UPDATE: Apple officially announced that lossless music quality will be available for its entire Apple Music catalog at no extra cost. Lossless audio will use the ALAC format. Apple is also launching support for Spatial Audio music with songs in Dolby Atmos. Owners of the AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and Beats headphones with a H1 or W1 chip will be able to listen to Dolby Atmos content. Albums with spatial audio support will be marked with a new Dolby Atmos logo. The features are completely opt-in. Both services are launching sometime in June, probably alongisde iOS 14.6.
A new Apple event is announced from the Music app on macOS, iOS, and iPadOS. The tagline is “Get ready for a completely new dimension of music!”. Rumors that Apple wants to upgrade the audio quality of its streaming service have been around for some time. ‘Lossless’ and ‘hi-res’ are the magic words here.
Apple Music in high fidelity
In the Apple music app, a teaser image has now appeared in the ‘Discover’ tab. It promises “a completely new dimension of music” soon. But what does that mean? Unfortunately, Apple has not yet provided any specific information about this. Regardless, inquisitive people have found more news about the upcoming innovations in the app’s latest Android beta. Namely, there is talk of 24 bit / 48 kHz and 24 bit / 192 kHz audio encoding. Likewise, the code of the iOS 14.6 contains “Dolby Audio” (also Dolby Atmos). So hi-def and 3D spacial audio seem to be on the horizon. Streaming competitors Tidal and Deezer have been offering these for some time, including Dolby Atmos audio for many songs. Spotify, the biggest competitor, is planning a similar move and certainly doesn’t want to be left behind.
Better quality – bigger prices?
One thing is certain – Apple will not offer these features “for free”. As with all other providers, there will be a new price structure for different quality levels. At the moment, we can only speculate. Usually, streaming services price themselves in accordance with competing products. It’s not impossible for Apple to offer the new features free for a trial period, however. That would be a great move – both improving streaming quality and pushing the company forward in this area.
As Apple usually makes announcements on Tuesdays, we’ll have to wait a little longer until the news is out. Additionally, Apple seems to be planning the launch of its next-generation AirPods this week. That would definitely fit the Apple Music theme too.