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First look: Philips shows off Lightning-connected Fidelio M2L headphones

At its CES booth this year, Philips showed off its Fidelio M2L headphones, which hold the title as the world's first the world's first Lightning-connected headphones.

Earlier on Thursday, Philips made a splash when it announced the Fidelio NC1L, an over-the-ear headphone that accepts digital audio from Lightning-equipped Apple devices. But it was the Fidelio M2L, Philips' first Lightning-capable product, the company chose to demo on the showroom floor.

At first blush, the M2L looks like a regular pair of headphones, but closer inspection reveals a single cable terminating in a Lightning connector. Instead of the ubiquitous 3.5-millimeter jack standard, Philips takes advantage of Apple's newly ratified Lightning headphone standard, which provides a pure digital signal for off-device processing.

M2L comes stuffed with its own 24-bit DAC as well as an on-board amplifier, bypassing the same components employed by Apple in its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. With a standalone product, Philips can incorporate higher quality parts, resulting in better sound compared to analog taken straight from an iPhone's headphone jack.

The M2L's user interface is minimalist, with a single rocker-style switch handling music playback and volume controls. Inside, 40mm drivers sit behind plush ear cups, delivering powerful, clean sound.

Pricing has been set at $320, though Philips has yet to offer an exact launch window after missing a promised December debut.