As expected, Apple gave the 3.5mm headphones jack the pink slip in the new iPhone 7.
The announcement was heavy on accolades for the superiority of its Lightning port, which will replace the 3.5mm connection for wired headphones — although this does pose a problem for people who want to charge their phone and listen to music at the same time — and it headed off one of users’ earliest gripes, the expectation that they would have to shell out $30 or so for an adapter, by including a 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter in the box with the iPhone 7.
Apple also debuted “AirPods,” $159 wireless earbuds untethered to a wire that use a new wireless chip (similar to, but not, the now ubiquitous Bluetooth) to deliver your tunes or conversations. The perk is that one earbud can be worn at a time, without having its companion dangling down in front of you; the down side is that, like Bluetooth sets, the earphones need to be charged, and offer just five hours of playback (that’s considerably less than some Bluetooth sets currently on the market).
Apple also announced a trio of new wireless Beats headphones — Beats Solo3 and Powerbeats3 and BeatsX — that have Apple’s new wireless chip and will retail for $299.95, $199.95 and $149.95, respectively.
Outside the Apple universe, other headphones manufacturers have been working on alternatives; big names like Bose have been making their wireless headphones increasingly visible, and early Lightning options include the JBL Reflect Aware for $199.99, although that does get you noise-canceling and sport features, and Brightech’s Lightning earbuds ($49.99 on Amazon).