In a sea of 3D audio products and true-wireless earbuds, USB Type-C headphones were nowhere in sight at CES 2019.

This absence isn’t an accident, however. Rather, it’s the deafening silence of an abandoned product category. While many looked to USB-C audio as the successor to the famed physical port, the available models aren’t catching on, and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. Their absence at CES 2019 doesn’t paint a rosy picture of their future, either. As my college professor used to say, “Sometimes what isn’t seen speaks more about a work than what is.”

In a sea of 3D audio products and true-wireless earbuds, USB Type-C headphones were nowhere in sight at CES 2019.

This absence isn’t an accident, however. Rather, it’s the deafening silence of an abandoned product category. While many looked to USB-C audio as the successor to the famed physical port, the available models aren’t catching on, and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. Their absence at CES 2019 doesn’t paint a rosy picture of their future, either. As my college professor used to say, “Sometimes what isn’t seen speaks more about a work than what is.”

In general, it takes new standards quite a while to catch on, however, USB-C was thrust into the limelight far before its time. When Apple and Google ditched their headphone jacks, it limited the pool of audio peripherals to Bluetooth, or the very young USB-C category. Perhaps with a little more time and backing from a few more serious partners this could have matured alongside its older brother the TRRS plug, but it just wasn’t to be.

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