Like a busy hitman working down a to-do list, Apple has been slowly but surely bumping off the headphone jack on its products one at a time. The iPhone 7 was the first out of the traps in 2016, but every iPhone and almost every iPad has followed suit.
The only iOS device still with a port for your wired buds? The entry-level iPad. So guess which could be next for the headphone-jack-ectomy.
CAD renders reportedly sourced via a third-party case maker and published by MySmartPrice show this year’s iPad mimicking the squared off look of recent iPhones and iPads, finally doing away with the curved look. Crucially, there’s also no headphone jack, meaning you might finally have to look into that new-fangled Bluetooth technology if you haven’t already.
That will be painful for some. The entry-level iPad has proved a popular option for schools, and the ability to use any old wired earbuds was certainly appealing for classrooms. No, you don’t have to blow NZ$329 on AirPods, but wireless headphones are still one more expense that you didn’t need to factor in before.
Elsewhere, the Home button seems to be retained, as are the sizable bezels. The camera appears to have a redesign and now looks similar to the module found on the iPhone X. USB-C is there, instead of Lightning, and interestingly there seems to be a quad speaker layout.
Don’t get too excited, though: they’re probably just for show, given four speakers are exclusive to the iPad Pro, and both the Air and Mini iPads have dummy speaker holes for symmetry’s sake.
In terms of performance, MySmartPrice reckons the new iPad will pack the A14 chip — which is the same processor found on 2020’s iPhone 12. It’s a generational jump from the current model, which uses the A13, as found in the iPhone 11, but obviously a bit short of what you get in the iPad Pros and more recent iPhones.
Nothing is guaranteed until Tim Cook reveals hardware on stage, but if these CAD models are accurate, then the MacBook could be the only Apple device that still use the headphone jack. We’ll find out when the tablet is officially unveiled, which will probably be in the autumn.