Apple again rumored to drop 3.5mm headphone jack from 'iPhone 7' for Lightning, Bluetooth

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2016
Rumblings out of East Asia again suggest Apple will ditch the industry standard 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of a Bluetooth wireless/Lightning audio solution, potentially forcing customers invested in the stalwart format to purchase new gear.




Sources from Apple's Chinese supply chain supposedly "confirmed" Apple's decision to switch away from the common TRRS 3.5mm jack when its next flagship handset debuts this fall, relying instead on wireless protocols, reports Anzhou. With the spec change Apple is not only looking to engineer thinner devices, but also to stimulate sales of new wireless headsets, the report said.

A separate rumor from WeiFeng, again citing inside sources, claims much the same, but adds Apple plans to include Lightning as a wired audio option. The hybrid solution could offer users a choice between "wired" and "wireless" audio output profiles depending on the situation, for example talking on the phone or listening to music.

It should be noted that AppleInsider cannot confirm the veracity of either report.

Japanese website Mac Otakara first reported on Apple's rumored headphone jack replacement in November. Despite no corroborating evidence, the topic is already polarizing Apple fans who on the one side see a move away from the aging industry standard as forward progress, while others are concerned that decades' worth of audio equipment investments will be made obsolete overnight.

Although details remain elusive, Apple was most recently thought to be preparing a Lightning version of its free EarPods headset, a tweak that requires a digital-to-analog converter be integrated into its plug. The company could provide backwards compatibility with existing hardware by including a Lightning-to-3.5mm jack adaptor with each iPhone or iPod purchase, though past product releases suggest such a component would be available only as an optional accessory.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 204
    This Apple-obsession with thinness is getting asinine
    freediverxZooMigo
  • Reply 2 of 204
    This Apple-obsession with thinness is getting asinine
    iPhone is Apple's cash cow. If they're removing the headphone jack it's not to make the phone a few mm thinner. Plus the iPod touch is thinner than the iPhone but still uses the 3.5mm headphone jack. IF Apple is doing this they better include decent wireless headphones in the box along with an adapter. Taking away the headphone jack and then telling people they can get an adapter for $30 would be horrible for sales. The fact that Apple Pencil comes with a charging adapter even though you can charge it from any lightening port makes me hopeful.
    Prof_Peabodycornchip
  • Reply 3 of 204
    Asinine? Why? If anything it's forward thinking and progression. It's not like they ever compromise quality to be thin.  this makes sense to me.

    They will conveniently provide an accessory solution that allows our phones plugin support to the existing audio headset format. It's not a huge deal in my opinion. Being Apple fans , investors, hobbyists, and supporters, we should be used to this paradigm by now. 
    mr onolamacguycornchip
  • Reply 4 of 204
    Asinine? Why? If anything it's forward thinking and progression. It's not like they ever compromise quality to be thin.  this makes sense to me.

    They will conveniently provide an accessory solution that allows our phones plugin support to the existing audio headset format. It's not a huge deal in my opinion. Being Apple fans , investors, hobbyists, and supporters, we should be used to this paradigm by now. 
    This absolutely is a risky move. That jack is used by millions of people every single day. Apple may have very good reasons for eliminating the headphone jack but those reasons better be immediately apparent and ones that people can easily understand and accept. Like making the phone as water resistant as possible, allowing for a bigger battery etc. If people think it's just so Apple could make the phone slightly thinner or sell them a pricey adapter it will be a huge turnoff and could impact iPhone sales.
    larryadamonfProf_Peabodybigpics
  • Reply 5 of 204
    ksecksec Posts: 1,568member
    I think there will be a new Wireless EarPod included, which you could charge via lighting. Assuming Apple keep or even improve on the current quality of EarPod, this wireless EarPods would be worth $100 in today's market price. Some even charges $200 like Beats...... oh wait......
  • Reply 6 of 204
    tzterritzterri Posts: 100member
    What about credit card readers and other devices that use the headphone jack?
    gatorguybigpics
  • Reply 7 of 204
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    This Apple-obsession with thinness is getting asinine
    It has absolutely nothing to do with thinness and everything to do with just making more money.

