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How Apple solved the wireless lossless audio problem with the USB-C AirPods Pro

One of the most exciting things about Apple's newest AirPods Pro, apart from its USB-C charging capability, is the support for wireless lossless audio when usedwith the upcoming Apple Vision Pro headset.

For serious listeners who understand the limitations of Bluetooth as it pertains to wireless lossless audio transmission, this is the holy grail. This is the problem that the industry has been trying to solve for years but never did.

So how did Apple do it?

In true Apple fashion, the company is coy and vague about what's exactly going on. But we now know that this feature is possible because of Apple's H2 chip, which the AirPods Pro and the Apple Vision Pro both have.

In an interview, Ron Huang, VP of Sensing and Connectivity, elaborated that the two chips are communicating using a custom-developed protocol that's "inspired by Bluetooth."

It's possible that we'll see more devices support wireless lossless audio with the AirPods Pro.

But instead of running at 2.4GHz which Bluetooth uses, it's running at 5GHz. The higher frequency provides sufficient bandwidth (lossless audio holds considerably more data) and a cleaner transmission that has lower latency and is less prone to interruptions such as skipping audio and random dropouts.

When asked about how battery life is impacted because of the higher transfer rate,Apple says it isn't and that users can expect the same type of battery life (up to 6 hours on a single charge). If I had to guess, I'd say the close proximity of the AirPods Pro and the Vision Pro headset allows Apple to transmit at lower energy levels to conserve battery.

Apple revealed little else and did not say if they are looking to expand this feature to other devices like iPhones and Macs. But it seems like a possibility given that all music on Apple Music is available in lossless.

As I said before, Apple Music promoting lossless audio is great,there was no way to enjoy it on any AirPods because of the limitations of Bluetooth. But at least we know now that the future could be diifferent and that Apple's H2 chip holds the key.

Kenny Yeo

Kenny Yeo/Associate Editor

Specifications are not everything. It’s what you do with what you have that matters.

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