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Apple to launch lossless audio support next month, at no extra cost to subscribers

Apple Music.
Apple Music.

Besides the upcoming support for high-quality audio streaming, Apple also announced the arrival of Spatial Audio support via Dolby Atmos on its music streaming service.

Apple on Monday announced its plans to launch lossless, Hi-Res audio support on Apple Music next month, with a very surprising message – the high-quality audio streaming service will be made available to all the company’s subscribers at their current subscription rate. This means if you’re paying 99 a month or 999 a year for Apple Music, you will get upgraded to lossless audio streaming for free.

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Besides the upcoming support for high-quality audio streaming, Apple also announced the arrival of Spatial Audio support via Dolby Atmos on its music streaming service. Spatial audio is a feature that is available on Apple’s wearable AirPods Max headphones and its AirPods Pro earphones that add a surround sound effect. The system can use a built-in mechanism to track a user’s head movements, to emulate a theatre-like effect with a multi-directional sound effect.

After updating to the latest Apple Music version, users will be able to listen to music at 16-bit at 44.1 kHz, which is the standard quality one would expect from a compact disc CD rip. If you have an iPhone or iPad you should still be able to play 24-bit audio at 48kHz which requires a compatible headset. Meanwhile, there’s a third music quality tier, which will allow users to listen to music at 24-bit audio at 192 kHz, but you’ll need specialised audio equipment including your own DAC (digital to analog converter) to listen to them.

Also read: AirPods 3, Apple Music HiFi to launch on May 18

There are a couple of caveats, though. If you want to use the new lossless audio feature with Apple’s catalogue of 75 million high-quality songs, you will need either an AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or a compatible Beats headset running the company’s H1 or the W1 chip. If you don’t listen to music on wireless headphones, you can listen to spatial audio enabled music on the iPhone, iPad and Mac via the built-in speaker, the company says. Albums with Dolby Atmos will also have a badge to denote support on the detail pane, the company says. 

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