Apple deprecated what it called “ancient” technology yesterday, with the iPhone 7 lacking a 3.5mm headphone jack. The company is encouraging Bluetooth wireless headphones for audio playback (heralding its new AirPods) or using wired headphones via Lightning. However, with just one port, people who want to listen to music and charge their iPhone 7 at the same time are left with a conundrum.

Apple’s answer to this problem appears to be the $39-49 Lightning Dock which adds a 3.5mm headphone jack when docked.

This messaging appears to be the Apple solution, thanks to an email conversation sent to us by a reader. Zaheen Hafzer says he asked Phil Schiller about how to charge the iPhone 7 and listen to music at the same time. Schiller said whilst he prefers using the AirPods for the additional wireless flexibility, the Lightning Dock is the solution for wired headphones.

Here’s what Schiller said according to Zaheen:

Hi Zaheen,

I like to listen on my AirPods while my iPhone 7 Plus is charging because I am free to move around.
However, if you would like to listen to wired headphones while charging an iPhone 7 it is possible to do that as well.
The Apple Lightning Dock includes a headphone jack for using wired headphones or speakers while charging.
I hope that helps.

It’s true that this is a possible option but it still isn’t ideal, costing both more money atop the price of the phone and its unwieldy size. The coaster-sized dock is not really meant to be a portable product. It is best used as a stationary dock at home, although this is most likely when your iPhone needs charging.

The Lightning Dock also ties you to the 3.5mm ecosystem which is a bit inconvenient as the same audio output will not work with the iPhone itself. It does not let you use the Lightning EarPod headphones that come in the iPhone 7 box while charging. It seems like the best solution for maximum convenience is to adopt Bluetooth headphones as they will work across iPhone 7, iPads, Macs, Apple TV and pretty much any other device. Naturally, Apple will want to sell you its $159 AirPods but any pair of Bluetooth headphones will suffice.

What do you think? Is the Lightning Dock a good solution to the problem of charging and listening on the iPhone 7?

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About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.