Apple may be looking to kill the classic 3.5 mm headphone jack — an invention whose basic standard hasn’t changed drastically for over a hundred years — in favour of the company’s propriety ‘Lightning’ port, according to a new report.
The decision to do so could have far-reaching effects for consumers, who would be required to buy adaptors for their existing headphone sets, but would also result in greater synergies with the company’s recent acquisition of high-end headphone company Beat Electronics.
According to tech website 9 to 5 Mac, which is known for its accurate reporting on Apple leaks, the company has introduced a new specification for manufacturers in its made-for-iPhone (MFi) programme that will allow them to create headphones with Lightning connectors.
Not only will the new type of headphones be able to make the switch between analogue to digital audio with an high lossless stereo 48 kHz digital output, it would also transform the traditional, ‘dumb’ headphones into a smart device.
Apple, the report says, has pointed out in its new specification that the new headphones can be “made to work specifically with a companion iOS app”. For instance, consumers would be able to do more than just skip tracks — they could work with apps such as iTunes Radio or initiate playback controls on iOS.
Another advantage could be that the headphones would be able to tap into power from an Apple device, thus “eliminating costs associated with an internal battery.”
Above all, say analysts, it could help in serving as a unique technological differentiator for the company’s Beat headphones, which have long been differentiated on the basis of fashion.