According to a new and reliable rumor outed on Friday, Apple’s next-generation iPhone design is supposedly so thin that engineers are currently vacillating over whether or not to remove the device’s standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
If ultimately decided as such, users would likely have little choice but to invest in a pair of Lightning or Bluetooth-connected headphones.
The popular Japanese Blog, Macotokara, cites sources familiar with Apple’s imminent plans, initially reported that next year’s iPhone will ship without a traditional headphone jack in order to accommodate a form factor that shaves more than 1mm off the current iPhone’s thickness. And, seeing as how the existing 3.5mm industry standard jack is already a tight fit in Apple’s latest hardware, perhaps the transition was inevitable.
Apple will reportedly outfit its standard, complimentary EarPods headset with a digital-to-analog converter integrated into its plug. Additionally, third-party manufacturers will have to figure out how to incorporate a Lightning connection into their existing hardware.
At a “Designing Accessories for iOS and OS X” session at last year’s WWDC, Apple had initially hinted at future iterations of Lightning powered Audio compatible devices and headphones.
Some companies, such as Philips and JBL, are already taking advantage of Lightning audio, with each debuting new Lightning-compatible models at CES earlier this year. Philips was actually first to market with its Fidelo M2L high-end headphone in 2014, which features onboard amplification and a 24-bit DAC.
Apple has reportedly been looking into 3.5mm audio alternatives for a while now, perhaps realizing that the component would one day be a limiting factor in its increasingly thin device designs. Most recently, for example, an Apple patent outlined what’s called a tip-ring-ring-sleeve (TRRS) plug and receptacle that could, in practice, cut down on excess material by employing a D-shaped connector.