Apple Music is giving its listeners high quality, lossless audio and spatial audio through Dolby Atmos next month. It is doing so without any additional cost. Normally, these hi-def audio tiers cost an additional $5 to $10, but Apple, with its size and capital, can afford to do this, one assumes.
The company says it’ll have 75 million lossless audio songs in its catalog to start. Anyone listening through the latest Apple tech -- AirPods or Beats that use the H1 or W1 chip or built-in speakers on the latest iPhones, iPads or Mac -- will have special audio turned on by default.
It will be a simple switch in the settings for other Apple Music users to turn on lossless audio when this goes live in June.
Lossless for Apple Music starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz natively on Apple devices, before maxing out at 24 bit at 192 kHz. However, in true Apple fashion, to enjoy the 24-bit 192 kHz files, an external device is needed to make it happen, like a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
Apple isn’t the only company making headlines with lossless audio. Amazon Music is offering lossless music at its $9.99 subscription rate as well according to Billboard. Even those Amazon Prime users paying for Amazon Music Unlimited at the $7.99 rate will be able to get lossless audio. Family plans for Amazon Music HD will be eligible, but student plans will be exempt. Amazon says it has 70 million songs in CD quality and 7 million in “ultra HD” quality.
UPDATE: To damper the news for Apple's lossless audio rollout, several of their hardware options won't support lossless audio. The $550 AirPods Max headphones can't support lossless audio. Apple also confirms to The Verge that HomePod and HomePod mini won’t support lossless audio, either.