A particularly confounding rumour circulating about the iPhone 7 over the last couple months has been that Apple plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone port - yet as much as we want to disregard it, the rumour keeps sticking around.
And now analysts from Barclay's research department believe that Apple will not only get rid of the port, but replace it with something else: a second speaker, allowing stereo output on the next-gen iPhone. Given the location of the current mono speaker grill opposite the headphone port on the iPhone 6s, the positioning could make sense.
AppleInsider got their hands on the Barclays report, from analysts Blayne Curtis and Christopher Hemmelgarn, which says that a second Cirrus Logic amp would be used to power the second speaker. However, we have to wonder: will cramming two speakers into such a compact area on a phone leave room for the microphone? It seems like a lot to toss into one area, and the minimal separation of the speakers would seem to be an issue as well.
The analysts' report suggests that Apple will bundle in earbuds with a Lightning port with the iPhone 7, still offering a wired solution to private listening. And last month, 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman claimed that Apple is working on Bluetooth-connected Beats earbuds, which would not only be wireless in the common way we consider them, but also cordless, with no wire dangling between the two buds. Those would be sold as a set separately from the iPhone 7, of course, and surely not be cheap.
Stereo speakers are a nice perk on a smartphone, but a headphone port? Well, that's absolutely essential. Apple's play here is supposedly to thin the iPhone even further by ditching the old tech, but it's going to require a lot of people to move ditch their old headphones... or use an adapter, which could cost extra. In any case, it seems like a big gamble for Apple if true. Could it pay off?