A Realistic Look At The Death Of A Standard

A bit ago I wrote an article called, “Death To The 3.5mm Audio Jack, Long Live Wireless.” A few readers were with me, a few were indifferent, many were vehemently against me, and there was a, not insubstantial, subset in a pure panic about the potential retirement of a beloved connector. Now I used a lot of opinionated language dispersed with subjectively evaluated facts to make a case that the connector is out. Not today maybe, but there is certainly a tomorrow not so far off where there are more wireless headsets at the electronics store than wired ones.

I think I saw a laserdisc player in operation exactly once.
I think I saw a Laserdisc player in operation exactly once.

So what happens when a standard dies? What happens when technology starts to move on? Let’s take a look at the CD-ROM. 

Two years ago I gave away my last stack of DVD-Rs. Of course, by gave away I mean, guiltily stashed in the hackerspace boneyard. Just in case there was a member with a stronger spirit who could actually throw them away.

I hadn’t needed a DVD-R in years. I maybe put one DVD or CD in my computer a year. Note, I had purchased a computer just a year earlier with a very strong feeling that a DVD reader was an absolutely necessity. I mean, my first computer, a 200MHz Pentium MMX, had a CD-ROM tray. To me, it just wasn’t a computer unless it had one. I was already loathe to give up my serial port and parallel port from my old laptop. How would I control the CNC machine I didn’t own anymore? USB? Please. They had changed the keyboard and ruined the mouse. Like hell I would compromise on this.

Dropbox happened. Cheap thumb drives happened. SD Cards happened. It’s not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with a DVD drive. It’s a beautiful piece of engineering and a world standard that can read a whole history of formats. I just don’t use it anymore. The technology caught up and then overtook it. My next laptop will not waste space, power, and weight on a disk drive. Why should it?

The Premise

Let’s assume that today is declared the death of the CD-ROM and optical disk format in the way that we know it. No longer will a printer come with a little envelope with an outdated driver. No longer will your IT guy carry around that disgustingly greasy cracked leather binder full of disks around. It’s dead today. Officially, It would be 58 years old.

What would this mean? Would this mean that aliens come down and take it all away? That I’ll wake up tomorrow and there will just be smooth plastic where my disk drive was today? No. There will still be a company somewhere making disks. There will still be an OEM jamming it into a crevice somewhere. It would still be around for the foreseeable future. Just no one would be expected to use it. It’s an oddity and a relic.

The fourth iteration is air.
The fourth iteration is air.

Standards die hard. Standards die slow. Some never entirely die. In 2002 it was still standard to put a floppy drive in a computer, in 2007 only 2% of the computers made had them, in 2016 Microsoft neglected to put a floppy disk driver into the standard install. There’s no reason to lament this development. It’s done. Even hobbyists emulate the drive now if they want it. 

As of today the 3.5 mm audio jack, in one form or another, has been around for nearly 138 years. That’s 80 years longer than our theoretical demise of the optical disk drive. What are the chances that it will be replaced overnight? What are the chances that next year there will not be a single device which offers the world’s most popular connector? Really really close to zero.

Not With a Bang

I honestly do think the audio jack is out. In thirty years most portable devices won’t have one. However, I’d be surprised if in thirty years it was anywhere near death. I mean, it’s the standard. It works. If we don’t blow ourselves up I wouldn’t be surprised if it stuck around for another hundred years before trickling off.

Behold! The Ericsson T36, the first phone to support bluetooth!
Behold! The Ericsson T36, the first phone to support Bluetooth!

So how will it die? Well, the same way every tech gets replaced. First there will be some technology that absolutely sucks initially but has potential to supersede the existing player. For example, the first mobile phone with Bluetooth support came out in 2000, a single Bluetooth enabled hands-free car speaker came out the next year. I pity the person that bought that first model. It must have been absolutely atrocious.

Now fast forward to today. It’s been 16 years since that first phone. We are on Bluetooth 4.0+ and every single phone has the ability to connect. Bluetooth 5.0 has just been announced and promises 50 Mbits of bandwidth, that’s an order of magnitude more bandwidth than CD quality audio needs. There are almost no laptops left where the technology is optional. There’s a small market that’s been building since 2000 around wireless headsets, car audio, and earphones.  What’s next?

Well, a company has to say, we are not putting a disk drive in our laptop. In this case it’s our favorite fruit-themed corporation to hate on. It makes sense for them to do it. It is not wrong to propose that they alone have the most impressive manufacturing capability in the world. They own more CNC machines than anyone else. If anyone can force a technology, it’s this one tech giant. If there’s anyone that can afford to make a bet, it’s them.