    The Vivo X5 Max is 4.75mm thick and still has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The 6S is 7.1mm thick. The internal space argument is as much hogwash as the need for nano sims vs micro sims, something which was quite apparent when I opened my daughters 5 to install a new battery.

    No, this is about money. 50 million Lightning to 3.5mm adapters at $30 each with an 80% markup - ka-ching! 50 million beats headphones with lossy bluetooth and an 80% markup - ka-Ching. license fees from 200 million third party lightning chip sporting headphones and earbuds - ka-ching.

    Meanwhile the Samsung S7 will reportedly include the best portable device DAC ever made with 129dB dynamic range and -120dB (0.0001%) harmonic distortion.
    Not having to pay for a decent DAC in 80 million phones - ka-ching!
    edited January 2016 Prof_Peabody
  • Reply 8 of 204
    Asinine? Why? If anything it's forward thinking and progression. It's not like they ever compromise quality to be thin.  this makes sense to me.

    They will conveniently provide an accessory solution that allows our phones plugin support to the existing audio headset format. It's not a huge deal in my opinion. Being Apple fans , investors, hobbyists, and supporters, we should be used to this paradigm by now. 
    It's asinine because it appears to be change for change's sake. 

    It's already a widely held believe that the phone is thin enough as it is. Waterproofing the phone would be nice, but certainly not a requirement for the vast majority of users. Maybe there's another, non-obvious reason to do it, but it would have to be a HUGE win to justify saddling tens (or hundreds) of millions of users with either an overpriced dongle to use their existing headphones or the expense of new wireless headphones, which bring to the table issues of their own battery life, inferior sound quality, etc. 

    Some of us have invested hundreds in headphones that have years of useful life remaining and perform significantly better than any included earbuds that Apple can come up with (or, for that matter, any 3rd party wireless options presently available). To have to either move away from those investments or settle for a kludgy plug-your-headphones-into-a-dongle-that-plugs-into-your-iPhone setup would be a major deterrent to buying a new phone for many users. 

    As a user, I don't want to have to make a choice between my investment in existing headphones and a new iPhone. As an Apple investor, i don't want anything to stand in the way of the sale of as many iOS devices as possible. From every angle that i can currently see, this would be a bad move. 
    edited January 2016 damonfProf_Peabody
  • Reply 9 of 204
    larryalarrya Posts: 586member
    cnocbui said:
    This Apple-obsession with thinness is getting asinine
    It has absolutely nothing to with thinness and everything to do with just making more money.

    The Vivo X5 Max is 4.75mm thick and still has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The 6S is 7.1mm thick. The internal space argument is as much hogwash as the need for nano sims vs micro sims, something which was quite apparent when I opened my daughters 5 to install a new battery.

    No, this is about money. 50 million Lightning to 3.5mm adapters at $30 each with an 80% markup - ka-ching! 50 million beats headphones with lossy bluetooth and an 80% markup - ka-Ching. license fees from 200 million third party lightning chip sporting headphones and earbuds - ka-ching.

    Meanwhile the Samsung S7 will reportedly include the best portable device DAC ever made with 129dB dynamic range and -120dB (0.0001%) harmonic distortion.
    Not having to pay for a decent DAC in 80 million phones - ka-ching!
    I think you've hit the nail on the head.  I walked when they went to lightning, but I came back because Android is awful and Samsung didn't have a decent sync option for Mac.  I will consider walking again for this, but don't know what real options there are other than Windows.  I guess I'll hang onto my 6 forever..
    damonf
  • Reply 10 of 204
    cnocbui said:
    This Apple-obsession with thinness is getting asinine
    It has absolutely nothing to with thinness and everything to do with just making more money.

    The Vivo X5 Max is 4.75mm thick and still has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The 6S is 7.1mm thick. The internal space argument is as much hogwash as the need for nano sims vs micro sims, something which was quite apparent when I opened my daughters 5 to install a new battery.

    No, this is about money. 50 million Lightning to 3.5mm adapters at $30 each with an 80% markup - ka-ching! 50 million beats headphones with lossy bluetooth and an 80% markup - ka-Ching. license fees from 200 million third party lightning chip sporting headphones and earbuds - ka-ching.

