When it comes to Apple rumors, there's one adage that typically applies: where there's smoke, there's fire. And when it comes to the iPhone 7, one rumor that we've seen spring up time and time again is that Apple's next-gen iPhone will completely do away with the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack.
The most recent rumor pointing in this direction comes from none other than Apple itself. According to a Twitter user with the handle @uloshe, the recent iOS 9.3 beta contains the following data string: “Headphones.have.%sinput.NO.”
As Cult of Mac notes, this "may suggest that Apple is looking for different methods of connecting headphones to the next-gen iPhone, most likely with Bluetooth wireless EarPods."
Indeed, we have seen some rumors floating around indicating that Apple, alongside the release of the iPhone 7, will also roll out brand new Beats Bluetooth-enabled wireless headphones. Of course, it stands to reason that the iPhone 7 will come with its own Lightning-enabled headphones out of the box.
Is this conclusive proof that the 3.5mm headphone jack is going the way of the dodo? Not necessarily, especially given Apple's penchant for abandoning proposed design changes at the last minute. Still, there have been no shortage of rumors from other sources suggesting the same, and with 2016 now in full swing, Apple is fast approaching the time frame when it's going to have to start finalizing the iPhone 7's design.
Now, as for why Apple would ever decide to abandon an input that's extremely familiar and well over a few decades old, well, we covered a number of those reasons in a post over here. But, as a quick recap, some of the benefits might include 1) a thinner form factor which would leave more room for a bigger battery, 2) higher quality audio, and 3) it makes it easier to make the iPhone 7 waterproof.