Don't Worry, There Are Still Headphone Options

by Morgan Brinlee

Oh, baby, baby, it's a wired world. Until now that is. In unveiling the new iPhone 7 on Sept. 7, Apple may have pushed fanatics of the tech giant's products to finally cut at least one cord. As rumored, Apple's iPhone 7 comes without a headphone jack. While not completely unexpected, Apple's decision to forego the traditional headphone jack in the iPhone 7 could frustrate users who've already invested in expensive, high-quality headphones. But like it or not, the iPhone 7 is here sans headphone jack. However, that doesn't have to mean an end to listening to your favorite tunes, podcast, or TV show on your phone. So, what headphones can you use with the iPhone 7? The good news is you have plenty of options with more sure to come when the phone actually hits store shelves.

Almost like clockwork, Apple has released a new phone every September for the last four years. At this year's event, the tech giant unveiled the iPhone 7, which, though similar in design to the iPhone 6 generation, comes with a few minor, but potentially life-changing, tweaks, such as the lack of a headphone jack.

In cutting the 3.5mm headphone jack from the phone's design, Apple further slimmed the iPhone 7 by at least one millimeter in comparison to previous generations, while also boosting its water resistance. However, the change means all headphones must now be connected wirelessly (such as with Bluetooth), through Apple's proprietary Lightning port, or through the use of a headphone jack adapter. There are pros and cons to all three options, so users will have to decide what suits their listening and lifestyle best.

While wireless headphones and earbuds like Apple's new AirPods can provide users with a newfound sense of freedom and movability, they're much easier to lose than headphones that stay connected to your device and have a reputation for having a less-than-stellar battery life. Apple's announcement of the AirPods, wireless earbuds with a custom low-power Bluetooth radio chip could change the game, however, when it comes to wireless headphones with prolonged battery life. These P5 Wireless headphones are another option (now available via Bowers & Wilkins).

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While the iPhone 7 hasn't hit the market just yet — you'll have to wait until Sept. 16 for that — many Lightning connector-equipped headphones are already out there. Check out Audeze's EL-8 Titanium Closed-Back headphones (now available via Apple), Brightech's Pure Lightning Earphones (now available via Amazon), and JBL Reflect Aware sport earphones (now available via Harman). However, it should be noted that in doubling up how you use Apple's Lightning port, there might come a time when you're forced to choose between charging your phone and listening to audio.

You can also get a specifically designed pair of Beats headphones — the company Apple acquired in 2014 — for the new iPhone.

If you've already invested in a quality (read: expensive) set of headphones but are eager to make the switch to the iPhone 7, there is a way you can take your headphone jack-equipped headphones along for the ride. Traditional headphones can be made iPhone 7 friendly with a 3.5mm headphone jack to Lightning port adapter, although some may find the extra component — like the Deff Sound Lightning Connector (now available via Amazon) — adds bulk to their listening experience.

Saying goodbye to the 3.5mm headphone jack won't be easy for a lot of consumers, but in cutting the port from the latest iPhone, Apple is effectively telling the market it considers the technology obsolete. But are those of us who've been plugging into the headphone jack since the days of the Walkman ready to make the jump into the wireless blue yonder? Only time will tell.