Apple Music HiFi: Lossless streaming and Dolby Atmos come at no extra charge

Apple Music wants to offer higher audio quality soon: From June onwards, around 20 million music tracks should be able to be streamed without loss, as Apple announced on Monday. The complete catalog of over 75 million music tracks will be adjusted by the end of the year.

In addition, Apple is introducing Dolby Atmos support for its music service. At the beginning, “thousands of tracks” are to be available in “3D audio”, and albums are to be specially marked. Specially mixed music should then sound as if the instruments were around the listener in the room.

In contrast to other streaming services, Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos support will be included in the normal subscription price, for individuals the subscription will still cost 10 euros per month, for the family subscription Apple will charge 15 euros per month.

On AirPods and Beats headphones with Apple’s H1 or W1 chip, Dolby Atmos should be activated automatically, on other headphones the function can be switched on in the settings. The built-in speakers of newer Apple devices such as iPhones from iPhone 7, iPad (from generation 6), iPad Air (from 3), iPad Pro (from 2018), HomePod and MacBook Pro from 2018 are also compatible, so Apple.

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The lossless playback relies on Apple’s in-house code ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec). It starts with 16 bits at 44.1 kHz in “CD quality”, according to Apple. Lossless audio reaches up to 48 kHz, which can be played back directly on Apple devices. In addition, Apple Music offers “Hi-Resolution Lossless” up to 192 kHz; the latter requires a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Lossless audio must be activated manually in the settings. Apple warns that the files are “very large” and accordingly use more bandwidth and storage space than the previous AAC files.


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