Amid the slew of new Apple products launched today, only the tiniest mention was made of the fact that Apple has also given the AirPods Pro Gen 2 wireless earbuds a not-so-minor refresh. Along with the expected addition of USB-C, making the AirPods Pro the first Apple headphones to ditch the Lightning connector, Apple has also given the iconic white noise-canceling earbuds the ability to do lossless audio wirelessly — something that has never been seen on the AirPods family before, and is even a rarity among non-Apple wireless audio devices.
There is, however, a catch. The “groundbreaking wireless audio protocol” that allows for lossless audio at 20-bit/48 kHz (a better-than-CD-quality resolution) is powered by the AirPods Pro’s H2 chip, but for now, it only works when paired with the upcoming Apple Vision Pro headset.
We’ve reached out to Apple to find out more about this new wireless protocol — it’s unlikely to be Bluetooth, as lossless audio at 20/48 likely requires more bandwidth than Bluetooth can sustain — but it could be made possible via ultra-wideband (UWB), the same wireless technology that lets your iPhone locate your AirPods Pro with a high degree of accuracy.
Apple says that along with the protocol’s lossless capability, it will also have ultra-low latency. That’s essential for gaming and to ensure that what you see on the Vision Pro’s screen matches what you hear with the AirPods Pro. It’s also yet another aspect of UWB, which offers extremely quick data transmission.
As soon as we get more details, we’ll update this post.
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Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
This touchscreen AirPods case is the worst thing I’ve seen all week
If you know me even the slightest bit, you’ll know that I’m a big Apple fan. I have an iPad, Apple Watch, and multiple Macs. And even though I’ve been diving into the world of Android phones, my primary device is still an iPhone 14 Pro. I also always have my AirPods Pro 2 with me, whether that’s at home or when I’m out at Disney parks — they’re always on me in some way or another.
But as much as I like Apple, there are certainly some things that will make me scratch my head and go “Huh?” The latest one is what appears to be a new patent held by Apple that could lead to an AirPods case with an integrated interactive touchscreen.
The patent does what now?
AirPods Pro 2 may finally offer this charging feature
Continuing with its move toward USB-C, Apple looks set to incorporate the connector into the charging case for its AirPods Pro earbuds, according to respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
The second generation of Apple’s top-of-the-line earbuds, which the tech giant released in September last year, features a Lightning charging case. But Kuo, who has called it right in the past when it comes to Apple’s plans, said in a recent tweet that Apple is “likely” to start selling a USB-C charging case with Apple’s premium buds, adding that it could start shipping as early as the second quarter of this year.
Can we talk about wireless audio’s missing speedometer?
Imagine someone spending $150,000 on a Porsche that had no speedometer. “This fine sports car can do zero to 60 in under three seconds.” Uh, how do I know? “Doesn’t it feel fast when you drive it? Trust us, it’s under three seconds.” Probably wouldn’t fly, would it?
And yet, this unlikely scenario is exactly what’s happening in the world of wireless audio.
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