Apple's next iPhone will probably have the same screen sizes and overall design as existing iPhone 6s models, but will likely drop its long-present headphone jack and instead require headphones to use the phone's existing Lightning connector.
The smartphone maker will apparently only make small changes to its existing iPhone 6s models instead of major redesigns every two years, and the removal of the headphone jack will be a first step toward that new strategy, according to a June 21 story by The Wall Street Journal. That means that Apple will stick with the existing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display sizes that are used on the latest iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus (pictured) when it brings out its next phones, which will like carry the iPhone 7 moniker.
The removal of the headphone jack will allow the phones to be made thinner and will also improve their water resistance, the story reported, based on anonymous sources who are familiar with Apple's plans for the devices. "The Lightning connector will serve double-duty as a port for charging the phone and for connecting headphones," the sources told The Journal.
This is not the first time that a deleted headphone jack has been rumored for the next iPhone. In December, reports first surfaced about the possible demise of the long-established 3.5mm headphone jack and the replacement of it with a thinner Lightning connector or with Bluetooth to help make the phones thinner, according to an earlier eWEEK story.
The latest report adds more details to the previous rumors, however, but will only be confirmed or dispelled once the new devices are unveiled during Apple's customary September releases.
Other previous iPhone 7 rumors heard in the last few months include a move to a thinner flush-mounted rear camera, replacing the protruding rear camera that is built into the existing iPhone 6 devices, and the removal of antenna bands that are now on the rear of today's iPhones, according to a February eWEEK story. Also rumored was a possible dual-lens rear camera on upscale iPhone 7 Plus devices.
While Apple is apparently planning no major changes for this year's iPhones, that could all go out the window in 2017 when the smartphones will celebrate their 10th anniversary, according to The Journal. That could mean the appearance of "an edge-to-edge organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screen and eliminating the home button by building the fingerprint sensor into the display," sources told the newspaper.
Apple sure needs a big hit with its next iPhones to generate demand after sales of the devices leveled off in its latest financial quarter.
In late April, in its second quarter 2016 earnings announcement, Apple reported a decline in revenue for the first time since 2003. Apple's second-quarter revenue of $50.6 billion fell 13 percent from $58 billion a year earlier. Net income in that interval dropped to $10.5 billion from $13.6 billion, as sales of the company's iPhones leveled off, ending Apple's 13-year record of uninterrupted sales growth.
Apple reported second-quarter sales of 51.2 million iPhones, down 18 percent from 61.2 million in the same quarter in 2015. The iPhone sales were down sharply—by 32 percent—from the 74.78 million sold in the first quarter of 2016. iPhone sales dropped to $32.9 billion in the second quarter, down 18 percent from $40.3 billion a year prior.