Are you miffed that the latest iPhone doesn't have a dedicated 1/8" audio jack? Well, Apple likely won't be alone, as other smartphone OEMs may be looking to ditch the venerable headphone jack in order to take advantage of audio over USB-C.
This week, the USB-IF (Implementers Forum) announced "USB Audio over USB Type-C", and it's touting it for much the same reasons that Apple does with its latest iPhone. USB-IF expects this standard to be used for headsets, mobile devices, docking stations, gaming setups, VR solutions, and more. Notebooks are not mentioned, but it seems certain they'll all support USB-C in the near-future, which of course will be able to be used for audio.
"Device manufacturers can eliminate the need for multiple ports and efficiently deliver data, power and video over a single connector with USB Type-C" writes the USB-IF. The ultimate goal here is for a "single-cable" solution, which again sounds just like Apple's promises with the iPhone. We're still led to the same problems, though. What if we want to charge a phone at the same time we want to listen to music? Is this really a simplification?
Nonetheless, USB-C audio does have its benefits, such as making it easier for hardware designers to create products to support audio over USB, and other new features, such as "hotword detection" (eg: "OK, Google") built-in.
USB-IF hosted a USB Developers Day this week in Houston, and will hold another in Hong Kong on October 19-20. Something tells us that with CES right around the corner, we're bound to see a slew of USB-C audio products on display. But the big question: how many people will want them?