With the basic AirPods getting a whole new design, and the awesome high-end AirPods Max arriving in the last 12 months, the poor old AirPods Pro are starting to look a little dated. But if new leaks are to be believed, the Pros are next in line for a refresh – and it could totally transform how the earphones connect to your devices.
According to a new patent, the company is working on a brand new audio transmission technology, which could end up replacing Bluetooth. Why? It could help the AirPods become the first headphones to offer truly lossless sound quality. Want the best AirPods available now? Check out today's best AirPods deals.
As spotted by Patently Apple (opens in new tab), the filing describes how audio data could be transmitted "as an over-the-air radio frequency (RF) signal," allowing for super high quality playback. It could also remove any delay – while Bluetooth " may require tens of milliseconds for audio processing," Apple's proposed optical output could reduce this significantly.
We've already heard recently that Apple is looking at ways to improve the sound quality of its AirPods range. Last month, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed in an investor report that the new AirPods Pro could be the first to support lossless audio, which could offer a "major selling point". That's certainly true – right now, lossless audio is pretty much impossible over Bluetooth. And now we might know how Apple is planning to get around the issue – by producing an entirely new type of audio connection.
Kuo also claims that a new sound-emitting charging case will integrate into the Find My app. Right now, users can play a sound from their individual AirPods – but anyone who's ever lost the charging case will attest, finding that is a whole different ball game.
As for the look, all Kuo says is that we're in for a "new design". But we've recently heard that the AirPods Pro 2 will finally do away with the stem, offering something similar to the Beats Fit Pro. We'll be curious to see whether a stemless pair of AirPods manages to retain the same iconic aesthetic – while the design was the subject of many a meme back in 2016, there's no denying its incredible popularity now.
Time will tell what Apple has in store for the next generation of AirPods Pro. But if you don't fancy waiting, check out today's best deals below, and be sure to visit our round-up of the best wireless headphones.
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