In 2020, the Bluetooth 5.2 specification was announced to support the new LE audio specification, and with at least two of these Apple employees listed as participants in LE audio development, it is likely that Apple will adopt the specification for use in future devices. According to a newly published document in the Bluetooth SIG database, Apple recently tested an unknown component with Bluetooth 5.3 support. The document does not reveal any other noteworthy details, but along with a similar document from last month, it suggests that Apple is preparing a version of Bluetooth with LE audio support for future devices.
LE audio would be particularly beneficial for AirPods, such as the rumoured second-generation AirPods Pro due later this year. below, we outline five benefits of LE audio for future AirPods Pro, assuming that source devices such as iPhones, iPads and Macs will also be upgraded to support the specification in the future.
Improved audio quality. According to the Bluetooth Technology Alliance, LE Audio includes a new low-power audio codec called LC3 that provides better audio quality even at a 50 percent lower bit rate compared to the classic SBC codec.
Longer battery life. With the low-power LC3 audio codec, future AirPods Pro will have a longer battery life for audio playback.
Multiple audio stream support. LE Audio will enable multiple simultaneous audio streams between a source device such as an iPhone or Mac and the AirPods Pro. This will allow a single left or right AirPod to have its own Bluetooth audio connection with a device that supports LE audio for improved reliability.
Connecting multiple pairs of AirPods to an iPhone at once. LE Audio will allow multiple pairs of AirPods to connect directly to a future iPhone, iPad, Mac or other device and listen to the same audio at the same time. Previously Apple already had a feature that allowed an iPhone or iPad user with AirPods to share audio with another person using AirPods, but the feature did not work with more than two pairs of AirPods.
There is no need to switch between iPhone and Mac. LE Audio will allow AirPods to be connected to multiple source devices at the same time, such as iPhone and Mac, without the need to switch AirPods between devices.
In July this year, the Bluetooth Technology Alliance said it expected LE audio-enabled products to be available by the end of 2022.