With the noted exception of 3D Touch and the improved camera, this year’s Apple iPhone 6s really only represented an incremental improvement over last year’s iPhone 6. That’s what we’ve come to expect from the “S” generation, but next year will see a brand new iPhone 7. And it looks like one of the most radical changes will the removal of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

Apple is certainly no stranger to removing commonly accepted standards from their devices. We needn’t look much further than the 12-inch MacBook for that, since it got rid of almost every port in sight. On an iPhone, though, isn’t the headphone jack (or headset jack, if you prefer) a must-have? It’s how you listen to your music or take hands-free calls, right? Well, the iPhone 7 could change that.

Remember that there’s still Bluetooth, of course, but the way that the iPhone 7 could be changing the game is by using the Lightning port for audio too. You already use it for charging and data. On the iPad Pro, you already use it to charge your Pencil. And on the iPhone 7, you could get an audio-enabled lightning port to work with a whole new family of Lightning-based headsets and headphones.

It’s also likely there will be an Apple certified adapter (probably for about $40) to convert the Lightning port back into a 3.5mm jack, just like how there are countless other similar adapters to get other standard ports back on your other Apple products. The interesting thing is that Lightning-based headphones already exist, so this will not be a huge leap of faith. And if you’re wondering about the motivation behind the move, apparently it’s so that the iPhone 7 can be one millimeter thinner… and so Apple can sell you a whole family of new accessories all over again. Think different?

Via Gizmodo and Macotakara

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