iPhone 7 rumours reveal surprising audio omissions

5 Jan 2016

Early reports coming from China suggest the new iPhone will do away with earphone jacks, which, if true, marks just another attempt to write the smartphone story on Apple’s own terms.

Fresh from rumours in early December suggesting that Apple was considering a major audio shift, reports are growing in China that earphone jacks will be omitted from this year’s iPhone 7.

The reasons for this are both understandable and ludicrous. First off, the 3.5mm jack is a structural obstacle for smartphone makers and, by including it, they are setting a minimum size that can’t be beaten.

This, essentially, limits the thinness of a smartphone. Considering this is a primary aesthetic selling point for the likes of Apple, Samsung, HTC et al, it makes sense that companies look to innovate in this area.

Add to that the fact that 3.5mm audio jacks are older than you may think, originally designed for transistor radios, and, again, it’s clear innovation is overdue.

However, it’s a globally established open design that everybody accepts and works with. One company playing fast and loose with a new model may prove a little risky.

Apple’s plans, according to the likes of Anzhou and Feng, are for Lightning port headphones to be a wired alternative, with the company pushing wireless options too.

But these are options that have been pushed by Apple before. Quite why it should take off now is still unclear. With changing charge points comes improved power transfer capabilities. Can the same be said about audio ports?

“Part of the reason the 3.5mm port is ubiquitous is because it is a cheap, simple port and an industry open standard,” says 9to5Mac. “This is another concern if Apple preaches its proprietary Lightning connector as the new ‘wired’ alternative, which has licensing fees.”

Other murmurings are that huge storage capabilities may be included on the iPhone 7 – 256GBs huge.

Earphone image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic