Adding fuel to claims that Apple intends to do away with the stalwart 3.5mm headphone jack in the next iPhone, a report on Thursday says the company is making progress on a pair of wireless earbuds built around a custom low-power Bluetooth chip.
Rumors are rife that the upcoming Apple smartphone, presumably called the iPhone 7, is likely to be the first of its kind to be launched without a headphone jack. And to compensate for the removal of that feature, the Cupertino, California, tech giant is working on a pair of wireless earbuds built on a custom Bluetooth radio chip, a report said Thursday.
Although there’s no confirmation as to when the Bluetooth device will launch, it’s speculated that the product could be announced in September, along with the iPhone 7. If the device indeed becomes a reality, it will result in longer battery life compared to traditional Bluetooth headphones.
According to the source, the power-saving Bluetooth chip is based on a technology developed by a startup called Passif Semiconductor which Apple acquired in 2013. Although Apple originally planned to launch the device in 2015, the project was hit by performance snags and the release was later called off.
This isn’t the first time Apple is rumored to be working on wireless earbuds. In January, a rumor claimed that Apple was developing wireless Bluetooth earbuds with a battery life of about four hours. Although Apple has shown inclination toward developing its own chips in recent years to avoid relying on third-party vendors, it’s still unknown whether the new wireless earbuds will be powered by Apple’s own custom chip.
The iPhone 7 was also recently rumored to feature a significantly larger battery than the one in the iPhone 6s. And to accommodate the larger battery inside the new iPhone, Apple could eventually ditch the headphone jack.
A video of an alleged iPhone 7 casing also recently surfaced online, suggesting that the upcoming smartphone may not have a headphone jack, leaving more space for other components to be featured. With no headphone jack, the tech giant is also expected to be able to improve the water resistance of the iPhone 7.
If ongoing rumors are to be believed, the features of the iPhone 7 most likely include a dual-camera on the “Plus” model, an improved camera on the smaller model, 32/128/256GB storage tiers, a Force Touch Home button and removal of the 3.5-mm headphone jack.