Ever since Apple introduced lossless audio in Apple Music, the bandwidth limitations of Bluetooth technology have become very clear. However, as the world moves towards a future with wireless headphones, companies are scrambling to deliver lossless audio over a wireless connection – which is exactly what Qualcomm just announced.
The semiconductor company presented this week (via Digital trends) two new wireless earphone chips capable of delivering lossless audio via Bluetooth. Named “S3” and “S5”, Qualcomm’s new chips combine Bluetooth 5.3 technology with a new audio codec based on aptX Adaptive to transmit higher bit rates, enabling lossless audio.
Devices with the new chips will support full regular lossless quality (also known as CD quality) and partial high-resolution audio (which usually requires a digital-to-analog converter).
Unfortunately, Apple will not benefit from this new Qualcomm technology, as it also requires a smartphone or tablet with a Qualcomm chip. But will Apple be the next to introduce its own lossless Bluetooth audio technology?
When Apple introduced the AirPods Max, the company was criticized for not including lossless audio support in its high-end headphones.
Luckily, it looks like the company still wants to bring lossless AirPods in the future. In December 2021, Apple’s vice president of acoustics, Gary Geaves, complained in an interview about the limitations of Bluetooth, while saying the company wanted a technology with “more bandwidth”.
A few weeks later, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said 9to5Mac that the next generation of AirPods Pro should offer lossless support. This suggests that Apple has also been working on new technologies to transmit audio at higher bitrates via Bluetooth. As the company continues to promote lossless as a major feature of Apple Music, it seems quite likely.
Of course, wired headphones are still the best choice for listening to lossless audio, but having Bluetooth headphones that are also capable of playing songs in higher quality will certainly make these accessories more appealing to audiophiles.