Apple Seemingly Preparing for Devices With Bluetooth 5.2, Which Could Hint at AirPods Pro With LE Audio

Kuo: Second-Generation AirPods Pro to Launch in Second Half of 2022

Apple appears to be preparing for future devices with Bluetooth 5.2 support, according to a filing in the Bluetooth SIG products database earlier this month. Among other possibilities, this could serve as evidence of future AirPods Pro with LE Audio support.


Apple’s filing references a Bluetooth 5.3 host subsystem that is likely intended for future products. However, in actuality, the filing likely refers to Bluetooth 5.2, as the Bluetooth versions listed in Apple’s filings in the database are often one version number higher than the version that ends up being supported on a device, for reasons unclear.

For example, the Beats Studio Buds are listed with Bluetooth 5.3 when they actually support Bluetooth 5.2, according to reviews of the headphones, while many iPhone and iPad models are listed with Bluetooth 5.1 despite supporting Bluetooth 5.0.

With all of that confusion surrounding version numbers aside, Apple adopting Bluetooth 5.2 would be especially beneficial for AirPods, as the specification includes support for LE Audio with several improvements to wireless audio streaming.

LE Audio is part of the low-energy Bluetooth LE standard. According to The Verge, benefits of LE Audio for wireless headphones like AirPods could include improved audio quality, longer battery life, the ability to connect more than two pairs of AirPods to a single iPhone, and the ability for each individual left and right AirPod to have its own Bluetooth connection to an iPhone to prevent desynchronization during audio playback.

In July, the Bluetooth SIG said it anticipates availability of products with support for LE Audio to ramp up by the end of 2022. Apple is expected to launch second-generation AirPods Pro by the end of the year, but it remains to be seen if they support Bluetooth 5.2 or LE Audio. It also remains to be seen if Apple would add LE Audio support to the Beats Studio Buds with a firmware update given those earbuds already support Bluetooth 5.2.

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