Music streaming

Apple Music on Android hints at lossless music streaming

There have been reports that we might see AirPods 3 on May 18, the same day Google launches I/O. Now, new evidence has emerged suggesting that the launch of Apple Music HiFi is imminent, which would pair well with the release of new wireless headphones.

9to5Google did an APK teardown of Apple Music for Android and found references to the introduction of lossless audio. The new feature will join current options which include “better quality” audio and “lower data usage”. Along with releasing for Android, Apple Music HiFi is also expected to be available on iOS, possibly in iOS 14.6.

Apparently Apple includes a warning for anyone who decides to stream Apple Music HiFi:

Lossless audio files preserve every detail of the original file. Enabling this option will consume much more data.

Lossless audio files will use much more space on your device. 10 GB of space can store approximately: – 3,000 high quality songs – 1,000 lossless songs – 200 high resolution lossless songs

Lossless streaming will consume much more data. A 3 minute song will be approximately: – 1.5MB with high efficiency – 6MB with high quality at 256kbps – 36MB with lossless at 24bit/48kHz – 145MB with high resolution lossless at 24-bit/192 kHz support varies and is dependent on song availability, network conditions, and the capability of the connected speaker or headphones.

9to5Google points out that in a recent iOS 14.6 beta there were references to Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio, but the Android app only mentions lossless audio, “with no sign of Dolby integration”.

“Specifically, Apple Music for Android is configured to offer two varieties of high-fidelity audio streaming/downloading, ‘Lossless’ and ‘High-Res Lossless'” 9to5Google noted.

Code discovered in the Android app reveals the two lossless playback choices:

ALAC up to 24-bit/48kHz

Lossless High Resolution
ALAC up to 24-bit/192kHz

If true, Apple Music will finally match what’s available on services like Tidal and Amazon Music HD; Spotify also plans to introduce a Hifi plan later this year. If Apple Music HiFi becomes available, it will pair well with its AirPods Max (and the aforementioned AirPods 3).

Additionally, a post on Reddit reveals that Apple Music is getting animated covers on Android, at least in beta. When clicking on a playlist or artists, users will now see more dynamic album art that plays like a GIF. It’s not a major addition to the service, but it does make it a bit more premium.

Of course, none of these features have been confirmed, but evidence of their existence continues to mount. We may see a press release announcement as early as May 18, so it may not be long before we hear more.

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