Recently, Apple introduced a high resolution music streaming feature for Apple Music, giving us the Dolby Atmos and Lossless experience. However, Apple’s wireless headphones, AirPods, miss out on the lossless hearing experience. Apple says this is due to shortcomings in Bluetooth. Apple vice president for acoustics Gary Geaves provided some insights on the limitations of Bluetooth on AirPods 3.
Isn’t Apple AirPods 3 Good Enough?
Well yeah, the AirPods 3 that launched only a while ago has some fancy stuff like support for Spatial Audio and Adaptive EQ, but Gary says, “Apple wants more bandwidth” for Bluetooth. In an interview with What HiFi, Geaves gave insights on limitations of Bluetooth on AirPods 3 and how the team had to work on various factors to overcome the lack of enough wireless fidelity that Bluetooth provides.
Unlike AirPods Pro, the 3rd generation of the AirPods do not have a silicon bud that can seal one’s ears. There are many who do not like the feeling of the bud and rather want headphones with an open seal. So, if you can’t have a noise-cancelling feature, making a device that can still provide brilliant sound quality is challenging.
Furthermore, Geaves mentioned that the AirPods 3 were designed from ground zero and every component used was completely new. Apple took up the challenge to provide an open seal headphone that sounded great. It’s pretty clear that the Cupertino tech giant took into account the love users have for non-Pro and non-Max AirPods.
Coming back to AirPods not being able to stream lossless and high resolution lossless audio, Geaves says that’s where Adaptive EQ comes into play. However, he adds, “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”.
For now, I think the AirPods 3 still sounds pretty great for a device without noise-cancelling. Plus, Spatial Audio and Adaptive EQ work just fine. However, is this interview and insights into Bluetooth limitations a hint towards a future in which Apple has its own alternative? We’ll have to wait and watch.