When Apple quietly created a new MFi spec for headphones, allowing them to connect via the Lightning port rather than the headphone jack to deliver higher-quality audio, everyone expected Apple-owned Beats to be first to take advantage of it. But instead Philips has, ah, beaten them to it … 

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The Philips Fidelio M2L uses a built-in 24-bit digital-analogue converter and amplifier to provide higher-quality audio than delivered by the iPhone’s own DAC chip. Philips also says that the Lightning connection eliminates interference that can affect analogue audio cables.

We are very pleased to present the Philips Fidelio M2L our first headphones with Lightning connector for digital and lossless connection to Apple iOS devices,” said Christian Bauer, Senior Marketing Manager Headphones WOOX Innovations DA-CH […]

The M2L uses the digital output of the Lightning plug in order to prevent possible crosstalk and interference from the transmission to the analog phone cable.

The headphones claim a good overall spec, with 40mm high magnetic intensity neodymium speaker drivers and breathable, leather-covered memory-foam pads providing good sound-insulation.

Philips hasn’t, though, taken advantage of any of the other possibilities of the Lightning connection, like dedicated iOS buttons. There’s also no word on whether they have a microphone, which is rumored to be a requirement of the MFi spec, though audio input via Lightning isn’t supported in iOS 7.1 and it’s unclear whether it is yet supported in iOS 8.

U.S. pricing hasn’t yet been announced, but with European pricing at €250, somewhere in the $250-300 range seems likely when the headphones go on sale in December.

Via The Verge

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