The big rumor surrounding Apple’s iPhone 7 is that it will completely abandon the 3.5mm headphone jack, a familiar port that has been around in one form or another for decades on end.
Needless to say, Apple’s decision won’t be met without controversy. While alternatives such as Lightning-based audio and Bluetooth do exist, getting rid of a port that’s ubiquitous and as exceedingly reliable as the headphone jack is undoubtedly a risky move.
+ Also on Network World: When it comes to the iPhone’s headphone jack: I’m with Woz! +
Recently, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak chimed in on the iPhone 7 and articulated that Apple may be going down the wrong path. During an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Woz said Bluetooth technology isn't yet suitable as a replacement to a wired headphone solution.
"If it's missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that's going to tick off a lot of people," Woz explained. "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."
And though not referenced by Woz, Bluetooth brings along a whole host of issues, including potential pairing problems and Bluetooth headphones running out of power.
All that said, it will be interesting to see if Apple ships a 3.5mm headphone adapter with each iPhone 7 sold. Given that millions of iPhone users already use and enjoy non-Apple headphones, I would hope that Apple wouldn't be so arrogant as to either a) force users to use Apple's own white earbuds or b) pay an additional $20 for a headphone adapter.
What remains to be seen is if Apple's Bluetooth solution for the iPhone 7 will push the industry forward. Apple, of course, isn't afraid of kicking legacy technologies to the curb, but it often does so when a more advanced and intuitive solution comes along. Needless to say, all eyes will be on Apple when the company introduces the iPhone 7 at a media event rumored to be taking place Sept. 7.