Skip to main content

Apple audio supplier suggestion corroborates rumored noise-cancelling iPhone 7 headphones

iPhone no headphone jack

My cheap headphone jack-less iPhone mockup

While it’s widely rumored that the iPhone 7 will drop the headphone jack when it launches later this year, known Apple audio supplier Cirrus Logic may have hinted about how Apple plans to handle this transition. Speaking to analysts and investors during the company’s latest earnings call (via BI), CEO Jason Rhode made a few interesting comments about what might be planned for later this year.

Cirrus Logic, which specializes in audio-related technology for mobile devices, has been traced back to hardware inside iPhones through product teardowns in the past, although the company is quiet about its relationship with Apple like most firms that partner with the iPhone maker.

With that in mind, it’s easy to connect Apple and the upcoming iPhone 7 to a few of Rhode’s comments this week. For instance, the firm expects to push noise-cancelling headphone technology for this reason:

There are definitely people considering putting [it] in box … any time somebody talks about adding content inside a box, inside the box it ships with the phone, you can imagine the agonizing that goes into any additional micro-penny that gets added to the box.

Considering the Apple and Cirrus relationship, it’s easy to read that to potentially mean Apple’s next iPhone headphones could feature noise-cancelling tech. Noise-cancelling headphone technology has already been rumored for the next iPhone.

The Cirrus executive also spoke positively to the prospect of Lightning-based headphones, some of which are already on the market:

The amount that we can talk about that outside of other folks who are MFi [made for iPhone] partners is relatively limited, but yeah, there’s things that are up and running via the MFi program that people can take and design with today.

Lightning-connected headphones would become the only wired connection on iPhones without the headphone jack, save for using an adapter.

Beyond reading between the lines about what could ship in the box with the next major iPhone release this fall, we reported earlier this month that Apple through Beats is currently developing a cord-free, wireless earbud solution with a charging case. These premium wireless earbuds are said to feature noise-cancelling technology of their own.

Even ahead of the annual flagship iPhone upgrade event later this year, Apple is currently planning to introduce a headphone-jack equipped 4-inch iPhone 5se and new iPad Air 3 at a special event currently slated for mid-March.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. I will be very hard pressed to buy a “jackless” iPhone. IMO, it would be a disastrous design move on Apple’s part.

    • Why? You can just connect it via lighting.

      • different55 - 7 years ago

        You mean our lord and savior apple is giving me the opportunity to pay $50 to use the headphones I already have that already work with every device ever created? PRAISE JOBS.
        These lightning headphones provide no benefits and only serve to further drain the wallets of their loyal customers. And of course their loyal customers will eat it up because they’re loyal to the point of blindness. This isn’t innovation, this is a scam. I could believe them when they changed the 30 pin connectors to the lightning connectors because the 30 pin was a disaster, but this is a straight up scam. Especially since the lightning port has no analog output. That means no DAC inside the phone itself, so every adapter and set of headphones designed to use the lightning port will have to include its own DAC, rocketing the manufacturing complexity and the costs sky high. No. This is ridiculous. This solves 0 problems and creates many. Apple’s not getting any more of my money.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      Yeah you’re right, they should keep that port forever.

    • michaelbraun - 7 years ago

      From a design perspective, it seems like a great move. I’m willing to entertain arguments from a functionality perspective. That said, with an adapter, all problems are solved. One adapter per phone, you plug headphones in and out of the adapter. I imagine some high-end headphone makers will start including a Lightning adapter by default.

      The only disappointing thing about the switch is that there soon won’t be a standard wired headphone connector. Now maybe that won’t be a big deal because wireless will take over. But I still have several places where I rely on my audio jack (including two cars, a stereo in my kitchen, and with my speakers at work). Samsung will drop the port next, and so on down the line, resulting in possibly multiple needed adapters for old systems.

      • Not to mention the most obvious: Charging while while using earphones or other devices (such as you mentioned) at the same time. For example, while watching a movie in bed and not disturbing my mate, I might need to have a way to charge my iPhone and use earphones at the same time. Same with in car apps, for those of us who do not have blue tooth or a recent vehicle (I have a 2007 JEEP). I need to be able to keep my iPhone charged, iPad too, and use either one for iMaps or navigation as well as communication throughout the day. Given the current problems with battery life on newer iPhones, this would be a problem. So, unless there is a future design that would include TWO Lightning ports, then one just won’t cut it. I don’t have the money to go out and re-fit every device in my household or for my car because Apple did not think this through to the user’s end.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        Two lightning ports. Lmao.

      • different55 - 7 years ago

        The lightning port doesn’t have analog output, so the DAC will have to be included inside the adapter/headphones themselves instead of the device, making them bulky. With headphones you can just hide the bulk in the headphones, but with an adapter? All that’s doing is artificially jacking up the price to keep using the headphones you already have that are already compatible with nearly every device ever created.

    • rahhbriley - 7 years ago

      IMO opinion you’re wrong.

