During a session at WWDC earlier this week, Apple shown a slide for some new possibilities for the Lightning module, which could allow them and third-parties to create new headphones that could use the Lightning connector, allowing for deeper system controls, direct analog audio out and even provide power to new accessories.
This new module was first unveiled during Apple’s “Designing Accessories for iOS and OS X” session, allowing third-party accessory makers to create accessories that can connect directly into an iOS device’s Lightning port, allowing it to produce analog audio through an accessory, as well as offering more bandwidth and a digital interface for a richer control of system services like iTunes Radio according to Apple’s manager of platform accessories, Robert Walsh.
“If your headphones support, for example, noise cancellation, you can offer an app on your device that communicates with your headphones that controls how it operates,” Walsh said.
The connection was also said to allow for power to be delivered to advanced headphone accessories, which is done by offloading energy supply duties to an iPhone or an iPad, meaning there’s no need for a battery pack.
Apple also said that it is working on specialised small form factor connector modules for manufacturers looking to build form-fitting cases and cables.
As of yet it’s unclear when hardware makers will roll out these new headphones and other accessories, however it is likely that Apple may launch its own Lightning enabled EarPod design at an effect, likely sometime in Fall alongside iOS 8 and the rumoured iPhone 6.