Teardown Confirms Digital-to-Analog Converter in Lightning EarPods and 3.5mm Adapter

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Vietnamese website Tinhte has shared a teardown of Apple's new Lightning EarPods and Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone jack adapter included in the box with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The video confirms that, as expected, each accessory is equipped with a small digital-to-analog converter.

    [​IMG]

    The chip in the adapter, labeled 338S00140 / A0MU1621 / TW, does not have branding for any particular manufacturer, but Apple typically sources its audio-related chips from Cirrus Logic, which produces digital-to-analog converters. The chip in the EarPods is nearly identical, with a label of 338S00140 / A0QK1623 / TW.

    The inclusion of a digital-to-analog converter, or DAC for short, enables both the new EarPods and traditional analog headphones with 3.5mm jacks to function over the Lightning connector, which delivers digital audio. The tiny chip is protected by a metal shield and two layers of plastic.


    Apple controversially removed the 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, forcing customers to use a growing selection of Lightning-equipped headphones like Apple's own EarPods, wireless Bluetooth headphones, or traditional headphones connected via the Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter.

    Article Link: Teardown Confirms Digital-to-Analog Converter in Lightning EarPods and 3.5mm Adapter
     
  2. digitalhen macrumors regular

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    If there wasn't a DAC....how else would make sound?
     
  3. masotime macrumors 68020

    masotime

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    It would literally be magical if it didn't include a DAC.
     
  4. Tubamajuba macrumors 68020

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    The tiniest tin cans
     
  5. potatis macrumors 6502a

    potatis

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    DAC includes "protection" so you only can play iTunes purchased music?
     
  6. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

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    If you had never seen a lightening connector before you saw these pictures you would think its huge. Look how many parts are in this thing. Its tiny but the parts inside a just incredibly tiny.

    Anyhow, with the DAC in the connector you have an opportunity for other brands to provide their own DAC that might just as well be a better design.
     
  7. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    You'd be amazed - I've seen quite a few posts suggesting that Apple had somehow changed the lightning port to output analog sound as it was "impossible" to include a DAC in the plug as there wasn't enough room!


    Why would it? iTunes purchased music isn't protected anyway ;)
     
  8. MrGimper macrumors 603

    MrGimper

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    Apple controversially courageously removed the 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

    Fixed that for you.
     
  9. keysofanxiety macrumors G3

    keysofanxiety

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    Cups on a string, how else? :p
     
  10. AppleInLVX macrumors 65816

    AppleInLVX

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    Seems fine, and shocked at how small they can make a DAC, but the dongle needs a line of code to stop it falling asleep after a few minutes of inactivity. It's bad when you're on hold and lose the mic when the other party connects, or if the volume controls stop working until you unplug and replug the thing. Other than that, it's all good.
     
  11. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    iTunes purchased music isn't DRM protected so how would that work? :confused:
     
  12. SomicMouse macrumors newbie

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  13. RizzMusic macrumors newbie

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    In other news: Something that does exactly what it was created for has exactly what it needs to do exactly what it was intended for...
     
  14. Return Zero, Sep 20, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016

    Return Zero macrumors 6502a

    Return Zero

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    I'm somewhat confused... Not by the presence of a DAC in the lightning headphones, but by the presence of the third audio amplifier found previously in Chipworks' iPhone 7 teardown. An amplifier is used on an analog signal, but the signal leaving the port is still digital. What am I missing here?

    EDIT: added emphasis :D
     
  15. Kaibelf Suspended

    Kaibelf

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    The strangest thing happened. I got my iPhone 7 on Friday, and despite it having no jack, the sun has continued to rise every morning. Who knew?
     
  16. Narcaz, Sep 20, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016

    Narcaz macrumors 6502

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    The internal speakers.

    I guess Apple also killed the low end (<30$) wired headphone market for the iPhone with this move. Headphone manufacturers will have to pay the lightning licence fees and need to include a dac that matches at least the earpods. Without Apple scale i doubt this is possible.
     
  17. Morris macrumors regular

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    The iPhone 7 has speakers so it will still need a DAC and amp built-in to play sound.
     
  18. Lennholm macrumors 6502a

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    So, the lightning headphones and the adapter do not run on Apple's patented magical pixie dust?
     
  19. elpardo macrumors newbie

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    So apart from as people have said that iTunes content isnt DRM'd, you do realise if Apple wanted to limit the iPhone to Itunes music they could do that with the same DAC in any iPhone via a software update?
     
  20. Tomapple macrumors member

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    Anybody knows if the "quality" of the DAC can impact the quality of sound? If yes... how good are the ones provided by Apple? Are there better ones?
     
  21. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    Yes, and Yes - you can pay upwards of £1,000 for a top-end DAC! The question really is whether this DAC is at least as good as the one that's built in to the iPhone and I'd guess it will be but time will tell
     
  22. Return Zero macrumors 6502a

    Return Zero

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    I understand that the internal speakers require amps, but there are three amps in the phone. Assuming one for each internal speaker, what is the third one for?
     
  23. sziehr macrumors 6502a

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    There are definitely better units.

    The real question i have though is how does this chip stack up to the chip embedded inside say the 6 or 6s.
     
  24. chr1s60 macrumors 68000

    chr1s60

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    Maybe next keynote we will get different colored adapters like the watch bands!
     
  25. Carlanga macrumors 604

    Carlanga

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    #25
    Fixed that for you
     

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