In an age where the humble 3.5mm aux jack is fast disappearing from many of the most expensive and premium phones, OnePlus is taking a stand. The next phone that the company is teasing, the OnePlus 5T, will have a headphone jack — at least for the time being.
In a post on OnePlus' forums, where the company often makes announcements to its faithful fans, CEO Pete Lau made a short statement — backed up with numbers — on why the company will stick with the good ol'-fashioned analog connector.
The reasons are simple: 70 per cent of OnePlus owners and fans told the company that sound quality was a priority for them, and 80 per cent of users still use that headphone jack. When you've got four out of five users actually actively using a feature on their current devices — and you want those users to stay in your ecosystem and eventually upgrade to the next one — it doesn't really make sense to delete it. Wired audio also offers better sound quality potential than wireless, even if most headphones can't achieve it.
OnePlus' Lau does make the point that the company considered using a second USB-C port for audio to replace the 3.5mm jack, but decided that the impact on user experience would be a net negative rather than positive: "this design decision was not worth taking away our users' freedom to use their favorite earphones and accessories."
He also signs off with a subtle jab at Apple, whose "courage" in removing the 3.5mm jack has been much maligned in recent years: "Don't get me wrong. Wireless audio technology has a lot of potential. And if you prefer wireless headphones, our flagships have excellent Bluetooth capability for this choice. But our goal from the beginning has been to bring better technology to the world. That's why we prioritize the user and make good technology accessible. Sometimes, industry trends go against our core beliefs.
"This is one of those times when we respectfully disagree on what it means to be courageous. That's why we're proud to announce that we're keeping the headphone jack for the OnePlus 5T – and confident that our product decisions for our upcoming device will offer the best flagship experience possible."