Apple has always expressed interest in harnessing the power of its own Lightning connector, which the company designed with the iPhone 5 and later to replace the 30-pin connector, but it's good for so much more than just syncing devices and charging them. It's also capable of digital video out and digital sound out, among other things.

Apple may be interested in taking advantage of this in future iPhones, by completely removing the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of using the lone Lightning connector as a sound-out port so that the iPhone can continually shrink even thinner, as Japanese Web site Macotakara reports.

If Apple went along with this move, it would seriously limit the amount or third-party headphone accessories that users could use with their iPhones, which seems like a step in the wrong direction for a company with such a huge footprint in the music industry; on the other hand, such a change would almost more than likely guarantee some kind of Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter so that other headphones could still be used.

Bluetooth wireless headphones would reportedly still work as expected, since they don't use the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The move would actually appear very similar to that of the choice to go with USB-C on the new MacBook – with just one port, one could not charge their device and use accessories at the same time without some kind of adapter. On the other hand, it would give the company more control over what headphones could be used, which may be beneficial if the company were to migrate its acquired Beats headphones industry to Lightning, as it would increase sales in that department from those looking for quality sound that still takes advantage of the proprietary connector.

Source: Macotakara
via Google Translate