Rumours about new Apple headphones have been hotting up recently. Here, we round up all of the new Apple headphone speculation, including rumours about Lightning EarPods and new Apple Beats headphones.

New Apple headphones release date

During WWDC 2014 in June, Apple revealed that headphone makers can now manufacture headphones that connect to iOS devices via the Lightning port. This announcement arrived just weeks after Apple confirmed that it had acquired Beats Audio, the company behind the popular Beats headphones. See: Why did Apple buy Beats?

Understandably, this has led to speculation that suggests that the first headphones Beats unveils under Apple's management will use the Lightning port rather than the 3.5mm audio jack.

It's believed that the Beats acquisition is mostly focused on Beats Music – the company's music streaming service. But, it would make sense for Beats to be among the first companies to launch Lightning-compatible headphones now that it's owned by Apple.

When these headphones will come out is currently unknown, but it's likely that they'll arrive with iOS 8, which is expected to be the update that activates the Lightning module for headphones.

iOS 8 is set to be release this Autumn, probably alongside the iPhone 6 and the rumoured iPhone Air during a September event, so look out for new Apple headphones then. We'll update this article with more information as it arrives.

What's the point of Lightning headphones?

The Lightning headphone module was first unveiled during a WWDC session for developers, titled 'Designing Accessories for iOS and OS X.'

During that session, Apple's manager of platform accessories, Robert Walsh, explained that there are several advantages of using the Lightning connector rather than the 3.5mm audio jack.

It will offer richer controls for volume and playback, more bandwidth and other benefits. "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 told developers.

They'll be capable of receiving lossless stereo 48kHz audio output from Apple devices, which ties in with the rumours that suggest Apple may be planning to offer lossless music downloads through iTunes in iTunes 12.

The Lightning module will also be able to provide power to your headphones, or vice versa.

See also: Headphone makers will be wary of Apple's Lightning audio pitch

One other thing that could happen as a result of these Lightning headphones is future iPhones could be thinner. The 3.5mm audio jack is one of the thickest parts of the iPhone 5S, so without it, Apple could alter the design. Alternatively, the lack of an audio jack could leave space for a bigger battery, helping lengthen the battery life of future iPhones. See also: iPhone 6 release date rumours.

We'll update this article with more information as it comes in, so check back regularly for updates.

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