Apple is unlikely to include noise-cancelling headphones with the iPhone 7, according to a Barclays analyst note published on Friday.
The note covers Cirrus Logic, a key Apple supplier and one of the companies most likely to benefit if Apple were to ditch the traditional headphone jack, as is expected, which would headphones to connect through Bluetooth or its proprietary Lightning connector instead.
According to Blayne Curtis and Christopher Hemmelgarn, the analysts who wrote the note, Apple will include a Lightning-equipped headphone with the iPhone 7, but won’t purchase Cirrus’ noise-cancelling technology for in-box headphones until the iPhone 7S, likely to come out in 2017.
From the note:
We still believe there is potential for AAPL to add ANC in the IP7S but believe AAPL is including just the digital headphone in the IP7 this year. We do believe there are aftermarket AAPL and Android opportunities this year, and we have included only 7.5M units in FY17 as those sales. Recent speculation surrounding the elimination of the headphone jack in the IP7 is consistent with this move as AAPL will need to provide a digital headset inbox but likely was not willing to spend the extra cost for the ANC functionality.
The authors explain that Cirrus could sell a few products to Apple. One is a piece of decoding software, or a codec, that would enable headphones to use a digital input (the Lightning connector) instead of an analogue headphone jack. Another is a codec that would enable active-noise-cancelling, a process which uses a microphone to cancel out unwanted sounds.
The space freed up by not including a headphone jack in the iPhone 7 could be used for another speaker, according to the analysts, and Cirrus would provide an amp for that speaker.
Aside from its own headphones, Apple also owns Beats, the top premium headphone brand, which has not come out with a new model since November 2014.
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