Apple introduces MFi specs for Lightning cable headphones, iOS software update to deliver support

“We’ve learned Apple has quietly introduced a new specification for manufacturers in its Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) program that allows them to create headphones that connect to iOS devices using a Lightning connector instead of the usual 3.5mm headphone jack,” Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Mac. “Apple has not flipped the switch on the audio input support for Lightning cables and existing iOS devices, but it will release a software update in the future that will enable support in devices running iOS 7.1 or later.”

Kahn reports, “Manufacturers will be able to take advantage of Apple Headphone Remote controls like Volume Up/Down/etc, as well as other buttons for launching specific apps such as iTunes Radio or initiating playback controls on iOS. In addition, the headphones can be made to work specifically with a companion iOS app and launch a specific app when connected to an iOS device.”

“Apple says the headphones will be able to draw power from an Apple device (even if the device is asleep), which for some products could eliminate cost associated with an internal battery. It could also work the other way around by providing power to an Apple device from an internal battery or external power source. That enables you to listen to music and also use a passthrough setup so you could charge the device simultaneously, much like you can with an audio dock that uses a Lightning connector. The headphones will also be capable of receiving firmware updates,” Kahn reports. “It’s easy to see how Apple could push Lightning headphones as a big differentiating feature for iPhone and other Apple devices… I’m guessing we’ll see a Lightning cable eventually make its way to a pair of Beats.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Biometric EarPods, anyone?


  1. Oh, I don’t know….maybe Beats headphones w/DAC and noise cancelation powered by the iPhone that would launch the Beats app….that may or may not support 24/96?

      1. Yeah, I’m happy with my Beyers, but there is nothing holding Apple back from developing studio-grade cans alongside Beats Lo-Quality Status can(not)s…

  2. I hate seeing ‘MFi’ being used. It just happens to be the name of a now thankfully extinct furniture retailer here widely notorious for cheap and very nasty fall apart products. Really don’t like to see that associated with Apple every time I read it.

      1. What is your problem, silverhawk? The guy was making a passing comment, an aside, with regard to a name. What was the need for a derogatory comment? Didn’t your mommy tell you that if you can’t say anything nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all? It’s people like you that get comment boards on the internet a bad name.

      1. About us A proven icon in UK furniture retailing since the 1960‘s, the MFI name has always been regarded as a true specialist in its sector, and that name has now returned to the home interiors market as an e-commerce operator. The business will offer high quality, luxurious and affordable home furnishings with first class customer service. Our customers can browse quality and aspirational collections at competitive prices, covering bedrooms, sofas and chairs, living room, dining room, kids, home office and bathrooms. Committed to helping you find – and deliver – your perfect pieces, our dedicated new team of customer services representatives is on hand 7 days a week to answer your queries and questions. Delivery is designed to make it easy for you; we work around your schedule with delivery times chosen by you, if you need help with anything our team is always on hand – all you need to do is ask! Thanks for your interest in MFI and we hope we can help you make your home even more comfortable.

  3. I see the standard 3.5mm disappearing from iOS devices soon after this gets implemented, to “save space.”

    I hope Apple doesn’t go that route though, especially since they’re supposed to be increasing the size of the iPhone anyway.

    1. It is about time Apple droped or at least start the process to drop (i.e. let people know this is coming – this could be it) and add wireless charging and better battery.

      I believe reliable (as only pole will do) wireless charging would be a huge selling point both for iPhone, MACs, and specially wearable devices. I have not used a watch for at least 10 years but I will wear a health tracking so called watch but it needs to work without having to take it off to charge it say over night.

    2. Probably not all that soon, if at all. Unless there are two lightning ports, you won’t be able to charge and use headphones at the same time (unless they make lightning port splitters).

      Second, you severely limit the accessories and headphones that the iPhone will be compatible with, and that’s not competitive, cool or wise.

  4. Once an apple headphone set can read my brainwaves and transmit the data through high bandwidth lightning, I won’t even have to utter “Hey, Siri.” I will be able to just think it!

    1. By that time it will just hear ‘my diaper is full…where’s the nurse….the blonde one….I like cobbler…where’s my goldfish…is that you, Martha…?’

  5. I think most commentors are missing the point. The reason apple went with a much smaller connector (lightning) in the first place is for smaller sized ports. Yes, that will allow for smaller phones, but what about devices that are so small they only have space for one connector and thus need to have a connector that can do everything and still be very small? Is anything coming to mind yet? I’ll watch while the lightbulb comes on….

  6. The IK Multimedia iRig HD send guitar sound in via lighting – is that different than what’s mentioned in the article? “Apple has not flipped the switch on the audio input support for Lightning cables…”

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