$799 Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones Pave Way For Demise Of The iPhone’s 3.5mm Jack
The fact that Apple is planning to remove the standard 3.5-inch audio jack on future iPhones has been the subject of much debate over the past couple of months. Some iPhone devouts have even begun warning Apple that this will be the move that pushes them to alternative platforms. It's not hard to understand why: we all have our favorite pair of earbuds or headphones, and those would effectively become incompatible with future iPhone (without the use of an adapter).
Considering the fact that the current 3.5-inch audio jack is good enough even for pros to use speaks volumes about Apple's motive here. Apple's always been a company that's loved cutting features for the sake of a finished product that's as clean as possible. Take for example the company's latest MacBook, which features only one I/O port. It's not as though Apple is being limited by the 3.5-inch jack, either. The company already uses a 4-conductor design that allows one connector to handle microphone signals as well.
Nonetheless, with a pair of Audeze headphones that just hit Apple's online store, we can see where the Lightning-related benefits come in. These closed-back cans, called EL-8 Titanium, feature a DAC and amplifier right inside of the Lightning cable, which can help deliver cleaner, boomier, and louder sound. These features wouldn't be cost-free from a power standpoint, though. Big headphones on a mobile device can already drain power quicker much quicker than earbuds, so adding a DAC and amplifier on top of things doesn't bode well for an iPhone's battery-life.
Fortunately, these $800 headphones include the ability to plug into "non-Apple devices", either with a 3.5" or 1/8" jack. While the driver size isn't mentioned, Audeze employs the use of planar magnetic drivers that offer a wide frequency response. As for the design, BMW DesignWorks was behind the aesthetics, and the aluminum construction means that these should be quite durable.
Like Apple's official earbuds, these headphones include a microphone right on the cable, in addition to volume control. Overall, these appear to be a really nice set of headphones, but their pricing certainly will keep them out of the hands of many.