Apple’s Jackless new iPhones

Apple’s Jackless new iPhones

[lead dropcap="yes"]I’m going out on a limb to predict what I think will be a major new feature in the next iPhone. For months, rumor sites have predicted that the new iPhone will no longer have a headphone jack. At first it seemed far-fetched, but with the intensity of the rumors now, it seems all but inevitable.[/lead]

Why get rid of one of the oldest and most ubiquitous elements of consumer audio electronics?1 Long story, short: It eliminates a hole in the device that lets in dirt, dust, and water. And like floppy disks in their day, everyone agrees that it’s reached its peak performance, but no one wants to get rid of it.

So far, most of the rumors have assumed that either Apple will provide ear buds that connect to the Lightning port or they will include Bluetooth wireless headphones. The problem with the Lightning port is that you then lose the use of the Lightning port. No more charging while listening! And most people agree that while Bluetooth is okay, it’s nowhere near as reliable and simple to use as wired headphones.

But there’s a third way. What if Apple has created a new wireless audio standard, a new technology that provides simple pairing and rock solid audio quality. Great! Except then you have a new incompatible standard and you have to replace all your headphones, etc. Okay, but what if they also make Bluetooth work better too?

Here’s what I think will happen. Apple will unveil this new wireless audio standard (let’s call it Beats Wireless Audio). They will include earbuds (from their Beats subsidiary) that use this new wireless tech in the box. For those who wish to continue to use Bluetooth wireless headphones (and car audio and portable speakers, etc.), they will include one of the newer versions of Bluetooth that are better than what we have now in the iPhone 6s, but not as good as their new wireless tech. And going out on a limb here, they will make available for sale an adapter that allows the old headphones to attach to the Lightning port.

Then Beats will roll out a whole line of Beats Wireless Audio headsets. What do you think? Check back with me in September and see how I did.

  1. It was invented in the 19th century!
1 comment
  • It certainly looks like the jack will be gone on the next phone. As Rene Ritchie has noted there are a lot of people that listen to their phones without using headphones. With the increased number of speakers in the iPad Pro’s – having stereo sound on an iPhone is a good thing for many.

    Why they are taking the jack out now is certainly interesting and I don’t think it is because of waterproofing since other phones have the jack and are very waterproofed. Some have conjectured this is a path to later phones by removing this jack which does take up space inside. It will be very interested to see how Apple sells this as being good for consumers.

    There will be a freak-out of stories like switching to Lightning – which was better in every way. This move will not be better in every way, but better in some ways. I’ve mostly been using Bluetooth for years, but I still go wired for tasks like mowing the lawn since most Bluetooth headphones were not loud enough or sound isolating enough.

    Personally I would doubt that if they did come up with their own wireless standard that they would include these headphones with the project. Just too much of a bite into their profit margin on each phone. Although I could see a Lightning adapter included if they could make them cheap enough, mainly to offset the inevitable complaints. I do wonder about Bluetooth 5 which is due out soon and Apple does have Promoter Member status with Bluetooth. Still this is pretty iffy as release of the new standard is later this year.