After weeks of leaks and speculation about what the new iPhone would — and wouldn’t — have, those questions were answered during yesterday’s big Apple event in San Francisco. Along with some new water-resistant features and an improved camera system, the big takeaway about the new iPhone 7 — as many purists feared — the traditional headphone jack is now M.I.A. To solve that pesky no-headphone-jack thing, Apple introduced (Ta-DA!) new wireless earbuds, dubbed AirPods, which will be sold separately. The company’s Beats division is also launching Beats Solo3 and Powerbeats3 and the new Beatsx wireless headphones with the iPhone 7.
The main reason Apple is eliminating the traditional headphone port, in the stirring words of Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing (and the Cowardly Lion), comes down to one word — “Courage — the courage to move on to do something that betters all of us.”
As Variety reports, the iPhone 7 will also utilize Apple’s proprietary Lightning charging port to connect a headset, which is included with the new phones; users can also connect to wireless earbuds via Bluetooth, and the iPhone 7 will also include an adapter to connect to old school analog headphones. Variety termed the iPhone 7 “an evolution rather than a stunning breakthrough for the flagship smartphone line.” The iPhone 7 and larger iPhone 7 Plus will begin shipping Sept. 16.
The event kicked off with a video showing Apple Head Honcho Tim Cook riding in a car with James Corden and special guest passenger Pharrell Williams in a Carpool Karaoke setup. The bit allowed Cook and Corden to cut loose with a cover of OneRepublic’s “I Lived,” and along with Pharrell, they shared their version of “Sweet Home Alabama.” The video also gave Cook the opportunity to remind us about Apple’s deal with CBS to debut episodes of Carpool Karaoke on Apple Music in 2017. Cook also noted that Apple Music now has more than 17 million subscribers, which he said was boosted by exclusive music deals with artists.