    • Lawrence Krupp - 7 years ago

      You probably told Henry Ford you wanted a buggy whip with your Model T too, just in case. As for charging while listening there’s already a solution for the single USB-C port on the Macbook. So it will be with the Lightening port. Then there’s Bluetooth earbuds and wireless charging to consider. Most of your problem is that you refuse to think outside the box. You want things to stay the same and are unwilling to adapt. You do realize the headphone jack is 100 year old technology don’t you?

      • different55 - 7 years ago

        The difference between Henry Ford’s “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse” quote is that this is not better. This is not in any way shape or form better than what we have now. This is a dick move so Apple can charge us $50 for an adapter to keep using the headphones we already own and use and that work with every other device that has ever existed. And wireless audio? It’s a gimmick. Every bluetooth pair of headphones I’ve ever used have always intermittently skipped and stuttered. No thanks. Screw you, apple. You’re not innovating, you’re squeezing us for every cent we have.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        It is better if your understanding of how an iPhone works and is built goes beyond not thinking for even 10 seconds.

        You are completely unaware of the fact that removing the headphone jack allows them to put in a much larger battery, or reduce the bezels, both of which are so insanely much better than a headphone jack. A headphone jack is ancient tech that needs to be eliminated for better things. Apple will tout better audio quality and release HD music for purchase on the stores, and this will help ease the tears of the people whining about having to use an adapter.

      • different55 - 7 years ago

        You know what else would do all of that? A not-thinner phone. Apple’s already hit the point where their phones are so thin they freaking bend. Enough, just give us a bigger battery and quit stripping out all the things that people actually use. Holy crap, they’re just as bad as Google acquiring thousands of companies and services just to shut them down a month later. A DAC has no place inside an adapter for headphones. Just like an update/backup manager tool for phones has no place inside a music player. Apple’s a mess all around.

  2. Howard Lieberman - 7 years ago

    Forcing having to charge headphones is a horrible idea and will prevent me from getting the next rev iPhone. Right now having to charge a phone and a laptop almost every day is bad enough. Saving a millimeter to require remembering to charge another device is not worth it unless coupled with automatic wireless charging which is certainly a possibility but then the entire pile of devices should all be wirelessly charged on the same mat as long as it does not cost too much.

  3. rymc02 - 7 years ago

    I use the aux jack in my car since I don’t have BT streaming in my car’s head unit. I would use a converter without much issue if they removed the aux port but what about charging? Could a dongle/converter have two ports? One for the aux jack and one for power. I don’t want to be forced to choose only charging or only listening to audio.

    • FC3S (@konnichiwazu) - 7 years ago

      you can buy bluetooth adapter for your AUX jack.

    • chrisl84 - 7 years ago

      Can’t you just buy a BT receiver from walmart. I seem them all over the car sections in walmart for like 5 bucks for cars without BT standard.

      • rymc02 - 7 years ago

        Almost every BT transmitter is terrible. Crappy sound when and if they connect. They are completely unreliable. Nothing beats an aux jack, works every time with good sound.

  4. taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

    I hope the prototype with USB-C for ha phone ins out. The MFI program sucks as it is now as you can see with how AirPlay speakers never took off, Homeakit devices are slowly trickling out and it’s been over a year since Apple allowed companies to make lightning headphones and on,y a few on the market.

    USB-C is the correct way to go going forward. It’s a universal standard that can bypass Apple’s licensing fees and other hangups of the MFI program.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      USB-C is garbage for iPhone and iPad and you will never see it in these devices. It is larger and thus, absolutely horrible.

      In the iPhone 8, MAYBE the iPhone 9, there will be no lightning port, not because they replace it with another port, but because they are getting rid of a port altogether. The lightning port alone takes significant internal space. The ideal device would be using a smart connector or wireless charging at 1 meter+.

  5. RP - 7 years ago

    I sure hope Apple doesn’t listen to legacy loving voices and decides to sink the advancement of the phone. Listening to legacy advocates is always the death knell of any company but especially a tech company.
    The iPhone 6 feels so old fashioned and un-Apple because it decided to keep the legacy look on a larger footprint. It looks preposterously humongous with the chin and forehead and bezels. It looks like they were afraid. Afraid of change.
    Let the 3.5 jack go away and move forward.o cling to the past and become a part of it.

  6. Samuel A. Maffei - 7 years ago

    Actually, wouldn’t it be awesome if Apple kept the 3.5mm jack and used the phone’s microphones to provide noise cancelling for any set of headphones?

  7. Zombi Teks - 7 years ago

    I just checked the forbes website and they claimed that this would be a win for Apple. Personally, I don’t see it. The iPhone 7 is supposed to have wireless long range charging but I think that is still an underdeveloped technology. But check out this article about the dual-lens feature Apparently the iPhone 7 plus will have a dual-lens camera.

  8. Isn’t the overall trend to wireless due to the maturation of Bluetooth quality combined with the reduction in size of components? There would have been a reluctance to make this transition previously due to quality challenges, but an overall shift to wireless seems like the logical next long range / strategic step.


Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created