On Monday, Apple announced it is bringing Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos, and support for Lossless audio to Apple Music which will allow its subscribers listen to sound the way it was mixed in the studio. While the AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max will support the former, none of them will be able to output Lossless Audio including the AirPods Max.
“Lossless audio is not supported on AirPods, any model,” an Apple spokesperson confirmed to TheVerge. “AirPods Max wired listening mode accepts analog output sources only. AirPods Max currently does not support digital audio formats in wired mode.”
In further clarification, Apple told 9to5Mac that “Lossless doesn’t work over Bluetooth.” Well, but what about the $549 AirPods Max which allows users to plug in a Lightning cable with a 3.55m connector to make it wired? Even in wired mode, Apple’s AirPods Max does not support digital audio formats.
To explain further, Apple Music songs are encoded in AAC with a 256kbps bitrate which is not studio quality, this still sounds very good to the hear when used with headphones. With Apple introducing Lossless Audio, songs on Apple Music will have ALAC-encoding and will output from 16 bits/44.1Khz which is CD quality – as mixed by the artists in the studio.
Apple’s AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max connect with Bluetooth technology which can only reach up to 2,000kbps of speeds. When paired with to play music, there will be latency and signal drops which means Lossless Audio cannot be possible over this type of connection. Considering how expensive the AirPods Max is, is baffling how it does not support digital audio when wired.
Currently, Apple has no product that supports Lossless Audio. It’s only a matter of time before the company announces new hardware to support the encoding.