Apple Music subscribers will now be lucky enough to find a big chunk of their playlists sounding better from next month. The service is set to add support for high-quality, lossless and spatial audio through Dolby Atmos at no additional cost to its normal subscriptions. Apple announced this on Monday saying that it will offer up to 20 million lossless audio songs to start. This will lead up to 75 million tracks being available in the format by the end of 2021.
Ironically, this feature seems to have a competitor already as Amazon on the same day launched its own high-quality streaming tier. Dubbed Amazon Music HD, this is part of a standard Amazon Music Unlimited subscription at no extra cost. The service includes 70 million lossless songs, along with a growing selection of tracks that support Dolby Atmos.
This definitely places Apple Music at a disadvantage but more so for Spotify that announced its HiFi feature will be priced at $20 (roughly KES 2,200) earlier this year.
According to Apple, ‘Lossless’ is CD quality, from 16-bit 44.1kHz playback up to 24-bit 48kHz, while ‘Hi-Res Lossless’ delivers up to 24-bit 192kHz. In English, this simply means that music comes in larger files with much less compression, This means more realistic audio quality, provided you have the right equipment to actually hear the difference.
Unfortunately, Apple confirmed that this equipment does not include Airpods Pro or Airpods Pro that happen to be the firm’s latest and most elite headphones. The lack of support is due to the fact that both models used the Bluetooth AAC codec when connected to an iPhone. This means they cannot receive the full quality of the Apple Music ‘Lossless’ files, which will be encoded as ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) files.
Nevertheless, both of these devices will be able to receive the new Dolby Atmos ‘Spatial Audio’ versions of songs. This is designed to bring in more of a surrounding 3D effect in tracks.
Any other device powered by Apple H1 or W1 wireless chips will also be able to support the feature. This includes AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, BeatsX, Beats Solo3 Wireless, Beats Studio3, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Beats Flex, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro.