Next-generation iPhone design will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack

Apple iPhone 6The "iPhone 7" rumor mill kicked into overdrive this week when Fast Company reported that the design may ditch the standard 3.5mm headphone jack to make the phone thinner. The report echoes a similar, shakier report from Japanese website Mac Okatara back in November, but Fast Company and 9to5Mac both have anonymous sources who lend extra weight to the claim.

Apple is allegedly developing a couple of different potential accessories to replace the ubiquitous 3.5mm EarPods that ship with every iPhone. One is a set of headphones that connects via the Lightning port, using a spec Apple defined for Lightning headphones back in 2014. To make it possible to charge the phone while you're listening to music, the phone would support wireless charging as per the Apple Watch or some Android or Windows phones.

Next-generation iPhone design will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack

Another, reported by 9to5Mac, is a completely wireless headset developed with resources Apple got from the Beats acquisition. Not only would there be no wire connecting the headphones to the iPhone, but there would allegedly be no wire connecting the left and right earbuds together. It's probable that Apple is testing a few different kinds of replacement headphones, and we could see either, both, or neither of these solutions come to market later this year. Some kind of dongle to enable the use of standard headphones is also highly likely.

Dropping the headphone jack would bring some benefits—a thinner phone may or may not be important to you, but putting extra battery in the space freed up by the relatively deep headphone jack would be nice—and dumping an "old" technology to drive the adoption of new technology is typical Apple behavior. But the ubiquity of the 3.5mm jack will guarantee consumer pushback. The fact that Internet petitions don't change anything hasn't stopped more than 200,000 people from signing one begging Apple not to dump the 3.5mm jack. The plug is available on just about every computer, tablet, or phone you can buy, and there are billions of 3.5mm headphones out there. That's not necessarily going to stop Apple from doing what it wants, but it does guarantee a painful transition.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, iPhone, smartphones

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