Qualcomm has found a way to support lossless over Bluetooth

By | March 1, 2022


Since Apple introduced lossless audio to Apple Music, the limitations of Bluetooth technology when it comes to bandwidth have become very clear. However, as the world moves toward a future with wireless headphones, companies have been working to deliver lossless audio over a wireless connection – which is exactly what Qualcomm has just announced.

The semiconductor company this week introduced (via Digital Trends) two new chips for wireless headphones that are capable of delivering lossless audio over Bluetooth. Named “S3” and “S5,” Qualcomm’s new chips combine Bluetooth 5.3 technology with a new aptX Adaptive-based audio codec to transmit higher bitrates, which enable lossless audio.

Devices with the new chips will support full regular lossless quality (also referred to as CD quality), and partial Hi-Res audio (which usually requires a Digital-to-Analog converter).

Unfortunately, Apple will not benefit from this new Qualcomm technology, as it also requires a smartphone or tablet with a Qualcomm chip. But will Apple be the next to introduce its own Bluetooth lossless audio technology?

9to5Mac’s Take

When Apple introduced AirPods Max, the company was criticized for not including lossless audio support to its premium headphones.

Luckily, it seems that the company still wants to bring lossless to AirPods in the future. Back in December 2021, Apple VP of Acoustics Gary Geaves complained in an interview about the limitations of Bluetooth, while also saying that the company wants a technology with “more bandwidth.”

A few weeks later, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told 9to5Mac that the next generation of AirPods Pro is expected to feature lossless support. This suggests that Apple has also been working on new technologies to transmit audio at higher bitrates over Bluetooth. As the company continues to promote lossless as a major feature of Apple Music, this seems entirely likely.

Of course, wired headphones are still the best choice for listening to lossless audio, but having Bluetooth headphones that are also capable of playing songs in a higher quality will certainly make these accessories more attractive to audiophiles.

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