Evidence suggesting that Apple plans to remove the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 is mounting.
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has released a new reference design for headphone makers to “quickly develop” new headphones that feature Lightning connectors. The MFi Headset Development Kit will make it much easier for manufacturers to produce headphones that connect through a Lightning port, not a traditional 3.5mm audio jack.
Speculation that Apple has plans to abandon the traditional 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone – forcing users to use the Lightning port instead – has been rampant in recent months. Cirrus Logic, which develops audio technology for Apple, could be hinting at Apple’s future intentions for the iPhone with this latest revelation.
“The MFi Headset Development Kit demonstrates the advantages of Lightning-connected headsets over conventional analog headsets,” reads a Cirrus press release. The company’s VP of Audio Products Marketing, Carl Alberty, also said:
“New digital connectivity in mobile devices, including the Lightning-based interface, is creating opportunities for OEMs to innovate in product design and is accelerating the transition from analog- to digital-connected products within today’s billion-unit headset and headphone market."
Yesterday, new images appeared online, depicting what appear to be Apple earbuds with a Lightning connector rather than the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. The photos were posted to Chinese social media site Weibo, although there’s no way of verifying their legitimacy.
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Only a select few manufacturers have created Lightning-connector headphones to date, but that’s expected to increase significantly in the wake of the iPhone 7 launch. It’s also expected that Apple will release an adapter that will allow traditional headphones to plug into the Lightning port – for a fee, naturally.
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