When a company does something like this the end has begun. It’s a slow end, but it’s started. It would not be a bet worth taking to see if Samsung has at least one exploratory phone model in their extensive 2017 line without a jack in it. It will be a good one and they’ll have a nearly equivalent model right beside it. Will consumers care? Will it matter? Will they make a boatload of money off Bluetooth headphones?

One day simba, everything you see before you will be truly obsolete. Except for the keyboard and mouse. I swear, if you take that from me I'm joining the grumps.
One day Simba, everything you see before you will be obsolete.

More important questions. Is the service rate lower? Does the phone have a higher customer satisfaction? They will look at this data and think. The next year a few other phone manufacturers will try it. People don’t really mind the dongle. It’s annoying but it’s okay. They don’t really like the charging.

Maybe Bose makes a set of premium headphones that can go two days on a charge. Practically everything still supports the 3.5 mm jack. A few years pass until a few users find themselves with a laptop that has Bluetooth, a car that has Bluetooth, and a phone that has Bluetooth. They already invested in the headphones, so they use their corded set a little less each year. The next time they lose a pair they buy another Bluetooth pair. They’re a small small segment of the market but they’ve bought their last pair of corded phones without even knowing it.

Fast forward ten years or so. Maybe 25% of the consumers out there have phased out of the corded headphone. There’s a real market for wireless and most manufacturers are putting out really nice pairs. With such a large market a lot of the niggling issues have been worked out. Pairing is fast. Cross talk and interference is low. Bluetooth 8.0 has more bandwidth than audio will ever require. Battery technology has moved along and the phones run quite a while. It’s officially nicer to have a Bluetooth headset than a wired one.

After that the standard begins to disappear. It’s not sudden. It’s not sad. It’s just that the wireless option will have shown itself to be better. No one will mind. Maybe twenty years later laptops don’t come with it anymore. Phones don’t have it, but expensive audio equipment might. Mission critical stuff like helicopter headsets will use the traditional jack (where they don’t use mil spec bayonet connectors). ATMs and museums will have it. Airplanes will offer them.

Maybe fifty years from now the headphone as we know it will be reduced to that weird bin at the thrift store, but it won’t be tomorrow. It won’t even be ten years from now. Standards die slow. Who knows, maybe the market will speak and the iPhone 8 will have the jack again. Regardless, I just bought wired headphones last year. I’ll be really upset if they don’t plug into my next phone!

 

239 thoughts on “A Realistic Look At The Death Of A Standard

  1. I totally agree the standart 3wire jack connector is outdated and obsolete..
    The better alternative is NOT bluetooth, its the 4wire jack connector!

    the extra wire allows you to use it for :
    stereo sound and a microphone.
    usb with power. (like ipod shuffle)
    uart or ps2 or i2c serial & power.
    avport. (stereo & composite like rpi or 1ch digital dvb/atcs)
    2pair ethernet-tx. (maby even sata wo/power)

    the next step would be to add 2way optical to the end,
    for optical spdif & fiber ethernet.
    and without anything connected you get a build in laserpointer =)

  2. Optical Media (CD, DVD, Did Blu-Ray ever take off? I wasn’t watching), yep! Dead for most things.

    Everyone has flash drives or SD cards, which start about $1 per GB now and go down from there. I haven’t had an optical drive in a machine since 2011. Not my laptop, not my desktop, not my media player under the TV… My mom doesn’t own one. My dad does, but it’s broken. My roommate has a stash of them which are slowly crumbling to rust somewhere.

    3.5mm jacks? Still use it every day. So does my mom. So does my dad. So do my friends.

    Why? Because it WORKS. Bluetooth does sometimes, the audio jack works every time.

    This is a little bit like the first iMac, where Apple took the floppy drive away from people before USB flash drives were around. They did pretty well! Except that floppy discs were still mainstream on the 98% of the market using non-macs (and the 70% of the Mac market not using the new iMac) for about another four or five years. As to whether it works out this time? We’ll see.

    Either way, you’ve now had a backlash from this argument *twice*. If you have a point with this? You’re talking to the wrong crowd. Otherwise, given my experience with bluetooth audio, I think you’re more likely to be just plain *wrong*. But time will bear it’s judgement on us, and we’ll see.

