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Apple finally explained why only USB-C AirPods Pro can support lossless audio from Vision Pro

Published Sep 22nd, 2023 11:30AM EDT
Apple AirPods Pro Main
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Last week, Apple released a revised USB-C AirPods Pro 2. Despite the new port, the company also released two new features with it: lossless audio support with Apple Vision Pro and IP54 with water and dust resistance.

While I was pissed off with Apple limiting lossless audio support with this revised AirPods Pro 2, the company has finally explained why this feature is exclusive to this new version – and, fortunately, it’s very reasonable.

In a half-hour interview with Ron Huang, Apple’s VP of Sensing and Connectivity, YouTuber Brian Tong (via 9to5Mac) asked him several questions regarding USB-C AirPods Pro 2, including the lossless audio controversy.

Long reply short, Huang tells Tong that the new USB-C AirPods Pro 2 uses a 5Ghz frequency, while the Lightning option only works at 2.4Ghz. The Apple executive says:

“To bring lossless and ultra-low latency audio to Vision Pro, many things have to work right. Shorter latency and lossless means bigger bandwidth, so you need a much more pristine wireless pipe to communicate between the two. And with the new AirPods Pro, we are able to run it at 5 GHz, right? While the Lightning model runs at 2.4 GHz, which is quite a messy and noisy airspace. I take Wi-Fi, for example, all the routers you buy today are dual-band or tri-band because 2.4 is very noisy, but 5 GHz is much cleaner. And so Apple Vision Pro and AirPods Pro are able to communicate at 5 GH, in addition to the H2 chip, allowing us to build a new audio protocol. It’s also the clearer airspace that allows us to do that.”

AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C port
AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C port Image source: Apple Inc.

Huang also reinforces that while both AirPods Pro 2 have the H2 chip, Apple needed it to work at a 5 GHz frequency, which was previously impossible.

The Apple executive even addresses why the iPhone 15 doesn’t feature a proprietary H2 chip, which would be perfect for these audio possibilities.

“The H2 chip is a very audio-focused Bluetooth chip, but, of course, the iPhone Bluetooth chip does a lot more than audio. It thrives AirPods, but it allows you to do communication, allows you to connect to your car, allows you to play multiplayer games, or connect to other accessories. It’s great at audio but also serves a whole lot of other Bluetooth functionalities.” And this is why we are not getting lossless Bluetooth audio with any other Apple device at the moment.

The full interview is worth watching. You can find it below.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.

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