Philips Beats Dre At His New Game

Philips' new headphones connect to newer-generation iOS devices through the Lightning port.

Philips’ new headphones connect to newer-generation iOS devices through the Lightning port.

When Apple bought Beats Electronics earlier this year, there was rampant speculation the newly-acquired company would be used to bolster Apple’s audio hardware portfolio.  Many believed Apple would replace the traditional white earphones that come with iPhones with a more rich-sounding pair of earphones built by Beats.  And many also thought that the mini-stereo jack would be stripped from Apple devices, pushing audio connections to the Lightning port.  While that may eventually be the plan, it didn’t pan out with this week’s iPhone and Apple Watch device dump.  Instead, Philips is filling the Lightning void with its own hardware designed specifically for use with newer iOS devices – the Fidelio M2L headphones.

Earlier this year, Apple quietly expanded its Made for iPhone program to include audio devices connected through the Lightning port.  While Philips’ new headphones don’t appear to tap into some of the functionality, similar devices could potentially draw power from the iPhone or iPad to give the internal amplifiers a big boost.

Even more exciting is the potential for these devices to provide power to smartphones and tablets.  Wouldn’t you like a pair of headphones that can double as an external battery for those days when your iPhone is living on the edge?

It remains to be seen whether Beats will capitalize on the technology, let alone release any kind of Apple-specific hardware.  But it seems, at least for now, Philips has the upper hand on Dr. Dre.

The Fidelio M2L headphones are set for release this December.  They’re expected to cost upwards of $300.

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