After months of rumors the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were finally released last month and the general consensus can be summed up as follows:
The bad: no more headphone jack
The move away from the universal 3.5mm audio port was probably the number one subject in the rumor mill and has not been well received. Apple isn’t the first to move away from the audiojack and surely won’t be the last. Why is this feature falling by the wayside and what does it mean for smartphone users?
Earlier this year Lenovo unveiled the Moto Z, a phone that is a little different from other smartphones. Not only is this flagship only 5.19mm thick, it is also modular – allowing you to snap on additional hardware such as speakers or projectors. What it doesn’t have, however, is an audiojack. In an effort to create an exciting new smartphone it had to do away with the classic 3.5mm jack, instead you can listen to music using the USB Type-C port. Lenovo provides a 3.5mm plug to USB Type-C adapter with the Moto Z but we can expect USB-C headphones to become more prevalent as more phones will adapt this strategy. The Chinese company LeEco, which has recently entered the US market, already has three smartphones available without a headphone jack and it is suspected that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will follow suit. It seems more and more smartphone manufacturers are doing away with the audiojack in favor of newer, more exciting attributes.
Apple has never shied away from doing away with old features to make way for new opportunities, such as replacing the classic 30-pin connector with the Lightning connector in 2012. The choice to do away with the audiojack was attributed by Apple’s marketing chief, Phil Schiller, to ‘courage.’ He later on explained in more detail that, like with the Moto Z, it was in large an issue of space.
Like Lenovo, Apple is courteous enough to offer an adapter with the new iPhone that will allow users to connect headphones with the industry standard 3.5mm analog plug to the Lightning port. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t exactly an all round solution. Using the adapter, or using Lightning port headphones, means you are not able to use the Lightning port for charging when you are listening to music. Manufacturers of smartphone accessories have jumped on this opportunity to create dongles, adapters and even entire cases – with Fuze Case’s currently running IndieGoGo campaign for a case with an integrated adapter having already raised 220% of its goal (at the time of writing). Unfortunately none of these products offer a truly satisfactory solution to losing the universal compatibility of the 3.5mm audiojack. If you have a pair of Lightning headphones you will either need a 3.5mm audio plug adapter or a USB Type-C adapter. The same will be true vice versa.
iPhone 7 And 7Plus Wireless Headphones
Perhaps the simplest solution is going wireless. The technology for wireless headphones has improved over recent years and finding a pair that is good for you shouldn’t be much trouble. In fact, Apple will be offering their own wireless option with the Apple AirPods – though, at $159, they come at a steep price and they remain currently unavailable. These days wireless headphones don’t have to break the bank and high quality options are available that come in under $100, such as the Olixar X2 Pro. These headphones feature wireless Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and NFC for easy pairing at just $50.99. This wireless pair can be used with both iOS and Android devices, regardless of audio ports but does come with an AUX cable included for optional use with a 3.5mm audiojack. At the moment the simplicity of wireless headphones makes them the best solution to the recent shift away from universal audio output.
Together with Mobile Fun we are giving away not just a pair of these headphones, but also a phone case and a screen protector for your new iPhone 7 so that you are all set to go! And if you are not the lucky winner of this accessory pack you still have a chance to win one of two sets of a phone case and a screen protector.