NBC News: Apple is ditching the traditional headphone jack in order to create a skinnier iPhone 7.
The design change, which had been the biggest point of speculation about the new iPhone, was revealed Wednesday during the company’s annual iPhone event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.
“When you have a vision for how the audio experience can be … you want to make it as great as can be,” Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, Phil Schiller, said at the event.
The lack of a traditional 3.5 mm headphone jack will require wireless headphones, an adapter to plug in to the phone’s lightning port, or compatible earbuds. Schiller said the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will come with ear buds and an adapter so that older headphones can still be used.
“In a world of mobile and cellular connectivity, the one wired vestige out there is this cable hanging from people’s ears to their phones — why?” Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, told BuzzFeed.
“It was holding us back from a number of things we wanted to put into the iPhone,” Riccio said. “It was fighting for space with camera technologies and processors and battery life. And frankly, when there’s a better, modern solution available, it’s crazy to keep it around.”
Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight, a UK-based firm covering the mobile world, told NBC News that he believes the change “could trigger an intense period of innovation on headsets.”
“With a more intelligent connection to headsets either via Apple’s Lightning connector, USB-C or Bluetooth, there is tremendous scope to add sensors that could monitor activity, heart rate and more,” he said. “It also could see a shift towards high-resolution music.”
Not everyone, however, is convinced.
Company co-founder Steve Wozniak, who left Apple in 1985, said last month he believed the change, which was a rumor at the time, would “tick off a lot of people.”
“I would not use Bluetooth … I don’t like wireless. I have cars where you can plug in the music, or go through Bluetooth, and Bluetooth just sounds so flat for the same music,” Wozniak was quoted as saying.
The new iPhone 7s will be available for preorder starting this Friday and will begin shipping on September 16.