iPhone 7 and the Audiophile Case For Lightning Headphones

SvenSvenson

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2007
192
133
Yeah, no thanks.

That connector looks ridiculously fragile with the way it's sticking out. One wrong move and you'll snap off the lightning connector inside the phone, rendering both devices inoperable (or damaged, depending on if anything shorts out).

Of course, I'm sure Apple is banking on this. It's a great way to sell more iPhones and headphones while they're at it.

-SC
Indeed - this happens all the time with the 3.5mm connector. always getting snapped off and stuck in the phone.
 

wilsonlaidlaw

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2008
420
54
I question how good a DAC can be, with the size, voltage and current limitations imposed by a headphone cable and lightning connector. I have to admit I rarely listen from an iDevice with headphones and then only on aeroplane journeys using a set of AKG 490NC noise cancelling phones where the main aim is just to drown out the background noise, not high quality reproduction.

Where I do care about reproduction, I have an iPod Classic on a Pure digital dock feeding to an external mains power DAC (a Russ Andrews). My main system uses a Mac Mini with all my music stored as ALAC files, feeding out at 192kHz/24 bit to a Benchmark DAC2L, which uses 4 x 32 bit ESS Sabre DAC chips per channel. You are not exactly going to be able to get that in a cable DAC.

I feel the whole exercise is commercially driven to try and monetise Apple's very expensive Beats purchase by getting folks to buy new headphones. Also what if you need to charge and listen at the same time?
 

SvenSvenson

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2007
192
133
the article is looking for some kind of way Lightning is better than 3.5 for audio.
and it doesn't find any,
Then you misunderstood - it clearly found that a Lightning connector can allow for better audio quality. What it didn't do (and what might be confusing you) is that it didn't say Lightning is better than the 3.5mm connector overall.
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Here's a thought; current iPhones have a lightning port AND a headphone jack. Is there any reason why Apple can't keep both but pack bluetooth or lightning earbuds with the phone if that's the standard they want to promote? By all means, advance audio technology, but there's no need to make it an all or nothing transition. Legacy ports and backwards compatibility are almost always welcome features in technology. Best of both worlds.
The whole point is that the 3.5mm port takes up space and restricts how thin the phone can be, so apple are rumoured to want to remove it. Similarly the optical drive/floppy drive in the computers etc.
[doublepost=1465386244][/doublepost]
Agreed. Silly waste of money and overkill to spend $800 to listen to music on an iPhone while exercising etc. Maybe Apple will promote a "Beats" version for $999?
Why do people have such poor comprehension? the $800 headphone may not be for you but arguing that there's no point due to the audio quality from an iPhone when the whole point of the article is that Lightning headphones allow the use of an external DAC, thereby potentially vastly increasing the quality just shows a lack of understanding.
 
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acctman

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2012
1,129
692
Georgia
I'm actually getting more excited about this, time to move on from the 3.5mm
Lightning is an Apple standard... you'll have to carry and adapter or cable to use head phones with other devices. What next will other companies adopt USB-C and now you have to device if you want to spend $250 for a lightning only headphone or a USB-C headphones that will only work with one set of devices. This is silly to push a standard that is only for one ecosystem... i'll pass, limitation like this is silly makes no sense for the average consumer.
 

gtkriz

macrumors newbie
Mar 30, 2015
21
8
I use Bluetooth to listen to music from my iPhone 5 via Beats headphones and have no reason to complain whatsoever and I wouldn't go back to cable. Those Beats were expensive back then, but maybe prices went down in the meantime so they are affordable.
 

Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
3,031
5,640
I think this 'case for lightning headphones' is weak, and fundamentally dishonest, because you're essentially making comparisons between DACs/amps, not headphones.

Spend enough money on an external DAC and guess what: it sounds better than the cheaper internal one Apple uses. This is not news people!

But buy integrated lightning headphones and you are lumbered with some proprietary headphones that work only with iOS devices.

Alternatively, buy a lightning DAC with a 3.5mm headphone jack and continue using high quality headphones of your choice. Like you could do already.

