Big waves were made in the tech sphere this week when Joshua Fruhlinger and Andrew Thompson from Ceros released a very beautiful visual report announcing that Apple’s much-hated Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter (dongle) was actually their best selling product.
Which is odd, because if you weren’t told as much you’d assume people absolutely hate the headphone dongle…
The dongle isn’t the best selling product overall, that honor is still dominated by iPhones, iPads and laptops. The headphone dongle IS the most popular accessory however. Which is saying something.
This means the Apple headphone adapter is more popular then USB-C cables, A/V adapters, and other Lightning-to-USB type cables.
There are a few obvious reasons why the dongle is king of accessories:
1. People don’t realize there are headphones with Lightning cables built-in already on the market.
2. Dongles are dumb and easy to lose.
Once word starts getting out that there are an amazing variety of Lightning-cabled earbuds and headphones available that offer innovative new functions (battery-less active noise cancellation anyone?) for fair prices we imagine the dongle’s reign of supremacy should slowly and mercilessly end.
Apple themselves may further hasten the death of the dongle as MacRumors has reported that the upcoming new iPhones to be announced in September will probably not even ship with a dongle. We’ve also reported that the refreshed iPad Pro will also probably be dropping its 3.5mm headphone jack as well.
What Does The Future Have In Store?
This means Apple will either A) push Lightning-cable headphones more, which is what we are betting our money on or B) just force people to buy the dongle separately to even further line their trillion-dollar pockets.
If we had to choose we would go with option A. Surely Apple has noticed some of these innovative up and coming Lightning-headphone brands like Libratone, Audeze, and Nuraphone. These companies have taken full advantage of Lightning cables to produce the very first wave of Apple-friendly “smart headphones”.
Apple’s secret sauce, why they’ve been so successful, has never been about the first to market with a new technology. They instead prefer to let others test tech out, make mistakes, and then Apple comes in and creates a improved, polished version to much fanfare.
It is only logical then that 2018 will be the year when Apple-specific headphones go mainstream. Heck, even Beats, which is owned by Apple, already has some Lightning connected earbuds currently for sale.
We would be surprised if Apple went with option B and didn’t push new smart headphones and instead simply expected everyone to buy a dongle separately. This would cause much outrage…much more than we are currently seeing around the infamous “dongle”.