lossless audio, but with a bang

Since this morning (May 17, 2021) the rumors have intensified. Apple itself had spiced up the entry into a new era of music. It’s official now, a new version of Apple Music will be available in June.

“Apple Music, as we know it, is about to start its little revolution,” the Apple proudly announces. On the agenda is the arrival of listening to music in high definition at no additional cost.

Specifically, the 75 million tracks integrated in Apple Music will be available without loss of quality, according to technical jargon without loss. To transmit music in high definition, Apple uses the ALAC format in 16 bit and 44.1 kHz (CD quality) and up to 24 bit 48 Hz. With some devices we can even achieve 24 bit 192 Hz.

Spatial Audio will only be available for a few thousand titles as this content requires additional work from music producers. Eventually, Apple Music will become Dolby Atmos certified. Apple prides itself on:

Hearing a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. Music comes from everywhere and sounds amazing.

Act about it.

Apple does the job halfway

What Apple doesn’t say is that enjoying this music without losing quality won’t be without its hassle. When the announcement effect has something to seduce you, some technical limits put their feet back on the ground.

The first requirement to enjoy Apple Music in high definition: the right equipment. However, Apple, which swears by wireless audio, doesn’t state whether the new ALAC format can be transmitted over Bluetooth. If that were the case, he would surely have rushed to announce it.

Specifically, this means that none of the audio accessories introduced by Apple in recent years (AirPods, AirPods Pro or AirPods Max) can transmit the high-resolution sound from Apple Music to your ears. This is a pity.

With the AirPods Max, we can always opt for a wired connection (with Blitz, let’s not forget) to take advantage of this lossless hearing. So we’re back to a wired headset. Look for logic.

Another problem is that the maximum quality (24 bit 192 Hz) only works if you are using Apple Music with a device with a suitable DAC. However, neither Macs nor iOS devices are equipped with such a DAC. As a result, only certain Android devices can play sound of such quality with Apple Music. A shame.

After all, the audio quality depends a lot on your internet connection. It is impossible to broadcast a title losslessly if 4G or 5G coverage is not optimal. We must therefore go through the previous download of titles (in WiFi) to avoid unpleasant surprises. The files then take up an important place in your device’s memory. If it’s a 64GB iPhone, you’re limited quickly.

To sum up, Apple Music may want to revolutionize the way music is streaming. The Apple ecosystem doesn’t seem ready yet. Too bad (again).

Plus, Apple will surely take advantage of the arrival of this new Apple Music to announce the AirPods 3 that are set to take over all or part of this tech arsenal. As Tim Cook’s puppet said so well in Les Guignols de l’Info: “We have to change everything, it’s a revolution! “.

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