‘Sound, design and simplicity’ guide creation of world’s first Lightning headphones

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Philips M2L headphones will be the first to use Apple's Lightning port. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Philips M2L headphones will be the first to use Apple's Lightning connector. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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LAS VEGAS — The wait for the world’s first Lightning headphones is almost over.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 Philips’ upcoming Fidelio M2L bypasses the analog headphone jack, instead sending the digital audio signal through the Lightning port used in late-model iOS devices.

“You keep the digital signal as far as possible until you have no choice,” Benoit Borette, a Philips audio engineer, told Cult of Mac.

Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones will dazzle your ears and your eyes

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Bowers&Wilkins P5 headphones in for review. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones sound as sexy as they look. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

It’s ludicrous but true: How headphones look can be nearly as important as how they sound. Luckily for anybody who slides a pair of Bowers & Wilkins P7s over their ears, these high-end headphones do double duty. They will bamboozle your ears as well as your eyes.

With a stylish design and sturdy construction of gleaming metal and luxurious sheepskin leather, these aren’t a pair of big, cartoon-like plastic puffballs for your head. The P7s whisper quiet refinement rather than screaming “look at me.” If Beats Electronics’ brightly colored models are like those candy-colored iMac G3s from the ’90s, the P7s are like this year’s stunning iMac with Retina 5K display.

But really, looks are only skin deep. When it comes to music at its most intimate — when the sounds are piped straight from the source and directly penetrate your ear canals — it’s the quality of the audio that matters most.

Genius Bars will begin servicing Beats headphones Tuesday

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Be cool. Stay in school.
Beats will be serviced by Genius Bars starting on Tuesday. Photo: Beats
Photo: Beats

Ever since Apple bought Beats for $3 billion back in May, Cupertino has slowly but surely been integrating the headphone maker’s products and services into the official Apple portfolio. It’s added Beats Music to the Apple TV, officially listed it as an Apple app on the App Store, and rolled out a Beats by Dre section at Apple Stores.

Now it looks like Beats by Dre headphones will officially be an Apple product in the biggest way that counts: You’ll soon be able to get them repaired or replaced at your local Genius Bar.

Beats drops new Solo2 wireless headphones

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Photo: Beats
The Beats Solo2 headphones are now wireless. Photo: Beats

Beats Electronics today announced it’s releasing its first new headphones since officially Apple-owned company earlier this year. The new headphones are an updated version of the Solo2 headphones, that brings wireless capabilities to the popular headphones, so you’re no longer tethered to your iPhone when kicking out the jams.

Turn your game audio up to 11 with these Bluetooth cans

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These Astro 38s are easy to pair, last for hours, sound amazing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
These Astro 38s are easy to pair, last for hours, sound amazing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I typically try out a new product for review without reading any of the documentation or media relations stuff that the folks who send us such things want us to look at. I want to have as pristine an experience as possible. Sometimes that leads to little surprises.

I put these new Astro Gaming A38 Bluetooth headphones on my head last week, and paired them with my iPhone to play a little music. After a few songs of various genres, I stopped the tunes and took these off my noggin. I suddenly realized that my girlfriend had been blending up a protein shake in the nearby kitchen. It was surprising because I honestly could not hear it with the headphones on my head and playing music at a relatively low volume – and our blender is really loud.

While they’re great for music, these are also fantastic sounding headphones that help you immerse yourself into any game on your iPad or iPhone, cutting down on the auditory distractions from the outside world when they’re powered up.