Through its Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod program Apple provides manufacturers with certain specifications that they have to adhere to for their accessories and products to work with the company’s devices. A standard 3.5mm headset jack is used on Apple’s mobile devices so manufacturers make their products accordingly. According to a new report Apple is paving the way for headphones that connect to its Lightning port instead. The port was first introduced with the iPhone 5, it replaced the 30-pin connector.
9to5mac claims to have heard of this change in the MFi program, even though the company is yet to flip the switch on audio input support for Lightning cables. However it may release a software update in the future that will bring support to any iOS device running version iOS 7.1 or higher.
Apparently these headphones will be able to receive lossless stereo 48kHz digital audio output and will be able to send in mono 48kHz digital input. This means that there wil be a microphone as well and these headphones will even have controls for volume adjustment and possibly for launching specific apps such as iTunes Radio.
It may not be a question of removing an internal component to make future devices slimmer. The headset jack is barely taller than the Lightning connector so there’s actually no need of removing it. Moreover switching to Lightning headphones would mean that users won’t be able to use one with a standard 3.5mm pin. Could Apple offer both options in the future? Its too soon to say right now, but this is something that we’ll certainly keep an eye on.