Apple is improving the quality of its music streaming service and will soon offer a kind of HiFi option for its subscribers. "Lossless Audio" is the name of this option, and it will be available to Apple Music customers at no extra charge across the entire music catalog for more than 75 million songs starting in June.
- Apple announces new "Lossless Audio" option.
- This will bring music streaming in 24-bit at 192 kHz.
- The option will be unlocked for free for all Apple Music customers.
The codec Apple uses for this is called ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) and promises to reproduce the sound quality artists recorded in the studio. To play Apple Music with Lossless Audio (24 bit at 192 kHz), subscribers must have the latest version of the player and enable the corresponding option under Settings > Music > Audio Quality. There you can also set different resolutions for different connections, such as mobile, Wi-Fi or download.
Apple is also bringing 3D audio to Apple Music with support for Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos gives the impression that sound is coming from all directions. Apple had already introduced this option a few weeks ago for the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Movies purchased from Apple already support this sound option.
At launch, Apple says a few thousand songs from curated lists can be heard in 3D audio. But it said it wants to make it easy for artists to produce and record songs directly in Dolby Atmos in the future, so the library will grow quickly.
Amazon also announced today that their music library is now available in HD quality with no extra costs as well. Music Unlimited costs $10 per month or $8 per month for Prime member. A few weeks ago, Spotify had already announced a HiFi version of the offer at a premium into the race.
However, with the two giants battling it out, can the Swedes continue with this plan or will they have to pass on the HiFi option to customers for free as well?
My personal opinion
I prefer not to miss 3D audio for movies on the iPad anymore. How it behaves with music, I can't say yet. Will you really be able to hear the differences so clearly? If so, then Spotify will have no choice but to convert its offering to HiFi at no extra charge as well.
Apple is taking a very aggressive approach and trying to differentiate its offering from the competition in terms of quality. I almost feel sorry for Spotify - finally a European company that has managed to play at the top. The new Apple offering has the clout to hurt the Swedes, in my view.
Then there's Tidal - the streaming service that effectively invented HD audio streaming. Here you get master quality in 24 bit with 192 kHz, but you also pay $19.99 per month. So in terms of price, Apple also undercuts Tidal significantly.
Of course, we Apple customers can only be happy about this. I'm definitely looking forward to the new sound option and I'm curious to see if the sound experience is really audible.
And now I'm interested in your opinion: What do you think?