Apple may unveil patented wireless/wired hybrid EarPods with iPhone 7

“Wireless earbuds have become all the rage lately and are something that Apple may capitalize on for the upcoming iPhone 7,” Daryl Deino reports for The Inquisitr. “”CNNMoney has the news: ‘Apple has been granted a patent for new EarPod headphones, which could hint at what’s going to ship with the new iPhone 7. The new patent, granted on Tuesday, is for headphones that connect to an iPhone both wirelessly and with a wire. They can be used without being plugged in, but have a connector that lets you magnetically attach a cord to the earbuds and plug the other end into a jack.'”

“In other words, Apple has patented a unique concept: hybrid, detachable headphones,” Deino reports. “They’re wireless when you want them to be and have a wire when you need one.”

“There was controversy after it was revealed that Apple is removing the 3.5mm headphone jack. However, BGR feels removing it is a brilliant idea,” Deino reports. “BGR quotes a San Francisco designer who believes that removing the headphone jack will allow for a thinner design as well as more screen space.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bring ’em on! The buzz generated dropping the antiquated 3.5mm headphone jack for Lightning, even without being coupled with unique hybrid wireless/wired EarPods in the box, will be massive.

Also, as we’ve explained before, don’t discount the ability for Lightning headphones to do more than just reproduce sound:

For one example, see Apple’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™.

Also, if you’d prefer no wires at all, you can do as we’ve been doing for awhile now and just go Bluetooth. We’ve been using wireless Jaybirds for some time now (currently the Jaybird X2 Sport Wireless Bluetooth Headphones). They’re easy to charge, easy to pair, light and comfortable, and work perfectly with our Apple Watches and iPhones.

SEE ALSO:
Analysts: ‘iPhone 7’ likely to dump 3.5mm headphone jack for second speaker – February 16, 2016
iOS 9 code reveals Apple’s plans to dump 3.5mm headphone jack in future iPhones – January 20, 2016
Apple’s intention to kill the 3.5mm headphone jack is brilliant – January 13, 2016
iPhone 7 said to be waterproof, replace 3.5mm headphone jack with Apple’s Lightning – January 8, 2016
The fastest Lightning cable is also one of the least expensive – January 8, 2016
Apple will drop headphone jack to make the iPhone 7 super slim, source confirms; wireless charging and waterproof, too – January 7, 2016
Petition demands Apple keep 3.5mm headphone jack in the ‘iPhone 7’ – January 7, 2016
More reports claim Apple has dumped the 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7 – January 5, 2016
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

23 Comments

  1. You can keep them, Apple. I am not interested in wireless headphones.

    Prediction: if Apple is stupid enough to sell an iPhone 7 that requires the use of wireless headphones, then you will start to see a proliferation of inconsiderate idiots who, because they lost or forgot to charge their earpieces, resort to cranking up the iPhone loudspeaker in public. The decline of decency in society just keeps on moving,

    Apple: This sounds like a Beats optional accessory, not a good good baseline design. Abandon the analog minijack at your own risk.

    1. And yet somehow they didn’t forget to charge their phone. I can’t imagine the number of such idiots to be anything more than extremely negligible and inconsequential. Probably as high as the number of people who forget to bring their headphones along.

      Bundling wireless headphones together with a phone will be massively popular, if nothing, then just because Apple did it.

      1. And I have yet to come across an ‘inconsiderate idiot’ who actually listens to his iPhone via the speaker. I live in Manhattan and take the subway very often; about the only people I had seen doing that are Android people (and even that was probably twice or three times over the past eight years, since we’d had smartphones). Others simply wear headphones of all sorts (from $20 cheap Sony, to $200 Beats or Bose).

        1. Lots of people use the speaker on the iPhone when headphones aren’t handy. Also when using the iPhone as a conference phone.

          Perhaps in Manhattan, headphones are permanently glued to everyone’s ears due to high noise levels in public areas?

