For a few months rumors have been swirling that Apple will make a significant change to the iPhone 7, and there are plenty of people unhappy with the idea.

As always with new Apple products, rumors begin to swirl months before the anticipated release date. Although the iPhone 7 is not expected to be seen until this fall, tech fans are already speculating about what may or may not be included on the next generation smartphone.

Proposed iPhone 7 Change Causes Twitter Firestorm

Will the headphone jack stay or will it go?

The controversial rumor involves the removal of the headphone jack. The 3.5mm audio connection could apparently fall victim to Apple’s desire to make the iPhone 7 thinner than previous editions.

Apple reportedly wants the handset to be significantly thinner, and one restricting factor is the headphone jack. The company reportedly wants to push people towards using wireless headphones, or wired headphones that connect to the phone’s Lightning port using an adapter.

The downside for audiophiles is that existing wireless headphones tend to offer worse sound quality than wired models. Another issue is that it would be impossible to charge your phone and listen to music at the same time if your headphones connected through the Lightning port.

Apple remains silent on growing controversy

So far Apple has not commented on the rumor, which has allowed speculation to rumble on. Judging by the reaction on Twitter and other online forums, most people would be decidedly unhappy with the change.

Twitter user @alxndrmusic wrote: “If the IPhone 7 doesn’t have a headphone jack, I’m not getting it. I need that headphone jack! I HAVE BEATS HEADPHONES APPLE!!”, while @DJ_Prospect saw an underhand plot behind the rumor. “Apple is Smart. iPhone 7 getting rid of the headphone jack.. another way to get you to spend $30 on unnecessary accessories,” he wrote.

However other users pointed out that wireless headphones are perfectly serviceable for most people, and others underlined the fact that no one will force outraged users to buy the new iPhone 7. However as many marketing gurus say, there is no such thing as bad publicity and Apple is probably ecstatic that the iPhone 7 is already garnering so much attention.

Apple enjoying some great free publicity

According to an article called “Eager Sellers and Stony Buyers: Understanding the Psychology of New-Product Adoption,” published in the Harvard Business review 2006, Apple won’t lose out if it does away with the headphone jack. In fact if the article is correct the benefits will outweigh the loss by approximately nine times.

Given the apparent hold that the tech giant has on its fans, it seems likely that even those currently expressing their outrage and potential desire to switch to Android will soon get used to the idea. After all wireless headphones continue to improve, and for most people the existing sound quality is perfectly good enough.

The last time that Apple implemented a major change to the iPhone was in 2012. The 30-pin connector was replaced with a Lightning port on the iPhone 5, which enraged consumers who resented having to update their accessories.

However fast forward four years and that outrage is largely forgotten. It could well be a similar story with the headphone jack this time around.

Will iPhone 7 make a major departure from the norm?

Interestingly other companies are not so convinced that the headphone jack is dead. For example every other major smartphone manufacturer still includes a 3.5mm audio jack on its handsets, and camera maker Canon recently added a headphone jack to the latest version of one of its best-selling models.

At this stage it’s just a rumor that the headphone jack will go. But the idea is annoying enough people that an online petition has garnered over 200,000 signatures demanding that the headphone jack be granted a stay of execution.

The petition accuses Apple of preparing to rip off its customers, a charge that was also leveled in 2012. “Not only will this force iPhone users to dole out additional cash to replace their hi-fi headphones, it will singlehandedly create mountains of electronic waste — that likely won’t get recycled,” reads the petition.

Whether Apple does eventually decide to get rid of the headphone jack or not, the whole affair shows the power of rumors in the internet age. People love to speculate, be outraged, and sign online petitions.

If anything it’s an interesting case study into how far people have become obsessed with the latest personal electronic devices. It makes you think that Apple CEO Tim Cook is probably lying in a hammock somewhere, sunning himself as he realizes that he might be able to save a shed load of cash on marketing. After all. the internet seems to be doing the job for him.