USB-C is now wired for sound, just like Sir Cliff Richard

3.5mm audio jacks are in big trouble now as one cable to rule them all standard signed off

The USB implementers forum has loosed “USB Audio Device Class 3.0” onto the breathlessly-waiting world.

USB-C cables can already carry data, power and video over a single cable. The new spec means there's a standard way to deliver sound over a USB-C cable.

With one cable to rule them all now a possibility, device-makers have a decent reason to contemplate the demise of the venerable 3.5mm audio jack recently ditched by Apple's iPhone 7.

One fewer hole in a device is handy for those attempting waterproofing ... or sales of expensive wireless headphones.

And for the rest of us? Devices with but a single USB-C port will mean it's hard to listen to music on wired headphones and charge devices at the same time. Given strong sales of top-up batteries, that may be a bad thing. And let's not forget that headphones with 3.5mm jacks can be had for pennies, just about anywhere. At the rate your correspondent's kids kill 'em, that's a good thing. It could take years before USB headphones are as cheap.

On the upside, the spec also describes how to do digital audio right which should make for easier listening. Like some soothing Sir Cliff, perhaps?

The release of a spec also means the USB Implementers Forum can go forth and preach interoperability, an issue The Register hopes doesn't become a thing for the world's headphone buyers. ®


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