However, the most controversial design decision by far is the apparent lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Apple is instead expected to favor the existing Lightning port to connect to wired headphones. That means that customers will 1) have to go out and buy new Lightning-based headphones, 2) used a 3.5mm to Lightning adapter, or 3) invest in Bluetooth headphones. The design change also means that you will no longer be able to listen to your wired headphones and charge your iPhone at the same time.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has offered his two cents on Apple’s move to remove the headphone jack, and he is not a fan. In an interview with The Australian Financial Review, Wozniak claimed, "If it's missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that's going to tick off a lot of people.” That’s highly probable, as the headphone jack has been with us for so long that we’ve just taken in for granted. And unlike other standards that have been replaced in the past (floppy disks, VGA, serial ports, etc.) Lightning is not a universal standard that could replace the headphone jack on all consumer devices.
Of course, customers could always choose to go wireless and use Bluetooth connectivity, but Wozniak adds that this provides an inferior listening experience to a wired connection. "I would not use Bluetooth – I don't like wireless," he explained. "I have cars where you can plug in the music, or go through Bluetooth, and Bluetooth just sounds so flat for the same music.
"If there's a Bluetooth 2 that has higher bandwidth and better quality, that sounds like real music, I would use it. But we'll see."
Wozniak says that if he purchases an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, he’ll most likely use an adapter so that he can still use his custom-fit wired headphones.
As for what he sees as the next logical step for digital audio, Wozniak points to USB-C as being the open standard of choice. Android devices are overwhelmingly adopting the standard and Intel has thrown its full backing behind USB-C to kill the 3.5mm jack.
"I think USB-C is going to be the future," added Wozniak. "One of my favorite Android phones, the Nexus 5X, uses that connector. It gives it a higher level in my own thinking."