Bluetooth LE Audio spec finalized – latest AirPods Max beta firmware already features support

Bluetooth LE Audio spec has just been finalized with various features coming to Bluetooth 5.2 and compatible products launching later this year. Apple is already ahead of the curve and has released a new AirPods Max beta firmware that enables support for the updated LC3 codec.

LC3 codec (Low Complexity Communication Codec) enables audio to be transmitted at lower bitrates without any drop in quality. This is a major improvement and will ensure that not only calls but any form of audio requires lesser data to be transmitted, which should also help with power savings.

Pink AirPods Max

AirPods Max show noticeable improvements with LC3 code, part of Bluetooth LE Audio

While it’s unclear if all existing AirPods models will be upgraded to the new Bluetooth 5.2 features, Apple has already released a beta firmware that enables Stereo LC3 for HFP. This has been confirmed by @marajobsession on Twitter:

The result of this LC3 update is that the audio quality is already considerably better on the AirPods Max.

The improvements to Bluetooth 5.2 will be noticeable on true wireless earbuds like AirPods. AirPods Pro 2 are expected to feature Bluetooth 5.2 which should enable them to transmit audio at higher bitrates, avoid desync issues, and require lesser energy which should result in longer battery life.

Bluetooth 5.2 also features support for Auracast Broadcasts, which should make it easy to connect multiple headphones to the same device, as well as connect it to audio sources as easily as connecting to Wi-Fi networks. This would be possible by scanning for the networks, scanning QR codes, or taping NFC tags. This feature could be useful in public spaces like museums.

Many manufacturers would be releasing new products with Bluetooth 5.2 later this year. It is clear that the likes of Apple and Sony will also update existing devices with new Bluetooth 5.2 features. Apple has already released a beta firmware for AirPods Max, while Sony mentions on its website that Linkbuds S are compatible with Bluetooth LE Audio and a firmware update will be released this year.

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