New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple Supplier Cirrus Logic Releases Kit for Creating Lightning-Based Headphones Ahead of iPhone 7

Philips-LightningApple supplier Cirrus Logic has announced a new MFi Headset Development Kit, a reference platform that is designed to help "Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod" accessory makers quickly develop Lightning-based headphones.

The development kit, available through Apple's MFi Program, includes a form factor reference design and other resources to help MFi licensees create Lightning-based headphones. A reference iOS app is also available.
The MFi Headset Development Kit demonstrates the advantages of Lightning-connected headsets over conventional analog headsets. For example, digital connectivity with an integrated, high-performance DAC and headphone driver delivers high-fidelity audio to the headphone speakers. In addition, Lightning-connected headphones can interact with an iOS app to create a more custom audio experience, such as personalized EQ settings.
Multiple credible sources have confirmed that Apple plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone plug on the iPhone 7 series in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and connectivity, but only a handful of Lightning-equipped headphones are available today.

Cirrus Logic MFi
Apple introduced new MFi Program specifications in June 2014 that allow third-party manufacturers to create headphones that connect to iOS devices via a Lightning cable, but the rollout has been slow. Philips has unveiled Lightning-equipped Fidelio M2L and Fidelio NC1L headphones, pictured above, over the past two years.

Apple may also release Lightning-equipped EarPods, but a more recent conflicting rumor said the iPhone 7 will ship with standard 3.5mm EarPods and a 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter. Apple is also believed to be exploring Bragi Dash-like wireless headphones (AirPods?), but it may hold off on adopting the technology until 2017 or later.

Those interested in learning more about Lightning-equipped headphones can watch our video: Lightning Headphones: Are They Better or Just an Inconvenience? We also shared a video showing what an aftermarket 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter looks like as they begin to reach the market.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

43 months ago
If Apple had started with a lightning connector headphone and then the industry came along with a headphone jack, everyone would be singing praises along the lines of

* No external DAC or amp required - it's built into the phone!
* No external battery or charging - it works off the phone!
* Uses a small, inexpensive standardized plug/jack, requiring only a small round hole in cases, etc.
* So cheap that earplugs can be disposable - especially handy around wet or sweaty environments
* So cheap that if you lose your device, this isn't a factor
* No dongles!
* Can charge my phone and use external headphones or speakers at the same time!

Sigh.
Rating: 24 Votes
43 months ago
Are they gonna put a female Lightning port on Macs?? How else do they expect us to use Lightning headphones across devices?
Rating: 22 Votes
43 months ago
The day Apple gets rid of the headphone jack is the day I stop buying iPhones.

No way I want some pathetic lightning cable that frays even when stuck in one place and isn't moved.
Rating: 15 Votes
43 months ago
This will not convince me to buy an iPhone that does not have a headphone jack. We need a packet no headphone jack no buy. Let Tim stew on a few million useless iPhones that no one wants. That will teach apple to be more consumer aware
Rating: 12 Votes
43 months ago
For the love of God, I pray Apple does not remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from the whole line of phones.

Reasons

I am a musician. Bluetooth audio is too laggy to play live so I use a 1/4" audio cable to jack into the iPhone.

On stage I keep a portable battery plugged into the lightning port to keep the device charged while I perform. Losing the ability to charge the phone and play music at the same time would be catastrophic for me.

At festivals I wear a small portable amp on my belt and wear the iPhone on my arm or around my neck. I wander through crowds, synth-bombing bluegrass circles etc. At every event, I lose one or two cables to the general chaos of everyone being drunk etc. I use a long cable 3.5mm extender cable so I can wrap it around my arm a few times to where if it gets pulled on, it won't get unplugged out of the phone. I use the kind with a special, thin connector so that they work even if my iPhone is in a hefty case.

