Headphone picks for iPhone 7 users missing the 3.5mm headphone jack

Posted:
in iPhone
One of the biggest changes unveiled with the iPhone 7 was the deletion of the phone's 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of an all Lightning solution. It's been a divisive issue, but luckily there are plenty of viable options out there, from Bluetooth devices to high-fidelity third-party Lightning products.







For the Athlete







Athletes looking for light, sweat-proof and waterproof headphones without wires can try the $150 Under Armour UA Wireless Headphones that marry ergonomic ear tips that you twist and lock. Another option is the inexpensive SENSO ActivBuds Bluetooth Headphones, a sweat-proof and noise-canceling headset that sells for $34.





If comfort is important







If you're looking for comfort due to long-term wear, and not necessarily looking for small or compact options, then consider Audio-Technica's popular ATH-M50x which sell for $130 on Amazon.com. A higher-end offering from Sennheiser, the PXC 550, is noise-canceling and also comfortable to wear, but comes in at a hefty $400.

Unique to Apple



A number of companies are offering headphones that are specialized for the missing headphone jack in the iPhone 7. The Philips Fidelio M2L, for example, provides an all-digital connection to 48kHz high-resolution audio files from an iPhone via the Lightning port.



Another option that AppleInsider got a sneak peak of is the new Audeze iSine, the word's first-ever planar magnetic in-ear buds. They're ultraportable, and offer superior sound by cramming patented "Fluxor Magnets" inside a lightweight shell that can clip to your ear and easily fit in your pocket.







Beats by Dre



Apple-owned Beats offers a range of options for iPhone users. The latest Beats Solo3 is almost identical in appearance to its predecessor, the Beats Solo2, but comes with a W1 chip that boosts battery life and simplifies the pairing process with iPhone 7.





Alternative options



If you're not quite ready to ditch your 3.5mm headphones you can easily use the Lightning adapter that comes with the phone, but you can't charge and listen at the same time. It's also limited by the lack of mic and audio control support for third-party headphones, meaning you can't use the in-line mic and controls to talk to Siri or take a call.



If you want to stick with an Apple product, the iPhone Lightning Dock allows you to charge your phone and utilize a spare 3.5mm plug on the back of the dock to listen via headphones.



Alternatively, the Fuze Caseis being funded through crowdsourcing site Indiegogo and integrates the adapter dongle that Apple has included into their phone case. The result is a restored headphone jack that still allows access to the Lightning port of the device. It also has a built-in 2,400 mAh battery for the iPhone 7 and a 3,600 mAh battery for the iPhone 7 Plus.



Third-party options also include a Fuze battery case that has an integrated 3.5mm jack and Griffin's $20 iTrip Clip that turns corded headphones wireless allowing taking calls or talking to Siri with it's built-in mic.



AppleInsider will be providing more in-depth reviews of a few of these headphones in the coming weeks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 960member
    Aren't some readers reporting that in-line mic and volume controls are working on conventionally jacked headphones through the included adapter
    lolliverstevehwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 58
    thedbathedba Posts: 529member
    badmonk said:
    Aren't some readers reporting that in-line mic and volume controls are working on conventionally jacked headphones through the included adapter
    I use my old earpods with the included adapter and everything works as before. I think the article's wrong on this. 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 58
    thedba said:
    badmonk said:
    Aren't some readers reporting that in-line mic and volume controls are working on conventionally jacked headphones through the included adapter
    I use my old earpods with the included adapter and everything works as before. I think the article's wrong on this. 
    It does mention THIRD party, so we'll have to wait for someone to chime in who can share their experience, as I don't have any 3rd party to test.
  • Reply 4 of 58
    jdiamondjdiamond Posts: 101member
    Personally, I love the ATH-M50x headphones, and have a pair myself, but they aren't wireless, so I'm not sure why they're included in this article.

