Apple VP explains the limitations of Bluetooth in AirPods
Apple’s AirPods have undoubtingly dominated the wireless headphone market. Although that doesn’t mean they come without their flaws. Gary Geaves, Apple’s VP of Acoustics, and Eric Treski from the Product Marketing Team recently commented on the technology behind AirPods in an interview with What HiFi and how Bluetooth can be a roadblock to achieving Apple’s goals.
The Apple VP never directly criticized Bluetooth, but when asked if Bluetooth is holding back Apple’s hardware and “stifling sound quality,” Geaves stated the company would like to see a wireless standard that allows for more bandwidth.
Obviously the wireless technology is critical for the content delivery that you talk about”, he says, “but also things like the amount of latency you get when you move your head, and if that’s too long, between you moving your head and the sound changing or remaining static, it will make you feel quite ill, so we have to concentrate very hard on squeezing the most that we can out of the Bluetooth technology, and there’s a number of tricks we can play to maximise or get around some of the limits of Bluetooth. But it’s fair to say that we would like more bandwidth and… I’ll stop right there. We would like more bandwidth”, he smiles.
We also got some more background on Apple’s new 3rd Generation AirPods. According to Geaves, AirPods 3 were built entirely with custom-made components, using nothing “off the shelf.”
We started with looking very closely at the strengths of the original AirPods and we know many people really like the effortless open fit that doesn’t stick into your ear canal and rests comfortably on your ear. That doesn’t create a seal, which is what people like, but it creates challenges for the audio team. Because no two ears are the same people’s experiences will be significantly different, especially the bass, which is what led Apple’s AirPods team to add Adaptive EQ. It’s designed to provide a consistent frequency response regardless of the level of fit that each person gets.