Fortunately, 3.5mm to RCA cables are cheap and ubiquitous at stores. I always bring three so I have a backup if one stops working, and/or one gets lost. If all three vanish I can always find one a nearby Walmart or Radio Shack etc. Sometimes I have to settle for ones with a thicker end on them, but I have never had a problem finding something that works for just a few bucks.

However, Lightning-to-1/4" adapters that support charging and audio will be:
• overpriced
• difficult to find at stores
• short and stubby
• poorly made unless you buy the even more overpriced Apple brand ones
• easy to lose
• you won't have any way to know in advance if audio quality or latency (lag) will vary between models of these
• cheap knock-off ones could be rendered inoperable by iOS updates

A lot of them will be made solely with the purpose of headphones in mind, so they'll have volume and mute controls on them which will actually be a huge disadvantage for me due to the fact those buttons could get pressed accidentally whether the dongle is in my pocket or hanging out where the chaos of crowds can affect it.

Conclusion

I sincerely hope Apple does not remove the 3.5mm jack from the whole line of phones. At least leave it on the "Plus"-sized model. I could understand removing it from the smallest of the models, but removing the 3.5mm jack from the whole line is just nuts.

If this turns out to be true, then I will surely know that Apple has completely lost its soul as a company and, instead of increasing profits by innovating and creating exciting new products in new categories, they are resorting to forcing everyone to buy even more expensive proprietary stuff even at the cost of making their products far less useful. They are standing on the sidelines of VR, AR, and gaming; they waved goodbye to many of the niche pro markets they once dominated; and they don't even make a decent monitor anymore.

I may just be done with technology all together. Screw it.
Rating: 8 Votes
43 months ago
The earphone output is more than that. It is also a line output. I connect that jack to line inputs far more than I connect it to earphones. It would be a hassle to work around if omitted.
Rating: 7 Votes
43 months ago
It's the beginning of the end for 3.5mm jack.... And it scares me.
Rating: 7 Votes
43 months ago

Sure. People ALWAYS say this about the next iPhone (or the next Galaxy over dropping SD card support or removable batter), and yet it NEVER seems to have any affect whatsoever on sales. I guess 99.999% of the population just doesn't think the same way.


Or people just roll with the shortcomings because they want the rest. That doesn't mean 99.999% are right or that .001% are wrong... but just that all 100% must deal with whatever is delivered if they want the other benefits exclusive to an Apple product. Does that make Apple right 100% of the time because sales are high? Drug dealers sales can be very high- and much more profitable- too, but I don't think most of us would deem them brilliantly right because of their sales or profit numbers.

What happens here is maybe it plays out as you imply. So maybe Apple is then emboldened to try jettisoning something else because the loyal fans of the product will roll with that too. Maybe next time it's the camera or the battery or both? Maybe the masses DO roll with that change too? It seems eventually they would go too far and the "go with the flow" sentiment would shift. At that point "the rest" would no longer be enough to roll with the latest change.

I recall a time no so long ago when the first brand I would think of for AV equipment was Sony. If Sony made one, it was probably better... because it was made by Sony. Then Sony started playing the proprietary this and proprietary that game. "Innovations" seemed to be increasingly more about maximizing profits for Sony than delivering value & utility for Sony customers. Today, I typically DON'T think of Sony first for anything AV. That's not necessarily saying the same will play out for Apple here... but is this really any Apple customer's problem that begged for THIS "innovation." I can't recall ever seeing even one thread full of 3.5mm jack bashers prior to this particular rumor getting some legs under it.

And for more than a year now, the option of connecting via Lightning AND Bluetooth has been available to those who argue so (increasingly) passionately for those connections. So it's not like 3.5mm being in existing iPhones is some obstacle to either "better(?)" option getting utilized to it's maximum by those who think either is superior.

