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Apple’s USB-C AirPods Pro will support lossless audio with the Vision Pro

Apple’s USB-C AirPods Pro will support lossless audio with the Vision Pro


During its iPhone 15 event, Apple announced that the second-generation AirPods Pro will soon ship with a USB-C case. But it turns out the company quietly made other upgrades that go beyond swapping the case’s charging port. For one, the USB-C AirPods Pro have tacked dust resistance onto their existing water and sweat resistance: they’re rated IP54 versus the IPX4 of last year’s Lightning model. But perhaps more interesting is that these USB-C AirPods Pro will support lossless audio when used with Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro headset.

This marks the first time that Apple’s wireless earbuds have offered lossless playback. “The H2 chip in the latest AirPods Pro and Apple Vision Pro, combined with a groundbreaking wireless audio protocol, unlocks powerful 20-bit, 48 kHz Lossless Audio with a massive reduction in audio latency,” the company’s press release reads. Typically, high-resolution audio comes in at 24-bit / 48kHz, so it seems like Apple’s solution stops just short of that bit depth.

But at least with the Vision Pro, it sounds as though Apple is pushing lossless for entertainment and gaming purposes — and not necessarily for your laid-back music listening sessions:

When Apple Vision Pro is available early next year in the U.S., customers will be able to enjoy the most advanced wireless audio experience in the industry with the new AirPods Pro for exceptional entertainment, gaming, FaceTime calls, and so much more.

I can’t imagine many people will sit around streaming lossless Apple Music tracks while donning the premium mixed reality headset, so highlighting the reduced latency and higher fidelity for games and movies makes sense.

Here’s what’s odd: this feature is seemingly only supported by the USB-C AirPods Pro and not last year’s version. Technically, these are still the second-generation AirPods Pro, but it would appear that Apple has made some under-the-hood tweaks that enable the lossless audio capability.

I’m very curious about this “groundbreaking wireless audio protocol.” What is it? Why would it be exclusive to the Vision Pro and not also integrated with the brand-new iPhone 15 lineup? Apple’s AirPods Pro webpage has been updated with these details:

Both feature the H2 chip, communicating at industry-shattering speed and unlocking a revolutionary new format rendering pure, uncompressed sound in real time. So your movies, shows, and games become breathtakingly immersive.

A “revolutionary new format,” eh? Hopefully, we’ll learn more over the coming weeks and months. I would’ve expected Apple to bring wireless lossless audio to the AirPods Max first, but it’s unlikely we’ll see a new pair of those until next year at the earliest, so the Pro buds have jumped ahead.

The “AirPods Pro (second generation) with MagSafe Charging Case (USB‐C)” — what a product name — are available for preorder today and will be in stores alongside the iPhone 15 series and new Apple Watches on September 22nd.


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