There’s more to Apple’s Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter than meets the eye

“An iFixit teardown found there’s more going on inside than may be expected from a $9 dongle,” Michelle Maisto reports for eWeek. “After a little help from Creative Electron, which took an X-ray image of the adapter… Their findings, in a nutshell: ‘There’s actually a lot going on in there,’ wrote iFixit’s Jeff Suovanen.”

“The teams found the expected bits—the connectors. ‘But what’s all that silicon around the Lightning connector end?’ asked Suovanen. ‘”Most of the retail space near the connector is taken up by a single mystery IC,'” Maisto reports. “The function of the IC, the team surmised, is likely, at the very least, an analog-to-digital converter (ADC).”

“Earphones, and human ears, need analog signals to work. Apple’s new connector is digital. The IC likely behaves as the needed translator,” Maisto reports. “‘By the same logic, this chip must also contain an ADC circuit to convert the analog signal from your headphones’ built-in mic into something that can pass back through the Lightning port so your iPhone can make use of it,’ explained Suovanen.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As expected.

Listening test: Apple’s Lightning EarPods sound better than antiquated 3.5mm headphone jack – September 20, 2016


  1. I think we all figured there was a DAC in there . . . . but I suppose it was plausible that one of the pins in the Lightning cable could have been programmed to simply carry an analog signal from a DAC inside the iPhone. So while I agree it’s no shock, it’s probably worth noting at least that Apple is shipping a cable that isn’t just a bunch of dumb wires and they’re eating some costs to ease the transition, which is good on them.

  2. There are two DAC’s included with the 7 series…one in the dongle and one in the Headphones….old news like everyone is saying…this was uncovered only a couple days after it arrived in the wild

  3. I think there is a good value in this Apple connector but don’t expect 96.000Hz 24-bits sound quality from this $9 adapter. Although they should appear soon from dedicated hifi brands.

  4. “The function of the IC, the team surmised, is likely, at the very least, an analog-to-digital converter (ADC).”

    So WHO was the guy here who attempted to bust my ass for pointing out that the adapter included a D-A converter? I’m going to look you up dude!

    I was right all along!
    I was right all along!
    Nah Nah! 😛 👼

    Silliness aside, it does save Apple space inside the iPhone 7 series. That was my point. Proven. √

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