Thursday 22 February 2018

Apple could remove headphone jack from iPhone 7

To make the iPhone 7 thinner, Apple may kill the standard headphone port and render your wired headphones useless

Concept art of the iPhone 7 Photo: Federico Ciccarese
Concept art of the iPhone 7 Photo: Federico Ciccarese

Madhumita Murgia

Apple may remove the 3.5mm headphone port from the upcoming iPhone 7, according to reports from Japanese blog Macotakara.

The headphone jack is the widest external port in the iPhone, and it can't get any thinner than it currently is. So Apple may get rid of it completely to shave off another 1 mm from its current iPhone model.

Instead, headphones will have to connect to your phone either via Bluetooth, or through a Lightning connector - the connection port it introduced into the iPhone 5 in 2012. The report claims that Apple will sell Lightning-compatible Ear Pods together with the iPhone 7 when it comes out in mid-late 2016.

This means external headphone manufacturers will need to supply their own Lightning cables if they want their headphones to be compatible with the iPhone, which will be inconvenient and likely more expensive for consumers.

This rumour doesn't seem particularly far-fetched, especially, as 9to5Mac points out, Apple opened up Lightning headphone specs to manufacturers last June, through its Made-for-iPhone licensing program.

The first example of Lightning-connected heapdhones - Harman’s JBL Reflect Aware headphones - were shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January this year.

One of the apparent advantages of using Lightning for audio is that it can draw power from the iPhone itself, without the need for an internal battery.

Using wireless headphones would continue to be simple, as there would be no specific compatibility issues with the iPhone.

Plus, wireless headphones are compatible with Apple's full range of products including the Apple Watch and the Apple TV (whose remote control has a Lightning charging port).

Although this will cause initial complaints if it were to launch, headphone companies will likely adapt. Apple has already sold twice as many iPhones with a Lightning connector, compared to previous models.

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