|The 3.5 mm headphone jack could be on its way out, with The Wall Street Journal having reported that removal of the headphone plug is the biggest planned change in this year's phones, which in turn will make them thinner and more water resistant, citing people familiar with the matter.|
The Lightning connector is set to serve as a port for both charging the phone and for connecting headphones, the WSJ reported its sources as stating.
This could in turn lead the way to Lightning adaptors for headphones.
It has previously been reported that Apple could extend its iPhone product cycle, taking three years between full-model changes of the devices, with Apple's 2017 model likely to see major changes.
Fans have taken to an online petition to vent their displeasure at the potentially missing headphone jack, with more than 300,000 people having signed a petition for Apple to keep the jack at the SumOfUs website.
"Not only will this force iPhone users to dole out additional cash to replace their hi-fi headphones, it will single-handedly create mountains of electronic waste - that likely won't get recycled," it is stated via the website.
"According to the United Nations, up to 90 per cent of the world's electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped each year. Tell Apple to respect its customers and our planet. Keep the standard headphone jack."
The upcoming iPhone release comes at a seemingly critical juncture for Apple amid slowing smartphone sales worldwide.
According to Gartner, global smartphone sales posted a 3.9 per cent rise year-on-year in the 2016 first quarter, while Apple registered its first year-on-year double-digit decline.