Rumors about the demise of the 3.5mm headphone jack are not, it appears, exaggerated.
Leaked images of the packaging of the iPhone 7 Plus—to be unveiled at Apple’s Sept. 7 event—signal that headphones will share the iPhone’s charging portal, 9to5 Mac reports. Apple is reportedly packaging “EarPods with Lightning connector” with the upcoming device.
This is an indication that Apple probably isn’t going all in on wireless AirPods with the new phones—it’s instead modifying the existing cable to fit into the lightning jack.
This news may trouble audiophiles who’ve tended to trade Apple’s lower quality headphones for superior brands. (Even Apple’s own Beats headphones won’t fit.) There are limited third-party Lightning earphone options, and the converter dongle required to use traditional headsets in the lightning port is unsightly and cumbersome.
Pushback from users is expected, but it may not damage sales severely, as Quartz’s Mike Murphy explains:
The last time Apple swapped a major port, replacing its decade-old iPod dock connector for Lightning on the iPhone 5 in 2012, there were months of whining about buying new cables or newly obsolete speaker docks. But Apple, of course, survived the blowback. The company has already sold almost twice as many iPhones since switching to Lightning than it had sold before. And now Lightning is being used across other parts of Apple’s product lineup, including as a charging port for the new Apple TV remote control, Mac keyboard, and trackpad.
Previously, the Cupertino giant has sold such ancillary accessories separately. But this time, Apple is reportedly making an effort to ease the transition by including a Lightning-to-headphone-jack adaptor in the box with the new phone.