The universal headphone jack is a rare example of shared technology that allows seamless sharing among otherwise disparate devices. You can buy a set of headphones for $4 and be assured it be compatible with expensive, advanced technology, like professional recording equipment or an airplane.
There’s a rumor that Apple boughtBeats by Dre headphones to replace the headphone jacks on Apple devices with propriety connections. Instead of plugging headphones into the headphone jack, iPhone users will connect them through the “lightning connector.”
The lightning connector currently acts as the charging point of the iPhone. An tech journalist speaking with NPR suggested that merging the power source and headphone jack on an iPhone will someday be a boon to consumers as headphones with features like noise cancellation or EQ boosting will not require batteries.
If you read the article on NPR’s website, the bullshit of the suggestion becomes obvious in the space of two user comments.
But beyond consumer annoyance, this will also have a negative effect on parts of the consumer electronics economy we rarely consider. This will wipe out an entire aisle of every Radio Shack in America. Dollar stores will lose half their tech section. Airport stores will no longer be able to overcharge for offbrand headphones. It will make home audio recording more difficult and expensive.