How to Listen to Music on the Jackless iPhone 7

Apple says goodbye to the 3.5mm connector. Uh-oh. Time to scramble.

By David Isaac

Tearing your hair out? Shaking your fists at the sky? If that’s your reaction to the news that Apple is deep-sixing the headphone jack on its iPhone 7, you’re not alone. Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak slammed the decision. While Wozniak may not be a fan of Bluetooth, its performance has been getting better, making wireless your best bet for hands-free use of the new iPhone. Here are a few wireless options for your listening pleasure in addition to Apple's very own AirPods.

Helix Cuff

Just in time for the release of the iPhone 7, fashion tech firm Ashley Chloe is offering the Helix Cuff beginning on September 7. These Bluetooth 4.1 earbuds wrap around your wrist to become a sleek, stylish bracelet. It sure beats having to scrunch the earbuds into your pocket, where they tend to get lost among your keys and change. The design received an Innovation Award at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show.

The company offers bracelets for both men and women, and it avoids the pitfall of making the men’s version look too androgynous. The black wristband is something most men probably wouldn’t mind wearing—and this is from a guy who doesn’t wear jewelry.

The Helix Cuff takes advantage of the latest sound technology and includes smart multipoint connectivity, aptX technology, and cVc noise reduction, along with Bluetooth 4.1. It also comes with a microphone, so you can answer calls.

Battery life for the Helix Cuff is 3 hours, and you can quick-charge the device in 20 to 30 minutes via micro USB.

The earbuds are available in red/gold, white/silver, black/silver, and other color combinations. They retail for $169, except for the red/ gold version, which costs $299.

Earin Wireless Earbuds

If you don’t want to wear anything on your wrist, the Earin Wireless Earbuds are an excellent choice. Earin eliminates even the cable that normally connects wireless earbuds. The company made these speakers as small and light as possible. At 0.57 inch by 0.79 inch and a weight of just 0.12 ounce, they practically disappear in your ear.

When you aren’t using them, you can place the earbuds in an included aluminum capsule, which also acts as a charger. The capsule can charge the earbuds two to three times before needing recharging itself. And since the earbuds last 2 hours and 50 minutes on a single charge, you may be able to get almost 9 hours of playing time before you need to find a power source.

Reviewers give these earbuds high marks for sound. One reviewer described its sonic profile as “the absolute pinnacle of what we should expect from our Bluetooth headphones, full stop.” Their only issue seems to be occasional dropouts due to lost connectivity. Techwalla gives Earin wireless earbuds a solid score of 82 percent—“Clearly above average. Only a couple of issues keep this from being best in class.”

Earin Wireless Earbuds retail for $249.

Skullcandy Grind Wireless

If you’re looking for more than earbuds when listening to music on your iPhone 7, then check out Skullcandy’s Grind Wireless. The nonwireless version of these well-padded cans received a score of 88 percent—“A definite buy! This is among the best in its class”—from Techwalla.

Controls are located on the right ear cup. A main function button handles powering on and off, pairing wirelessly to your audio source, and pausing music so you can answer calls. The two volume buttons double as controls for skipping tracks backward or forward.

Battery life is a solid 12 hours. The headphones save on battery life by shutting down after 5 minutes if they’re not paired or if the audio source is out of range, and they go into standby mode when not in use. An LED button lets you know when the battery is low.

Skullcandy’s Grind Wireless comes in five color combinations as well as pure white. It retails for $90.


by Skullcandy
List $60

Photo credits: Ashley Chloe, Earin, Skullcandy.