You know the iPhone 6 release date is fast approaching when the new features are already leaking out left and right, and prognosticators are already going out of their way to mangle the interpretations of what those new features mean. The fast-flying rumor is that Apple is working on a new high-definition headphone technology which connects through the “Lightning” charging port on the iPhone 6 in order to achieve audiophile levels of quality which can’t be achieved through a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. So naturally, the rumor mongers are now claiming that the iPhone 6 is about to ship without a headphone jack.
The iPhone 6 Lightning headphones rumor sounds plenty valid. It helps explain some of the motivation behind Apple’s recent multibillion dollar Beats by Dre acquisition – which was never primarily about subscription music streaming, at least not at that price. It also falls neatly in line with Jimmy Iovine’s desire to join Apple, as he’s long been on a mission to improve the audio quality of mobile music. With its own headphone company in-house, Apple can now easily offer a line of Beats headphones which connects through the Lightning port and delivers a new level of smartphone audio fidelity.
The move will give Apple a distinct advantage when it comes to marketing the iPhone 6, while making its competitors look silly for continuing to cling to the aging micro-USB charging port. But unless Apple is about to start bundling multi-hundred dollar earbuds with the iPhone 6, there’s no chance it’ll be getting rid of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Apple will likely bundle a new and improved set of Beats-branded or Beats-inspired earbuds with the next iPhone. But when it comes to the audio range of bundled earbuds, connecting them through the Lightning port wouldn’t even make a difference in sound quality. The difference would only be noticeable with high end headphones.
But that hasn’t stopped the rumor mongers from putting the pieces together in a way that don’t fit, and coming up with the surreal conclusion that the iPhone 6 will ship without a headphone port when its release date rolls around. Just because Apple now owns a headphone company, it doesn’t mean Apple is about to make literally every existing set of headphones and earbuds on the planet incompatible with the iPhone – which would include the millions of 3.5mm based Beats headphones currently in use and still being sold as we speak.
If the goal of these prognosticators is to scare people away from the iPhone 6 before it even ships, then mission accomplished: I’ve already had to talk down a few people who have contacted me to ask why the next iPhone won’t have a headphone jack and whether they should still go ahead with their planned purchase of one. But even the leaks get more ridiculously mangled, those leaks are a sign that the iPhone 6 release date is growing tantalizingly close. The de facto assumption had been that the iPhone 6 would show up in September or October. But with the cartoon style sensationalist iPhone 6 headlines already ramping up to a roar, one is left to wonder if the iPhone 6 just night show its face even sooner.