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Apple’s unofficial solution for charging your iPhone 7 and listening to music at the same time is weak

Published Sep 8th, 2016 8:00PM EDT
Image: Apple

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Even if you’re not beholden to the 3.5mm headphone jack and are just fine with using Apple’s Lightning-based earbuds, Apple’s new iPhone 7 design introduces a usability issue that some prospective owners will undoubtedly find frustrating. Because the iPhone 7 features just a single Lightning port, it’s no longer possible to charge the device while simultaneously using wired headphones.

In light of this, 9to5Mac relays that one of its readers sent an email to Phil Schiller about the issue and, lo and behold, actually received a prompt reply. Per Schiller’s response, Apple’s unofficial solution for users who enjoy listening to audio while charging their device is, shockingly enough, an Apple branded docking solution that will set you back as much as $50.

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Schiller’s email reads:

Hi Zaheen,

I like to listen on my AirPods while my iPhone 7 Plus is charging because I am free to move around.

However, if you would like to listen to wired headphones while charging an iPhone 7 it is possible to do that as well.

The Apple Lightning Dock includes a headphone jack for using wired headphones or speakers while charging.

I hope that helps.

Sorry Phil, but that doesn’t help out as much as you think.

The thing is, shelling out even more cash on top of an already pricey iPhone 7 purchase likely won’t sit well with many users.

What’s more, Apple’s Lightning Dock, we should note, comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, which means that you won’t be able to use Apple’s new Lightning-based earbuds with it. So if you want to charge and listen to music at the same time, you’ll need to have old-style headphones handy (or Apple’s 3.5mm adapter) or shell out some cash for wireless earbuds.

Talk about a confusing comedy of errors.

Compounding matters is that Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock has a 2-star rating on Apple’s website, with 26 1-star reviews and 6 2-star reviews.

Some choice reviews read as follows:

I’ve owned every iPhone dock that Apple has ever made. This one is my least favorite. On this one, there’s no “cradle” for the base of the phone to sit in; you simply plop the phone’s Lightning port over the connector. The problem is that on this dock the phone isn’t held securely–it wobbles back and forth and often sits crooked on the dock.

And another:

Do not buy, looks amazing, but iphone moves from side to side and mine stopped working/charging after a week.

To be fair, the iPhone 7 is new and has Apple making a bold bet about how we’ll listen to audio in the future. That being the case, growing pains are to be expected.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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