When Apple removed the headphone jack, it forced its users into a corner. There are certainly some benefits to removing the jack. The new iPhone 7 is 7.1 millimeters (mm) thick.
A standard headphone jack is 3.5 mm thick. From a realistic design perspective, any phone that is 5.5 mm or thicker should be able to support a headphone jack. But moving forward, Apple will want to continue to work towards thinner and lighter phones. Let's detail some more reasons why Apple removed the headphone jack...
OK, so right now the iPhone is 7.1 mm thick. But in the future generations, the phone will be even thinner. Eventually, the iPhone may get so thin that the headphone jack is the limiting factor.
Removing the jack now also gave Apple engineers more room for the other guts of the phone, including more space for battery and the various computer chips (processor, memory, antenna, and sensors).
Engineers estimate that the iPhone would have to be at least 5.5 mm thick to support a traditional 3.5 mm jack.
The new iPhone 7 is rated as a "semi-waterproof" phone. It is rated as iP67 waterproof, which means the phone should be able to be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for a maximum of 30 minutes.
Just as premium watches evolved into super waterproof models, so too will future phones. Eventually, they will be submersible perpetually in deep water without any damage. This doesn't just mean you can go swimming with your phone. It means you will be able to take scuba diving pictures 80 meters underwater. It also simply means the phone is much stronger and won't just break when someone accidentally spills something on it.
Moving into future designs, the iPhone will need to be even more waterproof. By removing the headphone jack in a relatively slow upgrade year, Apple is pre-loading the "disappointment factor" before next year's model
In fact, the 2017 model iPhone will be the 10-year anniversary model since the iPhone 1. Since this "i Phone 8" will have a more dramatic redesign than the iPhone 7, Apple likely decided to remove the headphone jack in this model to avoid bad press on its next flagship upgrade.
Apple wants you to use wireless headphones. They spent a fortune ($3 billion) buying Beats by Dre headphones. The future of headphones is in wireless. They are more convenient. You can exercise without worrying about a wire. In a way, they set your head free from the wire that goes to your phone.
And, of course, wireless headphones can be very expensive. The more Apple can sell those headphones to you, the more they can increase their revenue. No doubt, they are hopeful that the release of their new "Earbuds" will be a successful product... though that is doubtful, based on the "ick" factor of their design.
As phone components (glass, chips, batteries) continue to get cheaper, Apple needs to battle to find ways to keep the iPhone at a high price point. Already, there are many competitive (though less superior) phones offered for $300 or less. The iPhone is typically around $700, though US cell providers help to "hide" those costs by often spreading the cost over many months.
For instance, the iPhone 7 retails at $649 with 32 gB of storage. And it is $749 and $849 with 128 gB and 256 gB of storage, respectively. Currently, 256 gB SD Cards only cost about $80, but Apple is charging $200 for that storage.. This allows Apple to keep prices high and keep profit margins up.
In the future, Apple can include wireless earbuds and continue to justify the higher prices required to keep margins high. By ditching the headphone jack, Apple has given itself room for future pricing and bundling upgrades.