No More Headphone Jack What this means for the iPhone and the future of iOS audio So the rumors were right, the iPhone has officially lost its headphone jack and the world shall now end while hell freezes over. OK, maybe it's not that bad, or maybe it is. It opens up a huge slew of accessories, but comes with the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Ugly We'll start with the ugly. The worst part of losing the headphone jack is that you're all sent to an eternal damnation where you must supply your own DAC (and amp) in order to listen to music. BT headphones and adapters (with DACs) will do the trick. However, you won't just be able to plug in a pair of headphones. There are already a slew of available DAC/amp combos available for iOS, and there always have. Two notable ones are: V-Moda Vamp Verza Apogee One Audioquest Dragonfly (with adapter) Sony PHA-A1 Both of these have support for iOS and act as a DAC/Amp for your iOS device bypassing the build-in one. Both are said to be superb at what they do (I know from experience the Vamp Verza is). However, they lack in two departments: Price: none of these are cheap, costing hundreds of dollars, but you do get the superb quality out of it, quality that surpasses that of the previous iPhone itself. Size: these tend to be larger, better quality typically requires a larger size. And these were designed to offer stellar quality at the price of portability. The Bad With that said, there is a bad side to this now as well, that isn't as ugly. That is, you'll get what you pay for. Choose a cheap adapter and you'll get audio that sounds like it came from a cheap, Chinese, knockoff flip phone. We've all ran into that situation in the past where you wouldn't listen to music out of your laptop's headphone jack because it sounded jacked up. Well, it's no different here. Choose a cheap adapter that uses a cheap DAC and a cheap amp and you'll get cheap, crappy sound. That's the primary bad portion, but there is a good portion too. The Good The good news is that you aren't forced into the crappy DACs of yesteryear. Rather, you'll be able to pay for adapters that sound better than what the iPhone gave out before it. Additionally, there is room for customization. In the audiophile world, we refer to synergy as the way a headphone pairs with a DAC/amp combination. Different headphones will fair better with different DACs and amps. You're no longer stuck to one DAC/amp and can customize the source to sync well with your headphones. With that said, even more customization is available too. For example, DACs and amps color the music you listen to in their own ways. Some people prefer the colder sound that the iPhone 6 gave while others prefer the warmer sound of the original iPhone. Why did they sound so different? The DAC and amp. The newer iPhones have a colder DAC/amp which weighed more evenly while the original iPhone had a warmer sound that was thicker and bassier. Actually, the DAC that is used with the lightning to 30 pin Apple adapter is a very good one that is colored closer to the original; that is, it's warmer. Which is the other part of it. If Apple makes and adapter, knowing that they are already using a Wolfson DAC inside of their current 30-pin adapter, you'll know it is a good DAC that is worth its price (the price of the Wolfson DAC is nearly the price of the adapter Apple sells if you were to just buy one DAC). Conclusions So, we're losing out on the flexibility of having a DAC and amp built right into our phones and being forced into adapters or bluetooth devices (or if you have the cash, AirPods). It's a loss of convenience that I will miss dearly. However, it does open some doors in terms of customization and higher quality audio (again, at a price). The problem, you're forced into that door now. At least they include the adapter in the box, right?