Apple Music is upgrading: On Tuesday night, Apple began activating the first music tracks with Dolby Atmos support for subscribers — as well as the new Lossless option, both available at no extra charge. Streaming and download with lossless audio compression must be enabled manually in the settings; This requires at least the current iOS version 14.6.
According to Apple, 20 million songs can be streamed loss-free initially, and the full catalog of approximately 75 million titles should be adjusted accordingly by the end of the year.
apple: lossless “practically indistinguishable”
Lossless playback relies on Apple’s in-house code ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec). It is “practically indistinguishable” from previous lossy compression with AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), notes Apple. ALAC music files are also significantly larger, which consumes more storage space and bandwidth. If you take 100 people, “99 or 98” can’t hear the difference, according to Apple’s chief of services Eddie Q in a interview with magazine Board. The lossless option is still being offered to a small group of customers who have “very, very high quality equipment” and who demand it.
Lossless compression is in “CD quality” starting with Apple Music with 16 bit at 44.1 kHz and reaches 48 kHz, which can be played directly on Apple devices. In addition, Apple Music offers “hi-resolution lossless” up to 192 kHz, which requires additional hardware in the form of a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC). With the expensive AirPods Max, Apple’s AirPods can’t play music perfectly without damage. For HomePods, Apple is looking to offer a lossless option through an update.
The Dolby Atmos catalog is still at the very beginning
The number of Dolby Atmos titles is initially only in the four-digit range, with the service highlighting the same album. On AirPods and Beats headphones with Apple’s H1 or W1 chip, Dolby Atmos is activated automatically; On other headphones, the function can be activated in the settings. According to Q, adapting the existing catalog for “3D audio” is complicated and will take time. The Apple manager expects new titles to be delivered immediately in Dolby Atmos in the future.
By the autumn — perhaps with iOS 15 — Apple also wants to introduce an additional function for 3D audio on the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max: in the future, the headphones’ motion sensors will be able to detect head movement and adjust the sound accordingly. will be included. Many video streaming apps for iOS already support this kind of function.