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Future iPhones May Not Feature 3.5mm Headphone Jacks

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Earlier this week, Apple announced new specifications for manufacturers in the MFi (Made For iPhone) program, encouraging them to make headphones that use the Lightning port on iOS devices instead of 3.5mm headphone jack. Today, a report by AppleInsider is claiming that Apple may be planning to ditch 3.5mm headphones jacks in future iOS devices in favour of Lightning headphones, allowing it to produce even slimmer iPhones.

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The headphone jack is believed to be the thickest component of the current generation iPhone 5s. Replacing the legacy audio jack, Apple could make headphones not only slimmer, but also smarter. The source highlights that “a bidirectional digital link with Apple’s uber-powerful handheld computers” could make for better noise cancellation, improved audio quality, and even turn them into biometric sensors. Furthermore, headphones could also be lighter, drawing power from an iPhone instead of an internal battery.

“The real victory, though, would come in hardware design. Because of the manner in which connectors are made, designers must account for a seating area around the jack, not just the jack itself. In the case of the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, Apple put this seating area at around 6 millimeters. Even the controversially minimalistic connector on Apple’s own EarPods comes in at around 5 millimeters, a full millimeter thicker than the first-generation Lightning connector — and the company promised yet smaller Lightning form factors at WWDC. The entire iPhone 5s, in comparison, is just 7.1 millimeters thick.”

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said when introducing the Lightning connector alongside the iPhone 5, “It’s a huge difference in the world’s thinnest smartphone.”

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