Lossless audio is finally coming to AirPods Pro 2… but only with the Apple Vision Pro

 The Apple AirPods Pro 2 headphones on a grey background
The Apple AirPods Pro 2 headphones on a grey background

During today's Apple September event, which if you missed check out our Apple event 2023 live blog to read about all the news, it was announced that the AirPods Pro 2 and EarPods would be getting USB-C charging. But there was an even bigger update that was revealed in the press release that was launched soon after. Sort of.

Turns out, lossless audio is set to be added to the AirPods Pro 2 in this new USB-C-toting version, but only when they're used with the upcoming Apple Vision Pro virtual reality headset... Not when used with your shiny new iPhone 15 Pro with Apple Music.

Lossless audio means far less compression of the sound as it's transmitted, so details remains sharper, and songs can be more dynamic. It's highly sought after by audiophiles, and is something that we've been patiently waiting for from AirPods here at TechRadar. We even explained how Apple could do it. But this isn't exactly what we had in mind.

Is Apple at a loss?

Apple says that the Lossless Audio codec will enable the AirPods Pro 2 to deliver ultra-low latency with the Apple Vision Pro – both of which use the H2 chip – as well as 20-bit 48kHz lossless. Now, this isn't actually that impressive for Hi-Res Audio. It's not enough for the full quality of Apple Music, for example, which can deliver 24-bit 192kHz. And to compare it to other wireless transmission tech, Snapdragon Sound can do 24-bit 96kHz.

We've been shocked that Apple’s new AirPods Pro still can’t support lossless for a while now, because it means that listening to the higher quality levels of Apple Music is possible on Android with headphones from rivals, but not on iPhone with headphones from Apple.

And with iOS 17 already announced without any lossless upgrades, followed by iPhone 15 models also without all this, we remain left to use Apple's wired EarPods if you actually want lossless sound from its phones, ridiculously.

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