          1. Certainly, as you suggest; as a speakerphone, when showing someone a video (often cupping one’s hand around the speaker for better sound projection), but you simply don’t see people casually listening to their phone, by themselves, on the subway (or bus, or even in the street), without some headphones.

            1. I see it at construction worksites all the time. Guys will have their phone clipped on their tool belt and keep working with the speaker blaring while the foreman or whoever calls them with questions.

    2. Oh, and by the way, did you not read the article (just the one above; not even the full BGR one)?

      …“They’re wireless when you want them to be and have a wire when you need one.”

      So, the ‘inconsiderate idiots’ would likely be able to just plug them back in and continue listening (if the battery goes dead, or for whatever other reason). Which, if they did so, would not make them inconsiderate after all (or idiots)…

  2. Amazing Apple once again demonstrates how it is streets ahead of the competition and innovates in areas others have barely considered. This is why Apple is and will continue to be the greatest company on planet Earth

  3. So how will my new wired beats headphones work? Do you need to plug in to use the mic on the line?

    Apple need to do the right thing, and include a lightning to headphone jack converter on first gen of these iPhone devices! Not charge money for it to loyal and high paying iPhone users.

    1. You must be new to Apple. They have done this kind of move many times, and so far, never was an adapter bundled.

      When Firewire changed from the FW400 to FW800, you had to buy a different cable (or adapter). When monitor ports were changed from ADC to DVI, to MiniDisplay, to Thunderbolt, to HDMI… Same with Serial to USB (for keyboards, mice, printers…); no adapter was ever included, although you could always get Apple’s own (usually for around $30), or from others (such as MonoPrice), for about $10.

      I have no doubt, MonoPrice, as well as other no-name Chinese makers, will offer a $5 lightning-to-3.5mm adapter for those who have legacy headsets.

      1. Firewire: industry standard, Apple and users complied but there was no change to user logistics

        ADC: Apple’s proprietary connector was a flop, so it died a quick death — to be replaced by a succession of industry standards including DVI, Displayport, and so forth .. each with some new whiz-bang capability but with declining value to the consumer with each change. Forced by industry greed, with Apple tagging along rather than leading the change.

        USB — industry finally got something right, using a stable connector for many years instead of ripping off the consumer. Capabilities increased with reverse hardware compatibility — nice! Now USB-C looks like the next generation and will require new connectors, which is understandable given how long USB 1 & 2 have been around.

        There is no technological replacement for analog audio port. All wireless speakers & headphines are inferior to equivalent wired counterparts. Nothing new to Apple — they still sell MP4 music files on iTunes instead of ALAC, FLAC, or AIFF. Apple thinks people can’t tell the difference.

        Anyway, Predrag, we already know that you would bow to Apple no matter what they sold. But use your head. Asking China to offer cheap adapters as a solution to Apple removing features from its products is ludicrous. Apple should offer complete solutions. If they choose not to support the technical excellence they once did, to the sophisticated users that they once counted as their core market, then they are simply slapping longtime customers in the face … again. With the loss of great software that just works, and the glacial progress in Mac updates, zero new development in iPods, and now the rumored forced obsolescence or adapter cost for audiophiles like me to continue to use my beloved Grado headphones, I am rapidly losing confidence in Apple as a user-focused company. Thank goodness Apple can always count on you to cheerlead for them, no matter how much inconvenience they push onto customers.

        1. None of what you say about all those connectors is in dispute. Whatever the reasons behind the move, Apple made the move, people screamed, cried, whined and complained, eventually buying the adapters, and as time went by, replaced old gear with the new that didn’t need an adapter.

          I went through my share of those adapters (remember Firewire to SCSI?) and shrugged them off. That’s the price to pay for progress; the other choice was a Windows PC (where you can still buy a computer with a parallel port!).

