There have been plenty of rumors that the new iPhone isn’t going to have a headphone jack. It may or not be true, but Libratone isn’t taking any chances. They’ve just released the Q Adapt in-ears that connect to the Lightning port of your iOS device. The good news is that you don’t need a (yet to be announced) iPhone 7 to use them. As long as your device has a lightning port these should work. The bad news is that you do need an iOS device so if you don’t have one, these are useless to you. For the rest of us there’s the Q Adapt on-ears. If you aren’t looking for earbuds (or don’t have an iOS device) these might be for you. But first let’s discuss the elephant in the room: the Q Adapt in-ears.
Q Adapt in-ears
Why skip over the 3.5mm jack? Well, that’s a question for Apple. But there are some really interesting benefits that come along with going digital. The one that Libratone chose to showcase here is the feature that makes the Q Adapt so appealing: active noise cancelling. These don’t look like your average pair of ANC in-ears. Connecting via the Lightning port allows the Q Adapt in-ears to draw power from the source device, bypassing the need for a bulky control module.
Powered completely via the Lightning port.
The Q Adapt in-ears have five levels of ANC, allowing you to choose exactly how much outside noise gets filtered out. Libratone calls their adjustable ANC feature Citymix, and it’s powered completely via the Lightning port. The lack of a battery also allows means that you won’t have to charge the headphones. On the wire is a small and sleek control module for changing tracks, adjusting volume, and even adjusting the ANC strength.
You can probably name 5 reasons off the top of your head why you shouldn’t get these, and you wouldn’t be wrong. This connection means you won’t be able to plug your headphones into anything other than your iOS device. No laptops, computers, Android phones, DACs, audio-interfaces. The list goes on. But there are a few solid reasons why these might work for you.
If you don’t find yourself plugging in headphones to anything other than your iOS device, these might be for you. Or if you’re an iOS user who wants active noise cancelling in a slim and battery-less form factor. Blurring the lines between use cases is basically impossible. If you don’t fall into either of those categories, these won’t work for you. But these are the first of many headphones that find innovative ways to make the switch to Lightning worth it.
Q Adapt on-ears
Then there’s the more traditional Q Adapt on-ears, which cast a wider net than the in-ears. Just like the earbuds they too have ANC, but these connect to your source device via Bluetooth. Libratone claims that the Q Adapt on-ears will last you about 15 hours, which isn’t bad. But you can also be hardwire them to your source device if you forget to charge them up.