Is Bluetooth holding back Apple's AirPods? We asked the man who made them

MorgrainX

Active member
Dec 29, 2021
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So much talk about pro audio engineers and work that was put into the products, and yet they continuously cheap out on audio codecs. Everyone knows that IPhones can't deliver good music, simply because Apple doesn't want to pay licenses for audio codecs, and their own ALAC is crap since you need an external digital/analog device for 48khz/more (meaning that not's wireless, which can be only considered a joke in 2021).

I’m talking about Bluetooth, of course, which almost all wireless headphones, including AirPods, rely upon and which doesn’t have the data rate for hi-res or even lossless audio.
That is simply not correct, since there has been a nearly lossless 990 kbps at 32 bit/96 kHz (LDAC!) codec around for years already, yet Apple still fails to deliver this most basic of all features. No, Bluetooth isn't holding Apple back. Apple deliberately decided not to support aptx/LDAC for years now, instead they wanted to cheap out and save the couple bucks from their billiondollar revenue, forcing their customers to use mediocre audio codecs. Back when Apple decided to kill the headphone jack, I thought "Oh, now we finally get to see an IPhone with good audio codecs, surely they won't continue their BS once their customers have no other choice" - oh boy, was I wrong.

Apple is holding Apple back, deliberately.

End of story.
 
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manicm

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May 1, 2008
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So much talk about pro audio engineers and work that was put into the products, and yet they continuously cheap out on audio codecs. Everyone knows that IPhones can't deliver good music, simply because Apple doesn't want to pay licenses for audio codecs, and their own ALAC is crap since you need an external digital/analog device for 48khz/more (meaning that not's wireless, which can be only considered a joke in 2021).



That is simply not correct, since there has been a nearly lossless 990 kbps at 32 bit/96 kHz (LDAC!) codec around for years already, yet Apple still fails to deliver this most basic of all features. No, Bluetooth isn't holding Apple back. Apple deliberately decided not to support aptx/LDAC for years now, instead they wanted to cheap out and save the couple bucks from their billiondollar revenue, forcing their customers to use mediocre audio codecs. Back when Apple decided to kill the headphone jack, I thought "Oh, now we finally get to see an IPhone with good audio codecs, surely they won't continue their BS once their customers have no other choice" - oh boy, was I wrong.

Apple is holding Apple back, deliberately.

End of story.
Wrong, Apple is not holding itself back. Firstly, are you aware LDAC is very much a proprietary Sony technology? So how many proprietary technologies must Apple buy? How many phones or hifi components actually use LDAC?
 

MorgrainX

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Dec 29, 2021
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So how many proprietary technologies must Apple buy? How many phones or hifi components actually use LDAC?
Firstly, obviously only one. Even though, of course, they could support many more technologies without breaking a sweat, simply to give their customers options - something that premium buyers deserve, even though Apple likes to differ here. Customers only deserve the stuff that Apple is willing to pay for, according to Apples actions, and that's about the only truth about this whole topic.

I just don't get why anyone would defend Apple for cheaping out. They make billions because they sell overpriced products, especially because they cheap out on corners like these here. The customer is the loser here. We should all work together to make sure that the best codecs are supported on every phone, yet still there are people that believe that Apple is justified to deliver shitty Bluetooth quality since anno 1800 - I mean, seriously? 2021 and the best they can do is AAC and SBC. That's not even a joke anymore, that's an insult. Why people defend that? Beats me.

Secondly, every Android phone that runs Android Oreo (A8 !) or higher automatically supports LDAC, since it has been part of AOSP since then. You seem to know very little about LDAC - I suggest you research a bit about that topic.

Thirdly, the encoder library is open source and is part of four major Linux distributions as well. Meaning that is not proprietary at all.

Ergo millions of devices already use LDAC.

The decoder is proprietary and would cost Apple a couple bucks. Since they cheaped out completely on audio codecs, one codec would mean nothing for them financially.

So yes, of course, Apple is holding Apple back. Deliberately. Just to save a couple pennies. Even though the amount of money they would have to pay to Sony wouldn't even account for the equivalent of a single penny. Apple has 200 billion $ in cash reserves alone (reserves!). Paying a couple fees for audio codecs wouldn't probably account for the equivalent of you and me paying 0,05 pennies. That's a decimal error in accounting, nothing more, nothing less.

