More Photos Show Off Alleged Lightning EarPods for iPhone 7 [Update: Fake]

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A series of photos have been posted on Chinese microblogging service Weibo, and later shared by French website NWE, that provide a closer look at what appear to be Lightning-equipped EarPods. However, it cannot be fully distinguished if these are official Apple headphones or simply Chinese counterfeits.


Apple is expected to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 series, and multiple rumors have suggested that Apple will release EarPods with a Lightning connector in turn. The headphones, beyond having no 3.5mm headphone jack, look nearly identical to current EarPods.

One discernible difference is the larger plastic housing around the Lightning connector compared to the 3.5mm headphone jack on current EarPods. However, the switch to Lightning likely means EarPods will be equipped with a DAC, or digital-to-analog converter, and it needs to be built in somewhere.

While these photos could easily be fake, the switch to Lightning-equipped EarPods makes sense given rumors about the headphone jack's impending demise. Apple may also release a dongle for connecting wired headphones with standard 3.5mm jacks, while wireless Bluetooth headphones will continue to be supported.


Apple's exact reasons behind its supposed plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack are unknown, but rumors suggest that iPhones could have wireless charging by 2017. The iPhone 7 is also expected to be up to 1mm thinner and have increased waterproofing compared to the iPhone 6s.

While the Lightning connector is expected to become an all-in-one port for audio output, charging, and accessories, only a handful of Lightning-equipped headphones are available today, including Philips' Fidelio M2L and Fidelio NC1L models.

Last month, Apple supplier Cirrus Logic introduced a new MFi Headset Development Kit, a reference platform that is designed to help "Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod" accessory makers quickly develop Lightning-based headphones. The development kit is available through Apple's MFi Program for registered licensees.

Those interested in learning more about Lightning-equipped headphones can watch our video: Lightning Headphones: Are They Better or Just an Inconvenience? We also shared a video showing what an aftermarket 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter looks like as they began to reach the market in recent months.

Update: NWE editor Steve Hemmerstoffer has updated his article to confirm that these are not official EarPods.

Article Link: More Photos Show Off Alleged Lightning EarPods for iPhone 7 [Update: Fake]
 

tys

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Jan 3, 2008
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So you can't charge, sync, or tether your phone while using the headphones? Or am I missing something?
I know there are ways around it with wifi and bluetooth, but that would be a major inconvenience for me.
 

nviz22

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Jun 24, 2013
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Anyways, the iPhone 7 doesn't seem to appeal to me. Not a fan of removing the headphone jack as of now. Another S year might discourage many more from upgrading. The S7 is outselling the 6S too. The SE keeps the 4" crowd happy, so they won't buy a 7/7+. The Note 7 is almost here too. Either there could be credible leak to boost consumer confidence or Apple can risk losing more customers to Samsung.
 

yesjam

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Jun 6, 2014
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There's something about the "R" on the right earbud...not sure if the font is screwy or if it's just my mind playing tricks on me.

I'm hoping that if Apple does indeed release lightning earbuds (as opposed to a pair of wireless headphones or a mere adapter) they redesign the earbuds themselves. I would far prefer rubberized in-ear headphones as opposed to the current design, which cannot seem to stay in place in my ears.
 

Waxhead138

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May 18, 2012
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Convenient how the looping of the wires disappears out of the frame picture. That's literally a pair of regular earbuds and a lighting wire, with the headphone jack and USB portions outside of the image.
Yeah. I thought the same. If you want to truly leak info, you'll show all of the said info in one shot...especially if some payment is involved for the leak.
 

dustinsc

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Nov 21, 2009
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Just posted this to the iphone forum, but I thought it would be relevant here.

Apple will remove the 3.5 mm audio port, but will not remove the DAC for headphones. Instead, Apple will pass the analog audio output to the lightning port, using four contacts on sides of the port. Two will be on the sides (let's say for the right and left channels), and will double as the contacts that hold the lightning connector in place. A headphone adapter would have two corresponding contacts on the side of the connector. Two more connectors will be at the rear of the port. These would function as the microphone channel, and a single corresponding contact would be on the connector. The phone would recognize the orientation of the adapter based on which of the two contacts on the port makes contact.

Port
__0____0__
|..............|
0.............0
|..............|

Connector/Adapter
_____0__
|...........|
0..........0
|...........|


Adapters for old headphones would be trivial to make, as they would simply pass each contact to the corresponding channels on the 3.5mm port through a basic connection. I would imagine that third party accessory makers could make these available for a couple bucks.
 

arkmannj

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Oct 1, 2003
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I would expect real ones to have pass-through so you can listen and be plugged into power at the same time, otherwise they are useless for people who listen to music all day while working/etc...
 

SMIDG3T

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How are these ugly? Apart from the connector which is thicker (because people don't take care of them so they break and then cry at Apple) they are exactly the same.

They are thicker so they can take more abuse from the people who don't look after them.
 
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ARB4

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These are probably the real ones. I say this because—although ugly—the connector would need a bit of a tab for grip and sturdiness. This design is more than likely a result of pretty extensive testing that would be "good enough" for the masses in general. The last thing they would need is bad PR from new EarPods that were breaking too easily.
 
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oneMadRssn

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Just posted this to the iphone forum, but I thought it would be relevant here.

Apple will remove the 3.5 mm audio port, but will not remove the DAC for headphones. Instead, Apple will pass the analog audio output to the lightning port, using four contacts on sides of the port. Two will be on the sides (let's say for the right and left channels), and will double as the contacts that hold the lightning connector in place. A headphone adapter would have two corresponding contacts on the side of the connector. Two more connectors will be at the rear of the port. These would function as the microphone channel, and a single corresponding contact would be on the connector. The phone would recognize the orientation of the adapter based on which of the two contacts on the port makes contact.

Port
__0____0__
|..............|
0.............0
|..............|

Connector/Adapter
_____0__
|...........|
0..........0
|...........|


Adapters for old headphones would be trivial to make, as they would simply pass each contact to the corresponding channels on the 3.5mm port through a basic connection. I would imagine that third party accessory makers could make these available for a couple bucks.
That sounds plausible, but what is your source for this information?

Also, currently the sides of a lightning plug are entirely metal. Would it be a plastic plug then with those connectors?
 

LordVic

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2011
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Just posted this to the iphone forum, but I thought it would be relevant here.

Apple will remove the 3.5 mm audio port, but will not remove the DAC for headphones. Instead, Apple will pass the analog audio output to the lightning port, using four contacts on sides of the port. Two will be on the sides (let's say for the right and left channels), and will double as the contacts that hold the lightning connector in place. A headphone adapter would have two corresponding contacts on the side of the connector. Two more connectors will be at the rear of the port. These would function as the microphone channel, and a single corresponding contact would be on the connector. The phone would recognize the orientation of the adapter based on which of the two contacts on the port makes contact.

Port
__0____0__
|..............|
0.............0
|..............|

Connector/Adapter
_____0__
|...........|
0..........0
|...........|


Adapters for old headphones would be trivial to make, as they would simply pass each contact to the corresponding channels on the 3.5mm port through a basic connection. I would imagine that third party accessory makers could make these available for a couple bucks.
was my first thought on seeing this, but more I think about it, the more likely this leak is faked.

if Aplpe were to do this, they would be making earphones that were incompatible with existing iOS devices, even if they hvae a lightning port. Existing LIghtning ports (I could be wrong) don't contain analogue audio.

So you'd need a pair of "new" lightning headphones for yournew iPhone, and a seperate set of headphones for any other devices you have.

if they went with an inline DAC/AMP, it would at least mean that any lightning headphone will work on any lightning equipped device.