Would you give up the iPhone 7's headphone jack for better battery life?

Commentary: Rumor has it the iPhone 7 will have a 14 percent higher capacity battery. But is it worth giving up the headphone jack to get that bigger battery?

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
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David Carnoy
2 min read
Martin Hajek

For the last several months the prevailing rumor about the next-generation iPhones has been that Apple would do away with the headphone jack to help make the hardware thinner. But in recent days the latest chatter has been about the size of the next iPhone's battery.

Steve Hemmerstoffer (aka @OnLeaks) of Nowhereelse.fr, who has a good track record of leaking things that turn out to true, tweeted that a reliable source revealed that the iPhone 7 will receive a healthy battery upgrade.

The battery would go from 1,715 mAh to 1,960 mAh, which translates into a 14 percent bump in capacity. It's unclear how much of a battery life bump that will ultimately give you, but that translates to 90 minutes more video playback time -- 12.5 hours versus 11 hours -- if you do the math on Apple's iPhone 6S stats.

Any jump in capacity would be a significant change for Apple. Remember that the battery in the 6S is actually smaller than that of 2014's iPhone 6 (1,810mAh). That's because Apple needed to cram in the "Taptic Engine," which helps enable the 3D Touch feature of the 6S. But due to presumed efficiencies of the 6S's newer processor and hardware, Apple was able to get the same battery life from that model as the earlier 6. (Both are rated at the same talk time, browsing time and video playback time.)

Earlier this year tech pundits postulated that Apple was nixing the headphone jack to make room for a second speaker. Rumors persist that speaker will be added, but this is the first time (I've seen) a battery-capacity bump also linked to the jack dismissal.

It all makes a certain amount of sense. Simply put, in a world where the iPhone isn't allowed to get any thicker, you have to give up something to get something.

Is that a trade I'm willing to make? I'm on the fence, partially because I'm not sure how much I'll miss the headphone jack if it is removed.

A good wired headphone still offers the best sound, but I'm a proponent of Bluetooth headphones and use a wireless model about 50 percent of the time with my phone (I test both wired and wireless headphone and have a used a few that plug directly into the Lightning port). Still, I don't think I could move to using wireless headphones 100 percent of the time, so I'd have to get some sort of adapter, which seems like a nuisance.

The good news -- for me anyway -- is that I'll most likely pass on the next iPhone, whatever Apple puts out. I have a 6S, which has plenty of life left in it. And I have a Galaxy S7 on loan from Samsung to get my Android fix.

What I am hoping for is that by the time I do need to upgrade my iPhone I won't feel like I'm making any compromises. That shouldn't be too much to ask for an $800 phone, should it?

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