Apple recently issued a statement saying it intends to use a more advanced version of Bluetooth than ever before, which is potentially a great sign for the iPhone 14 and AirPods Pro 2 because it would allow for some very useful audio upgrades.
seen by MacRumors (opens in new tab)The Apple Filing with Bluetooth Control Group (opens in new tab) means the company may start to include Bluetooth 5.2 in future products, which it hasn’t done so far. The filing actually references Bluetooth 5.3, but MacRumors points out that Apple always archives a version above the Bluetooth version it uses in practice, for some reason.
Why do we care which version of Bluetooth Apple is using? Because Bluetooth 5.2 has a specific new feature that is very useful, although it is – shall we say – a practical one rather than a wildly exciting one.
It’s called LE Audio and it’s designed to give you better audio quality, especially when the connection between your phone and headphones gets weak. The official Bluetooth website’s claim is that the new system can sound better than current Bluetooth audio, even when it is only able to use 50% of the data on the connection.
This means that with LE Audio devices you can go much further from your device or have more walls/interference between your phone and headphones before the sound stops. One should just feel more confident and flexible.
It also means that there is potential for longer battery life from AirPods that use it, because it can stream with good quality but much more efficiently.
That’s assuming Apple implements it, of course. It’s a feature that should be specifically supported on products, so just having Bluetooth 5.2 on your phone and headphones doesn’t necessarily mean you actually get LE Audio.
Easier audio sharing
The other cool feature that Bluetooth 5.2 supports is AuraCast, which is a way to share audio via Bluetooth with multiple devices at the same time, which was not possible in the past.
There are many suggested uses for this: if supported on AirPods, it can allow you to connect to a shared screen in a public place for personal audio; if supported on iPhone, it can mean you can share your music or sound from a video with multiple headphones from any manufacturer (provided they also support AuraCast).
It might be like the audio sharing that AirPods currently have, but on steroids.
None of these features can be added to the iPhone 13 or earlier, or any existing AirPods (including the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max), because they all only support Bluetooth 5.0 at most. So even if a .2 update doesn’t seem like much, we hope it makes a big difference.