Goodbye, headphone jack: Apple iPhone 7 ships with Lightning headphones and dongle

Apple has announced that its latest generation of iPhones will ditch the headphone port in favor of wireless communication via the new W1 chip and 3.5mm Lightning adapters.

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Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
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  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
2 min read

The EarPods with Lightning connector

James Martin/CNET

After months of speculation Apple has confirmed at an event in San Francisco that its latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus smartphones will not include a headphone socket onboard.

Instead the brand-new phones ship with both a set of new EarPods, which have a Lightning adapter and a digital-to-analog converter built into the cable, and a Lightning-to-3.5mm dongle for connecting existing headphones (with replacements costing $9, AU$12 or £9 if you lose it).

"We're taking the headphones in iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to Lightning and we're including them in the box," said Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing, on announcing the changes.

"Some have asked why we would remove the analog headphone jack from the iPhone. It has been with us a very long time," Schiller said.

"The reason to move on. I'm going to give you three of them. Comes down to one word. Courage."

Watch this: iPhone 7: So long, headphone jack; hello, AirPods

Schiller said that the three reasons were firstly that the company had shown it could adapt Lightning to other uses beyond charging and data transfer, secondly that there were other technologies competing for space and "maintaining an ancient connector doesn't make sense" and thirdly that the company wanted to explore wireless delivery.

The company announced the phone would use a new W1 chip (which appears to be based on Bluetooth 4.2) and which would also be included in the new AirPods and a new line of Beats headphones.

The Apple iPhone 7 is the second major phone to dispense with the headphone jack this year, after the Motorola Moto Z appeared in July.

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak told the Australian Financial Review last month that getting rid of the headphone jack would frustrate users.

"If it's missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that's going to tick off a lot of people," Woz said.