The prediction comes from the prolific and often reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who reckons the second generation AirPods Pro model will support the bespoke Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which Apple’s current best wireless earbuds cannot handle.
That’s because the connection still relies on Bluetooth, meaning only the standard AAC format can be streamed to AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max (although the Max cans can handle it with a wired connection). If Apple plans to change this, it means an alternative solution to Bluetooth might be on the way.
It’s a solution perhaps hinted at by Apple last week, in an interview with What Hi-Fi. VP of Acoustics Gary Geaves said Apple would prefer to have greater bandwidth than Google is currently able to offer.
“Obviously the wireless technology is critical for the content delivery that you talk about”, Geaves told What Hi-Fi, “but also things like the amount of latency you get when you move your head, and if that’s too long, between you moving your head and the sound changing or remaining static, it will make you feel quite ill, so we have to concentrate very hard on squeezing the most that we can out of the Bluetooth technology, and there’s a number of tricks we can play to maximise or get around some of the limits of Bluetooth. But it’s fair to say that we would like more bandwidth and… I’ll stop right there. We would like more bandwidth.”
Apple may have a new bespoke connectivity tech up its sleeve for AirPods Pro 2, but could also switch to Qualcomm’s new aptX Lossless format to get around Bluetooth’s limitations.
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Elsewhere, in a note to investors spotted by MacRumors, Kuo predicts a new wireless charging case feature that can be triggered to play a sound – probably via the Find My app – when the owner can’t locate it.
We’d expect a new version of AirPods Pro in 2022. It’s now been over two years since Apple launched the first-ten AirPods Pro, so it’s certainly overdue. Presumably Apple has held off for a couple of reasons: Firstly, these things sell like hot cakes and secondly, there may be a massive enhancement Apple has been baking in those Cupertino labs.