And since, according to Apples marketing bumbojumbo, audio quality is soo important to them, this whole topic here... them only supporting the worst, mediocre, weakest stuff they can get for free... on their thousanddollar Ultra Premium phones... can only be considered unacceptable at this point.
 
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manicm

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Not so fast, here's a sobering piece on LDAC.




There may be a good reason why Apple doesn't use LDAC - because ironically at anything above 660kbps the codec rolls off high frequencies.

And they also claim it offers no benefit at 320k
 
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IBM

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Dec 31, 2021
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Instead of whining about latency Apple should just adopt the new Bluetooth LE standard which has much lower latency, much less power consumption and superior audio quality. Bluetooth LE came out in January 2020 and it's been 2 years that Apple hasn't adopted it in their devices and is whining about latency lol.

Simply put Apple is holding Apple back. By adopting Bluetooth LE all of Apple's problems of latency in Spatial Audio would be resolved.
 

manicm

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Instead of whining about latency Apple should just adopt the new Bluetooth LE standard which has much lower latency, much less power consumption and superior audio quality. Bluetooth LE came out in January 2020 and it's been 2 years that Apple hasn't adopted it in their devices and is whining about latency lol.

Simply put Apple is holding Apple back. By adopting Bluetooth LE all of Apple's problems of latency in Spatial Audio would be resolved.
Bluetooth LE is not specifically geared towards improved sound quality for music, it's not a high res specification. Instead it's focused on power consumption, and those who are hard of hearing.
 

IBM

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Dec 31, 2021
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Bluetooth LE is not specifically geared towards improved sound quality for music, it's not a high res specification. Instead it's focused on power consumption, and those who are hard of hearing.
Yes but it still brings superior music quality (albeit I agree, not by a significant degree). But that wasn't what the Apple executive was talking about. He was talking about the latency problems with the current Bluetooth standard Apple uses. And my post was in regards to that. Bluetooth LE has much lower latency than Bluetooth 5.0 which Apple uses. So by adopting Bluetooth LE, almost all of Apple's problems would be solved.
 

manicm

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Yes but it still brings superior music quality (albeit I agree, not by a significant degree). But that wasn't what the Apple executive was talking about. He was talking about the latency problems with the current Bluetooth standard Apple uses. And my post was in regards to that. Bluetooth LE has much lower latency than Bluetooth 5.0 which Apple uses. So by adopting Bluetooth LE, almost all of Apple's problems would be solved.
LE is not the low latency technology, or not the main one. AptX Low Latency is the best in that regard. LE doesn't do much for sound quality, if at all.
 

wingzerox1005

Member
Jan 2, 2022
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So much talk about pro audio engineers and work that was put into the products, and yet they continuously cheap out on audio codecs. Everyone knows that IPhones can't deliver good music, simply because Apple doesn't want to pay licenses for audio codecs, and their own ALAC is crap since you need an external digital/analog device for 48khz/more (meaning that not's wireless, which can be only considered a joke in 2021).



That is simply not correct, since there has been a nearly lossless 990 kbps at 32 bit/96 kHz (LDAC!) codec around for years already, yet Apple still fails to deliver this most basic of all features. No, Bluetooth isn't holding Apple back. Apple deliberately decided not to support aptx/LDAC for years now, instead they wanted to cheap out and save the couple bucks from their billiondollar revenue, forcing their customers to use mediocre audio codecs. Back when Apple decided to kill the headphone jack, I thought "Oh, now we finally get to see an IPhone with good audio codecs, surely they won't continue their BS once their customers have no other choice" - oh boy, was I wrong.

Apple is holding Apple back, deliberately.

End of story.
aptx is qualcomm, ldac is sony, why would apple, the king of proprietary, use other proprietary solutions? i have to disagree with them "holding back".
i dont think it's going to be modified bluetooth like aptx lossless. i think it's going to be a proprietary 2.4ghz radio built into their new modems launching next year (like the 2.4ghz adapaters for wireless headphones) and the evolution of their wideband chip, and i believe it'll be airplay 3. i dont know how they're going to do it, but i believe airplay 3 will be the game changer (but i also think sonos will have something similar for home theater segment). i think it's going to have higher bandwidth than bluetooth and aptx lossless, which you could do with basically a modified version of wifi like xbox accessories. that's my prediction, as that's what i'd do, but apple engineers are smarter than me so who knows.

id also like to see next generation of magsafe do high speed data transfer so we could have magsafe dac/amps for wired hifi.
 

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