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Apple Music might beat Spotify to the punch with Hi-Fi audio on Android

Apple Music Replay
Apple Music Replay (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Apple Music is reportedly preparing to introduce "lossless" audio for the mobile app.
  • The feature is likely to coincide with the launch of a new pair of Apple Airpods expected to arrive next week.
  • The Android beta version of Apple Music suggests two versions of lossless audio will be released for the app.

Apple Music is preparing to launch new "lossless" audio tiers, according to an app teardown by 9to5Google. The feature was previously hinted at for the iOS version of the app, but the Android version will apparently receive this feature as well.

According to the Apple Music beta on Android, two tiers of lossless audio are launching on the app: "Lossless" at 24-bit/48 kHz and "High-Res Lossless" at 24-bit/192 kHz. Both will make use of Apple's ALAC codec.

In its current form, Apple Music only features two options for audio playback; "high efficiency" for reduced data usage and "high quality" for better playback at higher data use. According to 9to5Google, Apple also includes the following data warnings for lossless playback:

Lossless streaming will consume significantly more data. A 3-minute song will be approximate: – 1.5 MB with high efficiency- 6 MB with high quality at 256 kbps- 36 MB with lossless at 24-bit/48 kHz- 145 MB with hi-res lossless at 24-bit/192 kHzSupport varies and depends on song availability, network conditions, and connected speaker or headphone capability.

Bringing high-fidelity music streaming to the Apple Music app will help the platform compete with some of the best music streaming apps on Android like Amazon Music HD. Spotify has also announced Hi-Fi audio playback for its platform, although it's not expected until later this year.

If Apple does release lossless audio soon, it could coincide with the rumored launch of new AirPods that are expected to arrive on May 18. Interestingly, that's the same day that Google I/O 2021 is scheduled to commence, so Apple may be trying to steal some of Google's thunder, especially since Google is rumored to launch its own lower-cost Pixel Buds A at the event.

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

6 Comments
  • I certainly like the idea of high quality audio, but by the time it is sent over your bluetooth connection, isn't it degraded again?
  • Hi-Fi audio is all well and good, but Spotify needs to sort offline playback on WearOS first.
  • I wonder if this is going to be free for Verizon customers?
  • Hi-Fi on Apple Music? 😂😂😂 Tidal has HIFi, MQA, 360 Reality Audio & Dolby Atmos!
  • Amazon Music has had a HiFi service for ages, think this site and Windows Central have been paid to promote Apple and their services...
  • For ages LOL! This was so funny I just had to create an account to reply, LMAO Qobuz exists since 2007, but it was available in a few countries. In 2015 almost ceased to exist; but an investor saw its potential and rescued it. Later it launched in the US in 2019. Deezer has had CD-Quality since 2014 when they launched Deezer Elite, although back then it was only available for Sonos. Tidal HiFi was launched in 2017, targeting listeners with higher standards for music quality. On September 17, 2019, Amazon Music announced the launch of Amazon Music HD, a new tier of lossless quality music with more than 50 million songs in High Definition (16bit/44.1kHz), and millions of songs in Ultra High Definition (24 (bit)/44 (kHz), 24/48, 24/96, 24/192), the highest-quality streaming audio available. So, there is a little bit of history of Hi-Res streaming services. You are welcome.