AirPods might offer lossless Apple Music after software update

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AirPods Max are available to order for $549.
Perhaps AirPods will be able to play Apple Music’s new lossless option.
Photo: Apple

There’s hope for AirPods users unhappy that the new Apple Music lossless option won’t work on their wireless headphones. Tipster Jon Prosser said on Wednesday that Apple will introduce a software update that will allow the earbuds to play lossless audio. Supposedly, AirPlay and Wi-Fi are just waiting to be enabled in AirPods.

Double secret hidden features

On the new episode of his Front Page Tech YouTube show, Prosser said the limitation was because of Bluetooth. And that that restriction is about to be removed.

“I’m being told that with a simple update at any time Apple is working on allowing AirPods to work over AirPlay instead,” said Prosser. “With AirPlay, your device would use Bluetooth to discover the AirPods as devices, but once connected it would then create a personal Wi-Fi connection to stream the audio between devices. And, boom, just like that, AirPods are the first wireless headphones that stream lossless audio.”

The tipster didn’t say which AirPods models will support AirPlay after the update. Or give a possible release date for the update. But Apple plans to introduce the lossless option to Apple Music starting in June 2021. So any time after that.

Adding Apple Music lossless audio to AirPods

Apple revealed on Monday that its music streaming service will give subscribers the option to listen in lossless formats. That’s 16 bit/44.1 kHz up to 24 bit/48 kHz. The top-of-the-line service will be 24 bit/192 kHz.

But most AirPods can’t handle this. Or HomePod. The only Apple option is AirPods Max with a cable connection, not Bluetooth.

AirPods with Wi-Fi?

Prosser’s assertion that AirPods will overcome their lossless audio limitation via Wi-Fi capabilities they currently aren’t using is likely to be controversial. Certainly no teardowns of Apple headphones mentioned that they’d be able to offer Wi-Fi with a simple software update.

And if nothing else there’s a question of battery life. Headphones use Bluetooth because it requires so little power. Wi-Fi draws far more, potentially reducing the time between charges to an unusably short amount.

Still, Jon Prosser has a 77.8% accuracy rating on AppleTrack for correctly predicting what the iPhone-maker will do in the future. Watch Wednesday’s episode of Front Page Tech for more details.