When Apple removed the headphone jack from its new iPhones in 2016, the company tried to quell unrest by offering an adapter. Now, though, it might be having second thoughts.
In a note to investors on Monday, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis said that Apple might not offer a “dongle” this year that allows users to plug in wired headphones into the iPhone’s Lightning port. While the prediction, which was earlier reported on by MacRumors, doesn’t appear to have come from an inside source at Apple, it follows a note the analysts released last April that said 2017 would be the last year Apple would offer a headphone dongle with its iPhones. In 2018, the analysts predict, Apple is removing it from the box.
Apple removed the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 in 2016. The move was controversial, but Apple reasoned that people were increasingly turning to wireless headphones and the headphone jack was an outdated technology. To allow those who preferred wired headphones to continue using their devices, Apple bundled an adapter in the box that plugged into the device’s Lightning port. However, at launch, users wouldn’t be able to listen to music and charge the iPhone at the same time, since they’d both use the same port.
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In last year’s iPhone 8 line and iPhone X, Apple once again bundled the headphone jack. Apple also sells wired headphones, called Earpods. Its Beats headphone subsidiary, however, has long focused its efforts on wireless headphones. Apple’s AirPods are also wireless. And as more people buy wireless headphones, it makes a headphone port—and an adapter—less and less useful.
Apple removing the headphone adapter doesn’t mean that users wouldn’t be able to use wired headphones. It does, however, mean that users will need to buy adapters separately to plug in their headphones.
For its part, Apple hasn’t confirmed that it will be removing the headphone adapter. And it’s unlikely the company would comment on such a move until it’s ready to announce new iPhones later this year.