Today, the Apple-made EarPods that come nestled in the box of every new iPhone use a regular old 3.5mm headphone jack. That means you can use them with any other device with a 3.5mm audio port. It also means you can use virtually any other pair of non-apple headphones with your iPhone. A quietly updated spec to Apple’s “Made for iPhone” (MFi) standard suggests that may soon change.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple has modified the MFi standard to include headphones that connect to iOS devices via the Lightning port instead of the headphone jack. The implications are huge-particularly with audiophiles and app makers.

Headphones connecting through the Lightning port will be able to receive lossless 48 kHz digital audio, as well as send mono 48 kHz digital audio input through a mic, should they have one. As with today’s 3.5mm headphones, manufacturers will be able to build in remote volume and control playback into the headphones too. But that’s just the beginning. The port switch could also means headphones could be made to work exclusively with a particular apps-or even launch a specific app once they’re plugged in. Headphone makers will also be make active noise-cancelling headphones without needing an external battery.

So imagine this: Instead of being able to plug in your EarPods and listen to whatever streaming music app you want, a pair of future EarPods could only work with the iOS Music app and iTunes Radio (or Beats Music). The same could equally be true of third party headphones and apps, of course.

 

Read More At Wired.