Rumor: high-fidelity Apple Music streaming due in 2016

By , Dec 21, 2015

Apple Music all devices teaser 001

For years, Apple has been rumored to be working on high-resolution audio formats for iTunes, but we’re yet to see concrete evidence of those efforts. Still, the rumor persists. On Monday, the reliable Japanese blog Macotakara reported that high-resolution streaming is coming to Apple Music in 2016.

Citing industry sources who spoke to the publication at the Portable Audio Festival in Tokyo, where some of Apple’s products were exhibited, the report states that Apple will offer better-than-CD quality music.

In addition, high-end audio equipment makers are allegedly planning to add audio cables for Lightning to their lineups.

The so-called Hi-Res Audio format will enable audio streaming in up to 96kHz/24bit resolution, reads the report. By comparison, audio quality on regular music CDs is 44kHz 16-bit. Apple Music features adaptive streaming technology which automatically adjusts audio quality based on each particular user’s Internet connection, and whether they’re streaming over Wi-Fi or cellular.

Apple Music streams are AAC files encoded in 256kbps, which compares favorably to 320kbps MP3 streams on Spotify. Speaking of Spotify, it offers a 96kbps bitrate on mobile and 160kbps on desktop and web player while its high-quality 320kbps MP3 streaming on mobile and desktop is only available to Premium subscribers.

iOS 9 Settings Apple Music Cellular

Song downloads from the iTunes Store are delivered as 256kbps AAC files.

Apple also offers select ‘Mastered for iTunes’ albums, like the latest Star Wars soundtrackBack in April, and again in May 2014, Apple was rumored to work on a higher-fidelity iTunes with 96kHz, 24-bit songs though that talk dates back to 2011.

Star Wars Force Awakens soundtrack on iTunes

And just recently, Macotakara claimed Apple would ditch the standard 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhones in favor of wireless and Lightning-enabled headphones.

Source: Macotakara, Google Translate

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  • Richard

    *Cries in Tidal*

  • QP

    was about time

  • Martynet

    that would be amazing…

  • Sailor_V90

    Does this mean iTunes is next with 256kps fading out to 320kps? You know how much space that’s going to eat up if they make the change.

    • Jackson Grong

      What do you mean? iTunes already uses 256 AAC, which sounds way better than MP3 320.

      • Sailor_V90

        Right, I’m aware the iTunes Store uses 256kps AAC; so I’m wondering will they update the store quality to 320kps AAC in addition to Apple Music streaming at 320kps by which both parties will then be cohesive. More so I was saying that on a storage capacity level, Apple will have to up the storage capacity on future device to accommodate such a change.

      • Jackson Grong

        256 and 320 doesn’t make a difference. If Apple will upgrade the quality it will be full lossless(for extra cost)or standard(as it is now).
        That makes the most sense.

      • Sailor_V90

        Hmm that is true…but time will tell. I’m guessing by time iOS 10 comes around it will all come to fruition.

  • Jackson Grong

    By the way, the difference between 96kHz/24bit and 44kHz 16-bit is enormous in size, but makes little difference even with hi-end equipment. The small dac inside the iPhone can’t take advantage of 96kHz/24bit.
    But 256/512 ACC is a huge difference. ALAC 1,411,200 even more(full CD lossless).

    • iPhoneWINS

      They have been neglecting the iPhone DAC for ever so i just by pass it and use the digital out bus and rase and external DAC

      • Jackson Grong

        I was thinking of buying the Oppo HA-2. But actually the sound from my 6S is satisfying. Pretty much the same as 6, very good but lacking the Audioengine D1 detail, witch I actually enjoy, it sounds worm and more organic.

    • Cody Cutrer

      Right. Which is why all my music is ALAC-encoded rips of CDs made with dbPowerAmp to ensure optimal error correction and confidence of the rip.

      • Jackson Grong

        I use the same program, and encode from flac to 400-512 AAC.
        It sounds 99% as good as ALAC but dosen’t take much more space than Apple’s standard 256.

      • Sailor_V90

        Thank You all for enlightening me!

      • Jackson Grong

        Ok, 1 enlightenment. 9.99$ please

  • Space more you need

  • Tommy Gumbs

    They should fix all the bugs first. I switched from Spotify and lately I have been contemplating switching back. The constant Bluetooth disconnections, songs not wanting to play, the constant crashing, etc etc, is just not worth it anymore. This is a glowing example of Tim Cook. Messed up maps, messed up music and messed up updates. Can’t ride this wave for too much longer.

  • iPhoneWINS

    182732172184623874664 bugs

  • Franklin Richards

    Fix the app first. It’s still very buggy.

  • RIP Tidal. Oh wait, it was DOA.

  • RIP Tidal. Oh wait, it was dead on arrival.

    • Tidal aka Jay Zs stillborn baby

      • the hood

        I get it’s a joke, however I find the reference somewhat disturbing. Can you come up with another one?

      • Gtfo

      • the hood

        Maybe you’ve not had the displeasure of knowing a lady who has suffered a stillborn baby. Perhaps if your mother had it with you, I wouldn’t have to put up with your reply here you dikchead.

      • I’ve experienced and still don’t give a shit. It’s a random comment that has nothing to do with you and shouldn’t affect you at all.

      • the hood

        It doesn’t affect me mate, it’s an inappropriate comment full stop. You’re just a dikchead that hasn’t realised that yet.

      • the hood

        I take it that peanut of a brain of yours does not know what a still birth is. Lucky for you mate, ignorance is true bliss. Maybe in your country it’s a way of life a55clown.

  • Let us hope this benefits those sentient beings who can hear beyond what normal humans can hear. The ones who refuse to listen to anything but FLAC tracks.

  • Blip dude

    Here’s to hoping for Another free trial run.

  • the hood

    At Tidal launch, where a group of milti millionaire musicians got up on stage to advise how poor they were. 🙂
    This audio quality debate reminds me of the retina display argument, whereby improving on pixel density beyond what the eye can discern only benefits the aliens amongst us.