Apple supplier Cirrus Logic releases MFi Lightning headphone development kit

Cirrus Logic MFi headset reference design 002

Apple supplier Cirrus Logic, which provides audio chips for iPhones, iPads and iPod touches, today released a software development kit for third-party vendors who wish to build Lightning-based headphones under the ‘Made for iOS’ (MFi) program.

iOS already supports headphones based on the proprietary Lightning connector, some of which are sold by Apple itself. As you know, the next iPhone is widely expected to drop the standard 3.5mm jack in favor of Bluetooth and Lightning headphones.

The MFi Headset Development Kit demonstrates the advantages of Lightning-connected headsets over conventional analog headsets based on the ubiquitous 3.5mm jack.

For example, all-digital connectivity with an integrated digital-to-analog converter and headphone driver delivers crisp audio to the headphone speakers without distortion due to interference stemming from analog signals traveling through the cable.

In addition, Lightning-connected headphones can interact with an iOS app to create a more custom audio experience, such as personalized equalizer settings.

Cirrus Logic MFi headset reference desigg 001

According to the Cirrus Logic website, its reference design for the MFi Lightning headphones uses the CS42L42 smart codec to enable high fidelity sound when listening to music, videos or taking phone calls.

The codec CS42L42  uses a 114 dB headphone digital-to-analog converter that can deliver up to 35 mW stereo and a 114 dB analog-to-digital converter with low noise microphone bias generator and sidetone mixing for clear phone calls.

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It includes a customer reference design board that fits into a compact pendant form factor, and a larger customer development board with header locations for debug.

Cirrus Logic MFi headset reference design 003

The Cirrus Logic HiFi MFi Headset Development Kit is available to ‘Made for iOS’ licensees through the MFi procurement portal.

Fast Company said back in January that Cirrus Logic had been working on a new noise-canceling technology that would be used both in the iPhone 7 and Apple’s new earphones. Cirrus acquired that technology in 2014 from Wolfson Microelectronics, a U.K.-based audio technology company.

iPhone-7-Lightning EarPods-leak
Claimed photos of Lightning-based EarPods.

“Apple is working with its longtime audio chip partner Cirrus Logic to adapt the audio chipset in the iPhone to work with the Lightning port,” said the publication.

According to the report, the noise-cancelling  software should be baked both into the iPhone 7 and the EarPods and will help remove background noise in music playback and in phone calls.

Source: Cirrus Logic