How does a headphone/microphone combo jack work?

The other day I was looking at the Razer Blade 14" and i noticed that it had a headphone/mic combo jack. Now, I was wondering how did this work:

a) If you plug in a microphone, it will be detected from the laptop and the speakers will work

OR

b) You need to have an audio splitter or a headset with one output

Can you guys explain this to me? It's been bothering me for a while and I'm questioning myself wether or not I should buy it

P.S. Sorry for my bad english, its not my native language.
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More about headphone microphone combo jack work
  1. http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb140/thanatos83/391095692_435_zpsd4c3388b.jpg

    this isn't exactly your plug but it will work. working from the back of the plug mic positive, isolator, headphone positive right, isolator, headphone positive left, isolator, headphone/mic negative.

    some audio jacks now have a sense function and will try and figure out what got plugged in. but they wont be able to do and output and input at the same time, they do make a splitter so you can split the one jack into a headphone and a mic
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