With Apple all but guaranteed to say goodbye to the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack when it releases the iPhone 7, there has naturally been a tremendous amount of speculation centering on what special audio plans, if any, Apple might have in store for us in the near future.
Sure, we’ve seen reports and leaks pointing to Lightning based headphones, and yeah, there are even rumors that Apple may include a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter with each iPhone 7. That’s all well and good, but if Apple is truly keen on eliminating a port as universal and reliable as the headphone jack, it surely must have something cool waiting in the wings to replace it, right?
Citing a source familiar with Apple’s plans, Forbes reports that Apple has spent the last few years developing a “custom Bluetooth radio chip for wireless earbuds.” What’s more, the report adds that Apple’s take on wireless Bluetooth earbuds could launch alongside the company’s iPhone 7 this coming September.
According to the report, Apple’s Bluetooth earbuds will have stellar battery life, a feature which will a) help them stand apart from a growing field of competing headphones and b) perhaps convince users that a world without the 3.5mm headphone jack is in fact something worth embracing.
The low-power Bluetooth chip comes from technology developed by Passif Semiconductor, a startup Apple purchased in 2013. But the project has hit performance snags. Apple originally planned to launch the Bluetooth gadget in 2015, but Bluetooth performance issues stalled the release, the source told FORBES. “The way it works at Apple is if it doesn’t work 100%, it gets cut,” the source said. Whether Apple’s wireless earbuds arrive with a custom Bluetooth chip by Apple, or instead use a third-party supplier (like Broadcom) is still unknown.
Apple’s iPhone 7 may not be big on wild new features, but the company’s decision to abandon the headphone jack will, oddly enough, make this year’s upcoming iPhone unveiling uniquely interesting to keep an eye on.