The iphone 7 will offer two connection types. Wireless Bluetooth & Lightning Plug. Apple has been redesigning cord protocol lately, this is the latest example. We're looking at you Macbook USB C.
Do your headphones have a cord with a 3.5mm plug at the end of them? If you are like the overwhelming majority of people on Earth, you probably answered “yes” to this question, and if you did, in fact, answer yes, and you are also a faithful iPhone owner eagerly awaiting the upcoming launch of the iPhone 7 & 7s, then you need to listen up!
Recent reports have been confirmed that the not-yet-released iPhone 7* (*The name iPhone 7 has not yet been made official, but we think it’s a pretty good guess) will be ditching the 3.5mm jack that has had installed as a standard feature on every previous iteration of iPhone (walkman, gameboy, delta flight).
This has been done purely in the name of trying to make the phone even slimmer and to give Apple more room for other internal components. What is even more fascinating is knowing that without a 3.5mm jack, it seems very plausible that Apple will be moving more in the wireless direction, possibly including wireless charging, and the very real likelihood that the device will be waterproof!
It makes sense that any phone produced with a headphone jack, which is essentially just a hole that goes straight into the phone, can never be waterproof because water would flood the phone by entering the jack, so, now that Apple will be removing the jack, they can finally produce a waterproof device.
But what about my headphones?
I always used to just plug them into my iPhone -- will I still be able to that?
Not really. Allow us to explain.
Whatever brand of headphones you currently own, whether they are the standard issue Apple earbuds, or even an ultra-premium pair of over-ear headphones from manufacturers such as Beyerdynamic, AKG, Klipsch, Sennheiser, or Shure, they virtually all currently feature a 3.5mm plug and, unfortunately, will NOT be compatible with the upcoming iPhone 7.
With the release of the iPhone 7, Apple is going all-in on wireless and their own proprietary Lightning port, both of which are going to start to become options for music-listening iPhone owners.
Anything that connects to Bluetooth 4+ - Wireless headphones are already becoming increasingly popular since people find them perfect for working out at the gym, or other assorted exercises, because they allow the listener to still have their full range of motion without having to worry about snagging their headphone cord on a piece of equipment or anything else.
There are already a multitude of wireless headphones, ranging from in-ear headphones, on-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones, and all of these headphones will be compatable with the new iPhone 7, with connectivity via Bluetooth. So, for the Apple users who don’t already have a pair of bluetooth wireless headphones, Apple is telling you it is time.
Right there with you. It just feels right since wireless cannot deliver the same headphone sound quality. If you don’t like the idea of going wireless (possibly because you feel a little bit of audio fidelity is lost when the sound has to be transferred via Bluetooth), Apple is also going to be working with third-party headphone manufacturers to begin producing wired headphones, that, instead of featuring the standard 3.5mm jack, will now feature an Apple Lightning plug to be plugged into the iPhone 7’s Lightning port.
This is a brilliant move by Apple because headphone manufacturers are going to be lining up to start producing iPhone 7-compatible headphones, and Apple will be able to charge those manufacturers a fee in order to gain access to the technology necessary to be able to produce headphones with the Lightning plug and the plug’s noise-cancelling technology.
Mentioned above, another rumored feature of the Lightning port is the introduction of a new noise-cancelling capability which will help remove background noise in music playback and in phone calls. This will make all potential headphones being produced with Lightning technology particularly high quality and very useful, especially if you use your headphones in noisy public environments.
Now that we know a little bit more about Apple’s plans, their purchase of Dr. Dre’s Beats headphone company is beginning to make a lot more sense. Apple purchased Beats Electronics for $3 Billion, it left a lot of industry insiders scratching their heads, unsure of how Apple would utilize the headphone company effectively and how they would meld with current Apple products. Well, it appears clear now that we know that Apple is going to start requiring specially made headphones for their phones (or be Bluetooth ready) that they are going to want to produce their own iPhone-compatible headphones to sell as the “official” Lightning headphones.
Now combine that with Beats popularity (In 2012, NBD Group reported that Beats' market share was 64% in the U.S for headphones priced higher than $100), and you end up with a perfect storm of early adopting consumers eager to buy the newest, most stylish “official” headphones to plug into their new Apple iPhone 7, which equals $$$$$$$$$$ for Apple. This blows our mind. Just so many headphones out there better than beats.
Another bonus for Beats is that they already produce a wireless in-ear headphone (Powerbeats 2), a wireless on-ear headphone (Beats Solo2), and a wireless over-ear headphone (Beats Studio), which will all already be iPhone 7 ready with Bluetooth capability, so anyone who already owns any pair of those will be in good shape at the iPhone 7 launch!
While Apple’s latest move might upset a percentage of their fans who already own (and have been using) an audiophile-grade pair of third-party headphones with a 3.5mm plug, who will now have to contemplate shelling out, potentially, several hundred dollars to acquire a nice pair of either wireless or Lightning headphones, Apple knows they are more than likely going to make the switch to keep up with the changing times.
Apple understands there will be a small percentage of unhappy customers, there will be many more who either...
A ) Already have a pair of wireless headphones
B ) Will happily buy the latest Beats with the Lightning plug just to say they have the latest and the greatest tech gadgets.
This caught us off guard but to be honest there has to be better technology for the space usage. If you stop and think about it, the headphone jack was invented in 1910. It made it more than 100 years. It is an impressive feat to remain the standard in tech for over a century.
1910 - 2016(ish)
Headphone Charts team