In a surprise development, Philips has become the first company to announce headphones that transmit audio via Apple’s Lightning port. Given Apple’s recent $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics, most expected the Cupertino-based company would be the first to make such an announcement.
The Philips Fidelio M2L headphones use over-the-ear style cans with breathable leather and memory foam ear pads. Philips’ solution uses its own high-quality 24-bit digital to analogue converter (DAC) and two 40mm high magnetic intensity neodymium drivers that the company claims will deliver wide ranging audio with dynamic bass.
If you recall, Apple first announced the Lightning-enabled headphone standard at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference this past June. The new standard offers a number of benefits over traditional 3.5mm headphone jacks due to the fact that it offers a digital interface and more bandwidth.
This allows Lightning-based headphones to bypass an iDevice’s internal DAC and instead use one that’s built into a set of headphones alongside its own amplifier like we’re seeing with the Fidelio M2L. Headphones can also be paired with companion apps to allow for things like volume control and track skipping.
And although Philips didn’t specify whether or not they’re using it, the standard allows Lightning-connected headphones to draw power from an iDevice. This would allow headphone manufacturers to cut back on some of the bulk that a battery pack would otherwise add.
Look for the Philips Fidelio M2L headphones to hit retail this December at a price of €250 (roughly $323).