A new LC3 codec for AirPods Max discovered in the iOS 16 beta could pave the way for improvements to battery life and audio quality.
As noted by ShrimpApplePro, one user on the iOS 16 beta has found a new LC3 audio codec that can be enabled to improve the audio quality of Apple’s AirPods Max. Twitter user George who found the feature apparently reported a marked improvement in audio quality, but ShrimpApplePro notes this is probably being limited by the current AirPods Max SiP, and could stand to benefit more from future AirPods Pro models with better hardware.
The LC3 is a newish low-power Bluetooth audio codec. The LC3 codec is more efficient while using less power and having lower latency compared to the current codec. It works at lots of different bitrates so can be added to any Bluetooth audio profile, so companies like Apple can leverage it to get more battery life and better audio out of wireless audio devices. According to Bluetooth Lc3 provides much higher quality at the same data rates as SBC or better quality at much lower data rates.
If Apple has added this to iOS 16 for use in the future it will be a welcome upgrade for its AirPods Max customers, vastly increasing audio fidelity and performance while also improving battery life on its premium headphones.
Sadly, this isn’t the jump we need to get wireless lossless audio for the highest-quality Apple Music experience, but it is a big jump. Qualcomm claims to have developed Bluetooth technology that does support lossless audio, but this is a way off the consumer market just now.
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