The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys had the optical digital interface connector for headphones, found the first customers laptops. Most likely, this change has affected the more expensive MacBook Pro models with panel, Touch Bar, whose sales will start in the end of the month.
All MacBook Pro, from 2012 to 2015 standard 3.5 mm audio Jack aligned with an optical digital output to output the audio signal without loss. Combo Jack headphone stereo stream supported data depth of 16, 20 bits or 24 bits and a sampling rate of 44.1, 48 or 96 kHz.
MacBook Pro 2016, had the optical digital interface, retaining only the linear audio output for headphones. This is evidenced by page descriptions of connectors on the Apple website.
MacRumors contacted Apple with a request to comment on the situation with the audio port on MacBook Pro. A company spokesman said that the rejection of the optical interface for the standard 3.5 mm connector is connected with the fact that “this feature are a small number of users”. Apple added that “now available or will soon be a large number of professional peripheral devices with zero latency, which support the transmission optical audio through USB-C”.
The rejection of digital audio interface in the new MacBook Pro is clearly contrary to a recent statement by Vice-President Phil Schiller, who commented on the decision to leave a 3.5 mm audio Jack on laptops. According to him, with the MacBook Pro, unlike the iPhone, is often used much more serious audio equipment, including Studio monitors, amplifiers and other professional audio equipment, in which there is no Lightning connector, no Bluetooth.
In the case of the new MacBook Pro the professionals referred to by Schiller, have to settle for linear audio output.