What is in this particular change for us consumers? And why does 3.5mm have to go to realize that/those benefit(s)? There's a pile of recurring spin that appears to be trying to answer those questions but most of it seems to revolve around buyer ignorance. For example, "waterproof" is tossed often. But does water only want to enter round holes? Not the bigger rectangular hole just millimeters away... or the smaller (speaker) round holes? "Digital > Analog" keeps getting slung... yet our ears only hear analog. Etc.
Rating: 7 Votes
43 months ago
I'm unlikely to buy in September (my 6 is still working fine), but I'm looking forward to being entertained by the spectacle - at this point I don't think there's any path through this Apple could take that won't result in at least some level of outrage, even if they just stuck with the 3.5mm jack ("how dare you not deliver us 21st century technology! Apple is falling behind!").
Rating: 6 Votes
43 months ago

('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/06/29/cirrus-logic-mfi-lightning-headphone-dev-kit/')



Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has announced a new MFi Headset Development Kit ('https://investor.cirrus.com/news-and-events/media-center/news-details/2016/Cirrus-Logic-MFi-Headset-Development-Kit-Simplifies-Design-of-Lightning-Based-Audio-Accessories/default.aspx'), a reference platform that is designed to help "Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod" accessory makers quickly develop Lightning-based headphones.

The development kit, available through Apple's MFi Program ('https://developer.apple.com/programs/mfi/'), includes a form factor reference design and other resources to help MFi licensees create Lightning-based headphones. A reference iOS app is also available.Multiple credible sources have confirmed that Apple plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone plug on the iPhone 7 series in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and connectivity, but only a handful of Lightning-equipped headphones are available today.



Apple introduced new MFi Program specifications ('https://www.macrumors.com/2014/06/03/lighting-cable-headphone-mfi/') in June 2014 that allow third-party manufacturers to create headphones that connect to iOS devices via a Lightning cable, but the rollout has been slow. Philips has unveiled Lightning-equipped Fidelio M2L ('https://www.macrumors.com/2014/09/10/philips-fidelio-m2l-lightning/') and Fidelio NC1L ('https://www.macrumors.com/2015/01/08/philips-fidelio-nc1l/') headphones, pictured above, over the past two years.

Apple may ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/01/08/iphone-7-lightning-earpods-wireless-earphones/') also release Lightning-equipped EarPods ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/06/29/sketchy-photos-lightning-earpods/'), but a more recent conflicting rumor said the iPhone 7 will ship with standard 3.5mm EarPods ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/06/20/iphone-7-earpods-and-lightning-adapter/') and a 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter. Apple is also believed to be exploring Bragi Dash ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/01/13/bragi-dash-impressions/')-like wireless headphones ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/01/08/iphone-7-lightning-earpods-wireless-earphones/') (AirPods ('https://www.macrumors.com/2015/10/01/airpods-trademark/')?), but it may hold off on adopting the technology until 2017 or later.

Those interested in learning more about Lightning-equipped headphones can watch our video: Lightning Headphones: Are They Better or Just an Inconvenience? ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/05/09/iphone-7-lightning-headphones-hands-on/') We also shared a video showing what an aftermarket 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/06/23/headphone-jack-to-lightning-adapter/') looks like as they begin to reach the market ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/05/31/lightning-to-headphone-adapters-iphone-7-launch/').

Article Link: Apple Supplier Cirrus Logic Releases Kit for Creating Lightning-Based Headphones Ahead of iPhone 7 ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/06/29/cirrus-logic-mfi-lightning-headphone-dev-kit/')

[doublepost=1467309055][/doublepost]I've done some long road trips in my car where I have the iPhone plugged into the USB jack of the car at the same time I'm listening to the music with ear buds.

