In short, Apple has killed the headphone jack. Releasing the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus without the traditional 3.5mm audio port, Apple’s latest handsets now come with one socketless than you might be expecting – leaving you with a nice new pair of Lightning EarPods but nowhere to plug in your old set.
How big a deal is it?
If you've heard any of the online buzz following the announcement at the start of September, it's a huge deal. Public opinion is still split as to whether or not it was the right move. But whatever Apple does is usually a good indication of what other phone manufacturers may do too – which means we could be heading for a full-blown headphone revolution.
Why did they do it?
Sure, the dependable audio jack is over a hundred years old. But nothing lasts forever and Apple prides itself on staying at the cutting edge of technology and design. Over the years, the company has effectively written off a range of tech staples from CD drives to the physical keyboards on our mobile phones – none of which were popular decisions at the time and all of which are now the norm across the industry. Wanting to keep the size and weight of the new handsets to an absolute minimum while making sure they were still innovating, the Victorian headphone jack had to go.
What do we get instead?
Removing the old jack has freed up a considerable amount of interior real estate. According to Apple, that means longer battery life, room for a “taptic” pressure sensitive home button, an extra camera lens (in the 7 Plus) and, crucially, the ability to submerge the whole handset in up to 1 metre of water for 30 minutes (no more headaches -and rice- wasted over your wet iPhone!)
But what does it mean for my old headphones?
Apple is packaging all new iPhones with an adapter so you can still plug your old headphones into the Lightning port, and third-party manufacturers have already started releasing compatible alternatives – but chances are you won’t want to use them after you’ve tried the new AirPods.
AirPods are Apple's elegant new wireless ear buds – designed to make us forget about all the time we spent trying to untangle our old headphones. Seamlessly connecting to your phone, Apple watch or tablet via Bluetooth, and automatically recognising when they're in (or out) of your ears, the AirPods can be controlled via Siri and recharged in their own case.
Won't they fall out of my ears all the time?
It's a legit question, and a lot of people are worrying about the cost of replacing their AirPods shouldthese precious white buds bounce down a drain on their weekly jogs. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook though, the lack of wires and less weight actually means the earphones are more likely to stay in our ears. "The wires tend to help the earbud to fall out," says Cook, "I have never personally had [an AirPod] fall out!"
So why all the fuss?
No one likes change, so there was bound to be some resistance to the missing audio jack. However, history has shown us that very few innovations are ever welcomed warmly and it probably won’t be too long before we can't live without our buds. Remember when our remote controls and telephones used to have wires? …or our headphones?
The future of audio looks wireless. If you’re ready to embrace tomorrow, simply order the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus online with us now. And if you still want to enjoy the other great features of the new iPhone but you’re not quite ready to cut the cord, ease into things with the free audio adapter and continue grooving on the headphones you love!