Update: The original photo displayed in the article was indeed Photoshopped. However, there are other images of Lightning EarPod cables circling the web of unknown origin, as shown above. It just highlights however that images of this ilk are easily faked.
Although we are expecting a myriad of new announcements later today at Apple’s iPhone SE + more media event, Lightning EarPods were not thought to be on the cards. Images of Lightning-equipped EarPods surfaced on Chinese media today, refuelling rumors that the iPhone 7 will drop the 3.5mm headphone jack. It would make sense, then, that Apple would ship new earbuds in the box that connect to the phone over Lightning.
There is nothing else apparently different, aside from the change of port. The EarPods look visually identical otherwise. If there are other changes in the update, such as changes to sound quality, they aren’t reflected in the product’s physical appearance.
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Unfortunately, it is hard to take much validity from this photo as something like this could be illegitimate for many reasons. Due to the number of counterfeit EarPods on the market, it is possible this image shows Lightning EarPods from an unofficial manufacturer.
We do not expect the Lightning EarPods to come bundled with the soon-to-be-unveiled 4-inch iPhone SE, as that device effectively mirrors the appearance of an iPhone 5s … including the 3.5mm headphone jack.
That being said, there is a chance that Apple would start shipping Lightning EarPods in advance of the iPhone 7 dropping the port. Perhaps Apple could release the new EarPods soon, if not today.
Previous headline image, now revealed as fake: