Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 will include an all-digital, wired edition of the EarPods headphones that will connect to the handset’s Lightning port, not the wireless edition as previously rumored.
According to an analyst note from Barclays, a copy of which was obtained by Business Insider, Apple has not yet purchased a license from its supplier Cirrus Logic that would permit the company to use Cirrus’ active noise-canceling software.
Cirrus technology would be needed to filter out background noise during phone calls were Apple to ditch the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of wireless Bluetooth headphones.
“We believe Apple is including just the digital (via Lightning) headphone in the iPhone 7 this year,” analysts Blayne Curtis and Christopher Hemmelgarn wrote in their note to investors.
As for the supposed wireless edition of the EarPods that prior rumors said would ship with the next iPhone, the analysts don’t think Apple is in a position to make such a move this year.
“We still believe there is potential for Apple to add active noise cancelling in the iPhone 7s,” which is likely to come out in 2017.
“Apple will need to provide a digital headset inbox but likely was not willing to spend the extra cost for the active noise cancelling functionality,” they concluded.
Apple is currently interested in an audio codec from Cirrus which would let the EarPods connect to the iPhone’s Lightning connector rather than via the standard 3.5mm analog jack.
As mentioned, another codec from Cirrus would be needed to enable wireless EarPods to sample audio captured by an in-line microphone in order to cancel out unwanted sounds.
The analysts added that the space currently occupied by the 3.5mm audio jack could be used in the iPhone 7 for another speaker. Cirrus would reportedly provide an amplifier for that speaker.
Source: Barclays via Business Insider