  3. Luckily – in this case – the death of a standard is most often consumer driven. I myself am not that fond of Bluetooth. For listening to books the $1 buds from the Dollar store work just fine. I buy them 5 at a time. When one messes up I throw it away. I still own headphones with 1/4 inch plugs. If I want to listen to music – privately – I use those. I spent far too much time as an audio engineer to be impressed listening to mp3’s over a Bluetooth link.
    When enough consumers don’t want 3.5mm headphone jacks and only Bluetooth links on their devices they will go away. In the meantime I’ll still enjoy mine.

  4. Changing things for the sake of changing is a stupid waste of time. What’s the real reason for taking away a useful port that’s worked for years? Selling some overpriced dongles? Thank god there’s still a few hackers left that’ll make their voice known for keeping useful ports on our PC’s so I don’t need to get a dongle that is another link in the chain that can fail. Laptops and desktops w/ all those ports were fun, now it’s boring thin USB only, if that. Instead of being able to screw connections in, they’re wiggly and would break easy. I’m not liking what I’m hearing about USB-C. The market for professionals that need high spec PC’s that have useful ports is sh*t today. Most of my points have been mentioned, in particular, the people making these decisions probably don’t do much debugging in their day job. When you’re debugging, you want the simplest most proven interfaces to get real data out that can’t be altered on the way out. That’s usually wired serial ports. Audio jacks have been by far the simplest I’ve ever worked w/, interfacing my radio to PC and arduino (sound cards on the other hand…) worked very nice. W/ bluetooth and wireless, this task just got non-trivial, so many things can go wrong, and they will. To do true wireless debugging, you can’t have any connections w/ a AC ground; not true wireless operation anymore. Now that data flying thru the air is vulnerable to funky noise that can (and will) be different in different places.

    Next is security. Taking away the CD-ROM for USB sticks only. The flash memory on USB sticks is mutable, a “liveUSB” isn’t really that if you can save data to it between boots, which you can. If you do liveCD’s for internet surfing (which a fresh reboot should shake off most malware, need a rootkit in various controllers, BIOS, etc. to persist), that security choice to the consumer is being taken away. Things like BadUSB are going to haunt everyone, especially if there’s no alternatives. I use a CD-ROM to USB converter, but I’m bringing in BadUSB attack surface including USB (and it clutters my desk unnecessarily…imagine all these stupid dongles each w/ their own fails instead of neatly packed in PC…). Bluetooth has security issues, I can sniff up to at least 5-10 every 20 mins from people walking around my school if I sit in heavy traffic areas. Get their mac address, and sometimes a device name, easy. Need that mac address to do more interesting attacks. Really easy to become a troll messing w/ people bluetooth devices in vicinity, imagine that everywhere when you just want to listen to your *old* ipod with headphone jacks. Nightmare.

    This is like trying to get rid of screens, keyboards, and mice for computers. You can’t, and even a flat touchscreen for a keyboard wouldn’t be as good since you will lose your place more often typing. Idiots that never use their computers for real work think going “all mobile” is the way to go.

  5. Moving, but not always improving for a while:

    When I started using computers, input was by punched card (no; really…). My problem was sweaty hands which made the cards swell and stick in the reader, so I had to handle them using gloves, or just not handle them very frequently. That was a real pain. Then we moved on — so the world improved, instantly

    I once ran a small project which was to develop the use of the old Phillips Interactive Video discs which gave much better video than tape, and could be controlled from the early, simple, computer systems. I bought every single title available at that time (about 100 or so). Terrific medium. But the world decided otherwise… so we ended up dumping machines and discs. Traumatic. And we moved backwards in terms of quality of video and ability to interact with, and control, the discs. It took quite a while before we could do the same kind of things with video at the same or better quality.

    In radio, we moved from FM to DAB and reception got worse. It’s still worse. That’s because it became more profitable to lower the bit rates to squeeze more channels onto a multiplex.

    So; what happens to standards is driven by many factors: personal, technical and economic.
    I make no judgement about the move to drop the 3.5mm jack, but will say that (as mentioned in another post above) we are moving inexorably to a world where it is difficult to get started without serious software, and it is difficult to demonstrate some basic principles because much of what is happening cannot be seen (can’t follow a cable to a device etc). There is, too, the ever present problem that (again; as mentioned in a previous post) what happens in software is not always helpful (COM1 becomes COM2 becomes COM3 etc).

    The future is endlessly surprising, sometimes in retrospect. The true story of the Interactive Video Disc seems to be that Phillips had a warehouse full of the players, and ended up selling them to Education, promising that this was to be the future. When the warehouse was empty, you know what happened… I often wondered whether they were simultaneously busy making and stockpiling the new-fangled DVD disc players, ready to implement that standard when the first warehouse was empty.

