Made for iPhone (MFi) specifications have reportedly been released by Apple which cover headphones that utilize an iDevice’s lightning cable port instead of its 3.5mm headphones jack. There are two different types of headphones Apple will support within these specifications:
- simplistic Standard Lightning headphones that use minimal components and offer very few features,
- and Advanced Lightning headphones that can include additional components and features for things like active noise cancellation.
The benefit of using a device’s lightning port instead of its 3.5mm headphone jack is that the headphones will be able to receive firmware updates as well as lossless 48 kHz stereo output from the Apple devices.
The Lightning headphones will be capable of receiving lossless stereo 48 kHz digital audio output from Apple devices and sending mono 48 kHz digital audio input. The input means the headphones will also support a microphone for audio input following Apple’s upcoming update. Manufacturers will be able to take advantage of Apple Headphone Remote controls like Volume Up/Down/etc, as well as other buttons for launching specific apps such as iTunes Radio or initiating playback controls on iOS. In addition, the headphones can be made to work specifically with a companion iOS app and launch a specific app when connected to an iOS device.
The specifications, originally discovered by 9to5Mac, note that the headphones can include all of the same features as would normally be found on headphones. Included in those are volume buttons, a microphone, audio controls, and even buttons that are tied to specific applications on a device.