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As a teardown engineer at iFixit, it’s my job to be prepared for whatever Apple’s cooking up in Cupertino. So I’ve kept an eye on all those headphone jack rumors. Of course, we’ll know for sure if the headphone jack is gone when we get our hands on the iPhone 7 this fall. But for right now, everybody has an opinion. So here’s mine: Removing the headphone jack and consolidating its function into the Lightning port will lead to more broken Lightning ports.
There’s been some talk on the intertubes about Apple’s inclusion of a new type of headphone jack in the iPad 2. Given that we already took apart an iPad 2 in the name of science, we felt it was our civic duty to also investigate the headphone jack.
An issue concerning the headphone jacks of MacBook Unibody and MacBook Pro Unibody recently surfaced. Several Unibody users reported that the connectivity between the headphone jack and plug was fickle, and that a slight jostle of the cord would disengage the headphones and re-engage the speakers. We tried several headphones with each computer to see for ourselves how serious this problem really was.
We went on a teardown bender and made iFixit history by delivering you three live teardowns in one night. Last up on the teardown table: the iPhone 7. Where the headphone jack used to be, we find a beefier Taptic Engine and an audio baffle. According to Apple, this plastic component is a barometric vent. With the added ingress protection afforded by the watertight seal, the iPhone uses this baffle to equalize the internal and atmospheric pressures in order to have an accurate altimeter.
My husband and I have a set of two classic iPods, and they’ve come along on grueling runs, incredible hikes, and long road trips for almost six years. But when both headphone jacks broke, the soundtrack to my life suddenly went mute. Since then, our iPods have been sitting in a drawer, collecting dust. The hundreds of songs on each were left trapped inside their digital prison, dying a peaceful death—never to be thought of again. Then I figured out how to fix them.
We just tore down the new iPod Touch. With no external screws, the new Touch is tough to pry open, and its logic board utilizes two hard-to-manage ribbon cables: the battery, logic board, front camera, speaker, headphone jack, Lightning connector, and home button switch are all soldered onto one cable, while the volume buttons, power button, LED flash, and rear microphone are all attached to another cable. Repair is not impossible, but it’s certainly going to be difficult and expensive.
Our Surface Go Teardown revealed that aside from shrinking the form factor, and paring down the heat sink, almost nothing has changed for the Surface family. And that includes their infamous unrepairability. The only solace is that this tablet is finally (almost) cheap enough to merit its 1/10 score on our repairability scale.