Tech

The Essential Phone’s first new module since launch is a magnetic headphone jack

Shipping this summer after months of development

The Essential Phone is getting its first new attachment module since it launched almost a year ago. And it’s a magnetic 3.5mm headphone jack dongle. Essential revealed it was working on this accessory back in September.

The new attachment dongle — called the Audio Adaptor HD — is part of a focus on music that Essential announced today, and in addition to providing the missing 3.5mm headphone jack, it also contains a high-resolution ESS Sabre DAC with an “audiophile-grade amp” that’s “crafted from machined titanium for exceptional durability.” And, as Essential is very explicit in pointing out, it also means that you can finally charge your phone while listening to music at the same time.

Also new on the Essential phone is support for Tidal’s Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) lossless tracks, along with a new partnership with the music service where Essential Phone owners will be able to listen to MQA tracks. Tidal is offering Essential Phone owners a three-month subscription of its Hi-Fi tier for free to try out the higher-resolution audio.

The magnetic attachment system was touted as a major feature for the Essential Phone when it was first announced in 2017, but aside from the 360-degree camera attachment that the phone launched with, no other Click attachments ever materialized. Until now, that is. The charging dock station for the phone that was unveiled alongside the 360 cam has yet to ship.

There’s no word yet as to how much the Audio Adaptor HD will cost, but Essential is promising a release sometime this summer. The release of any new hardware at all is something of a surprise, given that reports were swirling last month that Essential had cancelled its second phone and was exploring selling the company.

Although, as my colleague Casey Newton pointed out, it makes a kind of poetic sense that after cancelling the future, Essential would embrace the past.

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