When it was announced that Apple was buying Dr. Dreā€™s Beats Electronicsā€”which also included Dreā€™s oft-maligned streaming service, Beats Musicā€”for $3 billion, the consensus was confusion. Beats had yet to be valued at such a cost, and the quality of its headphones (as well as that streaming service) had proven sorely lacking. But nowĀ ForbesĀ speculates that one of the real reasons behind the deal was that Apple is plotting to do away with traditional headphone jacks on its products, replacing them with its proprietary Lightning port.

As much as this sounds like a predatory scheme on Appleā€™s part (because it kind of is), the rationale is that the Lightning port would offer higher-quality audio for users willing to pay a premium price for headphones. Eventually, it would also allow them to use those headphones to do more than just skip tracks and increase volume, and control other applications as well. Another potential perk would be the Lightning portā€™s ability to have headphones charge a device while in useā€”though itā€™s difficult right now to determine just how effective such a method might be.


The source of all this speculation comes from a leak following Appleā€™s request to its MFi licensing program for headphones with Lightning port specifications. And though it will likely be a while before any such products hit the market, it could definitely explain Appleā€™s acquisition of Beats. Though, this could also just be very expensive revenge, after Apple heard the public laughing about all the money it gave to Dr. Dre.