Date: Thursday, June 5th, 2014, 08:50
Category: Accessory, Apple, Hardware, iOS, iPhone, Lightning, music
According to 9to5Mac, Apple has quietly introduced a new specification in its Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) program that allows headphones that connect to iOS devices use a Lightning connector instead of the usual 3.5mm headphone jack. The ability to use such hardware doesn’t exist on iDevices yet, but a software update sometime in the future will likely enable this function. The advantage of using a Lightning connection would be to create “smarter” headphones.
Lightning connected appliances can launch a particular app when plugged in (this is also true of Apple’s 30-pin connector), so a Lightning connected set of headphones could launch an equalizer app that would give a user precise control of the sound and music levels. Controls beyond the simple play, stop, skip, back, and volume could be added. Apparently Apple makes a point of mentioning that Lightning would allow the headphones to get power from, or supply power to, the iDevice it was connected to. I’m not sure about you, but my iPhone’s battery discharges quickly enough without it being used to power my headphones as well. 9to5Mac also has some details regarding the two types of Lightning headphones that will be available;
“Apple will allow two configurations for the headphones. Standard Lightning Headphones are described by Apple as using minimum components when paired with a digital-to-analog converter supported by the Lightning Headphone Module. It also has an Advanced Lightning Headphones specification that allows digital audio processing features like active noise cancellation and uses a digital signal processor and digital/analog converter.”
I like the idea of the active noise cancellation, or perhaps an ambient noise sensor that could automatically adjust the volume based on the level of surrounding noise level. On problem I see with the adoption of this is that by tying a product to the Lightning connector, it will only be useable with Apple devices. Given the number of iPhones out there, maybe the manufacturers won’t balk at that. It would be interesting to know if enough people would pay for those extra headphone features to really be worth it. It’s a good bet that some of the first headphones to sport a Lightning connector will be Apple’s new Beats brand.
Would you pay for headphones with advanced features? Would you be ok if you could only use them with Apple devices? Let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.