          As for FLAC, AIFF or Apple Lossless, I am truly doubtful ANYONE (not even experienced sound engineers) are able to tell the difference between Apple’s current AAC (at 256kbps) and AIFF on a pair of $20 Sony MDR headphones plugged into an iPhone in an average public space. We need to remember where, when and how people listen to music: mostly in public spaces.

          Forty years ago, there was a strong trend of building high-end home audio systems (a high-quality direct-driven turntable, with a moving-coil cartridge; pre-amp, preferably with tubes, high-end FET power amp, special speaker wire, acoustic treatment for the room…). As technology rapidly advanced, the barrier to entry for ordinary consumers became much lower, everyone was now able to afford a decent-quality stereo system and high-end audio quality pursuit retreated into a very narrow segment of hobbyists.

          Today, the percentage of population that falls into this segment is minuscule. Vast majority is perfectly satisfied with the quality of the audio gear available in your average Wal-mart. The reality is that vast majority of even professional musicians, who were once the core of the high-end audio market space, are now perfectly happy with a pair of those $20 Sony headphones, hooked up to an iPod (or iPhone) playing 256kbps AAC files. And honestly, I’m not sure if $400 Grado headphones can even show their potential on a cheap D/A audio circuitry of an iPhone, even with an AIFF file.

          As for the glacial pace of Mac updates, loss of software that just works, or zero development of iPods, while that wasn’t really the subject of my message, nor is it in any way related to it, I do agree that we’ve been seeing erosion over the recent years. Whatever the reason, it is unlikely to be reversed; Jobs is gone, and there is no-one else to take on that role.

  4. If they make the wireless earbuds like the current ones, then for millions of us, they won’t stay snug in our ears AND they aren’t noise isolating. Absolutely worthless for music. Ok for phone calls indoors I guess.

    1. No matter if it’s wired or wireless they are all Analog up until the DAC…

      It’s not like any phone EVER had analog audio… there’s always a DAC somewhere…

  5. There are a bunch of bluetooth headsets on the market already. All of them suck.

    Here is what Apple offers today:

    Beats Powerbeats 2 costs $200
    http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MHBE2AM/A/beats-powerbeats2-wireless-in-ear-headphones-black

    The battery charge lasts 6 hours. It must be recharged with a micro-USB cable. Out of 570 customer reviews, the average is 2/5 stars. most people complain about sound quality and durability. Sounds like the software for pairing isn’t reliable and in a few weeks or months they don’t recharge. Some people think that sweat from workouts kills them, despite Apple advertising them as being designed specifically for this reason.

    So let’s assume that Apple solves all the problems and comes out with a perfect set of wireless earbuds. They will still be inferior in sound quality to a wire and they will be one more thing for the user to keep charged. And what will they cost, Apple? Do you honestly expect everyone to pay $200 for a pair of headphones that are completely inferior in sound quality and durability compared to wired phones of the same price?

    I hope these rumors remain just rumors.

    1. My first reaction to reading the article was … “those sound really expensive”. I seriously doubt Apple is going to put $200 wireless earbuds, or even $100 wireless earbuds in the box with new iPhones. My guess would be there will still be a set of standard wired earbuds in the box, and you can go into your local Apple Store to pick up a pair of these if you want them … at $200+ per pair.

      Just because Apple holds the patent, doesn’t mean they’ll give it away for free, nor does it mean it will be branded as an Apple product. My guess is they will probably be branded as Beats Powerbeats 3.

  6. If Apple is supposed to be an environmentally conscious company, how come they keep making every accessory battery-powered? And no, it’s never seamless to charge your stuff. Every generation of Apple gear has a different charger, a different connector, and every goddamn Apple adapter costs 50% more than any other brand while offering poor durability with fragile skinny wires.

    I do not look forward to Apple forcing this on iPhone 7 users. I like my cheap wired headphones — they are simple and they always work.

  7. Hopefully they decide to also ditch lightning in favor of USB-C…

    Then all of those wired headphone that the manufacturers are going to make could also work on any compatible computer (since they would just be a USB audio device…)

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