billion dollar ideas

If You Invented the Headphone Jack in 2019, You’d Be a Billionaire

The hottest smartphone feature of 2019, if everyone besides me wasn’t an idiot. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s now been two years since Apple yanked away the 3.5-mm. headphone jack, and most other smartphone manufacturers followed suit shortly after. At least once a week one of the following things occurs:

• I forget to turn off my wireless headphones at the end of the day, or forget to charge my wireless headphones overnight, and start my commute with dead headphones.

• My phone refuses to pair with my headphones, meaning I have try to play tech support while running late.

• Once I get to the office, my laptop and my phone pull my wireless headphones back and forth like a child in a bad divorce as both attempt to pair with the headphones, and the poor headphones can’t figure out where to go.

• I step out into a crowded, open space and suddenly my wireless headphones start losing signal like I’m listening to AM radio in a parking garage.

I’ve accepted living in a wireless-headphones world, but in the same way that I accept subway delays or bad traffic — I’m not happy, but there’s nothing I’m gonna be able to do about it.

Rumors are now surfacing that the Samsung Galaxy S10 will be the last phone it puts out to have a 3.5-mm. headphone jack. It already pulled out the headphone jack on its Galaxy A8S. Samsung had been the lone holdout among major manufacturers when it comes to the 3.5-mm. headphone jack — when it debuted the Note 8 a year ago, the announcement that the device would retain a 3.5-mm. headphone jack got the most raucous applause out of any feature announced onstage. But it appears those days will soon draw to a close.

So here’s some free advice to any upstart smartphone manufacturer planning to roll out a phone in 2019: keep the headphone jack, and just pretend you invented it. Call it the something like the PureSound Port.

Have a video with a schlumpy dude in ill-fitting clothes trying to get his wireless headphones to pair, holding up traffic on the sidewalk. (Casting agents: I am available!). Pan slightly over to someone who looks like a Cooper Union grad clicking their artfully retro headphones intothe PureSound Port, and walking blissfully down the street, listening to their music. “No more charging, no more pairing, no lost signals. Just PureSound.”

The only thing left to do after that will be figuring out whether to take your new megayacht to Saint-Tropez or Newport.

If You Invented the Headphone Jack in 2019, You’d Be So Rich