Now that all of Apple's newest smartphones are available for sale, including the extremely pricy yet extremely attractive iPhone X, consumers will be looking to trick out their new purchases with a wide variety of accessories.
In 2017 the smartphone accessory market value is estimated to be valued at over $24 billion dollars. This includes things like external battery packs, phone cases, screen protectors and of course, the quintessential headphones.
Outside of the "utilitarian" realm of device protection the headphone marketplace is the biggest behemoth because the OEM ear buds that come with many smartphones, the iPhone included, are severely lacking in audio quality.
So if you are a new owner of an Apple smartphone and looking to upgrade today you have two options for consideration.
Lightning or Bluetooth
Since there is no traditional headphone jack on the new iPhones consumers will have to choose between wireless headsets that utilize Bluetooth or lightning-cable options.
There are pros and cons to each headphone type. Bluetooth provides mobility and unique form factors that are great options for people on the move who value freedom of motion over sound quality.
Lightning cable options on the other hand, while not providing quite as much freedom of movement generally offer a much higher audio quality standard as audio transmitted via copper cable is of a much higher quality than that which is shared via wireless Bluetooth tech.
For most audio lovers, the cabled option is the better one as cables, while connecting you to your device, still allow for a pretty fair range of motion while simultaneously providing an exhilarating listening experience.
Over-Ear or In-Ear Options
Regardless of whether headphones are cabled or wireless, the second consideration to take into account when shopping around for new music-listening options is whether the listener wants headphones that sit on top of their head and cover their ears, of if they want something smaller that fits snuggly within the ear canal.
Known as "over-ear" models, these headphones are usually bigger and bulkier and have a classic headphone silhouette.
The advantages of over-ear options are primarily their size. In the larger form factor manufacturers can fit bigger drivers and more padding/ear cushioning, which can result in a very refined, superb listening experience.
There are however some very high quality "in-ear" options as well, as new technology has allowed manufacturers to fit very small yet very high fidelity drivers into tiny "buds" which can be discretely slipped into ear canals for a low-profile look.
Ultimately there are high fidelity options in both form factors. Choosing an over-ear options or an in-ear option often comes down to where the listener plans to spend most of their time enjoying their music.
If most music listening occurs at home, perhaps reclined on a couch, or in the office while sitting at a desk, then over-ear headphones are a fantastic option as while they are big and sometimes bulky, offer superior comfort for long listening sessions.
If the listener is a traveler or commuter, then an in-ear option is more practical as these units are much smaller, lighter and can be pulled out and inserted very quickly should the need arise.
New Set or Upgrade Existing Set
Choosing a new listening solution to accompany a new smartphone purchase does not necessarily mean one must invest hundreds in brand new headphones.
There are a wide variety of after-market accessory makers that are offering lightning cables that can be swapped out in many popular headphone models to adapt older models for use with new headphones.
From Bose to Sennheiser there are a variety of affordable cables that can replace old 3.5mm cables to make old headsets relevant again in a lightning-only world.
This is great for people who have already invested hundreds in their headphones and don't want to throw them away just because they upgraded phones. Upgrading expensive headsets can help save a lot of money given how frequently smartphone refresh cycles hit the market.
If you can afford a new thousand dollar iPhone X however chances are you have a decent sized budget to spend on accessories, in which case buying a new dedicated lightning cable headset might be a smart, and fun decision to make.
If you are in the boat where you are considering buying a dedicated Apple-compatible headset for your new iPhone there are a variety of new companies specializing specifically in this type of product.
For high-end luxurious listening French audiophile brand Audeze provides a wide variety of unique over-ear and in-ear headphones, all of which come with lightning cables built in.
However if you don't have the budget to spend hundreds on new headphones there are also new iPhone-dedicated options from the likes of JBL, Libratone and AKG that provide lightning solutions for a fraction of the price of the bigger audiophile companies.
For a full direct comparison of the new lightning-specific headphone options for iPhone users tech geeks at Lightningcans.com have composed a wonderful comparison overview of all the major lightning headphone makers that make understanding this new tech simple.
No matter how you slice it there are a bunch of fun solutions for those looking to upgrade their listening experience to a level that matches the fine craftsmanship of the new iPhone itself.