iPhone 7 headphone jack
Users signs petition urging Apple to retain headphone plug in its next iPhone model Reuters

More than 300,000 people have signed a petition urging Apple to retain the standard headphone jack in its upcoming iPhone iteration which is expected to be launched in the fall this year.

Sum of Us website, which organised the petition against Apple, states: "Not only will this force iPhone users to dole out additional cash to replace their hi-fi headphones, it will singlehandedly create mountains of electronic waste — that likely won't get recycled. According to the United Nations, up to 90% of the world's electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped each year."

"This is right out of the Apple corporate playbook. A few years ago it swapped out the original iPod-dock connector with a new one, making countless cords, cables and chargers obsolete," notes the site adding: "Apple plays up its green credentials, but the truth is that Apple only invested in renewable energy, and began phasing out toxic chemicals when public pressure became too strong to ignore. People power did it before, and we can do it again."

There have been rumours for a while now that Apple might ditch the 3.5mm standard headphone jack from the upcoming iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. This is said to be one of the significant changes in the 2016 iPhone models, which would make the devices thinner with improved water resistance capability. But the lightning adapter instead would serve a dual purpose: to charge the phone and to connect to headphones.

The news quickly raised concern, with users posting complaints on social network sites that removing the headphone plug would make expensive headphones useless. Others complained that using the lightning port to connect the headphone means there would be no music while charging, states a BBC report.

On the other hand, John Gruber from Daring Fireball wrote in a blog posting: "Removing the analogue headphone jack is inevitable. This is what makes Apple different. They will initiate a painful transition for a long-term gain."

"In five years we'll look at analogue headphone jacks the way we look at all the other legacy ports we've abandoned," added Gruber.