One of the more unnerving Apple rumours of late concerns the idea that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus may eliminate the standard 3.5mm headphone port to help slim down the handset's design. And a new report only supports that idea.
According to 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman, a reliable source for Apple leaks, the company really is considering releasing the next iPhone without a headphone port. As such, Apple is reportedly designing new Beats earbuds that are completely cord-free - so not only is there no cord plugging into the device, but you'll also find no cord strung between the two earbuds.
It's said to be similar in idea to Motorola's Moto Hint headset, albeit with a second bud to provide true stereo sound. Also like the Hint, the Beats earbuds reportedly come with a charging case with a built-in battery of its own, allowing you to juice up the buds on the go. Since the earbuds themselves may only last a few hours, the case would presumably provide a couple of additional full charges throughout the day.
9to5Mac's sources say that the earbuds should have a noise-cancelling microphone to allow for phone calls and Siri usage, and that they'll likely come with ear sleeves of varying sizes for comfort.
Sadly, these probably won't be an iPhone 7 pack-in. The Bragi Dash, which is comparable in presumed function and design, sells for US$300 (S$430)- in other words, don't expect the Beats option to be cheap. Last autumn, a shell company thought to be connected to Apple applied for a trademark on the term "AirPods," which could well end up being the name for this optional accessory.
According to the site, the Beats earphones are still in a prototype stage, and battery life concerns could ultimately delay the release. And the report says that while Apple is testing a slimmer iPhone 7 design that eliminates the microphone port, the company is also considering a model that's more similar to the iPhone 6s in build - with the audio port still intact.
A potential ray of hope for the loads of Apple fans who don't want to ditch their wired headphones? It may be autumn before we know for sure, given the usual iPhone release cycle.