Fast Company Report on Apple Dropping 3.5mm Audio Jack in Next iPhone

Mark Sullivan, writing for Fast Company:

Apple’s next big phone — presumably called the iPhone 7 — will come without a 3.5mm headphone jack, will be noticeably thinner, will very likely support wireless charging and be waterproof, a source with knowledge of the company’s plans tells Fast Company.

As has been rumored, our source confirms that the new phone will rely on its Lightning cable port for sound output to wired headphones. That port has been used for power and data transfer in recent iPhones. Users can also use wireless headphones.

So far, believable. (Worth noting, however, that the Lightning port already works with headphones.) Including magnetic charging at the same time they drop the 3.5mm audio port would solve the problem of how one listens to audio while charging the phone at the same time.

Some media reports have suggested that Apple will include a set of Lightning-connected EarPod earphones in the box with the iPhone 7. It’s more likely, our source says, that Apple will sell a more expensive pair of noise-canceling, Lightning-connected, earphones or headphones separately — possibly under its Beats brand.

This is madness. Beats will almost certainly sell a wide assortment of Lightning headphones if the iPhone goes Lightning-only, but Apple has to include a pair of Lightning or Bluetooth earbuds in the box. It would be madness not to.

Still other media reports say that Apple may include with the iPhone 7 an adapter that will allow users to plug regular 3.5mm analog headphones into the new phone.

This doesn’t sound like Apple to me. When Apple drops an old port or changes from an old port to a new one, they (almost) never include adapters for free. In fact, they tend to charge stiff prices for them. Apple’s 30-pin to Lightning adapter costs $29. Even worse, the “media report” linked to by Sullivan is this story by Jeremy Horowitz for 9to5Mac, which makes no such claim. Here is what Horowitz reported:

The report claims that Apple will bundle Lightning connector-equipped EarPods with the next iPhone, incorporating a tiny DA (Digital to Analog) converter into the connector. To ensure iPhone 7 compatibility, third-party wired headphone makers will need to include either Lightning cables or 3.5mm to Lightning adapters with their headphones. Bluetooth headphone makers will have no such issues.

Horowitz (who was just translating from an original report from the Japanese site Macotakara) is clearly saying that third-party headphone makers might start including 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapters, not that Apple would include such an adapter with the phone. Sullivan’s poor reading comprehension doesn’t give me much faith in his reporting or judgment regarding anonymous sources. Sullivan is the same guy who, in 2014, reported that Apple was working with Swatch on the Apple Watch:

Apple has been working with at least one partner, Swatch, to release a line of smartwatches in variety of branded styles and price points, a source with knowledge of the situation tells VentureBeat.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

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