Apple rumored to replace 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7 with all-in-one Lightning connector

“Apple is planning to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack on the next-generation iPhone in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector, according to often-reliable Japanese website Mac Otakara,” Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors.

“Apple may also release Lightning-equipped EarPods to support the new audio output on future iOS devices,” Rossignol reports. “The report, citing a ‘reliable source,’ claims the new same-sized Lightning connector will support Lightning-equipped and Bluetooth headphones, and have a DAC, or digital-to-audio converter, for backwards compatibility with wired headphones using standard 3.5mm stereo jacks. A 3.5mm to Lightning adapter would be required.”

Rossignol reports, “Apple will also reportedly release Lightning-equipped EarPods, which would likely be included in the box alongside the iPhone 7 and sold separately for use with other future iOS devices.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bring it on! The standard 3.5mm jack is an anachronism and a design limiter that begs to die.

Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. – Steve Jobs

As we wrote back in June 2014:

Bring. It. On.

Mac users are never wedded to old tech when there’s progress to be made.

Also, another good reason for the Beats buy. If Apple and Beats both change to Lightning headphones, the rest of the world will have to follow.

Of interest: Apple Inc.’s U.S. Patent No. 8,655,004: “Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets.”

Apple’s patent abstract: A monitoring system that can be placed proximate to the head or ear of a user is disclosed. According to one embodiment, the monitoring system can be used with headphones, earbuds or headsets. The monitoring system can, for example, be used to monitor user activity, such as during exercise or sporting activities. The positioning of the monitoring system can also facilitate sensing of other user characteristics (e.g., biometric data), such as temperature, perspiration and heart rate. The monitoring system can also be used to control a an electronic device. In one embodiment, the monitoring system facilitates user control of the electronic device using head gestures. More info here.

From your ear to your wrist in the blink of an eye™.

Why Apple may axe the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 20, 2014
Apple may be poised to kill off the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 7, 2014
Apple may ditch analog 3.5mm headphone jack for Lightning to make thinner devices – June 6, 2014
Apple introduces MFi specs for Lightning cable headphones, iOS software update to deliver support – June 5, 2014
Apple preps HD audio for iOS 8 plus new Apple In-Ear Headphones and lightning cable – May 13, 2014
Apple patents biometric sensor-packed health monitoring earphones with ‘head gesture’ control – February 18, 2014
Apple paves way for more affordable iOS accessories with lower MFi and Lightning licensing fees – February 7, 2014


      1. I would prefer they not ship anything but the phone. I have always given the Apple supplied earbuds away.
        I mostly use my iPhone through Bluetooth devices from the car to a Plantronics unit while walking/running and a couple of Bluetooth Speakers at work.

    1. Bluetooth means the earbuds will require a rechargeable battery. How many Bluetooth devices do you know of that are made to have the batteries replaced? Most are disposable. I don’t want disposable earbuds. A set of Bluetooth earbuds will also require charging. If it charges from the lightning port then that detracts from the iphone’s battery life (bad as it already is) if not, then it will require yet another charger.

      Unless Apple redesigns the lightning port (currently no analog I/O), wired headphones will require a DAC and amplifier, both of which require power, which means either powered headphones, either by the lightning port or separately, or an adapter with a DAC, amplifier and power (see the argument against disposable equipment above). What if you want to listen and charge at the same time? A splitter (yet another dongle).

      I really don’t think Apple is stupid enough to close itself off to the most overwhelmingly popular audio connector in existence, particularly since many come attached to the most expensive headphones available. Just because the 3.5 has been available for decades in one form or another doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. Screws, fire, the wheel, knives, spoons, forks, hammers and screwdrivers are all old tech, but no one has tried to replace them because they’re simple and they work.

      Technology just for technology’s sake is a waste of resources. Then again, Jony Ive hates ports and wants to build phones so thin you can use them as letter openers, so who knows? I just hope cooler minds prevail.

        1. Good point. 3.5 via audio port vs 3.5 via an adapter both need to power a DAC and audio amp. The only difference is whether the circuitry is internal or external. All things being equal, it should be similar. OTOH, Bluetooth may not need a DAC or amp but it does process the data and then has to power a transceiver. I’d have to do side by side tests using different Bluetooth versions to get reliable numbers.

    1. If you’re making a phone so thin that you can’t fit in a 3.5mm jack, then you’re making it too thin. I could see the point if you were making a very tiny iPod, like the ones that clipped to clothing, but nobody bothers with iPods now that iPhones do all that and so much more.

      The 3.5mm jack has been around for more than 50 years and is a universal standard, but that’s because it’s simple and does it’s job well. Looking into the future, I would expect the 3.5mm jack to still be in widespread use long after Lightning connectors have been superseded.

    1. The problem with Bluetooth is that the audio uses lossy compression. This is bad enough, but it may also mean that your already bit-reduced audio will go through another stage of transcoding.

  1. This seems crazy but we’ll survive it but damn I’m going to start saving now for all the “adapters” I’m going to be buying for all my families iPhones. One more thing to lose / break / come unplugged.

  2. For those of us who enjoy the transparency of quality earbuds (I’m talking Shure and other high-end units), I can only hope Apple doesn’t charge $30 for a ten-cent adapter.

      1. The Y-adapter idea sounds interesting.. Wish they would do it for the TV HDMI adapter though.. Sucks to be watching a stream and the iPhone/iPad battery drains

          1. That’s what the Lightning port beside the HDMI port is for, though it isn’t mentioned in the description, it is in the Q&A. I use one for presentations from an iPad all the time.



  3. If one port can do the job of two, then get rid of it. One less hole is one less point of access from water damage.

    And you KNOW the lack of symmetry on the bottom of the iPhone was driving Jony mad, and was the real reason for ditching it.

  4. A truly stupid idea.

    My iPhone 6 is already thin enough, so thin that it’s sometimes hard to pick up. Not enough surface area on the sides to grip unless you put a grippy case on it. And what happens to battery capacity if the phone gets thinner?

      1. Because Jony Ive has too much power. According to Ive in an interview, 60% of iPhone users said they’d rather have more battery life than thinner phones. Jony said no and we got the 6 series. Sadly, Cook can’t/doesn’t want to control Ive and has no passion for the products.

    1. I often use my iPhone as a portable audio signal generator. I keep a small XLR to 3.5mm adaptor in my pocket and can instantly check out audio gear without needing to go and find something more elaborate. Losing the 3.5mm jack would be a huge step backwards for me.

  5. I’m not sure anybody at Apple–and I’m including Steve Jobs–ever got past music targeted at 20-year-olds. I doubt they even know what well-recorded and reproduced music sounds like (hint: it ain’t Beats).

  6. I remember the last time Apple mucked around with the 3.5mm headphone jack port with the original iPhone, requiring some to use an adapter with their earbuds/headphones of choice. I also remember all the howling unsatisfied customers did, Apple gave in.

    All I’m saying is . . . good luck Apple.

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