iOS 8 to Launch with Updated Headphones and HD Audio Playback

Apple is updating the Lightning connector to allow for high-quality 24-bit audio

An interesting rumor just came out of Japan. Mere days after reportedly signing a multi-billion-dollar deal to acquire Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics, Apple is said to have started working on ways to deliver HD audio playback to iOS 8 users, throwing updated headphones and Lightning cables into the mix.

Macotakara has it on file from reliable sources that the next-generation iOS 8 will support high-fidelity 24-bit audio files, while Apple is working on updating its Lightning connectors to enable the HD audio to pass through to Made For iPhone (MFi) accessories.

Most importantly perhaps (especially for audiophiles) is that the company is said to be working on a new pair of in-ear headphones that will reportedly leverage this boost in audio quality. It doesn’t take a trained eye to notice the coincidence with the Beats acquisition from last week.

Although Apple and Beats Electronics are yet to make any official announcements, it has been widely reported that the Cupertino juggernaut has engulfed the latter to tap into the Beats Music streaming service and the tech genius behind the popular Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.

Sources familiar with the situation have said that Beats by Dr. Dre are likely to stay intact as a product (at least for the time being), adding that Apple will most likely use the engineers to create a new pair of headphones for its own customers, something that seems to be corroborated by the Macotakara report.

A picture of the updated Lightning plug is offered in the article, though few people will know to spot any differences between the model that’s currently shipping and the hardware depicted in that photo.

Notably, the updated Apple headphones are said to be the in-ear model, not the EarPods that ship with iPhones and iPod touch players. Apple has been bashed for the poor sound quality of its former EarBuds, and while the EarPods are certainly a welcome improvement, they still fail to impress audiophiles.

As for iOS 8, it will reportedly include an updated Music app that can handle HD music. The software will be announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference at San Francisco’s Moscone West in early June. However, the mobile OS probably won’t ship until later in the fall period, when the next-generation iPhone 6 is deployed. You can find out more on iOS 8 and other rumors in the related links below.

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