Apple to iPhone Consumers: Get Your Own Dongle

Last week, the end of an era passed quietly in the Mac Store. After the launch of this year's Apple product reveal, the technology giant removed the last iPhones from its online sales portal that included a hardwired headphone jack.

Fans of the iPhone in particular and mobile devices in general have been expecting this for a while, ever since Apple introduced its own wireless earbuds in 2016. But it's not necessarily what most consumers have been hankering for. Whether the newly announced iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR will measure up on battery life and screen strength remains to be seen. What's certain is that if you want to keep using your favorite non-wireless headphones, you're going to need to pony up.

The dongle which enables headphone jacks to work with jackless iPhones will not come included with whatever new model you purchase. You'll have to spring for it separately, and while the adapter which connects the phone's Lightning port to a headphone jack sells for just $9, it may simply be too much of a nuisance to bother with.

The headphone jack is actually one of the oldest electronic parts in continuous use; some accounts place its origins in the 1870s, and it's remained largely unchanged since. Apple designers say they're going wireless to slim down the iPhone even further, but critics argue it's a straight shot to "mountains of electronic waste," given how many existing devices rely on the headphone jack to connect to the iPhone. You still have options for nabbing an iPhone model that includes a headphone jack, but for most of us, it may be worth finding your closest electronics recycling program.