Energy-Friendly IC and Evaluation Kit for iOS Audio Accessory Development

April 7 2015, 03:06
Silicon Labs introduced a digital audio bridge chip and evaluation kit designed to simplify the development of accessories for iOS devices. The new CP2614 interface IC provides a turnkey audio bridge solution for a wide range of Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad (MFi) devices that use the all-digital Lightning connector. Target applications include audio accessories such as guitar and microphone recording dongles, audio docks and headphones. The CP2614 IC also provides built-in support for communication between iOS applications and accessory hardware, enabling a broad array of Internet of Things (IoT) accessories that operate with a companion iOS app.

Silicon Labs’ CP2614 bridge chip and MFI-SL-CP2614-EK evaluation kit provide a cost-effective, comprehensive development platform for iOS accessory developers, enabling fast time to market through fixed-function MFi support. The CP2614 solution requires no firmware development, which helps developers get up and running quickly with their MFi accessory designs. Developers simply select their customization options with an easy-to-use GUI-based configuration tool.

The CP2614 bridge chip carefully manages and minimizes power consumption, achieving ultra-low power in both active and idle modes. The CP2614 IC’s energy efficiency makes it an optimal choice for device-powered accessories. The CP2614 also includes an integrated 5 V low drop-out (LDO) regulator, which reduces bill of materials (BOM) cost and footprint for self-powered accessories. The highly integrated CP2614 device operates without an external crystal or EEPROM, storing all configuration options on chip. The crystal-less architecture and integrated EEPROM further reduce BOM cost as well as printed circuit board (PCB) space, enabling developers to design smaller, more streamlined and cost-effective accessories.

“In designing our pocket-sized iTrack Pocket stereo recording product, we needed a bridge chip solution that could fit the extreme form-factor, low-power and high-quality audio requirements of our device-powered iOS accessory,” said Rob Jenkins, director of product engineering at Focusrite. “The CP2614 device fit our design needs by offering an ideal combination of small footprint and low current.”

The CP2614 audio bridge chip supports 24-bit unidirectional and 16-bit bidirectional digital audio streaming, enabling developers to create high-quality, high-performance “prosumer”-class audio accessories. The CP2614 can establish a communications channel with an iOS application, enabling the app to interact directly with the accessory hardware through general-purpose input/output (GPIO) read/writes and access to the UART for custom data flow. The GPIO can be configured for button input and LED output and accessed remotely from an iOS app or used to control audio playback.

The CP2614 audio bridge IC and MFI-SL-CP2614-EK evaluation kit are in full production and available to MFi licensees today. MFi licensees can order the evaluation kit through the Apple MFi Procurement Portal.
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