What Is Bluetooth LE Audio? It’s The Future Of Wireless Audio



Move over Bluetooth LE. The next generation Bluetooth LE Audio is going to radically transform how we wirelessly listen to music.


If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably come here wondering what this new Bluetooth LE Audio technology is you’re suddenly hearing all about. In brief, it’s nothing short of revolutionary when it comes to the features our wireless audio devices will soon support.

But before you can understand Bluetooth LE Audio, you need to have a brief understanding of Bluetooth technology and Bluetooth LE, in general.

What Is Bluetooth LE Audio? It’s The Future Of Wireless Audio
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What Is Bluetooth & Bluetooth LE?

Bluetooth is a decades-old technology that allows devices to wirelessly connect to other devices and send (relatively) small amounts of data between them.

Bluetooth devices first came into prominence in the late 90s with the introduction of the first Bluetooth wireless mice and keyboard. Bluetooth technology in these common accessories was revolutionary as if freed our accessories from the need for wires.

However, like all technology standards, Bluetooth evolved. Until the arrival of Bluetooth LE Audio this year, Bluetooth LE was the most advanced Bluetooth standard there was. Bluetooth LE stands for “Bluetooth Low Energy” and it is a critical technology that allowed Bluetooth devices to have much longer battery lives.

For example, those original Bluetooth mice and keyboards from the 90s needed to have their batteries replaced often. But thanks to Bluetooth LE the battery life of Bluetooth devices lasted longer because the Bluetooth technology was less power hungry. Bluetooth LE also allowed our gadgets – like wireless earbuds – to become smaller as they didn’t need the larger batteries of old inside them.

If you love your wireless earbuds, you have Bluetooth LE to thank for them.

But now your tiny audio gadgets are about to get even better thanks to Bluetooth LE Audio.

What Is Bluetooth LE Audio?

Bluetooth LE Audio is next-generation Bluetooth. As the name suggests, its foundation is built upon Bluetooth LE. But the “audio” portion in Bluetooth LE Audio tells you for the new technology really thrives at: making your wireless audio experiences better than ever.

Bluetooth LE Audio introduces three main new features to Bluetooth LE Audio-compatible devices:

1) Bluetooth LE Audio Offers Better Sound Quality

The first big deal about Bluetooth LE Audio is that it drastically improves the audio quality of sounds listened to over Bluetooth. This is thanks to its low latency capabilities. 

We’ve all been annoyed when we are playing a video game with Bluetooth headphones and the audio seems just out of sync. This is because there’s usually a millisecond delay with Bluetooth audio that is noticeable to the human ear.

But with Bluetooth LE Audio, that latency will be much improved so your wireless audio will sound more in sync.

2) Bluetooth LE Audio Enables New, Smaller Wireless Audio Devices

Thanks to its power-saving features, Bluetooth LE Audio devices can be smaller than the wireless earbuds of today. This is because manufacturers won’t need as much room inside those gadgets for the battery as they do today.

This means we are going to see new, smaller audio devices thanks to Bluetooth LE Audio. That will include anything from wireless earbuds to hearing aids. 

Or, if manufacturers so choose, they can keep the size of the device the same, but get much more battery life out of it. This means your wireless Bluetooth LE Audio earbuds will last longer than today’s wireless buds.

3) Bluetooth LE Audio’s Auracast Lets A Device Broadcast To An Unlimited Amount Of Receivers

But probably the coolest feature of Bluetooth LE Audio is the addition of Auracast. This is the name the Bluetooth consortium has given the Bluetooth LE Audio’s ability to let one device (such as a smartphone or TV) broadcast to multiple receivers (say, 20 wireless earbuds). And that number of receivers is actually unlimited, too.

This means massive groups of people can take part in listening to the audio coming from just a single smartphone or TV.  As the Bluetooth consortium says on its Bluetooth LE Audio page:

“The introduction of Auracast™ broadcast audio opens significant new opportunities for wireless audio innovation. It will let us invite others to share in our audio experience, it will enable us to fully enjoy televisions in public spaces, unmuting what was once silent and creating a more complete watching experience, and it will allow us to hear our best in various public venues and environments. Over 60 million locations have the long-term potential to benefit from deploying Auracast™ broadcast audio.”

Bluetooth SIG

All-in-all, Bluetooth LE Audio is a game changer for Bluetooth technology.

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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