This is what the AirPods Max 2 needs — and Beats Studio Pro already has it

AirPods Max
(Image credit: Future)

It’s only been 24 hours since the new Beats Studio Pro has been announced, but that hasn’t stopped a number of sites like MacRumors, NextPit and 9to5Mac from wondering what’s coming next from Beats and its owner, Apple. 

All of the above editorial teams have contemplated what it’d be like if the next-generation AirPods Max 2 came equipped with a USB-C port — the key feature that would enable lossless audio playback at 24-bit for up to 48 kHz. 

That said, none of the sites have any insider information about the still-unannounced AirPods Max 2 and can’t speak to whether Apple’s next headphones will feature USB-C or not. However, all cite previous reports that say that USB-C will replace the Lightning port in all Apple AirPods headphones and imply that it’s a likely scenario for the Max 2. 

Admittedly, this is more wishful thinking than actual news, but given the launch of Beats Studio Pro with USB-C, it feels more likely than ever that the AirPods Max 2 will offer the latest connection technology as well. 

The future of audio is lossless (hopefully) 

The biggest complaint lodged against the current-generation AirPods Max is that they aren’t able to take advantage of Apple Music’s lossless audio streaming. Because the AirPods Max is fully wireless, it needs to compress the audio to pass it over Bluetooth. 

The two ways around this would be to either create a new audio codec that enables better audio quality over Bluetooth (something similar to Sony’s LDAC) or add a USB-C port to the headphones so that they can accept a 24-bit audio stream.

The latter is obviously the easier solution of the two, but Apple would then need source devices — like the iPhone 15 and iPad Pro — to come with USB-C as well.  

All of this seems probable considering that the EU will soon require devices sold in the region to support one universal standard (for now, USB-C) by the end of 2024. Apple has confirmed it will be bringing USB-C to the iPhone, but it has not said which models. 

Is the inclusion of USB-C on the Beats Studio Pro a sign of things to come? A lot of major tech sites — Tom’s Guide included — certainly seem to think that way. 

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Nick Pino
Managing Editor, TV and AV

Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.