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Why the new AirPods Pro 2 are needed for Apple Vision Pro lossless audio

AirPods Pro

Alongside adding USB-C charging to the AirPods Pro, Apple also updated them to provide lossless audio, and now explains exactly what was needed to achieve that.

To distinguish between the old and new charging cases for the AirPods Pro, you just have to look underneath at the USB-C port. But there's been another substantial change to AirPods Pro that is impossible to see.

Apple calls it lossless audio, and also says that it is required for the forthcoming Apple Vision Pro. As noted by AppleInsider, though, lossless audio in the AirPods Pro means 20 bits at 48 kilohertz with lower latency than now, which is less than Apple's previous lossless 24 bits at up to 192 kilohertz.

Now, Apple executives Ron Huang, vice president of Sensing and Connectivity, and Eric Treski, director of Product Marketing, have been speaking about the update. On Brian Tong's YouTube channel, they've revealed how what it took to get lossless working, and how it fits into the future of audio at Apple.

"To bring in lossless and ultra low latency audio to Vision Pro, many things have to work," said Huang. "[Shorter] latency lossless means bigger bandwidth. So you need a much more pristine wireless pipe to communicate between the two."

"And with the new AirPods Pro, we are able to run it at 5 gigahertz," he continued. "If you think back, Bluetooth typically runs at 2.4 gigahertz, which is quite a messy and noisy airspace."

"And so, Apple Vision Pro and AirPods Pro are now able to communicate at 5 gigahertz, in addition to H2, allowing us to build a new audio protocol," said Huang, "but it's also the cleaner airspace that allows us to to do that and USB-C AirPods are now 5-gig capable."

Huang also says that this increased Bluetooth bandwidth means auto-switching between, say, the iPhone and iPad "connects way faster and switches way faster than it used to before."

Eric Treski also spoke about the current advantages that the new AirPods Pro provides, and says it's the overall experience that Apple has been working toward.

"I would say that obviously making music and podcasts more listening to more enjoyable [is key]... also to what's in your surrounding environment and interacting with that in a more unique and beneficial way," said Treski. "And really just being this more and more continual companion throughout your day to actually just help you and be something that's truly important for you, which is great to see AirPods Pro doing that today."

The updated AirPods Pro cost $249, and went on sale in Apple Stores alongside the iPhone 15 today.