iPhone 7 Plus teardown: Second lower speaker grille leads… nowhere?

“Since Apple’s announcement day, we’ve been anxiously awaiting the chance to delve into their latest and greatest tech,” iFixit reports. “Today, we’re kicking off our teardown trifecta with the iDevice that boasts both the greatest surface area and the highest number of cameras: the iPhone 7 Plus.”

“Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter included in the box. It’s going to take some courage for us to move on from the headphone jack,” iFixit reports. “We can see that the headphone jack got kicked out to make space for more Taptic Engine. Closer inspection shows a new, second lower speaker grille that leads… nowhere? Interesting.”

“In place of the headphone jack, we find a component that seems to channel sound from outside the phone into the microphone… or from the Taptic Engine out,” iFixit reports. “No fancy electronics here, just some well-designed acoustics and molded plastic.”

iFixit's iPhone 7 Plus  teardown reveals what's behind Apple's second "speaker grill"
iFixit’s iPhone 7 Plus teardown reveals what’s behind Apple’s second “speaker grill”

 

“After we free a few standard Phillips screws, the earpiece speaker practically falls out from under the front-facing camera,” iFixit reports. “This new earpiece speaker does double duty—for the first time, it also serves as a loudspeaker, giving the iPhone stereo sound for those times when you need to rock out.”

Much more in the full teardown here.

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36 Comments

        1. Besides using a 2nd class phone, looks like your reading/comprehension skills are also 2nd class. The space was taken up by “well-designed acoustics”. If you think you can get good acoustics without clever usage of space, you really need to go and read up about speaker acoustics (if you can understand it, of course) before you display more of your ignorance again. That extra volume most reviewers talk about has to come from somewhere.

          1. Yup. Unless you have adapter cable phobia, this is very simple and easy.

            Again: The only viable complaint here is if someone needs to use wired headphones at the same time they are charging the iPhone 7. You’d have to buy an adapter for that. ~$40.

        2. You should realize if the iPhone 7 sells well without a headphone jack and customers don’t mind, eventually Samsung is going to remove its standard jack, too, from flagship models. It just makes sense because there will be more room inside for other components. All you have to do is check history to see how Samsung copies what other manufacturers do. That’s just their typical business strategy.

          Once Apple proves there’s little consumer resistance for losing the standard headphone jack then most manufacturers will quickly follow without taking any risk.

      1. Flash was a bloated piece of garbage that had many good or better alternatives. The audio headphone jack is a ubiquitous industry standard. The fact that it’s been around since 1920s does not render it any less useful.

    1. Not likely ventilation. With no fan, passive ventilation through tiny holes makes no sense (minimal airflow in/out), and they’re obviously not direct air channels to the internals due to the 7’s water resistance.

  1. Wow, this thing is going overboard.

    Most of the FUD critisim on the web makes no mention of the adapter AND a pair of lightning headphones…

    Nevertheless, those dumb enough to read title only and flock away are missing out!

    BTW. Apple doesn’t create astethic only feature. Stay tune, the space left by removing the anticated 3.5mm jack will soon be fulfil with avant-garde features…

  2. For the ‘they could have fit a 3.5mm jack in there!’, note that Apple would ALSO have to have put the analog-to-digital converter in there as well. That’s two (2) things Apple pulled out of the iPhone 7. Not one! Two.

    1. No. The digital to analog converter is there, along with the analog circuit amplifier. The phone has speakers. That’s one (2) thing Apple pulled out of the iPhone 7. Not two! One.

          1. √ My ignorance solved. Thank you!

            That’s fascinating and I’d enjoy digging in the specs, related hardware and software to understand how these changes are assigned. It’s got to be a ‘strict machine’ in order to not cause major problems.

  3. If Apple had gone to USB C with the iPhone 7/7+ (Lightning has no inherent advantage and many think C is superior), especially since they’re standardizing on it on their Mac lines, then this all would make (eminent) sense going forward for Mac/iOS users and the whole digital industry.

    So the truly forward move (in both customers’ and companies’ interests) would have been to have torn all the bandages off at once and made both shifts at once.

    The future and all. Plus devices using a USB C (or Lightning) port can do many things other than pump sound out (and have resources to do a better job of that) – points Apple is curiously not making much if at all.

    But instead, hewing to their proprietary instincts, they chose what they see as a path to incremental sales of ear gear by sticking with Lightning, creating a world where there will be a subset of headphones/ear pods only for iOS devices that won’t travel without dongles.

    So now the world’s going to be flooded with at least three pluggable earpod standards (3.5, C and Lightning) for years when it could have been headed for converging on one and many millions will all have more things and inconvenience than necessary.

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