The latest AirPods Pro work with Vision Pro to deliver lossless audio with ultra-low latency, another Apple innovation.
Apple announced a new model of the AirPods Pro on Tuesday. It’s largely based on the second-generation AirPods Pro, which launched a year ago. The new model, which will go on sale September 22, comes with three improvements:
- A new case with USB‐C charging capabilities
- An improved IP54 rating for the earphones and case, providing additional dust resistance
- Lossless Audio with Apple Vision Pro
Apple calls the new model of the AirPods Pro “2nd generation”, although it is actually the 3rd generation. Also curious is Apple’s decision to only support lossless audio in the new AirPods Pro, but not in last year’s AirPods Pro, even though both earbuds use the same H2 chip.
What is the Lossless Audio feature?
Lossless Audio is based on a new audio protocol. Apple describes it as follows:
“AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with MagSafe Charging Case (USB‑C) will enable Lossless Audio with ultra-low latency to deliver the perfect true wireless solution with Apple Vision Pro. 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 bottom line is that the new AirPods Pro sound best with Apple Vision and better than with any other Apple device, including the iPhone.
It’s an important innovation
The mixed reality headset, which will launch in the U.S. in early 2024, has built-in speakers. However, they are open and sound can leak out, which can be annoying for those sitting next to you. The AirPods Pro prevent this and also offer noise cancellation.
The second feature of the new wireless audio protocol, reduced audio latency, is an important innovation for standalone headsets. Anyone who has tried to use Bluetooth headphones or earbuds with a headset like Meta Quest knows this. The audio delay is too noticeable for shooters or rhythm games like Beat Saber that require fast audio feedback. Users are forced to use the built-in speakers or wired headphones, which either sacrifices audio quality or user comfort.