After Mac Otakara proposed the idea in late 2015 (see below), two Chinese-language sites have separately offered what they claim is 'confirmation', based on sources in the supply chain, that Apple will not include a 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7 - although of course it is possible that their sources are the same person, or that one site is just following the other's story. (For what it's worth, neither site links to the other.)
Anzhuo (link will require translation) cites "supply chain news" and claims that Apple "has confirmed [that it has] cancelled [the] 3.5mm headphone jack on the next iPhone, [and] meanwhile will replace wired headset [with a] Bluetooth wireless headset."
The firm suggests that users will be restricted to wireless headphones, since "headphone Lightning previously said interface may not exist" - a translation-mangled phrase we take to mean that we probably won't be able to connect any Apple-bundled headphones via the Lightning port. (Third-party headphones that connect via Lightning are already available, albeit rare.) But any Chinese-literate readers are welcome to take issue with our interpretation.
Meanwhile, Wei Feng, poetically reporting "the latest coming from the mouth of the supply chain of wind", states that Apple indeed plans to get rid of "the traditional body in the next generation iPhone headphone jack, and will start from this year for the iPhone with wireless Bluetooth headsets". Wei Feng doesn't specify that the Lightning EarPod story is dead, as Anzhuo did, but makes no mention of any alternative to wireless headsets.
Fast Company is the latest site to 'confirm' this rumour, citing "a source with knowledge of the company's plans". The site predicts that "the new phone will rely on its Lightning cable port for sound output to wired headphones".
And on 20 January, Cult of Mac shared iOS 9 code that could further hint at the removal of the headphone jack for the iPhone 7. Twitter user Chase Fromm highlighted a bit of code within the iOS 9.3 beta 1.1 software that reads: "Headphones.have.%input.NO."
The 3.5mm headphone jack won't be with us forever, of course (and Apple has a history of controversially jumping off soon-to-be-obsolete technologies ahead of the curve, as it did with Adobe Flash, CD/DVD drives, FireWire, conventional USB ports and so on), but to ditch it without offering any wired alternative strikes us as extreme, even if it would allow Apple to make the iPhone 7 even thinner, squeeze in a bigger battery or whatever.
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