    I also did many tests on my awesome car stereo and iPhone of wired vs bluetooth, and the bluetooth quality was horrible!  It was like throwing away the entire stereo and replacing it by a small boom box.  So I did some Googling and found out that there are many reasons you won't even get the 350 kbit/sec max of bluetooth 4.  First, the receiver and sender must support identical codecs.  And second, they must negotiate a minimum compatible transfer rate.  Some receivers, even if they could support the full rate, may just default to the 50 kbit/sec transfer rate.  And finally, there is the quality of the codec itself, which can be extremely lossy.

    I really think Woz said it best - don't FORCE people into wireless until a standard exists that has quality comparable to wired.  That's why people throwing around the floppy disk analogy are wrong - when Steve ditched the floppy disk, there were new storage mediums that had higher capacity and were faster than flash.  What bluetooth needs is a STANDARD, LOSSLESS codec that can be supported across the board.



    kamiltonbaconstanglarryaanantksundarambsenkaargonaut
  • Reply 5 of 58
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    who's "forcing" anybody? sounds like you and Woz need to look that word up. 
    applepieguyredraider11magman1979pscooter63williamlondonlolliverstevehjony0
  • Reply 6 of 58
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    jdiamond said:
    Personally, I love the ATH-M50x headphones, and have a pair myself, but they aren't wireless, so I'm not sure why they're included in this article.

    I also did many tests on my awesome car stereo and iPhone of wired vs bluetooth, and the bluetooth quality was horrible!  It was like throwing away the entire stereo and replacing it by a small boom box.  So I did some Googling and found out that there are many reasons you won't even get the 350 kbit/sec max of bluetooth 4.  First, the receiver and sender must support identical codecs.  And second, they must negotiate a minimum compatible transfer rate.  Some receivers, even if they could support the full rate, may just default to the 50 kbit/sec transfer rate.  And finally, there is the quality of the codec itself, which can be extremely lossy.

    I really think Woz said it best - don't FORCE people into wireless until a standard exists that has quality comparable to wired.  That's why people throwing around the floppy disk analogy are wrong - when Steve ditched the floppy disk, there were new storage mediums that had higher capacity and were faster than flash.  What bluetooth needs is a STANDARD, LOSSLESS codec that can be supported across the board.



    If Woz were in charge, we'd probably still be using a command line interface on the Apple 8, with a fully accessible chassis and entirely modular user replaceable/updatable components, with a 12 slot expansion bay.
    mwhitediplicationnolamacguyapplepieguyuraharamagman1979fallenjtentropyslolliverargonaut
  • Reply 7 of 58
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member

    badmonk said:
    Aren't some readers reporting that in-line mic and volume controls are working on conventionally jacked headphones through the included adapter
    Yes. This is wrong. Some third party headphones reportedly don't work properly, but many do. This is not a universal problem.
    lolliver
  • Reply 8 of 58
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    I would never buy the Philips-M2L-27, or any Lightning headphones without a detachable cable (for that matter I wouldn't buy a wireless one without it either). Phillips didn't think this one through. As long as a customer will only be using a recent iOS device with a Lightning cable, they're fine. But otherwise, these headphones are incompatible with anything else, requiring a separate set of headphones just to use a Mac, to say nothing of anything else. At least the Audeze headphones have a detachable cable, for use with a 3.5mm analogue cable, however inconvenient.

    I still feel like Apple botched the headphone jack removal, despite the strong iPhone 7 sales, and this is one of the reasons. The included Lightning EarPods can't be used on any other non-Lightning device, including the Macs. There isn't even a USB-C adapter, to say nothing of a 3.5mm adapter to use the Lightning EarPods on any current audio equipment. So for anyone who plans to use these EarPods with anything else, they are useless. Essentially the only option out of the box for a customer who only wants to carry one set of headphones with them to use with their Mac and iPhone is to use the 3.5mm adapter with their old set of 3.5mm EarPods. Where's the logic in that? Add to that the fact that Apple and Beat's simple to use W1 chipped headphones still have no definitive release date. Only one $300 pair of Beats Solo 3, are currently available for someone who might want to switch to BT headphones, the only other way to connect to both an iPhone 7 and Mac. And with BT comes its own set of quality and convenience compromises, despite the improvements Apple has made with the W1 connectivity enhancements. At least they can be used with a 3.5mm cable, to connect with a non-BT device when necessary. From my perspective Apple is virtually encouraging customers to continue using their old headphones with the added inconvenience of an adapter, rather than consider other options.

