The iPhone 7 might be Apple’s most-interesting smartphone to date


We still have several months to go before Apple unveils the next iPhone, but that hasn’t stopped rumors about the device from spreading like wildfire. Some of the rumors have even been corroborated by a report that Fast Company published on Thursday, the most-notable of which is the rumor that Apple will be ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of a Lightning cable port, which will allow the next iPhone to be even thinner than its predecessors. It’ll also have some noise-cancelling technology from Wolfson Microelectronics, which Apple will try to convince third-party headphone makers to adopt as well. The report also claims that the next iPhone will support wireless charging, and will be water-proof, but it’s important to note that, even if the report is completely accurate, Apple might still decided not to implement some or all of the aforementioned features when it finishes developing the next iPhone.

Apple’s next big phone—presumably called the iPhone 7—will come without a 3.5mm headphone jack, will be noticeably thinner, will very likely support wireless charging and be waterproof, a source with knowledge of the company’s plans tells Fast Company. As has been rumored, our source confirms that the new phone will rely on its Lightning cable port for sound output to wired headphones. That port has been used for power and data transfer in recent iPhones. Users can also use wireless headphones. Apple is working with its longtime audio chip partner Cirrus Logic to adapt the audio chipset in the iPhone to work with the Lightning port, according to our source. Our source adds that the audio system will also leverage a new noise-canceling technology from Wolfson Microelectronics—a U.K.-based audio tech company Cirrus acquired in 2014. The software will be baked into the phone and also into the headphones that will plug into it, and will help remove background noise in music playback and in phone calls, our source says. Numerous third-party headphone makers will use the technology in their own Lightning-compatible headphones, our source says, and they’ll have to buy a license to use the audio processing technology. Some media reports have suggested that Apple will include a set of Lightning-connected EarPod earphones in the box with the iPhone 7. It’s more likely, our source says, that Apple will sell a more expensive pair of noise-canceling, Lightning-connected, earphones or headphones separately—possibly under its Beats brand. Still other media reports say that Apple may include with the iPhone 7 an adapter that will allow users to plug regular 3.5mm analog headphones into the new phone.

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