HQ Apple Music streaming may finally give you a reason to buy Lightning headphones
Apple’s reversible Lightning connector has been around for years now, but is it finally about to experience a real renaissance? Recent rumors have been hinting that we may soon see Lightning rise to new prominence as Apple starts moving away from old-fashioned analog headphone connectors and pushes accessory-makers to deliver Lightning-equipped headphones. Such options already exist, but the idea of Apple going all-in on the idea is pretty controversial. And sure, ditching a traditional headphone jack may let Apple build a thinner iPhone, but would it offer any real benefit to you, the user? A new rumor suggests one way a move to Lightning-based headphones could help genuinely enhance your iPhone-audio experience, as Apple considers using Apple Music to deliver new high-quality audio streams.
Right now, when you plug your headphones into an iPhone, the quality of the audio you listen to is limited by the phone’s on-board DAC circuitry. Lightning-based headphones sidestep that integrated DAC, allowing manufacturers to use their own components – ones that theoretically offer a lot more fidelity than the iPhone itself is currently capable of.
Of course, hardware that supports high-quality audio is one thing, but it won’t do you much good without matching content. To that end, Apple’s rumored to be bringing 96kHz / 24bit audio to Apple Music sometime in 2016.
One big question we still have about this transition concerns just how much content might be available in this higher-fidelity format. We know that Apple’s been asking artists for HQ recordings for years now, but we’re not yet sure just how big a slice those represent of the larger pie.