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.