Apple's iPhone 7 'Thin Quest' To Reportedly Ditch 3.5mm Headphone Jack For Lightning Audio

If you’re a fan of increasingly thin smartphones that prioritize looks over larger batteries for increased runtimes, Apple’s next generation iPhone might be right up your alley. According to sources for Mac Otakara, Apple’s obsession with everything thin will kick into overdrive next year when the presumed “iPhone 7” launches without a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The 3.5mm headphone jack, which has been a mainstay on iPhones since the original debuted in 2007 (albeit in recessed form), has reportedly been deemed outdated and unnecessary by Apple. In addition, the port takes up precious space within the iPhone’s chassis that could be dedicated to more important components.

But more importantly, it would allow Apple to reportedly shave another 1mm off the thickness of the iPhone 7. For reference, the iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thick, while the newer iPhone 6S is slightly thicker at 7.1mm due to its 3D Touch hardware. In a best-case scenario, we’ll be looking at an iPhone 7 with a thickness of 6.1mm. But even at 6.1mm, the hypothetical iPhone 7 would still be no match for rumored Samsung’s A8, which manages to cram a 3050mAh battery into a 5.9mm-thick chassis.

Apple iPhone 6 Lightning Port

So what would take the place of the headphone jack? Well, Apple is looking to use the bottom-mounted Lighting port to carry audio instead. This capability is nothing new, as Apple announced a Lightning-enabled headphone standard last year at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Audio coming through the Lightning port is afforded greater bandwidth and allows for direct control of Apple apps like iTunes Radio using supported Lightning-equipped headphones (like Philips’ Fidelio NC1L headphones).

While the move to the Lighting port for audio will likely simplify things for Apple and allow it to make better use of internal packaging, Apple customers aren’t likely to be be too happy with the switch. And knowing Apple, it will probably make a Lighting to 3.5mm adapter available for those that want to use their “legacy” headphones, but we seriously doubt that the company would include the adapter in the box. That said, Apple of course would probably be happy to sell you an adapter for $29.99 or more.

However, if you can make do with the standard issue EarPods, the report claims that the versions included with the iPhone 7 will feature a Lighting connector.