There is nothing in the case argued that can't be done NOW with current iOS devices and the lightning port, if you want to (as the examples prove!). The choice of buying a better DAC/amp for the iPhone is a good one to have, whether integrated into the headphones or not. But it isn't an argument for dropping the built-in headphone jack, which is what I find misleading about it.

Removing the option of using the built-in headphone jack would only be for Apple's benefit - not consumers, many of whom are not going to want to spend the increased cost on headphones with integrated DACs that they can only use on one manufacturer's devices - they will buy bargain-basement adapters that sound no better than the iPhone's DAC, only now they will have to carry an adapter or buy superfluous proprietary headphones they never wanted to.

By all means extol the benefits of having the option for external DACs and amps for audiophiles. But don't imply Apple is doing the world in general a favour if it removes the bog-standard 3.5mm headphone jack from its devices and forces what is now a great option into being literally the only way to use wired headphones with a new iPhone.
 
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KPandian1

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2013
1,493
2,387
The first iPhone model without the 3.5 audio jack and lightning only headphones option will sink!

Mid-year or next change will bring back the 3.5 audio jack, located at the top of the iPhone!

The next model may look like the iPhone 4s anyway, with front and back glass - so the headphone jack at the top will be great.
 

splitpea

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2009
989
226
Among the starlings
Bluetooth is awful, but why would wireless in general be fundamentally inferior? I routinely see 150 megabits/second over WiFi, enough to stream a 4K movie, and it's 100% digital. Seems like the main advantage of the lightning cable is supplying power to headphones, so they don't need a rechargeable battery. Glad to see one headphone maker is supplying an equalizer app, because this is typically the main issue when you go digital line out - sometimes you can't even adjust the volume locally, let alone equalize it.
Wireless suffers from problems with interference. Those of us who listen to music while traveling in crowded public transit are going to have a hell of a time pairing and keeping a good connection while standing nose to armpit with 250 other people in a single subway car. Plus there's the whole problem of keeping your headphones charged. Who wants to have to worry about that?

So now I've got a choice between charging my headphones every night and hoping they stay connected on the train; carrying a dumb overpriced adapter that's going to get lost/damaged and won't let me listen to music or make a call or watch YouTube while recharging the phone as I do every day while on the way from work to evening activities; or buying an overpriced pair of headphones that have all the same problems as the adapter (except the likelihood of damage/loss) while also carrying around either another adapter or an entirely separate set of headphones to use with my computer or my friend's phone or any other device.

Right, those are all awesome options.
 

ProjectManager101

Suspended
Jul 12, 2015
458
705
Damn, to agreed with this you need to have mental issues to say the least.
1. They want you to pay extra money for a pair of expensive headphones that will be around as long the port is around.
2. To listen to super compressed audio, you can tell a cheap mp3 when listening to a DJ.

That is another excuse to make you buy things you do need and no one is asking for.
What about better battery life?
What about a version of iTunes that actually work and is more professional?
 

Glassed Silver

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2007
2,098
2,539
Kassel, Germany
That article is a ****ing joke right?
It paints audiophiles as trigger-happy when it comes to "pricey but it's decent quality".

I know an audiophile and I doubt he'd buy a set of headphones for 800 to make him forget about 3.5. (to paraphrase)

More than likely he's quite happy with decent 3.5 when on-the-go and the noise around you degrades the listening experience anyways.
The proper listening mostly happens at home and often from vinyl.

Don't give me this BS.
As if this was a move to be supportive of a niche demographic.
Remember Aperture? Probably similarly niche and they don't ****ing care.

The Verge found one nice use case, but here we are, people can already, if they really want to, get those headphones and they work on today's devices.
There is no progress involved here if Apple were to drop 3.5 as an option.
("it'll push Lightning headphones" → this is what's going to happen: many people like 3.5's flexibility. They already have either proper headphones or just go with whatever ships with the iPhone. There'll be these groups of people dominating: 1) keepers: buy an adapter and keep your old pair 2) Apple buds users: toss the old ones away, use new ones that ship with iPhone. DONE. Some will buy Lightning headphones, but I assume most won't like the thought of a set of headphones that work with merely one of their devices.)

