New iPhone Sans Headphone Jack Poses Problem for Mobile Payments

NEWS ANALYSIS: Regardless of what it's called, the next iPhone will include some useful new features and other changes that might not be so positive, such as removal of the headphone jack.

iPhone 7 or SE 2

Two weeks from now, you'll know what Apple has in mind for its next iPhone. If current media reports hold true, you'll be able to plan for the slightly thinner case, the improved processor power and the fact that some important business accessories may not work with it.

Of course, we don't know what the changes are for sure. In fact, we don't even know whether the new iPhone will be called the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 6SE, but we can make some educated guesses. The name is one of them.

Rumors on the internet are rife with speculation that what we've always assumed would be the iPhone 7 will actually be called the iPhone 6SE. The reasoning for that seems to be two-fold. First, the changes from the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are relatively minor and thus probably don't represent a new generation of Apple smartphone.

Another reason is that 2017 is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and Apple may want to introduce the new generation model next year.

In addition, there are some photos making the rounds on the Web that seem to show iPhone packages sporting the iPhone 6SE label. But there are a number of questions about the authenticity of the supposed labels, not the least of which are that the photos appear to some observers to be faked. But are they faked or are the product of lousy photography?

Rumors about the absence of a headphone jack are a lot more solid. Leaked photos seem to show two speakers on the bottom of the phone rather than a single speaker and a headphone jack.

Case and accessory makers are reporting that there’s no provision for a headphone jack. There have been consistent reports that the standard 3.5mm headphone jack was preventing the iPhone from being as thin as Apple wants it to be.

In addition, there have been persistent statements from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak protesting the removal of the headphone jack. The general consensus seems to be that by making the change to an analog device in the iPhone, you’re degrading the quality of the music, but in reality that's a bogus conclusion.

After all, your ears are analog devices, so the change to analog has to take place somewhere and the iPhone's audio processing is better than most places.

But getting rid of the headphone jack also has serious consequences for companies that use that jack as the port they use for their mobile credit card readers.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...