Helium Digital Solves iPhone's Stupid Headphone Jack Problem for a Mere $3.99

Illustration for article titled Helium Digital Solves iPhones Stupid Headphone Jack Problem for a Mere $3.99

Apple's numbskull design decision to make it so that regular earphone jacks can't fit in its iPhone have inconvenienced nearly everyone who bought it, but now Helium Digital steps up with a $3.99 solution to the problem. That's the cheapest one yet. Check out our market overview of problem-solvers—none of which is made by Apple—after the jump.

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Sure, Griffin and Belkin were first up with headphone adapters for iPod, but they cost $10 and $11 respectively, and Shure has a $50 music phone adapter with a VoicePort mic that also lets you pause the iPhone's music and make/take phone calls. And oh yeah, of course Monster Cable weighs in with its overpriced entry, the $20 iSplitter 200 headphone jack splitter.

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That leaves Helium Digital's HD-005 3.5mm headphone adapter, selling for $3.99 Canadian, which is just about the same as US dollars these days, and for a while the company's offering free shipping. Such a deal. [Helium Digital]

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DISCUSSION

@ConstyXIV: The iPhone has a weird recessed headphone jack to accomodate for the special earbud/microphone setup.

That is just utter BS. The reason for the recessing is much simpler.

If you put the port on the surface, that port's edges would have to be rounded front-to-back to fit the profile of the iPhone. If a headphone jack were plugged into such a port, the body of the jack would be resting against a curved surface, giving it support on only one axis (left-to-right). Bend the plug the along the front-to-back axis, and it could easily cause damage to the iPhone, the plug, or both.

You can see this if you plug a dock connector directly into the iPhone, and look down the length of the bottom edge. You'll see the flat edge of the connector is very unstable, front to back, resting against the curved profile of the iPhone. You certainly wouldn't want to apply any force to it.

Now, Apple could have certainly created a flat spot on the top of the iPhone for the headphone jack. It would have been ugly. They could have also made the recess hole larger, but that would have decreased its strength. Also, since most people use the stock headphones with the device, debris would have collected more readily in the gap.

I think Apple has done their best to come up with the best compromise, and they didn't make an adapter for the same reason they don't make a case for it: 3rd-party opportunities. My Shure canalphones, for example, will have an adapter available very soon, adding a built-in microphone to my E500s.

The main point here is that Apple didn't recess the port to lock you in to anything, or force you to do anything. They recessed the port to avoid damaged iPhones, and the resulting expense of tech-support calls and replacement units.