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Is Apple Nixing the iPhone’s Headphone Jack or Not?

One of the burning questions surrounding the upcoming iPhone 7 is whether the device will come with a headphone jack or not. And despite a slew of rumors, no one is really sure what to believe.

The latest report on the matter comes from Japanese Apple-tracking site Mac Otakara, which is reporting, citing unidentified sources, that the upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will ship with a headphone jack. In addition, the report claims the device will come bundled with an adapter that would allow iPhone 7 owners to connect their headphones through the Lightning port on the bottom of the rumored device.

ZDNet earlier reported on the Mac Otakara report.

While it’s hard to believe anything related to Apple rumors, given how secretive the iPhone maker is, the latest report throws more fire on a hotly contested debate over whether the next iPhone will come with a headphone jack or not.

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Over the last several months, a slew of rumors have cropped up, saying that Apple (AAPL) is eliminating the headphone jack in the iPhone 7. Some reports suggested Apple would move to Bluetooth-connected earbuds or headphones that would allow users to listen to audio without being tethered to their smartphones. Apple might also bundle an adapter that would let users keep using their tethered earbuds or earphones.

While the move would be a drastic one, it wouldn’t be the first time Apple has done it. The company has, after all, switched quite dramatically from a 30-pin dock connector to its current Lightning port, which caused some outcry among those who needed to buy adapters to accommodate the new port. Apple was also willing to nix disc drives in its computers long before others had plans to do so. More recently, Apple nixed standard ports in its MacBook with a single USB Type-C connector. Obsolescence, in other words, doesn’t scare Apple.

Still, eliminating a headphone jack might be a stretch, even for Apple. While more people are using Bluetooth-connected headphones than ever before, they don’t always deliver the same sound quality. And it’s worth noting that millions of people around the globe are still using the earbuds Apple has been bundling with its products for years. Selling a smartphone that wouldn’t support those earbuds would effectively make millions of people have to upgrade to a new product to get their desired music-listening result.

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So, where is this latest rumor that Apple is going back to the headphone jack actually coming from? It’s hard to say. Apple might have been testing different designs with one featuring a headphone jack and another nixing it. It’s also possible that the latest report is false and the mounting rumors that the iPhone 7 won’t come with a headphone jack are still true. It’s also possible Apple never had plans of eliminating the headphone jack and the rumors were false all along.

In other words, no one really knows, and any rumor about a headphone jack being eliminated or not should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Perhaps more proof that the debate rages on: Dow Jones cited its own sources on Tuesday, who said that Apple would, in fact, nix the headphone jack, countering the earlier report from Mac Otakara.

For its part, Apple has, of course, stayed silent on the topic and likely won’t reveal its plans until later this year when the iPhone 7 is expected to be announced. So expect the rumors to continue until we get a final answer sometime later this year.

Apple declined to comment on the report.

Update on 06/21/16 at 12:46 p.m. to include Apple’s comment and mention of a Dow Jones report.