Eleven Engineering is addressing Apple’s Lightning audio bug found in newer iPhones and its affect on SKAA Diz transmitters.
“The bug occurs when outputting audio from the iPhone via the Lightning port to dock speakers, USB speakers, external DAC headphone amplifiers, wireless audio transmitters, and other Lightning audio products,” said John Sobota, Eleven Engineering CEO. “SKAA’s Diz transmitter is affected and so are other third-party products. Since many Diz users are affected, we are being very proactive here—I’m sure Apple is working diligently to fix this bug, but in the meantime we will support our customers with an innovative program to get them back up and running immediately. We want to assure all of our customers that we are working hard to protect them from this issue."
According to Sobota, this Apple iPhone bug has already been logged with Apple. “From what we’ve been able to gather from multiple internet reports and our own investigation, the iPhone occasionally fails to send all of the audio data it should to the plugged-in audio device,” Sobota continued. “This USB communication protocol error causes periodic clicks and dropouts in the audio and then the audio may stop altogether."
This bug affects 44.1kHz audio output only (nearly all music files are 44.1kHz). It does not affect 48kHz audio (nearly all videos have 48kHz audio). “So, a good way to confirm if your phone has this bug is to use Diz to listen to some music and then watch a video,” Sobota explained. “If you hear audio problems when playing music, but not when playing video, your phone likely has this particular bug.”
Currently, devices affected by the bug include some (not all) iPhone 6S and 6S plus models, depending on the manufacturer of the A-series processor chip used in the phone. This bug does not appear in the iPhone 5 or 5S. So far, Eleven Engineering has not seen this bug show up in iPads or iPods. Sobota expects that some (not all) iPhone SEs are affected. It appears this bug affects all iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models.
“For SKAA customers who own Diz transmitters and who don’t want to wait for Apple’s fix, Eleven has created the Lightning Bug Rescue program,” said Rex Whitehead, Eleven Engineering director of sales, North America. “Customers should send a short message to Eleven Engineering via the contact form at SKAA.com/TLC with ‘Lightning Bug Rescue’ in the subject line and the Tx Version of their Diz transmitter in the body of the message (this may be found in the SKAA cmd app’s info page—SKAA cmd is available on the iTunes App Store). Eleven will then respond with several options to get the customer back up and running again, immediately.”
“Our R&D team kicked into high gear when we learned about the Lightning bug,” Sobota said. “Our research revealed that the clicks and dropouts in the audio caused by the Lightning bug can actually be masked. If you know the bug is there, you can react to it appropriately when it happens. Our team invented a way to effectively conceal the bug with an ingenious firmware modification to Diz. Of course, like our customers, we are waiting with anticipation for Apple fix the root cause. But in the meantime we are offering a Diz trade-in program for any customer who is stuck with the Lightning bug and doesn’t want to wait. The concealment firmware is excellent: it makes the artifacts caused by the bug virtually impossible to hear. Users may want to know whether a Diz transmitter, modified with this concealment firmware, will still work OK once Apple fixes the Lightning bug. Well, the answer is yes, it absolutely will.”
SKAA is a wireless Hi-Fi audio standard developed by Eleven Engineering. SKAA transmitters work with iOS and Android mobile devices, Mac and Windows computers, televisions, and just about any product with a line output or a headphone jack. SKAA is also available as a built-in technology not requiring an external transmitter in purpose-designed partner products, which are featured at SKAA.com. SKAA is also designed to navigate hostile environments saturated in wireless traffic with high reliability.