    1. Moving from NTSC to ATSC had similar effects to FM vs DAB as the range really fell off though when you do get a signal ATSC can have better quality than many cable and DBS services so in other ways ATSC was vastly superior to the NTSC standard it replaced.

      1. Major beef I have with it is how hard it makes fine tuning your antenna position. Even if you’ve got a signal strength indicator on the box or TV there is still a second or two lag in the damn thing.

  6. If my akg headphones break again I can dig through my random cord box for another 3.5mm jack, turn on my soldering station and whack them back together with some heat shrink to make them all skookum in about 15 minutes. Bluetooth? I have a feeling I’ll be digging around digikey looking for a lipo battery that I hope will fit the casing, probably ending up with a cyanoacrylate encrusted mangled mess because screws don’t exist anymore, and be out at least $20 (which is how much I paid for them in the first place) after shipping. Fsck that. Fsck compensating for the slight delay when using them to watch movies. Fsck spending $100 on wireless headphones that sound and work decently when a pair of $18 akg’s (it was a really good sale haha) do everything I need, are hard to lose, and are easy to maintain.

    Also, if standards move on so quickly, why does my TV have rf, composite, and component video alongside HDMI? They’re outdated. Maybe because there’s still plenty of gear floating around in current use including video game consoles which can be troublesome for a few reasons to convert to HDMI? Maybe it’s also cool to be able to whack out a basic b&w composite video signal from the IO pins of an Arduino with no added hardware? Maybe old standards are worth maintaining especially when it’s no real inconvenience? Blah blah blah thinner phone. I would rather it be a little thicker, have a jack I can use with any cheap or frankensteined audio solution I can come up with (jury rigging a phone to a 30 year old reciever with a pair of cheap earbuds and a RCA cable is fun, easy, and requires nothing more than a swiss army knife and a cigarette lighter), and a higher capacity battery.

    Don’t drag CD’s in to this. I can walk in to HMV tomorrow and buy the latest music on the 34 year old medium if I really want. Digital copies are more popular, but CD’s are far from dead, ditto with DVD’s (about 20 years old now, and still stocked at HMV, Netflix, even your local library).

    Maybe you’re right about a -gradual- shift towards wireless audio. I for one am not ready to give up analogue connections, and if Samsung were to drop the 3.5mm jack, I’d buy LG. Or Sony. Or Motorola. Or Asus. Etc.

    1. I think the writer is missing a key factor that is needed for something to “die”. There has to be a superior standard. Floppies got rendered obsolete when they were replaced by the Flash drive (some claim CD, but that wasn’t rewriteable. It was flash that sent floppies in a downward path). If something has more capacity or is really better it starts to slowly replace. But what if it doesn’t prove to be better??

      Analog audio is as lossless as it gets. How can you improve on that? You can remove the cable, but it won’t make the sound better and it will never be as simple as a line-level signal. It is a alternative connection, but it doesn’t improve and with that in mind i believe it to be fated just as wireless peripherals, to be a alternative with different pros and cons. It will live alongside the analog, not replace it.

      1. There were CD-RW disks and packet writing software, but it was slow and had some compatibility issues if I remember right. Flash drives definitely changed everything especially when their prices dropped. As for audio quality, I definitely notice that bluetooth headphones sound noticeably worse. Good enough for listening on the bus, sure, but a pair of wired headphones even at half the price usually have the edge on quality. Living alongside analog? some of those motorcycle helmets with built in bluetooth do look cool, and it could be a hassle to fumble with a cable while dismounting. There’s definitely a place for wireless, but we’re still not at a point where it makes sense to totally drop wires.

        If someone was really smart, they’d make a battery case for the new iphones with a built in 3.5mm audio jack and a lightning charger passthrough…

  7. Idk if 3.5mm can be called a standard with bluetooth being a successor. It is simply not that simple.

    When is a standard ready to be rendered obsolete?? Technology evolves when what already exists is outdated and can no longer suffice as new standards prove to be better in speed/capacity and only then does the existing tech start to head for obsoletion. The signals going through audio cables is as simple and raw as it gets, you can’t improve on that in any way, That is why it is still kicking for over a 100 years despite the many many different of protocols and standards that tried to “improve” through the use of digital signals (S/PDIF,XLR,etc), but no matter what the good old analog signal is still the king.

