Saturday, Jan 01, 2022, 18:02 Hardware

Apple's Head Of Audio Discusses Bluetooth Limitations & AirPods 3 Development

When Apple released the first generation of AirPods back in September 2016 along with the iPhone 7, the company hadn't foreseen the product's immense draw: for entire months, the headphones were completely sold out. In October 2021, Apple presented the AirPods "3", almost two years after the second generation's introduction. Gary Geaves, the head of Apple's audio department, recently provided the public with some insight into the product's development.

The AirPods 3 – A Completely New Development
In an interview with whathifi.com, Greaves stressed that the AirPods 3 (released over the holiday season) were a completely new development. The new earphones share no parts with their predecessors and each and every component was specially developed for the new model. For example, an amplifier with a very low latency was developed, so that quick adjustments can be made using spatial audio.

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Adapting Music For Spatial Audio – A Big Challenge
The third generation of AirPods also supports "Spatial Audio" – a feature that will change the audio based on the movement and position of the user's head. In an interview, Geaves stated that Apple had to create an entire team to appropriately adapt the feature to the new earphones. The team now works with artists, along with collaborating with the Apple Music Team and the developers of Logic and Garageband to provide the optimal listening experience.

Bluetooth – A Limiting Factor
All generations of AirPods connect to smart phones, tablets, or computers via Bluetooth. However, Bluetooth 5.0 can only reach an optimal data transfer rate of 2 mbp/s. Meanwhile, Apple has begun to offer almost its entire music library with support for lossless audio quality – but due to Bluetooth's low rate of data transfer, the audio isn't entirely "lossless" via Bluetooth.

In his interview with whathifi.com, Geaves stated that Apple had used a lot of "tricks" in order to overcome some of Bluetooth's limitations – especially when it comes to latency. However, Cupertino would clearly like to pursue wireless options with more bandwidth, according to Geaves himself – but at the moment, the company doesn't want to discuss this topic any further. It's likely that the head of Apple's audio department isn't allowed to publicly criticize the Bluetooth standard, according to whathifi.com.

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