Apple’s newly unveiled iPhone 7 will not have a traditional headphone jack.
The company said its lightning connector could be used instead, which would make room for other components. It will also promote the use of wireless earphones, and has released a set of its own called AirPods.
Apple said it had taken “courage” to take the step.
However, the company risks annoying users who will now require an adapter for existing headphones.
Other new features include:
- the home button can now detect how firmly it is being pressed and provide vibration-based feedback, but no longer moves into the phones
- the handsets can be submerged in water up to depths of 3.2ft for 30 minutes at a time
- the larger iPhone 7 Plus model gets a two-lens camera on its rear, allowing it to offer a choice of focal lengths
The iPhone 7 launch comes a week after the European Commission demanded Apple pay up to €13 billion in back taxes to Ireland – a ruling the company is appealing.
The 3.5mm headphone jack was made popular by Sony’s Walkman cassette players, but was first introduced in one of the Japanese company’s transistor radios in 1964.
Apple has repeatedly been willing to ditch connectors and other ageing tech from its products earlier than its rivals.
The company suggests there are advantages to using its Airpods, which will cost $255.
It demonstrated that the wireless headphones could be paired with the phone much more quickly than is normally the case with Bluetooth sets.
The Airpods also contain infrared sensors to detect when they are in the user’s ears. This allows them to automatically stop music when they are taken out.
Motion sensors in the buds also allow Apple’s virtual assistant Siri to be activated for voice commands by double-tapping their sides.
Users will, however, have to get used to charging another device.
Apple said the Airpods would last “up to five hours” on a charge, and come with a recharging case that can extend their life up to 24 hours before a plug socket is required.
Another related change is the introduction of stereo speakers – one at each end of the handset – which Apple said meant the iPhone 7 could deliver twice the volume of the iPhone 6S.
The iPhone 7 Plus has both a wide angle and telephoto lens on its back, both using their own 12 megapixel sensor.
This allows the owner to quickly switch to a tighter shot without sacrificing image quality, and also allows the device to offer 10x zoom – double the amount than before – by digitally cropping the photo in the camera app.
A similar feature is already available on LG’s G5 phone.
Apple says it will also be able to combine data gathered by both camera sensors to simulate an effect associated with larger DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras.
It said software would be able to automatically pick people’s faces out from the background, keeping the humans in focus while blurring the rest of the shot in order to enhance the portraits.
The feature will not, however, be available at launch but will rather be provided as an update later on.
The iPhone 7 ranges from $955 to $1,275, depending on the amount of storage. The iPhone 7 Plus ranges from $1,150 to $1,470.
That marks an increase on 2015 prices, when the entry-level iPhone 6S was $862 and the iPhone 6S Plus was $990, albeit with less storage. US consumers have not seen such significant increases.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are available to buy from September 16.