MFi specs are the standards that Apple puts out for their hardware partners to make officially sanctioned accessories to support Apple devices. Typically there are a lot of overseas companies that produce cheaper accessories that may not be fully up to Apple’s standards, you won’t see those accessories in any major big box store and definitely not in an Apple store.
Companies like Griffin Technology, iGo, Speck Products and of course Otterbox are companies who always produce accessories to Apple’s MFi specs.
Well 9to5mac reported earlier this week that Apple has quietly introduced a new specification for manufacturers that allows them to create headphones that connect to the Lightning connector rather than the typical 3.5mm headphone jack.
The specification will coincide with a software update that will allow audio to pass through the lightning connector jack. The Lightning connected headphones will be capable of receiving a lossless 48khz digital audio output from Apple devices and also sending a 48khz mono signal. This essentially means that headsets with both an earpiece and a microphone will be able to connect through lightning.
The other significant change is with power.
Non powered audio devices will be able to receive power through the Lightning port. The same holds true for powered devices, or pass through devices that would allow the iOS device to charge while also providing audio.
“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.” 9to5mac reports.
While the timing was just right, it is possible we will see Beats headphones with Lightning connectors soon.