    Meanwhile the Samsung S7 will reportedly include the best portable device DAC ever made with 129dB dynamic range and -120dB (0.0001%) harmonic distortion.
    Not having to pay for a decent DAC in 80 million phones - ka-ching!
    And you assume everyone will just cough up for all of this because I guess we're all a bunch of iSheep that buy whatever Apple sells? The number of people that use the headphone jack every day vastly outweighs those who had 30-pin accessories or Mac users that still needed the Ethernet port or optical drive. This is a very risky move. And if it's just about money as you claim, if you've figured that out everyone else will too which would cause resentment could cause fewer iPhones sales if people choose to keep what they have or switch to something else.
    Prof_Peabodynolamacguy
  • Reply 11 of 204
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Oh yes, and one other thing - you can forget about Bluetooth. Apple will point out the terrible shortcomings inherent and will unveil their own new proprietary wireless audio streaming technology so you will absolutely have to buy their $95 Air receiver for your legacy headphones - ka-ching. Not having to pay aptX license fees for lossless bluetooth - ka-ching.
  • Reply 12 of 204
    cnocbui said:
    Oh yes, and one other thing - you can forget about Bluetooth. Apple will point out the terrible shortcomings inherent and will unveil their own new proprietary wireless audio streaming technology so you will absolutely have to buy their $95 Air receiver for your legacy headphones - ka-ching. Not having to pay aptX license fees for lossless bluetooth - ka-ching.
    Ok now you're just being stupid.
    freediverxnolamacguyapplepieguy
  • Reply 13 of 204
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    cnocbui said:
    This Apple-obsession with thinness is getting asinine
    It has absolutely nothing to with thinness and everything to do with just making more money.

    The Vivo X5 Max is 4.75mm thick and still has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The 6S is 7.1mm thick. The internal space argument is as much hogwash as the need for nano sims vs micro sims, something which was quite apparent when I opened my daughters 5 to install a new battery.

    No, this is about money. 50 million Lightning to 3.5mm adapters at $30 each with an 80% markup - ka-ching! 50 million beats headphones with lossy bluetooth and an 80% markup - ka-Ching. license fees from 200 million third party lightning chip sporting headphones and earbuds - ka-ching.

    Meanwhile the Samsung S7 will reportedly include the best portable device DAC ever made with 129dB dynamic range and -120dB (0.0001%) harmonic distortion.
    Not having to pay for a decent DAC in 80 million phones - ka-ching!
    Or maybe your just making this all up as you go along.
    BTW, Apple's own DAC is already at the top of the industry; there were people discussing that on MacRumors, anything else will be inaudible to golden ears even in the best of the best system/headsets being used in the quietest environment possible, which is the use case of nearly 0% of Samsung users (and Apple users).


    netmagefreediverxnolamacguy
  • Reply 14 of 204
    xbitxbit Posts: 340member
    I believe that Apple's longterm goal is to make an iPhone with zero ports, even ditching the Lightning connector eventually. Wireless charging, synching and audio only.

    No ports means fewer damaged iPhones and a sleeker, thinner design.
    radarthekatkitunetmagefreediverxlamboaudi4cornchip
  • Reply 15 of 204

    codog24 said:
    Asinine? Why? If anything it's forward thinking and progression. It's not like they ever compromise quality to be thin.  this makes sense to me.

    They will conveniently provide an accessory solution that allows our phones plugin support to the existing audio headset format. It's not a huge deal in my opinion. Being Apple fans , investors, hobbyists, and supporters, we should be used to this paradigm by now. 
    It's asinine because it appears to be change for change's sake. 

    It's already a widely held believe that the phone is thin enough as it is. Waterproofing the phone would be nice, but certainly not a requirement for the vast majority of users. Maybe there's another, non-obvious reason to do it, but it would have to be a HUGE win to justify saddling tens (or hundreds) of millions of users with either an overpriced dongle to use their existing headphones or the expense of new wireless headphones, which bring to the table issues of their own battery life, inferior sound quality, etc. 

