Apple Lossless & Spatial Audio Explained, How It Will Impact The Music Streaming

Apple Lossless Audio

Apple recently announced the inclusion of Lossless and Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos for its music app. The best part is that this inclusion comes at no additional cost, starting in June. According to the official information, Apple Music subscribers will be able to listen to 75 million songs in its online music library in lossless audio.

For the uninitiated, “Lossless” is kind of a special codec, an interpreter of digital signals in simple terms, to preserve the originality of the audio being recorded.

Original audio files are recorded in FLAC, and Apple is suing ALAC or Apple Lossless Audio Codec to preserve every bit of original sound. Both the FLAC and the ALAC have a frequency of 96kHz.

What Does It Mean For The Consumer

Apple Lossless Audio

Technical mumbo jumbo aside, what is in this announcement for the consumer? Well, for starters, Apple Music subscribers will get to hear the song exactly as it was recorded in the studio. During music recording and processing, some of the audio quality of a song gets removed.

But the ALAC codec will preserve all the original sound for the user to listen to and enjoy. The update featuring the Lossless audio hits Apple devices in June. When that happens, users will have the option to choose the lossless audio within the settings menu.

Not just that, the Lossless audio will have support for different data connection speed. Giving you the option to listen to songs in full quality no matter if you’re on the mobile network or WiFi.

Lossless audio quality ranges from 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (CD quality) and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on all Apple devices.

For true audiophiles, Apple is also offering high-resolution audio with 24 bit at 192 kHz, but it will require external hardware.

With the announcement of Lossless audio, the competition has already started to react. Amazon Music dropped the price of its highest tier subscription to $9.99, while others are planning similar moves as well.

Spotify did announce HiFi recently but revealed no word on its pricing. But considering Apple is offering Lossless audio for free, Spotify will have no choice but to do the same.

In addition to Lossless audio, support for spatial audio and Dolby Atmos is also coming to Apple Music. Apple will also be working this top tier artists across different genres to add new songs that support these features. Apple’s plan is to persuade artists to begin creating tunes specifically to support spatial audio.

Apple is working with Dolby to do just that. Both of them plan to double the Dolby Atmos studios and provide free music education courses to more artists to better equip them to make songs for their platform.

Apple Music will play Dolby Atmos automatically on all AirPods and beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip. Not just that, the built-in speakers in the new iMac, iPhone, iPad, Mac will also have this support as well. For non-Apple headphones, Dolby Atmos can be turned on from the settings menu as well.

The Result

It is a huge announcement from Apple, and I can easily see an influx of new subscribers to the company’s music platform following this announcement. But most don’t yet know how many people care about the lossless audio or any other enhancements Apple is bringing to its music subscription service.

Nonetheless, it’d be interesting to see how this audio revolution plays out or whether it’ll be an audio revolution or not.

Assistant Editor at Exhibit Magazine. A tech and auto journalist who likes to reverse engineer anything he can get his hands on. He writes about everything technical under the sun, ranging from smartphones and laptops to micro-controllers in Tesla batteries.

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