    I don’t see wireless audio (or any wireless) as a successor to a existing wired solution. You transfer the same information in a different way, but it does not improve in quality or is better, It is just different. Wired will always have a place next to wireless. Just look at local networks or peripherals. Even tough wireless existed for years wired keyboards,mice,headsets and networks are still around. Yeah you can claim “it’s static”, but what makes a headphone not a meter removed from the player any different?

    I am kind of dissapointed in the writer in that regard. This is not realistic at all with how it quickly loops back to trying to say that the old line-signal is going to die. It is not. This isn’t denial or “believing you can’t live without”. wireless simply isn’t really something capable of rendering something else obsolete. It is a alternative that brings different pros and cos, but is not nescessarilly superior which is what really defines if something ready to head out the pastures. Even Apple backtracked on it’s “we are brave” thing when they brought a new macbook with universal connectors and a 3.5mm jack.

      1. Bluetooth, Wifi and Zigbee all have issues in my apartment. Perhaps it’s because I’m in an estate with hundreds of separate networks, with some homes using ‘wifi killer’ baby monitors and other such stupid devices, it’s in the middle of a major city next to buildings also using wireless video transmission; and we allocate only a very small amount of resource to these networks while allocating huge swathes to ‘Military just-in-case-we-want-it’ because lobbying and ‘subscription-wireless-television’ which could be served far more efficiently (*cough* Netflix *cough*) over our universal wired networking infrastructure.

        1. You’re definitely not alone, 2.4ghz wifi in my building is almost unusable. Wireless is cool and definitely has its place but it’s far from a drop in replacement for cables. ‘Wifi killer’ baby monitors, as in they flood the 2.4ghz spectrum? ew.

  8. I think the author is kind of cherry picking their choice in standards by talking about optical media standards. Optical media has gone away a lot faster than originally anticipated because so much of the things that were once carried on them have been offloaded to the Internet. That doesn’t mean that the standards have gone away, just that they are no longer a consumer-level item. Even the media that they supplanted (3.5″ floppies) still exist in some capacity, so it’s not really accurate to declare optical media dead, it’s just lost some of its relevance to rank and file computer users.

    But that’s not really the point. You can’t compare a data storage standard which is subject to objective iterative improvements with an interconnect standard because they’re just inherently different things. If you want to be fair, compare interconnects to interconnects.

    So let’s look at all of those interconnects that we’ve gotten rid of over the years. Let’s see, F-type coax? Well, no, that’s a bad example because it’s still very much in use between cable companies, MoCA connections, satellite televisions, OTA broadcasts, and radio equipment that connector is still everywhere. How about BNC? Well, nope, that’s still really prevalent too in higher-end versions of the above listed, as well as applications where mechanical stability plus the ability to quickly release and reconnect cables is important. So what about RCA jacks? Nope, those are still everywhere carrying both analog and digital signals. I know, I know, how about power interconnects! There are lots of those, so one of them would *have* to be outmoded by now, right?

    Er, well, no. There are application-specific variations based on voltage, amperage, temperature range, and region, but nobody is coming out saying that the US needs to replace the standard three-pin AC wall receptacle with something more modern.

    The reason why we still have all of these interconnects is quite simple: they aren’t broken. The 3.5mm banded plug isn’t broken either, if anything it’s a damned elegant solution to the problem it solves. It’s simple, inexpensive, versatile, and reliable. The *only* thing that Bluetooth inherently adds to the equation is the lack of wires. Any improvements to audio quality or any of the other marketing silliness associated with this change could be implemented via a digital standard that uses a 3.5mm banded plug interconnect with analog audio fallback. Something like that is technically feasible, and wouldn’t be particularly difficult to implement, so why is it not a standard? Because it’s unnecessary. The fidelity gains brought by shortening the distance the analog signal travels by a couple of feet would be so minute as to not matter in the slightest. Bluetooth headphones exist because of the convenient option of going wireless, not because they make any significant improvements to audio quality.

    Which leaves us with Apple and their “bold” decision to “kill” this standard. If it provides no tangible benefit to audio quality, what does it add? It adds the ability to sell more adapters and generate more money from licensing agreements, and that’s it. It’s a consumer-unfriendly decision meant to squeeze just a few more dollars out of anyone who buys their products and unless there’s significant backlash, it’s a trend that will continue until Apple starts doing away with even the wireless interconnect standards, forcing people to buy headphones and speakers that have their official blessing (and onto which a hefty licensing fee has been levied). The ball is already rolling, just look at the news coming out about the next generation of iPhone. Apparently Apple has been pouring research into wireless charging, which some have remarked as a sign that Apple is finally warming up to the technology, but what do you bet that within a generation or two they’ll drop the physical charge/interconnect point entirely? No headphone jack, no lightning connector, just wireless charging, Bluetooth, and WiFi. Most importantly, of course, no hardware for iOS devices that hasn’t paid Apple’s toll to work with the platform and that’s all that Apple is concerned about anyway.