    Some of us have invested hundreds in headphones that have years of useful life remaining and perform significantly better than any included earbuds that Apple can come up with (or, for that matter, any 3rd party wireless options presently available). To have to either move away from those investments or settle for a kludgy plug-your-headphones-into-a-dongle-that-plugs-into-your-iPhone setup would be a major deterrent to buying a new phone for many users. 

    As a user, I don't want to have to make a choice between my investment in existing headphones and a new iPhone. As an Apple investor, i don't want anything to stand in the way of the sale of as many iOS devices as possible. From every angle that i can currently see, this would be a bad move. 
    All of which 1) should make people question this rumor and 2) IF it is true assume a lot of research was done before the decision was made. Something like this could absolutely impact iPhone sales in a negative way. LOTS more people use the headphone jack than used 30-pin accessories. And people that have expensive headphones aren't going to toss those for new lightening or BT ones, they'll either not upgrade their phone or get a different phone.

    On the flip side though, if most iPhone owners use the included EarPods then they'll just use whatever replacement Apple puts in the box so I don't see how this is a big money maker for Apple.
    Prof_Peabodynolamacguycornchip
  • Reply 16 of 204
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    I place no expectation of accuracy on this rumor, however if it could result in a guaranteed waterproof iPhone, I could support such a change.
    bigpicsnolamacguy
  • Reply 17 of 204
    This is about pushing technology forward. Anyone that is ok with the 3.5mm jack should be ok with buying a 6s. There is definitely some huge financial gains to be made as was pointed out earlier. The multiple "thin" comments are not even close to accurate. It has nothing to do with that. I am ok standing by a company that pushes technology forward.
    nolamacguyigorsky
  • Reply 18 of 204
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,535member
    foggyhill said:
    cnocbui said:
    It has absolutely nothing to with thinness and everything to do with just making more money.

    The Vivo X5 Max is 4.75mm thick and still has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The 6S is 7.1mm thick. The internal space argument is as much hogwash as the need for nano sims vs micro sims, something which was quite apparent when I opened my daughters 5 to install a new battery.

    No, this is about money. 50 million Lightning to 3.5mm adapters at $30 each with an 80% markup - ka-ching! 50 million beats headphones with lossy bluetooth and an 80% markup - ka-Ching. license fees from 200 million third party lightning chip sporting headphones and earbuds - ka-ching.

    Meanwhile the Samsung S7 will reportedly include the best portable device DAC ever made with 129dB dynamic range and -120dB (0.0001%) harmonic distortion.
    Not having to pay for a decent DAC in 80 million phones - ka-ching!
    Or maybe your just making this all up as you go along.
    BTW, Apple's own DAC is already at the top of the industry; there were people discussing that on MacRumors, anything else will be inaudible to golden ears even in the best of the best system/headsets being used in the quietest environment possible, which is the use case of nearly 0% of Samsung users (and Apple users).




    Just what makes you think there won't be a DAC in the phone? It is still a phone and there is a speaker in it so that one can use it without headphones or earbuds. As far as I know none of us living in the digital age has evolve to the point of hearing digitally. So of curse there wil still be a DAC in the iPhone. 

    And I'm sure the lighting connector will output both analog and digital signal. Plus if anyone invested hundreds of dollars in headphones would welcome a digital out so they can use their iPod and iPhone as a digital source on their external headphone amps with built in USB DAC. I don't know too many people that invested hundreds of dollars in a headphone to exclusively listen to them on an iPod or iPhone or think that the analog signal they get from the 3.5mm jack is good enough for their expensive headphones. 
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 19 of 204
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,083member
    Can someone explain me what is the advantage of having the DAC in a Lightning connector instead in the iPhone/iPod.

    And not taking into account that the iPhone still needs a DAC to use the speaker
  • Reply 20 of 204
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    I place no expectation of accuracy on this rumor, however if it could result in a guaranteed waterproof iPhone, I could support such a change.
    Making a waterproof headphone socket isn't impossible so eschewing a headphone socket in order to achieve a waterproof Phone isn't necessary: http://www.technik.com.hk/index.php/en-GB/35mm-smd-waterproof-stereo-jack

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