Apple recently provided a new AirPods beta firmware, launched alongside iOS 16, macOS 13 Beta, and more. Now, a developer has confirmed that the AirPods Max Beta has added support for a higher-quality Bluetooth codec, which should at least improve the quality of voice calls on Apple’s high-end earphones, and provide an early preview of the AirPods Pro 2’s best features.
Twitter user @George discovered that the LC3 codec can be enabled via the AirPods Max beta firmware. The LC3 codec is Bluetooth’s future LE low-energy and high-quality codec that will be coming to headsets soon.
The Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3 for short) will be able to transmit at much lower bit rates without degrading Bluetooth audio quality. The LC3 codec will improve audio calls, but the true potential of this technology will require Bluetooth 5.2 and a new generation of AirPods hardware.
AirPods Pro 2 will support LE audio technology
The LC3 codec will improve audio calling, efficiency, and stability for Bluetooth devices, but the requirements to take full advantage of the standard will include Bluetooth 5.2, which is not currently supported by AirPods at the hardware level.
9to5 Mac sources have confirmed that the next-generation AirPods Pro 2 (codenamed B698) will feature the new H1 chip, which Apple’s own audio chip can handle. Additionally, the iOS 16 references reveal that it will support the LC3 codec and LE Low Power Audio. In terms of LE audio support, a senior engineer at Apple is heavily involved in developing this new standard.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year that the audio experience of the AirPods Pro 2 will be greatly improved. With support for Bluetooth 5.2 and LC3, Apple will be able to get rid of the AirPods’ out-of-sync phenomenon when the user wears it, and thanks to the LE standard, battery life will be improved, while focusing on efficiency and stability.
Notably, just after the WWDC22 keynote, the Bluetooth Association released Auracast broadcast audio technology (also known as Augmented Reality Audio Broadcast), which will improve the existing experience on AirPods while unlocking new possibilities.
For example, with Auracast, users can listen to songs, watch movies, and more while connecting more sets of wireless headphones at the same time. Currently, users can only connect up to two sets of AirPods from the same source.
Rumors about upcoming AirPods and “lossless Bluetooth”
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple’s new AirPods Pro 2 will still feature a Lightning charging port. Additionally, rumors talk about a new form factor design and health and fitness tracking features. Apple has predicted that AirPods will complement Apple Watch’s health tracking capabilities by providing additional data points in the future.
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