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Why doesn't Tesla's Bluetooth support AptX?

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by UnknownSoldier, May 4, 2017.

  1. UnknownSoldier

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    Dump of background information now follows. If you aren't interested in the nitty-gritty of Bluetooth used for streaming audio playback from your phone, you're about to be bored so just skip to the TL;DR.

    First, we all know that Tesla cars do not have 3.5" Aux In jacks, which look exactly like the infamous headphone jack that Apple hates except used for receiving audio instead of transmitting it. Most if not all cars have Aux In jacks because it's the simplest way of delivering audio from your phone to your car, and it's also the highest quality method for doing this even today since phones don't generally have HDMI outputs and cars don't have HDMI inputs.

    Bluetooth sound quality for streaming to headphones and speakers used to suck. It used to be more awful than listening to a really weak AM radio signal. This is because the base Bluetooth audio compression algorithm for streaming audio was SBC (Low Complexity Subband Coding), which more or less actually stood for Shitty Bad Compression. If you've heard Bluetooth audio using SBC you know what I'm talking about.

    The early days of Bluetooth corresponded with the early days of the smartphone era, and so eventually after years of suck smartphone manufacturers worked to improve Bluetooth audio quality. Apple implemented a method of streaming higher quality audio over Bluetooth from iPhones. This was of course AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), the same format used by the iTunes Music Store. Android was a bit more complicated but ultimately the higher quality format that the industry settled on was AptX, a different format currently owned by Qualcomm.

    Today, Bluetooth headphones and speakers support the horrible SBC as mandatory baseline so any Bluetooth device will work. However they also typically support AAC and AptX for modern devices which support it to improve sound quality. AAC is required for the iPhones, AptX for the Androids. You will find it difficult to find a decent quality Bluetooth headphone or speaker today which doesn't support AAC and AptX.

    This brings us to Tesla. Until 2015, Tesla's Bluetooth only supported SBC for streaming audio from your phone to the car's sound system. Even if you paid the $2500 for Ultra High Fidelity Sound (now Premium Sound), it was still going to sound like *sugar* unless you copied all your music to a USB stick and forced yourself to use the car's built-in media player, which by the way in 2017 doesn't support Random playback.

    Sometime in 2015, AAC support was implemented and iPhones can now enjoy higher quality audio over Bluetooth from their phones to their cars. However, as of this moment in 2017, AptX support is not implemented. So if you own an iPhone, you can get good quality audio from your car streaming directly from your phone. If you own an Android, let's just be charitable and say you're kinda ****ed.

    Why in 2017 there is no support for AptX on Tesla's Bluetooth is a mystery which cannot be solved. Remember, without an Aux In jack you can't just plug your phone into your car. You need to use Bluetooth, unless you want to copy your entire music collection to a USB stick and enjoy no Random playback. Tesla really, really needs to implement AptX so Androids can also get good quality playback of audio to Tesla's cars. Especially the ones which have the $2500 upgrade to Ultra High Fidelity Sound (now Premium Sound).

    I don't really know if anyone from Tesla is reading this but this is really kind of important to the music listening experience of 50% of Tesla owners in the US and 80% of Tesla owners worldwide. This is the market share of Android devices. I realize that Elon owns an iPhone and probably isn't even aware this problem exists but someone should tell him. Not supporting AptX over Bluetooth in 2017 is a pretty glaring oversight. Everyone else supports it. Literally. You will not find a car Bluetooth system in 2017 which omits AptX and only support AAC, because cars are sold worldwide and Android enjoys a large install base worldwide. (You also won't find a car without an Aux In jack but that's beyond the point. Tesla has never had a jack and never will.)

    TL;DR: Dear Tesla, please support AptX over Bluetooth so Android device owners can enjoy better music quality in their cars!
     
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  2. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    Sure it does. Just click "Songs" and the shuffle button.

    Or do you mean the crappy implementation of "random"?
     
  3. bmah

    bmah Obscure Member

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    "Courage" :)

    Bruce.
     
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  4. jwon

    jwon Member

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    I am an avid android user and I am in 100% agreement that it is ridiculous Tesla doesn't support aptX...
     
  5. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    Not a mystery at all. Nobody walks out of the store and says I won't buy a Tesla without AptX, so Tesla doesn't give a sh**.

    It took Tesla eight months to get AP 2.0 s/w to parity with AP 1.0. Meanwhile people continued to buy even more Tesla's, even though they were buying a car with less functionality than had they purchased a car in mid-2016.

    So if regressing AP s/w won't stop people from buying, not having AptX must be somewhere around 999 on their list of 1,000 s/w upgrades we'll do someday. But take heart in knowing it's still ahead of a media player with more functionality than 2004 iPod which comes in at 1,000 on the list of 1,000!
     
  6. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    Not a mystery at all. Elon uses an iPhone not an Android phone.
     
  7. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    There's also the Great Future Kernel Update. Who knows what wonders* await.

    * In either sense.
     
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  8. jcdenton40

    jcdenton40 Member

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    The problem with this reasoning is twofold:

    1) Almost no specific Tesla feature--in isolation--would ever make or break a potential customer's purchasing decision. So to suggest that whether or not a particular feature/upgrade/fix/enhancement should be implemented depends on whether someone would say "I won't buy a Tesla without X" basically means that 99% of Tesla features would fail to reach that bar and would never be made, thereby making Teslas the most basic vehicles on the road today. How badly would that have sucked?

    2) Tesla has actually made many--really countless--updates to the Model S since its inception which are no more significant than AptX support. Are "higher volume granularity", "ability to call phone numbers from map screen", "contact sorting options", or "Clock widget" more important than AptX support? I certainly don't think so. Not to mention that there have been countless other updates/fixes/enhancements which were so insignificant that they didn't even merit specific mention in the release notes, but were simply bundled under "various fixes" or other such verbiage.

    Tesla’s full list of new features enabled with software updates is a glimpse at the future of the auto industry
     
  9. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    OK, so you can offer a reason?
     
  10. mbhforum

    mbhforum Member

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    The Bluetooth stack in Tesla is pathetic. The fact we can't connect multiple devices at once in 2017 is indefensible. Tesla might not prioritize the "little things" now, but when there is more competition in the EV space in a few years, these "little things" such as Bluetooth, browser, navigation, native mobile app integration, music streaming options, will end up being deciding factors for car buyers and Tesla will have no choice but to pay attention to them. These are all areas where Tesla needs to improve upon but most of us overlook them right now because of how superior the car is as a whole compared to any other EV in the market is.
     
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  11. SeminoleFSU

    SeminoleFSU Voluntaryist

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    How sure are we that it isn't supported? I have a decent set of ears and have paired apples and droids and streamed music from both and haven't heard any drastic or subtle difference in the audio quality. Is there a way to use an Android app that gives more details about the Bluetooth codec your phone is using with another device?
     
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  12. SeminoleFSU

    SeminoleFSU Voluntaryist

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