How will I charge my phone and listen with ear buds at the same time?
[doublepost=1467309654][/doublepost]

Not to mention...when Apple made the decision to drop the CD drive, that trend sort of contained itself to the computer world, because that is where the bulk of those drives still existed. A lot of music people (older ones, myself included) will still buy audio CDs. Point being...if Apple dumps the 3.5mm jack, they by no stretch of the imagination will be a catalyst for it's removal across multiple industries. 3.5mm, and even 1/4" jacks, have been standards in the audio world for a very long time. If they couldn't get CD drives completely out of service across multiple industries (not saying that was their goal, just looking at the aftermath), they certainly won't get it done with a technology that is still currently the standard in multiple types of devices. This especially won't catch on outside of the Apple world because the incoming / replacing tech would be proprietary with god knows what type of licensing expense. Try convincing Onkyo, Yamaha, or Denon, or any other number of Audio equipment manufacturers that this will be the new standard. They'll laugh you out of the office. Guitar manufacturers, guitar pedals, audio recording gear, etc, all would have the same reaction. If they switch to anything it will be USB.


Agreed.

It was a mistake to eliminate optical drives. They didn't eliminate CD-ROM. They eliminated OPTICAL DISC DRIVES. You then had DVD and now Blu-ray. It's a mistake to eliminate the 3.5mm audio jack too.

How is TAKING AWAY A FEATURE something the consumer wants? You are handing your competition a reason for people to buy their product! "You can buy this Mac for $1,000 and then buy all these expensive adapters and external Flash card readers and Blu-ray drives and USB hubs, or you can spend $500 for this Windows PC that includes all those things built in." Or in the case of the iPhone, "Why pay more for a phone with fewer features?" "You will have adapters filling your pockets."

Dumb, Apple.

It really pisses me off that when I bought a Mac "Pro" that cost A LOT MORE than a Windows PC and I had to buy a $100 Samsung Blu-ray burner. Of course, the reason Apple didn't adopt Blu-ray is because they don't want people buying movies on Blu-ray. They want them to buy movies on iTunes.

The Mac fan boys argue that I don't need Blu-ray. Tell that to every wedding video company I edit for and every film festival who wants Blu-ray screeners. Sony and Microsoft have sold about 50 million consoles that have Blu-ray drives.
[doublepost=1467309926][/doublepost]

I'm still not seeing a convincing argument for the tangible benefits of ditching the 3.5mm audio port.

Other comparisons don't seem to resonate with me. For example, Ditching the Optical drive in machines had tangible benefits in decreased size/weight, more space for storage, increased battery space & life, airflow design enhancements, and removing the drive also meant removing one of the moving parts that needed the most repair/replacing (that most people I know, just attached an external drive instead of replacing anyways)
and there was already well established (and arguably better) alternatives with thumb drives, AirDisk, NAS,external drives that were faster and more capable than what apple was including in their internal drives etc..
Also Apple still offered Optical drive equipped machines for some transition time.

With ditching the 3.5mm port what is tangibly gained? increased hours of battery life? (certainly not with Bluetooth, or lightning headphones that are terminating so you can't charge and listen at the same time)

What is actually held back by keeping the port? (there are already phones thinner, and with water resistance that still have the port, so it's not those)

Decreased costs for customers? (Not in terms of headphones or adapters that have to include extra circuitry, certifications, etc. and the costs will certainly be passed to customers)

It's just that so far we haven't seen any tangible indication of what would actually be gained by ditching the port, and what is actually held back by keeping it. For consumers or technology (since we can already buy lightning headphones, or Bluetooth headphones if we want, the port certainly isn't holding those back.)

Something isn't bad tech just because it is "old", I still use a keyboard and mouse every day both are technologies going back many decades, I still use wheels every day, zippers, Velcro, etc... my point is simply that "old" isn't a reason unto it self to be replaced. (though I will gladly replace my wheels with hover plating when we have it available :) )


Someone please help me understand, I genuinely want to know, I'm not trying to be hostile but I just don't get it. for as fervently as some people seem to want it gone, there must be tangible benefits for getting rid of the port and real disadvantages by keeping it right?


Apple is putting a second speaker where that analog port is now, so all of those hours you sit listening to music through the speakers on the iPhone will sound better!
Rating: 6 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]