14:26 11th Jun, 2014
Apple Headphones Could Soon Work Only On Apple Devices
Apple has quitely updated its MFi standard to include headphones that connect via the Lightening port.
Apple's current crop of headphones that come bundled with the iPhone use the regular 3.5mm jack. That means you can use them on any other device with a 3.5mm audio port, but also means that you can use any headphones from 3rd party vendors on your iPhone.
That however may be about to change, with Apple updating its "Made for iPhone” (MFi) standard to include headphones that connect via Lightening port rather than the ancient 3.5mm jack. According to 9to5Mac Apple hasn't yet switched on audio support for Lightening cables, but will soon roll out an update that will make this possible on devices running iOS 7.1 or higher.
Headphones connected via Lightening ports will be able to receive lossless 48 kHz digital audio, as well as send mono 48 kHz digital audio input through a mic. Manufacturers will also be able to take advantage of Apple Headphone Remote controls like volume up/down etc, as well as buttons to open specific apps.
There's also a possibility that plugging in the headphones to the Lightening port automatically launches a companion iOS app, say for example iTunes Radio. In worst case scenarios, manufacturers will even have the capability to allow a particular headphone to only work on its companion app.
While there's the obvious advantage of better sound quality using the Lightening port for connecting headphones, Apple says the devices will also be able to draw power from an Apple device eliminating the need for expensive in-built batteries.
The downside to using the Lightening port to connect headphones is that you wouldn't be able to charge the device and listen to music at the same time.
It is highly unlikely that Apple will pull the plug on the 3.5mm jack immediately, simply because there isn't a rich third-party ecosystem just yet. However, the development could point out that in the future Apple could ditch the 3.5mm jack, but that won't happen too soon.
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