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iPhone 15 USB-C and AirPods Pro Lossless Audio: What it means for the Audio World

As you may have heard, Apple announced that the newest iPhones, the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro, will come with the USB-C connector vs. the Lightning connector that Apple has been using since 2012. The change in the connector is an excellent and much-needed switch, as it means we finally have a universal cable connection for electronics. But what does this mean for the world of audio and music?
Apple-AirPods-Pro-2nd-generation-USB-C-connection

As you may have heard, Apple announced that the newest iPhones, the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro, will come with the USB-C connector vs. the Lightning connector that Apple has been using since 2012. The change in the connector is an excellent and much-needed switch, as it means we finally have a universal cable connection for electronics. But what does this mean for the world of audio and music?

In terms of support for hi-res audio support directly from the iPhone, everything stays the same here. The iPhone’s built-in DAC still supports 24-bit 48kHz audio output, meaning there is still no difference in using a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle vs. a Lightning to 3.5mm dongle. What the USB-C connection does give us now, though, is native support to use any portable DAC with the iPhone, just as we could with the iPad and iPad Pro. There is no need to use any obscure Lightning to USB-C OTG adapter anymore. Now, just plug in the USB-C cable (as all modern portable DACs use) from your portable DAC to your iPhone 15 and listen to your music in hi-res bliss. We’ll have an article on the best portable DACs to use posted shortly, so stay tuned!

Apple-AirPods-Pro-2nd-generation-USB-C-connection

Lastly, I want to touch on something that wasn’t mentioned during the Apple keynote. Apple quietly updated its website with a new version of the AirPods Pro 2nd generation. This new version has an updated charging case with USB-C support, an improved IP54 rating for the earbuds, and lossless audio when used with the Apple Vision Pro. Wait, what?? Lossless audio support? But just with the Apple Vision Pro? If you’re unaware, the Apple Vision Pro is Apple’s mixed-reality headset, launching in early 2024. It seems strange, though, to mention lossless support for the Airpods Pro 2nd generation, especially since it can only be used with an unreleased product. So either the Vision Pro has special hardware to enable this, or Apple will bring lossless audio support when paired with an iPhone, iPad, and Mac at a later date. My bet is on the latter. Otherwise, this doesn’t make any sense to mention now.

Check out our guide on the best portable DACs to use with the iPhone 15! And while you’re at it, you should also check out our review of the Apple AirPods 1st generation. If you don’t need the latest features, you can save a few dollars by buying the older generation of hardware.

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