Several reports over the months have predicted the demise of the 3.5mm headphone jack on the upcoming iPhone 7. More evidence has surfaced that Apple indeed plans to send the legacy audio jack to its final resting place alongside the floppy drive. Images leaked on the Chinese site Weibo show standard EarPods with one glaring difference: a Lightning connector in place of the familiar audio plug.
The design of the headphones, which would presumably ship with the next generation iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, is remarkably similar to current EarPods. The microphone remote control is plainly visible, along with the signature white plastic headphone design. In one photo it appears part of the white case is missing surrounding the Lightning connector assembly.
Other reports point to Force Touch ID and other adjustments that would make it possible to waterproof the iPhone 7. If this is the case, it's possible that a waterproof iPhone 7 would ship with upgraded, waterproof Lightning EarPods as well. Apple is also said to be working on its own Bluetooth wireless AirPods that would make plugging into the Lightning jack unnecessary.
Corroborating these items are reports that Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has released an MFi-certified development kit for Lightning headphones. The kit will be useful for accessory manufacturers looking to produce Lightning-compatible headphones, presumably for the iPhone 7. When it comes to using legacy headphones on the upcoming handset, users will likely need a Lightning to 3.5mm audio adapter. It's not clear if Apple would ship the adapter with the iPhone 7.While images alone should be taken with a grain of salt, evidence seems to be piling up that the iPhone 7 will depart from the 3.5mm audio jack. Look for more news and rumors in the run-up to the iPhone 7 launch this September.