After months of rumors around Apple's plans for the headphone jack, the company revealed today that it is scrapping the 3.5mm port on its latest iPhone 7 handset. That leaves Lightning-powered headphones and Bluetooth wireless headphones as the only compatible accessories without the need for an adapter. Apple is introducing a new wireless communications chip alongside its plans to remove the headphone jack, and it's called the W1.
Apple's Phil Schiller described Apple's move to a new wireless chip as "fixing the challenges" of wireless audio in a keynote address this morning, and that Apple has the "courage" to ditch the headphone jack. Apple's new W1 chip uses regular Bluetooth for connectivity, and the new chip sits inside the company's new AirPod headphones and can wirelessly and seamlessly connect to iCloud-connected devices like an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
Apple has integrated a number of accelerometers in its AirPod headphones that will help keep power drain to a minimum, as infrared sensors detect when each AirPod is in your ear. "We’re just at the beginning of a truly wireless future that we’ve been working towards for many years," says Apple's Jony Ive, but we'll have to wait to hear more details about the capabilities of Apple's new W1 chip.