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Apple potentially axing 3.5mm headphone jack

Headphones to connect to iPhone/iPad via Lightning port, report suggests

Apple potentially axing 3.5mm headphone jack
The move would render most third-party headphones obsolete on the iPhone

Apple is exploring an idea that would see it eliminate the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack on its iPhones and having headphones connect via the device's Lightning port, Apple Insider reported last week.

The report cited a session from last week's WWDC conference, at which the vendor unveiled plans for a new headphone standard. This would see Apple use the Lightning port (currently used for charging and docking) to connect headphones, potentially negating the need for a 3.5mm headphone jack.

This would render most third-party headphones obsolete on the iPhone. The exception could be headphones made by Beats Electronics, which Apple formally agreed to acquire the week before last.

It would, however, pave the way for more functionality in headphones that do use the Lightning port, as it would mean that the phone could power extra devices such as remote controls.

What's more, it according to Apple Insider, it could make headphones themselves better - the report suggested that a bi-directional digital link through the Lightning port could make for better noise cancellation and audio quality.

The connection could even turn compatible headphones into biometric sensors, the report opined.

Apple would no doubt face a huge backlash if it eliminated the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack - just the discussion of such a move has already seen criticism. However, it could serve Apple well as it would lock customers into buying Lightning-compatible headphones made by either Apple or Beats. Given that growth in iPhone sales is slowing, many have pointed to the peripherals business as a new revenue driver for Apple, and forcing iPhone buyers into purchasing new headphones could boost that side of the vendor's business.

That said, nothing has been confirmed by Apple - the vendor has simply demonstrated added use cases for the Lightning port - so the next iPhone could still feature a traditional 3.5mm jack input.

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