Originally Posted by Celador
To all the people fearing that the 29$ lightning adapter could have a worse DAC than the iPhone:
The iPhone 4 uses a "Cirrus Logic CS4398" DAC. It costs 6$ if you buy a single piece as a private customer. Apple will pay much less for it. Why should they use a cheaper one in the lighning to Dock adapter?
Indeed. It might be hard to believe, but sound processors are awfully cheap. They don't need hundreds of massive, complicated ALUs inside GPUs or CPUs and consume very little power - DACs do not need to provide amperage and have relatively simple circuitry. It wouldn't be hard for an iPhone to supply the power. Apple has always been quite obsessive about perfection, so chances are the new dock won't disappoint in sound quality. In a worse case scenario, an old iDevice could just act as a LOD source at home. Unless I'm mistaken most people (slash audiophiles) don't carry amps with them on the go since they use IEMs. I do believe, though, that Lightning to USB works like any other USB audio input.
I just placed a pre-order for a iPod Touch 5. I'll let you guys know when the time comes. As for those lucky will be iPhone 5 users, I'll be looking forward to your impressions first :).