Apple Music might get high-fidelity streaming upgrade in coming weeks
Apple Music might get high-fidelity audio support in the vein of quality-focused music streaming services such as TIDAL. A report by HITS Daily Double claims the iPhone maker will unveil a hi-fi audio tier for its music streaming service. The publication cites "label sources" while adding that the hi-fi tier is expected "in the coming weeks".
Interestingly, the claims of HITS Daily Double's sources are further bolstered by a separate 9to5Mac report that cites clues in the first developer beta build of iOS 14.6 pointing to lossless hi-fi audio. The report details new code discovered in the Apple Music app with references to "Dolby Atmos," Dolby Audio," and "Lossless". Both Dolby hi-fi sound formats weren't previously found on Apple Music.
The most remarkable aspect of this rumor is the pricing for Apple Music's high-fidelity streaming tier. Apparently, the service won't charge subscribers additional fees for the privilege of improved streaming audio quality. The rumored hi-fi tier is expected to be included in the existing $9.99 monthly subscription package. The report says that the upgrade will be announced alongside the rumored third-generation AirPods.
If Apple Music offers high-fidelity audio streaming at the same subscription rates, that could spell trouble for Spotify, which announced a price-hike just last week. In February, Spotify had announced plans to offer HD streaming audio tier without committing to a launch date. Its recent price-hike could accommodate hi-fi audio upgrade, or it might offer HD streaming at a higher tier.
Further, Apple's strategy will allow it to muscle in on Spotify's market share. Apple also claims to account for "about 75% of the Top 100 in the US" under its Digital Masters catalog. If Apple combines cheaper music subscription service with hi-fi-capable hardware in the upcoming gen-3 AirPods, we could be looking at a winning combination.