More changes coming in iPhone 7

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A Dan Thompson contribution
More changes coming in iPhone 7

Numerous reports have suggested the upcoming iPhone 7 will drop the 3.5mm
headphone port, and now
Fast Company
claims that will indeed be the case. The publication also claims the newest
iPhone will be
waterproof, as some have suggested. Additionally, the report claims the
upcoming phone “will very likely support wireless charging.” A source told
Fast Company that Apple will work with its audio chip partner
Cirrus Logic to adapt the iPhone audio chipset to work with the Lightning
port. The iPhone will also use some kind of noise-cancelling technology —
the tech will reportedly enable Apple’s newest phone to
remove background noise in both music playback and phone calls.
The source also believes that Apple will sell a pair of noise-cancelling
Lightning earphones separately, rather than packaging it in with the iPhone.
Regarding the waterproofing feature, Fast Company’s report
does come with the caveat that Apple could pull waterproofing “very late in
the development process,” as has happened before.
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
, 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.
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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
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
canceling, Lightning-connected, earphones or headphones separately—possibly
under its Beats brand. Others say Apple may include with the iPhone 7 an
adapter that will allow users to plug regular 3.5mm analog
headphones into the new phone.
The removal of the 3.5mm jack would be consistent with Apple’s fixation on
making devices simpler and smaller. Last year Apple unveiled a new 12-inch
MacBook computer that has but a single USB-C port to handle power,
data transfer, and video output. That device, however, does have a 3.5mm
headphone jack.
While the Lightning audio port is novel, other features in the next iPhone
have long shown up in Android phones.
Samsung’s flagship phones support wireless charging, for example, and our
source says Apple will likely (finally) put the technology into a phone this
year. Apple has considered including wireless charging in at least two
previous iPhones.
The iPhone 7 wouldn’t be the first Apple product to do wireless charging.
The Apple Watch uses wireless inductive charging.
VentureBeat re[prts VentureBeat
that the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S7 phone will be waterproof; and
likewise our source believes the iPhone 7, too, will be completely
waterproof. Waterproofing
is accomplished in mobile phones by applying a special chemical coating to
the devices’ components.
Our source points out that while Apple is currently working on wireless
charging and waterproofing technology, the company has in the past pulled
features from new phones very late in the development
process. And it’ll be months before the iPhone 7 goes into production.
Apple is under pressure to build new and impressive functionality into the
next phone to tempt large numbers of people to upgrade from older iPhones.
Apple sold impressive numbers of its last phone, the iPhone 6s, a device
that didn’t offer many meaningful new features and functions. But some
analysts believe new phones are becoming a tougher sell,
as consumers are expected to buy far fewer new smartphones in 2016.
In short, the next iPhone will have to be a capable and sexy device in order
to yield the blockbuster sales numbers of the iPhone 6 and 6S.
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