...it’s Apple’s way of saying “the future is wireless, and like it or not, you’re coming along".
Apparently the rumors were true: this time the newest iPhone isn’t just the newest iPhone – it’s Apple’s way of saying “the future is wireless, and like it or not, you’re coming along.” And that took some cajones, even for Apple. To clarify, Apple’s new iPhone 7 is now available and it does not come with a headphone jack – no little hole to plug in your favorite earbuds or headphones. But there are options, so don't go and toss your wired earbuds and headphones just yet...
To start, every iPhone 7 will ship with a pair of Lightning Earpods, which are pretty much like the earpods that came with every past iPhone, except these connect via the Lightning port rather than a headphone jack. (Downside: you can’t listen to music and charge your phone at the same time.) Apple is also including a Lightning to 3.5mm adaptor, so you can still use your favorite wired headphones, or earbuds with the handset. (You'll have to carry around an extra cable to listen to music on the go - which is annoying! - but perhaps not as annoying as having to buy new headphones?). So, if you’re in love with a pair of cushy, expensive, wired headphones you already have and you have no plans to get rid of them – it’s all good.
Many wired headphones now also come standard with an included lightning connector that you can plug directly into your iPhone (or iPod, iPad... you get it). The Audeze Sine over-ear planar magnetic headphones and Sony's MDR-1A DAC premium hi-res headphones are both superb over-ear options and JBL's brand new Reflect Aware in-ear sport headphones all come with lighting connectors included.
The iPhone 7’s 8-pin Lightning to 3.5mm adaptor can do all sorts of magic, especially when you add a DAC (DAC = digital-to-analog converter) like Audioquest's Dragonfly to the mix. Audioquest's DAC doubles as a compact headphone amplifier and comes in two versions - the Dragonfly Red and the DragonFly Black depending on your budget. Just plug your wired headphones into the Dragonfly via a lightning to USB adapter, then plug the USB adaptor into the lightning adapter (it's easier than it sounds), and it’s like going from black and white to color TV. The result: cleaner, clearer, more powerful, more naturally beautiful sound from any computer, smartphone, or tablet – and especially the iPhone 7.
If you’re willing to embrace the move to wireless (and you’re going to have to at some point anyway) you’ve got lots of options. So let’s look at some: To start, there’s Apple’s own “AirPods” which you can buy alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. These are basically Apple’s EarPods in wireless/Bluetooth form, but thanks to Apple’s new W1 chip, you get special features not possible with standard Bluetooth headphones – like the ability to connect to all iOS devices simultaneously. (Also the pairing process, due to the W1 chip, is much faster.)
But if you really live for your music and your music lives on your phone, don’t buy AirPods just yet. Because many top brands – anticipating the move to wireless as well as Apple’s commitment – have been pouring tons of R&D money into wireless Bluetooth headphones, earbuds and speakers, and the results are almost indistinguishable from hi-res / audiophile grade sound. (And come in and try them out.)
Sometimes when Apple closes a door, they open a better door – and we think this is one of those times. So if you love great-sounding music like we do, and you’re thinking about getting the new iPhone or you already have one – call one of our gurus and pick their brain for awhile or stop in, and we’ll show you what it can really do.
Till next time, peace!
From Bluetooth headphones and speakers, to headphones with lightning connectors, to DACs, our experts weighed in on their recommended iPhone 7 "add-ons".
And, did you know the new iPhone 7 is waterproof? Check out the waterproof Bluetooth speakers.