Apple has officially ditched the headphone jack with the new iPhone 7.
But it's offering two, new headphone options to make the transition painless for audiophiles. The first option, called Lightning EarPods, will be included with new iPhone 7 models. It's basically an updated version of the existing EarPods - only they connect to the iPhone via the Lightning port. Apple will also bundle a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter with the iPhone 7 for those of you who use accessories that require the 3.5mm jack.
Apple's Phil Schiller said Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack with "courage". He said Apple had the "courage to move on". In other words: Apple wants consumers to think it is being innovative and embracing the future of technology with this change. It doesn't want consumers to cling to the past. Schiller also said space is at a premium in the iPhone, and the 3.5mm headphone jack just took up too much space.
Still, in an effort to appeal to the most stubborn consumers, Apple has developed a second headphone option for its customers: wireless AirPods. They are completely cord-free and feature a "W1 chip" inside that's supposed to ensure a reliable wireless connection. There's also infrared sensors that detect when each AirPod is in your ear, enabling them to only play when in your ears.
Apple also included a motion accelerometer in the AirPods, so that they can respond to your touch, allowing you to activate Siri with a double tap. The new microphones in these headphones are beam-forming, too, which reduces external noise. Apple said you can expect up to five hours of listening on a single charge, and a compact charging case delivers up to 24 hours of battery.
The AirPods and charging case can be charged together with a Lightning cable. To setup the AirPods, open the case near your iPhone. A menu will then appear on your phone for you to connect. Tap it, and you're done. It's a one-step process across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. The AirPods will not be bundled with the iPhone 7. They cost $159 and will be available in late October.
Oh, and if you need replacement Lightning EarPods, Apple said they will retail for $29, while additional adapters will cost $9.
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