Apple recently announced some upgrades for Apple Music and there’s immediately a massive problem noted. Apple is proud to admit support for Spatial audio and Hi-Res lossless audio but weirdly, none of its audio products support the latter at the moment. Hence, if you just got the AirPods Max or were planning to get one, you should hold for now. Also Read - Meet Indian developer who wins Apple Design award for his music app NaadSadhana
The Hi-Res lossless audio feature is basically a very “Apple move” despite being a generous upgrade for music lovers. It relies on ALAC, or Apple Lossless Audio Codec, to stream extremely high-quality audio. The codec is currently unsupported by the latest crop of AirPods models and in fact, requires a wired headphone to avail the benefits. Also Read - iPad Mini for 2021 to ditch fat bezels, could bring along new Apple Pencil Mini
Apple Music Hi-Res audio limited
With this update, Apple Music now supports Hi-Resolution Lossless audio that tops out at 24 bit at 192 kHz. This can be enabled by heading to Settings > Music > Audio Quality. Apple says that its entire catalog of 75 million songs supports lossless audio format “to preserve every single bit of the original audio file.” This results in extremely large file sizes and larger bandwidth. Also Read - iOS 4 is now available again on modern iPhones, complete with Home button: How to get it
While this sounds exciting, you can’t use any of the AirPods models to avail the upgrade in quality. In fact, you will need to get a USB adapter and a pair of supported headphones to get the utmost quality. The exclusion of support on the vanilla AirPods makes sense but Apple skipping support on the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max seem weird.
Apple says that the issue exists due to the limitations of Bluetooth technology. Hence, it seems that you will have to wait for Apple to figure out a solution, which could be possibly unveiled at the upcoming WWDC 2021 in a few weeks’ time. There’s a possibility that Apple could bake support for ALAC on the next-generation AirPods expected to debut later this year.
There’s also a possibility that iOS 15 could figure out a way to stream Hi-Res Lossless audio via the existing technology. That means one would have to wait for a few months in order to enjoy the benefits. Is that the reason why Apple is charging no extra money for this upgrade right now, unlike Amazon?
While you can’t enjoy Hi-Res Lossless audio at the moment, you can use the Spatial Audio feature. Spatial Audio is essentially Apple’s way of calling Dolby Atmos and will be enabled by default as soon as the user connects AirPods or Beats headphones relying on H1 and W1 chips. The initial collection of Dolby Atmos supported tracks are limited to thousands but Apple says more is yet to come.
“Now we are bringing this truly innovative and immersive experience to our listeners with music from their favorite artists like J Balvin, Gustavo Dudamel, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Kacey Musgraves, The Weeknd, and so many more.”