The writing’s on the wall. Heck, it’s been on the wall for eight months: Samsung is done including a headphone jack in its flagship smartphones, meaning they’re not going to work with your legacy audio devices unless you carry a USB-C dongle.
The evidence: today’s just-announced Samsung Galaxy Note 10 doesn’t include the 3.5mm socket, even though it’s the phone that would have been most likely to keep it around. That’s partly because the Note’s size means more space to fit that jack, and partly because the Note has always been Samsung’s “everything phone” — a phone for people who want all the hot new features instead of having to choose.
So why is Samsung finally ditching the headphone jack after three years of holding the line against Apple, which ditched the jack in 2016? A Samsung rep tells The Verge that it made space for an ever-so-slightly larger battery — around 100mAh, or roughly 2-3 percent larger — and allegedly, improved haptic feedback because there’s no longer a hollow cavity for that jack inside the phone. (Never mind the Note’s stylus slot.)
If those seem like poor excuses, you know exactly how I’m feeling right now. I can’t help but wonder if, like Apple in 2016, the decision isn’t about “courage” so much as selling a pair of semi-competent flagship wireless earbuds alongside many of those phones.
It’s true that the quality of Bluetooth headphones has improved remarkably since Nilay wrote his infamous post. But I still have to agree that removing the headphone jack seems user-hostile for no particularly good reason, and Samsung should know that better than most. When competitors claimed that desirable features like waterproofing, wireless charging, and headphone jacks couldn’t all fit in the same phone, it was Samsung that proved, year after year, it was possible to cram everything into one.
For a while there, it seemed like the headphone jack was actually making a resurgence. Lenovo brought it back with the Moto Z4, Google with the Pixel 3A, and it never left LG’s flagship phones. But realistically, Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo / Vivo / OnePlus are the brands that set the tone for the industry these days, and they’re all drifting away from the idea.
Now, like some of its competitors, Samsung just has to pretend it never made fun of Apple for doing the same damn thing. Because even if you try to delete these videos, Samsung, the internet has a long memory.