An Apple engineer has addressed the lack of lossless audio support in the second generation AirPods Pro in a new interview.
Current Bluetooth technology in the AirPods lineup means that Apple’s audio products do not support it Apple Music Lossless audio. Apple has previously hinted that it may develop its own codec and connectivity standard that builds on AirPlay and supports higher quality audio streaming, but so far has not made any such move.
Apple Music offers lossless streaming which is 24-bit and up to 48KHz, and high-res lossless which goes up to 192KHz and requires an external digital-to-analog converter.
In an interview with What Hi-Fi?, Apple engineer Esge Andersen, who works on the company’s acoustic team, said that Apple does not believe that current Bluetooth technology is a limiting factor in audio quality for the AirPods. Anderson added that even with current Bluetooth technology and codec standards, Apple can still make improvements in audio quality while the company’s focus remains on reliability.
Andersen remains coy, saying that while audio quality is always a priority, “it is important to understand that we can still make big strides without changing the codec. And the codec choice we have there today, it’s more about reliability. So it’s about making something robust in all environments.”
“We want to push the sound quality forward, and we can do that with a lot of other elements. We don’t think that the codec currently is the limitation of audio quality on Bluetooth products.”
During the interview, Anderson also offered an interesting look into how Apple developed the new second-generation AirPods Pro and how it validates sound quality. Anderson revealed that Apple has a panel of “sound experts” that offer Apple’s engineers feedback on audio quality. “And at the end of the day, there is somewhat of a compromise, because you can’t make it perfect for everybody yet,” he said.
One of the most considerable improvements with the new second-generation AirPods Pro is better Active Noise Cancellation. Apple says that ANC on the new AirPods Pro is up to 2x better than before. Anderson said Apple was pushed to make this large improvement because it wanted “to give everybody an AirPods Max in their pocket.”
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