Apple pushes new EarPods and AirPods for a future without headphone jacks

Apple removes the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, ships Lightning EarPods and an adapter instead.

Apple will try to ease the pain of killing the headphone jack in the iPhone 7, shipping the new smartphone with Lightning-enabled EarPods and an analog adapter.

“The reason to move on ... it really comes down to one word: Courage,” Apple’s Phil Schiller said during the company’s September news event.

Schiller explained that abandoning the analog headphone jack allows Apple to make room for various other technological improvements, such as brighter displays, faster processors, and the iPhone 7’s stereo speakers. The Lightning connection allows for new headphone features, he said, including adaptive noise cancellation and higher-quality audio.

It’s unclear how many of these features will be present in the new EarPods, however, as Apple didn’t spend much time talking about the new buds.

Instead, the company was more interested in touting its wireless AirPods, presumably sold separately. Each AirPod includes its own chip, the W1, which can detect when an iPhone is nearby for one-tap pairing. They also have infrared sensors, and will only start playing audio when they’re in your ear. Siri is accessible through the AirPods with one tap, and they’ll recognize your voice to reduce background noise.

airpods

Each AirPod will run for five hours on a charge, and they come with a wireless charging case that provides 24 hours of battery life. The AirPods will ship in late October for $159.

This is as developing story. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Jared Newman

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