future versions of the ubiquitous device will most likely be designed the same way, it’s only a matter of time before we are all used to it.

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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    Ryan Kh

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    Published on September 17, 2020

    10 Best Monitors for Your PC Under $100

    10 Best Monitors for Your PC Under $100

    Are you looking for the best monitor under $100?

    Whether you want it for your home office, editing photography, or gaming, you don’t need to spend big bucks on a display screen because a low budget one will certainly do the trick.[1]

    We can almost hear you having second thoughts about the picture quality, but you don’t have to worry at all.[2]

    Our list of the best monitors under $100 will be more than enough to cover you. Just go through it now, and you’ll find yourself a bargain.

    Why You Should Trust Us

    Our list incorporates some of the best low-budget monitors available in the market. Their efficiency and distinctive traits enable them to stand out from others.[3] The hand-picked ones below are incredibly slick and have a high refresh rate, fast response time, high resolution, and built-in speakers.

    1. Acer Ultra Thin Frame Monitor

      Our first affordable computer screen is Acer’s 21.5-inch ultra-thin frame monitor. It has a refresh rate of 75Hz using an HDMI port and offers a full HD widescreen display.

      Its brightness can be maxed out at 250 nits. It has a slight tilt angle ranging from -5 to 15, as well as Radeon free sync technology.

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      Buy this computer monitor.

      2. Sceptre Ultra-Thin Display

        Sceptre is another company that provides excellent displays for your CPU. The screen size is a little smaller at 20 inches, but it’s made up for the slightly lower price than Acer. It also comes with two HDMI ports and built-in speakers and is wall mount ready.

        Buy this computer monitor.

        3. ViewSonic LED Monitor

        best monitor

          If you want the best monitor to set up in your office or around the house, ViewSonic’s LED screen is another good option to buy. The resolution is full HD and has a broader tilt ranging from -5 to 23 degrees.

          On top of that, the product comes with a 3-year warranty. Included in the bundle are a VGA cable, monitor, power cable, and audio cable.

          Buy this computer monitor.

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          4. ViewSonic Gaming Screen

            While we just covered a ViewSonic monitor, this one is specifically built for gaming in mind.

            Overall, this computer screen provides the same specs as the previously mentioned item. The key differences are that this one is slightly longer, comes with pre-set customizable visual modes, and offers a maxed out contrast, delivering a dynamic contrast ratio for sharp and crisp images. It also comes with a DVI cable.

            Buy this computer monitor.

            5. Asus Back Lit Monitor

            best monitor

              If you don’t mind spending a little more money, you can get an Asus Back Lit Monitor for your PC. A lot of the focus is on image quality, particularly having a strong contrast ratio and smart video technology for straight viewing. That feature also helps in reducing blue light since you’ll have more flexibility with the colors and brightness.

              Buy this computer monitor.

              6. Asus Back Lit Display

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                Another alternative to the previous Asus monitor is this one. It has a smaller contrast ratio, though it still delivers a smooth video display. You also have aspect controls, so you can adjust its display.

                Buy this computer monitor.

                7. Dell Ultrasharp Panel Monitor

                best monitor

                  If you’re looking for the basic features, look no further than Dell. There’s nothing particularly fancy about this panel screen, but it does the job well for any computer.

                  Its response time is 8ms, which is typical for a monitor. It can come in either silver or black.

                  Buy this computer monitor.

                  8. ViewSonic Frameless Monitor

                    If you liked ViewSonic’s LED monitor but wanted a little more features, we suggest looking at their frameless display. While it boasts similar specs as the brand’s other monitors, it offers color correction and dual built-in speakers, making it ideal for office and home use. It’s also 22 inches long.

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                    Buy this computer monitor.

                    9. Dell Mountable LED-Lit Monitor

                      For a dependable display with a good frame rate, Dell has a mountable, LED-lit monitor in the market. It measures 18.5 inches, has an adjustable arm, and has been through rigorous testing for long-lasting reliability. You can’t go wrong with this best monitor either.

                      Buy this computer monitor.

                      10. Sceptre Monitor

                        The final screen to cover comes from Sceptre. Compared to the ultra-thin version mentioned above, this one is available in 22 inches. Beyond that, it’s your standard display that provides decent tilting at -5 to 15 degrees, wall-mounted capabilities, 5ms response time, and built-in speakers.

                        Buy this computer monitor.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Finding one of the best monitors around can be tricky. If you’re looking for an affordable one that can last for years, consider picking a computer screen from this list.

                        Featured photo credit: Sebastian Bednarek via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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