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)
Avatar
54 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.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago
Are they gonna put a female Lightning port on Macs?? How else do they expect us to use Lightning headphones across devices?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 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.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 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
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 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.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Unreleased iPod Touch with Mac Pro Glossy Black Finish Shared Online

Sunday August 2, 2020 11:32 am PDT by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today posted images of what seems to be a first-generation iPod Touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish. The Twitter user claims that the iPod Touch prototype pictured has "the same coating as the 2013 Mac Pro." Had the finish been selected for the final product, it also would have been similar to the metallic glossy black finish that...

Apple Confirms This Year's iPhone 12 Models Will Be a Little Bit Late

Thursday July 30, 2020 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2020 (second calendar quarter) Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed that Apple is expecting to release this year's iPhones later than usual. Maestri said that Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later." Multiple rumors have suggested that ...

Battery Likely for Upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 Filed in Certification Listings

Saturday August 1, 2020 5:46 am PDT by
A battery likely for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 has been filed at the Korea Testing and Research Institute and discovered by a Twitter user @yabhishekhd. Certification for a 1.17Wh battery with a capacity of 303.8mAh was issued on June 23 by the KTR, a Korean regulatory body that approves and tests new hardware ahead of public sale. The battery seems to be destined for a future...

Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor

Friday July 31, 2020 1:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 6 will add blood oxygen monitoring to its features list when it's launched later this year, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the ...

Apple Marks Return of NHL With New 'Hockey Tape' Ad Shot on iPhone 11 Pro

Saturday August 1, 2020 2:33 am PDT by
Apple today marked the return of NHL hockey with a new "Shot on iPhone" ad on its YouTube channel in Canada. Titled "Hockey Tape," the 30-second video features Vegas Golden Knights players Marc-André Fleury and Mark Stone having some on-ice fun with the iPhone 11 Pro, which they attach to the boards, a hockey stick, and a skate with hockey tape. "See the game like never before with Ultra ...

Emails Reveal Why Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller Blocked In-App Purchase of Kindle Books

Friday July 31, 2020 6:25 am PDT by
Internal Apple emails, made public by the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust inquiry, have revealed information about why Apple blocked in-app purchases of Kindle books on iOS devices, reports The Verge. Two sets of emails between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue, and various other senior Apple executives, disclose the exact thinking behind how Apple approached Kindle on iOS. The...