Apple Enables HD Audio Playback on iOS Devices…

Screen shot 2014-06-05 at 11.31.46 AM
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Apple only announced one new audio related feature at their recent Worldwide Developers Conference: Shazam iOS integration.  So this one came as somewhat of a surprise, especially since Apple is acquiring Beats in a deal that has everyone talking.

Word had also been circulating that Apple was going to announce HD audio playback, new headphones, and new lightning adaptors. After WWDC, I predicted that this change would probably be aligned with the expected fall release of a new iPhone.

Now, it seems like Apple is quietly taking baby steps towards audio hardware updates.  9to5Mac has noticed new audio specifications for manufacturers in Apple’s MFi Program.

These new specifications allow manufacturers to create headphones that connect through the Lightning port.

iOS software does not support this yet, but a future update will support it in iOS 7.1 and later. These headphones will be able to play audio files with a sampling frequency of 48kHz.

The technology also supports mic inputs and headphone remotes. Headphones will be able to draw power from the device through the Lightning connection. They can also receive firmware updates.

There are two options for manufacturers. Standard Lightning Headphones use minimal components and Advanced Lightning Headphones allow for more features.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

4 Responses

  1. Jeff Robinson

    Does this mean CD standard 16-bit (or slightly better 24-bit), 44.1 kHz files or are they targeting 88.2, 96, and 192 kHz formats?

  2. Anonymous

    iPhones can already play digital audio resolutions up to 48 kHz/24-bit. HD audio is generally considered to be at least 88.2 kHz/24-bit.

  3. Anonymous

    Lady & gents, you’re missing the point:


    It spells v-i-d-e-o! And that’s interesting.

  4. Ed

    It’s about damn time. If I had to listen to HD through that tin can on a string iPhone 4s I would have been ripped off further on the iPhone sound experience. Another reason why Apple bought Beats was for Beats Audio and hopefully a revised sound chassis. This further move substantiates that step. Just bring it Apple. If you want to be(ats) THE cloud music solution you must make this step