    But the total lack of support for higher quality wired Lightning headphones out of the starting gate, makes the whole transition away from 3.5mm frustrating at best. And there's no hint on the horizon of how this facet of digital sound's backward compatibility is going to be handled, which should give a Lightning audio developer, not to mention a customer for the products, pause. How does Apple plan on supporting Lightning audio outside of the iPhone 7, if at all?
    edited October 2016 baconstangcali
  • Reply 9 of 58
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    "Deletion"?

    It wasn't deleted. It was removed.
    lolliver
  • Reply 10 of 58
    jdiamondjdiamond Posts: 101member
    who's "forcing" anybody? sounds like you and Woz need to look that word up. 
    Apple removed the choice of wired audio.  The lightning adapter is acceptable, but then you can't charge.  Sure, we can choose to stop using Apple devices instead, but that's asking a lot.  So we are being "forced" to (1) give up on high quality audio, or (2) leave the Apple eco-system.  That sounds like a force to me.  In fact, modern Apple is acting like Microsoft - changing their products in a way that further's their own ambitions instead of actually making life better for users.  Steve Jobs didn't have to think that way - he knew that if you make a good product that people like, it sells well and you make profits.

    Your arguement is like saying US laws don't "force" anyone to do anything because in theory you can always leave the US and go somewhere else.  Well, the "force" is saying "if you want to stay in the US, you HAVE to do this."

    I really don't understand the people rushing to defend Apple in this - how is getting a device with no headphone jack improving your life?  Every poll I've seen online shows around 70% of iPhone owners have an issue with this.  Just because you don't care about audio quality doesn't mean that no one does.

    I'm perfectly willing to turn my habits upside and buy all new equipment just to stay in the Apple Eco-system, but only when Apple can provide something that isn't a step down in quality or convenience.




    singularitybaconstangbsenka
  • Reply 11 of 58
    jdiamondjdiamond Posts: 101member
    As a side note, if Apple opens up their MFI program to allow a good audio jack + lightning port adapter (not dock) without artificially degrading audio quality, then I'm OK dealing with the adapter.  I'm not quite ready to go with that kickstart project that extends the iPhone a few mm with a custom case, but if that ends up being the only way...  Then it's only a drop in convenience.

    As a comparison, when Apple switched from Magsafe to Magsafe2, they freely sold $9.99 adapters so you could use your old Magsafe plugs with the new ports.  That didn't hurt anyone and allowed Apple to move on without inconveniencing people.




    baconstang
  • Reply 12 of 58
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,396member
    "Deletion"?

    It wasn't deleted. It was removed.
    It was never originally added to the 7 so it can't even have been removed.
    baconstangRayz2016nolamacguycalilolliversteveh
  • Reply 13 of 58
    Powerbeats2 hands down winner. Excellent accurate quality. Light and comfortable. I wear them from the moment I get up till I go to bed

    lolliverhill60
  • Reply 14 of 58
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member
    The Audeze iSine 10 in-earphone are ugly.
  • Reply 15 of 58
    kamiltonkamilton Posts: 281member
    jdiamond said:
    Personally, I love the ATH-M50x headphones, and have a pair myself, but they aren't wireless, so I'm not sure why they're included in this article.

