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Moto Z beats iPhone 7 in the race to kill the headphone jack

Analysis: Rumors that Apple might remove the headphone jack in its next iPhone provoked strong reactions, but Motorola's new Moto Z and Z Force may pave the way for the change.

James Martin/CNET

Earlier this year, as rumors mounted that Apple might remove the headphone jack on the upcoming iPhone 7, I wrote about how the possible change provoked strong negative responses on Twitter.

We still don't know whether the iPhone's headphone jack will stay or go (the latest rumor is that the next iPhone won't look all that different from the current iPhone), but one thing is now certain: Apple won't be the first major smartphone manufacturer to remove the headphone jack.

Both the Motorola Moto Z and Z Force, which feature a modular design that allows you to add accessories like a projector, extra battery, and speaker, are missing the headphone jack; there's just a USB-C port.

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Fear not -- Motorola, now owned by Lenovo, will include a USB-C headphone adapter in the box, so you can used your old "wired" headphones -- you just won't be able to plug them directly into the phone. You'd think it'd be good idea for Apple to do the same thing if it removed the headphone jack from its next iPhone, but cynical Apple followers unkindly note that Apple usually isn't so generous with its adapters, often charging a minimum of $30 for them.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how consumers react to the missing Moto Z headphone jacks. If the phones sell strongly, you could argue the change doesn't bother people. However, if they sell poorly, the reverse could be true.

Of course, the Moto Z isn't an iPhone. And perhaps Android users are more tolerant of change and experimentation than iPhone users. What do you think?