    So Mr. Coetzee, how about you chalk this monstrously unpopular opinion of yours up as a loss and spend your time writing about things that actually interest the HaD community? It would be one thing if you were writing for The Verge or Engadget, but you’re writing for a website meant for hackers and we’re not the kind of group to side with companies that make it harder for us to do what we love.

    1. Funny thing about Apple. Seen their latest Macbooks? They are equiped with a set of those universal USB-C type connectors that can be converted to every connector needed like HDMI,VGA,Thunderbolt,USB through the use of rather pricey adapters.

      What is so funny? Well next to those those fancy usb-c connectors that have replaced (almost) all connectors they have included a seperate 3.5mm jacket. Yup the new macbooks that have super fancy universal usb-c ports for which you need a adapter to get a vga port out of also have a single 3.5mm jacket. They have backtracked on their “brave” decision to ditch 3.5mm.

  9. |I think I saw a Laserdisc player in operation exactly once.

    I have a Laser Disc player hooked up as I type and I still use it regularly. So much better quality than DVD. Besides that, the discs are just cool as hell!

  10. Better comparison: audio jack vs Ethernet connector. or vs VGA connector.
    3.5mm jack works very well for headphones. For almost everything else where audio transmission is needed, it’s shit. The main reason being its tendency to form ground loops, injecting power supply noise into audio.

  11. Vinyl is still around and more popular than ever while CDs are dumpster material. Why? User experience. Standards don’t mean shit, people use what works until it doesn’t anymore.

    I suspect the 3.5mm standard will survive as long as people are wearing headphones. It’s just too fundamentally effective from a design standpoint on the level of like a fork, or a picnic table.

    Let’s compare the experience…

    … of analog 3.5mm headphones:

    1) Plug in.
    2) Hit play on your device.

    … of wireless headphones (based on my experience with Beats Solo2 Wireless):

    0) Charge your headphones.
    1) Hold down the pair button on the headphones.
    2) Go into your devices settings and wait for the phones to show up.
    3) Select the headphones in the Bluetooth menu.
    4) Press play.

    Like who wants to put up with that EVERY TIME. And my headphones would fail to automatically pair frequently. I’m sure that will improve but I have had to pair EVERY TIME I want to use my wireless headphones, and that suckssssss.

    I used my Beats Solo2 Wireless with Bluetooth for about a month before I gave up on using the Bluetooth at all. It comes with a 3.5mm audio cable for when you’re out of battery or you know, because all devices don’t support Bluetooth, like stereo head units, my desktop computer, my old MP3 player. So I just use that.

    I like the wireless aspect. But it’s hard for me to say why it’s better, especially since the one use case I can think of I’d want my Beats to be wireless is for exercise, and a set of on ear headphones is gonna fall off on the treadmill or in the middle of a squat. Add to that the issue of interference (which is everywhere if you live in a big city) and I really have no incentive to step down from a positive experience.

  12. When blue tooth audio device batteries last an entire day or longer playing audio at a good volume with out recharging ever hour or so, when the audio quality is better than the buzzy buzz of the current offerings (and apple ever delivers their air pods), then I will consider it.

    Right now I prefer to use my Yamaha RH-5Ma studio monitor headphones for my audio listening pleasure. And on my digital piano. And as a mixing monitor. How often do I have to stop to recharge them? Never. Ever. Period.

    The audio quality is top notch, depending on the source, of course. And there are even better headphones that sound even better if you have the coin. Blue Tooth? I can barely use it for phone calls because the headphones include crappy mics. It’s better to use the speaker phone function of my phone. Or I could use a wired headset or ear buds. Where the mic is in front of my mouth where the sound is, not up at my ear. Plus I talk for 20 minutes and the blue tooth thing dies mid call.

    Where blue tooth shines is connecting my phone to my car, or keyboards and mice to my laptop.

  13. On the subject of floppys, there is a thing made in China that has the header for floppy in back and a USB jack for a thumb drive on it’s floppy sized panel in front. It subdivides the drive into 100 or 1000 “floppies”. It’s controlled by 2 buttons on it’s front panel. Knitting machines are one of it’s markets.

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