In 2012, Apple phased out its ubiquitous 30-pin USB charger in favor of the new Lightning connector, which currently comes standard on iPhones and iPads. Now, according to 9to5Mac, Apple will soon add support for headphones that connect to the same port — meaning that the regular ol' headphone jack could, in theory, just get killed off.
The company has reportedly introduced a new specification in its Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) program for manufacturers, which allows them to create audio devices that connect via Lightning. Apple would have to release a software update to support this kind of input, but the gains could be significant for audiophiles; 9to5Mac suggests that Lightning-connected headphones could be capable of receiving higher-quality sound than traditional headphones, and be directly powered by an iPhone or iPad.
The site also seems pretty convinced that this, along with Apple's recent purchase of Beats, hints that the company is planning on upping its audio-hardware game. The old-school headphone jack, therefore, would be redundant.
Forbes' Gordon Kelly writes that, if this pans out, "Apple gets a powerful new differentiator and the competition is unlikely to be able to agree on a universal 3.5mm headphone jack replacement standard to combat it for years to come."
Chris Welch at The Verge, however, is less convinced: "It'd be another way for Apple to achieve consumer lock-in, but aside from that, it's hard to come up with obvious or practical benefits to such a change." (The Verge)
Check out these links for more on Apple's recent goings-on:
6 Things To Know About OS X Yosemite, Apple's Newest Operating System
Apple's iOS 8: 5 Things You Need To Know
Looks Like This Apple Rumor Was True