Rumors precede the release of every iPhone, but this one sounds pretty big—"sounds" being the operative word. Citing a Japanese blog that got its info from a "reliable source," 9to5mac.com reports that the iPhone 7 may be ditching its 3.5mm headphone jack, resulting in a "more than 1mm" slim-down that would make it Apple's thinnest iPhone ever. How users would listen to their tunes, alerts, and alarms: via third-party Bluetooth headsets or with Lightning-based headphones, per Macworld. The Japanese blog adds that the new iPhone would come bundled with Lightning EarPods. This would effectively force makers of third-party 3.5mm headphones to include Lightning adapters with their product or make them "Lightning port only" to be licensed to work with Apple products, Forbes notes.
Moving to this new standard would increase licensing and revenue potential for Apple, help the company lock users into its "ecosystem" with sales of Lightning headphones, and let Apple develop "smart" earphones and headphones that could be used for a variety of applications, Gordon Kelly writes for Forbes. But Gizmodo UK says if the rumors pan out, it would herald an age of "super-slim smartphones gone mad," noting that it would "save only a measly 1mm of pocket space," may negatively affect battery size, and force those with noncompatible headphones to pay for a converter. "Apple's always been unafraid of forcing change on a sometimes-unprepared industry," Gizmodo notes. "We may all be forced to keep up." (It'll be interesting to see if the iPhone 7's sales will beat the last major round.)