At the WWDC Keynote, Steve Jobs drew heavy applause when he announced the iPhone 3G headphone jack will be flush, not recessed as on the current iPhone. As I stated in our coverage, the response clearly illustrated just how passionate iPhone users can be, and how boneheaded Apple’s design team can be. But, surely no one will upgrade to the iPhone 3G just to get a flush headphone jack, right? Right?! Of course, not. At least, not as long as we’re also still dealing with Apple’s external microphone being placed on those horrid earbud headphones.
Thankfully, Griffin and JAVOedge are here with their Headphone Adapter for iPhone and Handsfree Stereo Headset Adapter, respectively. This is good because, considering the new iPhone purchase policy, it may be quite some time before I’ll own an iPhone that allows me to use my headphones of choice.
Griffin’s Headphone Adapter for iPhone ($9.99) is simply a little device that fits into the iPhone headphone jack, and then provides a flush jack of its own at the end of a small cable into which you can fit any 1/8″ stereo mini-jack. It’s convenient, it does the job, and it’s fairly cheap.
The thin housing also allows the adapter to slip through any case you may have on your iPhone, which makes it handy for most iPods, as well. Many iPod cases don’t take wide headphone jacks into account, but the Headphone Adapter for iPhone will make any pair of headphones compatible with whatever device you happen to be using. Even if you do upgrade to the iPhone 3G, your case of choice may still require a device such as this in order for you to continue using your favorite headphones.
And speaking of headphones, I absolutely can’t stand the earbud headphones Apple includes with their iPods and iPhone. Aside from the fact that the sound is mediocre at best, I apparently have some kind of mutant ear that won’t hold the headphones in place. However, Apple’s earbuds are necessary to make use of one of the iPhone’s coolest features—the ability to pause your music when a call comes in and use the headphone/microphone combo to take the call, thereby allowing you to leave the iPhone in your armband or pocket or wherever it is. My headphones of choice don’t have a microphone, so taking calls means unplugging the headphones, grabbing the phone, and stopping whatever activity in which I’m engaged. This time, it’s JAVOedge to the rescue with the Handsfree Stereo Headset Adapter ($12.95).
This cable provides the ability to interrupt your music to take phone calls, but with whatever set of headphones you choose. Simply plug the Headset Adapter into your iPhone (and yes, the adapter does fit into the iPhone’s recessed jack), plug your headphones into the 1/8″ mini-jack, and you’re all set. You now get the complete functionality of the iPhone’s call inerrupt feature without having to deal with the earbud headphones. If a call comes in, just press the button on the microphone, and you’re connected. Even better, the Handsfree Stereo Headset Adapter includes a mic clip, so you can attach the microphone to your clothing for proper placement. When clipped at the top of my shirt, the Headset Adapter provided just enough cable to reach my iPhone attached to my belt or in my pocket. This is good in that there’s not a lot of loose cable flowing about, bad in that if I caught it on something, it would rip my headphones off my head. And consider that because the headphone jack is above the microphone and clip, I’m now plugging in my actual headphones just under my chin. Even if your headphone cable is only three feet long, that’s still going to be over two feet of useless cable dangling about your shoulders.
So, a couple minor gripes aside, the Handsfree Stereo Headset Adapter is a fantastic deal at only $12.95. It frees you from Apple’s earbud headphones, the mic does a good job of picking up your voice, and it finally allows you to use the iPhone without having to actually hold it. If you want to take calls while exercising or being active in any way, you should really check this out.
In fact, you should check both out. If the need is there for either, the price is pretty much right for both (the Headphone Adapter for iPhone gets docked a point for being a tick too high), and each does its job very well.