Sony, Philips beat Beats to Lightning headphones

If there’s one company we expected to make Lightning headphones first, it was Apple, or at least the headphone brand it bought recently, Beats. But a couple of brands have beaten Beats to the punch.

First up is news from Sony with an announcement made last week at IFA, and it’s a pair of high-res headphones that will work with regular media players and smartphones through a typical 3.5mm headphone jack, and then again through the iPhone using a special Lightning cable.

That Lightning cable will apparently help the headphones make use of a built-in digital-to-analogue converter making the sound just that much better, especially with that whole high resolution audio thing Sony is trying to get across in its devices, with the recently released HRA Walkman product and the upcoming Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact smartphones.

The pair of headphones are the MDR-1ADAC — see the “DAC” in the name — and will offer noise cancellation as well as the DAC component, and a dose of that portability we’re now seeing in active noise cancellation cans.

Also included will be other digital cables, with one made for the Walkman products Sony still makes, as well as one for the Xperia phones and tablets.

Given that Sony’s Xperia range of products has a special flat slightly magnetic port, we can’t help but wonder whether the cable will plug into this port and offer that DAC on this connection.

Pricing for the MDR-1ADAC headphones comes in at $499.95 locally, with a release date of October, and you can bet that we’re already keen to have a play.

Also competing for a slice of that Lightning connected headphone pie will be Philips, which has just let word slip about a new pair of Fidelio headphones.

Called the M2L, these will connect to iOS devices by way of Apple’s proprietary Lightning dock port and provide access to a 24-bit DAC, boosting the sound in much the same way we expect Sony’s MDR-1ADAC to work.

Pricing and availability for these have not been announced, however, not locally anyway, but we can only imagine Philips will try to get them out in time for the holiday season.

Now all we need is to see an entry from Apple’s own Beats brand.