    I also did many tests on my awesome car stereo and iPhone of wired vs bluetooth, and the bluetooth quality was horrible!  It was like throwing away the entire stereo and replacing it by a small boom box.  So I did some Googling and found out that there are many reasons you won't even get the 350 kbit/sec max of bluetooth 4.  First, the receiver and sender must support identical codecs.  And second, they must negotiate a minimum compatible transfer rate.  Some receivers, even if they could support the full rate, may just default to the 50 kbit/sec transfer rate.  And finally, there is the quality of the codec itself, which can be extremely lossy.

    I really think Woz said it best - don't FORCE people into wireless until a standard exists that has quality comparable to wired.  That's why people throwing around the floppy disk analogy are wrong - when Steve ditched the floppy disk, there were new storage mediums that had higher capacity and were faster than flash.  What bluetooth needs is a STANDARD, LOSSLESS codec that can be supported across the board.



    The quality of sound should be paramount at this stage.  We endured cruddy, smashed audio files when bandwidth was limited.  It's time for Apple to push everything to 96/24 minimum with short term goals of 192/24 or better.  I'd love to see them reinvent the entire Analog to Digital process, then re-encode the entire iTunes music repository for optimal quality (get those 2" masters out and do it right) then allow customers to replace tracks for free and physically support the quality as wireless transmission evolves.  Further, Logic X should be rebuilt to record at 192/24 minimum, so artists start producing new music at this quality and funnel it into Apple's waiting music ecosystem.  

    Woz is right on this one.  People that listen to AAC files and are satisfied are missing about 60%.  


    I know, I know, but it's time for this initiative.   
    cali
  • Reply 16 of 58
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member
    evilution said:
    "Deletion"?

    It wasn't deleted. It was removed.
    It was never originally added to the 7 so it can't even have been removed.
    It depends on the wording.

    AI's statement is:
    One of the biggest changes unveiled with the iPhone 7 was the deletion of the phone's 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of an all Lightning solution.

    This is accurate: 
    One of the biggest changes unveiled with the iPhone 7 was the [removal] of the phone's 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of an all Lightning solution [from the iPhone line.]

    This isn't accurate:
    One of the biggest changes unveiled with the iPhone 7 was the [removal] of the phone's 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of an all Lightning solution.

    The difference being the focus on iPhone 7 model series without mentioning the iPhone product category.

    I would have worded it like this:
    One of the biggest changes to the iPhone line was the removal of the phone's 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of an all Lightning solution in the iPhone 7 series.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 17 of 58
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 8,880member
    jdiamond said:
    who's "forcing" anybody? sounds like you and Woz need to look that word up. 

    I really don't understand the people rushing to defend Apple in this - how is getting a device with no headphone jack improving your life?  Every poll I've seen online shows around 70% of iPhone owners have an issue with this.  Just because you don't care about audio quality doesn't mean that no one does.

    That 70% you speak of? When questioned further almost ALL of them had taken the word of the tech pundits who clearly implied that anyone buying an iPhone 7 would have to throw away their traditional headphones. Once it was explained that no, that misleading prattle was patently false and users could continue using their favorite headphones with the provided adapter they were okay with it. It’s all straw man arguments that hold no value. It’s all about claiming that adapters are useless and inconvenient. It’s  all about coming up with something, anything, to make the negative argument. And by the way, this kerfuffle over the 3.5mm headphone jack is a tempest in a teapot compared to the armed rebellion that took place when the Mac switched from Power PC to Intel CPUs. And your comment about “quality audio” just doesn’t make any sense at all. You can still use those $1000.00 leather fu-fu headphones any time you want.

    I really don’t understand the people coming up with illogical and downright manufactured reasons for being upset at the removal of the 3.5 mm jack.
    nolamacguyapplepieguyredraider11stevehhill60
  • Reply 18 of 58
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,665member
    lkrupp said:
    jdiamond said:
    who's "forcing" anybody? sounds like you and Woz need to look that word up. 

