iOS 14.6 may deliver Apple Music high-fidelity audio streaming

According to the music site Hits Daily Double, Apple Music will announce a new high-fidelity audio streaming tier in the coming weeks at the same $9.99-per-user price point, as label sources tell the site: “The announcement is expected to coincide with the launch of the third-generation AirPods. Whether these will be compatible with the new, improved audio offering is unknown.“

Apple Music
Apple Music

Hits Daily Double:

The announcement is expected to coincide with the launch of the third-generation AirPods. Whether these will be compatible with the new, improved audio offering is unknown.

Speculation within the industry suggests Apple’s move is to provide a more aggressively priced, higher-quality option after Spotify announced this week it was raising prices.

Filipe Espósito for 9to5Mac:

9to5Mac can now confirm that a HiFi plan may indeed be coming to Apple Music. In the first beta build of iOS 14.6, which was released last week to developers, we found new code added to the Music app that specifically mentions “Dolby Atmos,” “Dolby Audio,” and “Lossless.” Despite supporting Apple’s own HiFi audio codec ALAC, the Music app has never offered support for Dolby Atmos or Dolby Audio.

MacDailyNews Take: Bring it on!

13 Comments

  1. Wow. After developing ALAC, doing absolutely nothing with it, and refusing for ~20 years to sell high fidelity lossless iTunes files to well-heeled audiophiles with stereo systems 1000 times more capable than Apple has ever accomplished … now it wants to dangle a higher priced subscription tier with the carrot of Hi Fi music? To play on what, bluetooth-crippled Apple headphones?

    Talk about being late to the party and aiming at the absolute wrong audience.

    True audiophiles don’t rent their music.

      1. You’re mixing up audio fidelity and religion. I don’t care about your fscking religion or your inferiority complex.

        I stand by my statement that Apple lost audiophiles like me years ago. I didn’t say Apple wouldn’t make a killing renting music to the likes of you.

          1. You can always find one or two examples to try to present an absolutist view.

            First: Roon is not music rental, it’s software that manages your existing personal music collection for your local music streaming pleasure. Great concept. Not sure it’s worth the price over, say, Yamaha’s MusicCast or Synology’s underrated DS Audio, but those others are tied to hardware, so it’s difficult to compare.

            Second: Tidal is a dead man walking. Shawn Carter (JZ) slashed his stake in Tidal after years of losses, selling it to Jack Dorsey/Square. Not sure how long that lease on life will last. Does Square really want to keep flushing cash down the toilet the way Tidal had from the beginning? Enjoy the music while they stay in business.

            Finally: on a truly great stereo system, even an average listener can discern the difference between High def and compressed files. Have someone demonstrate the sound quality from an SACD back to back with an MP3 file of any tune you thought you knew well. Most people simply don’t take the the time to listen critically, nor are they willing to buy expensive amps to power extremely expensive speakers.

            Yeah, there is a difference between homepod quality and audiophile quality.

  2. “…Apple Music will announce a new high-fidelity audio streaming tier in the coming weeks at the same $9.99-per-user price point…”
    Either you didn’t read it, or you didn’t understand it.

    1. I understand these are guesses from a website called Hits Daily Double that clearly labels this “rumor mill” and “speculation”.

      I also know that Apple doesn’t give anything away and Amazon HD charges $15 per month. It is HIGHLY unlikely that Apple would choose to forego a big fat profit margin. That’s Apple’s overwhelming raison d’etre these days.

  3. As a “recovering audiophile” who enjoys Roon, Bluesound, and Tidal integration I’m hopeful Apple will finally get on board with CD quality streaming but more importantly I hope they upgrade bought iTunes downloads to the same bit rate.

    Not sure that I will mesh it with my HI-Fi playlist that includes DSD, 24/192 and MQA plus Tidals CD quality I’m addition to my tips but it WOULD be nice to use when exercising, driving, or using headsets around the yard.

    I think the big question is how will Apple use Bluetooth’s limited bandwidth for 16/44.
    Pretty sure it will include some magic from their W1 chip to their products only. Obviously the wired or WiFi connection from a computer should work with all Hi-Fi setups.

    1. Just now splurging on some serious audio gear. Part of the fun is just shopping and listening.

      Heard a demo this Friday of a Steely Dan lossless (Tidal) vs a pristine vinyl album. WOW I have missed a lot. Honestly, I could not tell a difference. I do remember though how regular albums had all the pops, clicks and other noises that made me wince. At this point, I don’t think I am going the vinyl route because the ears are old and I am liking the convenience of digital.

    2. You make a very good point – Bluetooth is a weak link. Even Airplay over WiFi can be inexplicably flaky. Streaming + wireless distribution merely compounds the battery drain of portable devices.

      That’s why we went the expensive route, wiring the house to have multiple audio zones inside and out. Most of the speakers are wired, and all are powered by Class A amplifiers. The music files reside on a shared server that anyone in the household can access from anywhere and play different media in different zones simultaneously without dragging the internet speed down with it, or having to deal with Bluetooth lagginess and poor quality. You can control the music from an iPhone or iPad, but the music playback is entirely wired. Its so worth it.

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