Glassed Silver:ios
 
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BB8

macrumors regular
Jan 26, 2016
203
649
My complaint has never been that they're getting rid of 3.5mm, but that they'd be replacing it with lightning when the entire world is about to make the move to usb-c.
 
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scaramoosh

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2014
574
571
Change is good and has to happen at some point if we're to evolve. I've hated 3.5mm for so long and so I'm glad if we can get a new digital standard to finally kill it off.

That said I prefer wireless now any ways, at the point now where it's almost as good.
 

Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,158
2,128
The whole point is that the 3.5mm port takes up space and restricts how thin the phone can be, so apple are rumoured to want to remove it. Similarly the optical drive/floppy drive in the computers etc.
The iPod nano is as thin as the 3.5mm port, metal-casing aside. The current iPhone is a lot thicker by comparison. So removing the port for the sake of thinness is not a valid excuse they could use.
 

PaulRustad007

macrumors 6502
Jun 3, 2015
387
349
Here's a thought; current iPhones have a lightning port AND a headphone jack. Is there any reason why Apple can't keep both but pack bluetooth or lightning earbuds with the phone if that's the standard they want to promote? By all means, advance audio technology, but there's no need to make it an all or nothing transition. Legacy ports and backwards compatibility are almost always welcome features in technology. Best of both worlds.


If that is the case, I want a SCSI port back in my Mac Mini...I have some legacy hard drives I would like to connect.
 
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omnisphere

macrumors member
Mar 22, 2011
55
12
Lightning or USB-C headphones will be great if they mean better audio quality, but hopefully that doesn't mean the 3.5mm jack is going away just yet.

I think that would make the iPhone 7 unappealing to a lot of people who don't want to throw away their existing headphones, or who want to charge their phones and use headphones at the same time - something I do almost every day!
+1 ON THAT!!!!

I have several headphones from 50$ to 500$ with 3.5mm and I am not going to throw them away or use ****** and expensive adapter.

Since Steve Jobs died Apple is slowly going down, no new Mac Pro since 2013, Mac mini is now a toy, OS X new versions is coming to closely before app makers has released their update and bugs are sorted out.
 

hackenbacker

macrumors newbie
May 20, 2016
19
44
If it was based on an open connector, and all other manufacturers were being allowed and encouraged to implement it, then this wouldn't be such a problem.

But there is no way that I am spending a lot of money on high quality headphones that I can only use with Apple equipment, and nor should anyone else.

People need to take a stand against this kind of unnecessary and anti-competitive vendor lock in.
 

Mactendo

macrumors 68000
Oct 3, 2012
1,912
1,930
Also what if you need to charge and listen at the same time?
Tim Cook on stage:

After extensive tests in our secret underground labs we discovered that you DON'T NEED to charge and listen at the same time. Revolutionary battery of iPhone 7 holds charge for 25 hours, that's more than a day. Music listening and talk time is 8 hours but as the latest research say listening or talking more than 8 hours a day is dangerous to your health. And we at Apple care about our customers. So all you need is just talk less and plug your iPhone 7 to charge overnight and that's all. That's all! See how it's simple?
Only we at Apple could do such innovation.

And now please welcome to the stage Taylor Swift! Thanks for attending guys, keep purchasing iPhones.
 

randomplaydo

macrumors member
Oct 9, 2014
88
172
The iPod nano is as thin as the 3.5mm port, metal-casing aside. The current iPhone is a lot thicker by comparison. So removing the port for the sake of thinness is not a valid excuse they could use.
The phone's thicker for the cellular/wifi radio and the additional battery needed to power the screen and radios and processor. Looking at a teardown of the 6s and plus, there's literally no more room inside the phone for anything at this point. The only way to get more space is to either shrink internal components or remove components.
 
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