    I really don't understand the people rushing to defend Apple in this - how is getting a device with no headphone jack improving your life?  Every poll I've seen online shows around 70% of iPhone owners have an issue with this.  Just because you don't care about audio quality doesn't mean that no one does.

    That 70% you speak of? When questioned further almost ALL of them had taken the word of the tech pundits who clearly implied that anyone buying an iPhone 7 would have to throw away their traditional headphones. Once it was explained that no, that misleading prattle was patently false and users could continue using their favorite headphones with the provided adapter they were okay with it. It’s all straw man arguments that hold no value. It’s all about claiming that adapters are useless and inconvenient. It’s  all about coming up with something, anything, to make the negative argument. And by the way, this kerfuffle over the 3.5mm headphone jack is a tempest in a teapot compared to the armed rebellion that took place when the Mac switched from Power PC to Intel CPUs. And your comment about “quality audio” just doesn’t make any sense at all. You can still use those $1000.00 leather fu-fu headphones any time you want.

    I really don’t understand the people coming up with illogical and downright manufactured reasons for being upset at the removal of the 3.5 mm jack.
    *Standing ovation*
    edited October 2016 applepieguypscooter63peterhart
  • Reply 19 of 58
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    mac_128 said:
    Add to that the fact that Apple and Beat's simple to use W1 chipped headphones still have no definitive release date. Only one $300 pair of Beats Solo 3, are currently available for someone who might want to switch to BT headphones, the only other way to connect to both an iPhone 7 and Mac. And with BT comes its own set of quality and convenience compromises, despite the improvements Apple has made with the W1 connectivity enhancements. At least they can be used with a 3.5mm cable, to connect with a non-BT device when necessary. From my perspective Apple is virtually encouraging customers to continue using their old headphones with the added inconvenience of an adapter, rather than consider other options.

    But the total lack of support for higher quality wired Lightning headphones out of the starting gate, makes the whole transition away from 3.5mm frustrating at best. And there's no hint on the horizon of how this facet of digital sound's backward compatibility is going to be handled, which should give a Lightning audio developer, not to mention a customer for the products, pause. How does Apple plan on supporting Lightning audio outside of the iPhone 7, if at all?
    fact? uh no, fiction -- becasuse you can get Beats W1-equipped headphones today, and the AirPods are out in 3 weeks.

    other manufacturers have made Lightning headphones for a long time already. 
    edited October 2016 applepieguycali
  • Reply 20 of 58
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    jdiamond said:
    who's "forcing" anybody? sounds like you and Woz need to look that word up. 
    Apple removed the choice of wired audio.  The lightning adapter is acceptable, but then you can't charge.  Sure, we can choose to stop using Apple devices instead, but that's asking a lot.  So we are being "forced" to (1) give up on high quality audio, or (2) leave the Apple eco-system.  That sounds like a force to me.  In fact, modern Apple is acting like Microsoft - changing their products in a way that further's their own ambitions instead of actually making life better for users.  Steve Jobs didn't have to think that way - he knew that if you make a good product that people like, it sells well and you make profits.

    Your arguement is like saying US laws don't "force" anyone to do anything because in theory you can always leave the US and go somewhere else.  Well, the "force" is saying "if you want to stay in the US, you HAVE to do this."

    nonsense. again, you have no idea what the would "force" means, evidently. this is a free market and nobody is forcing you to do anything. if life sucks as bad as you say, vote with your dollars and employ your freedom to choose. which is very different than laws, which yes, you're obligated to follow or go to prison. your analogy is terrible.

    further, you don't even have to leave the Apple eco-system (which you have no birthright to btw) -- since apple to this very day continues to sell multiple other phones w/ a 3.5mm headphone jack. go nuts.

    im so looking forward to next year when the crybabies have moved on. oh who am i kidding -- you'll find  some other thing to be outraged about, amirite?
    edited October 2016 redraider11pscooter63suddenly newton
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