Sony has in fact made it very clear what their little "hi-res" decal entails: (source)
1. Frequency response goes above 40kHz (which is what I mean by "compliant" headphones, e.g. the MDR-1)
2. must pass an internal SQ evaluation (i.e. should audibly bear out the benefit of a source that's not just CD-quality)
Sony has always made it very clear that their hi-res == anything above CD-spec, they never promised more.
Since you doubted that Sony might have downsampled the output, I'm really just trying to point out that
A. according to Sony's internal standards they would not sell a product with downsampled playback as hi-res,
and that B, there's an interview online that says the headphone jack is putting out more than 20kHz.
You can argue all day about whether Sony really managed to pull it off, but I don't see anything outlandish with these claims at all. If you think it's a marketing ploy then I think you should ask yourself whether you should believe in the benefits of ANY hi-def audio spec.
But listen, you think what you wanna think, it's not like my pride is invested in hi-res audio one way or another. Even if you think it's all a marketing game, it's you who's the williing participant.
... and again, HIGHLY laughable when comparing to how other in the same industry are defining HD these days. Do you actually know what you are talking about with those Sony definitions? Headphone that produce 40kHz serve no purpose on human hearing, which stop around 20kHz or so. I am not even taking about headphone, but the sampling rate of the DAC - even the most mediocre audio DAC these days can sample 44.1kHz and pump out 22kHz without any problem, and how is that make them high-res in anyway? If they were all going by that logic of 'minding their own definition and ignoring the rest of the world', no wonder their smartphone business are being widely criticized for playing catching up and showing weak hand in front of their competition.
Do you know what LG claims for hi-res in their G2? a full spec 24/192. That's the same for Samsung for their Galaxy S3 and HTC for One - and those are not even the latest generation of product like Z3. Do you also know that all three of them essentially have the same DAC inside that actually support 24/192? In fact, Sony actually has a 24/192 capable DAC since the days of Xperia Z (the same DAC is also in Z2 and Z3). They just too lazy to implement the full 24/192 that already built into the hardware since 2 years ago.
..and it is not about marketing or not, it is about being honest on the products you sold. If Sony want to define 40kHz as hi-res, then let them post it on every page on every product they claims to be hi-res, so people can be informed on how their version of high-res compared to others - not just in Japanese which most people can't read. I don't care about hi-res myself, as I don't even listen to music on smartphone by much - But paying with words doesn't make for a good company practice in the long run, especially since it is unfair to the less informed customer.
Edited by ClieOS - 9/19/14 at 6:52pm