Posted in: iOS, Mobile Services

Apple could be working on HD audio format for iTunes Match, streaming

An anonymous source has tipped off The Guardian that Apple is working on bringing HD sound quality to iTunes. This will reportedly happen through the introduction of a new file format with advanced functions.

The new audio format is said to be very flexible – it will offer both high-quality HD audio and a version with smaller size. It will also offer adaptive streaming depending on the device and the internet connections.

Currently, iTunes uses CD quality audio (44.1KHz sampling rate, 16 bit resolution), but Apple has been encouraging studios to provide songs with much higher quality (96KHz sampling rate, 24 bit resolution).

The Guardian’s source says that Apple will use their iTunes Match service to upgrade peoples music libraries behind the scenes, so people will wake up one day and find their audio collection improved.

But people with limited storage won’t see their iPhones overflow with music – the new format should allow for smaller files on some devices, while others get the bigger, higher-quality ones. It will also adjust its bitrate when you stream music to conform to Internet connection speed – lower if you are on a slow mobile network, for instance, and higher, if you’re on Wi-Fi or LTE or something.

That’s what The Guardian’s source claims anyway – there’s a good chance we’ll see the introduction of this new audio format on March 7 along with the iPad 3.

Apple already have a high-quality audio format (ALAC), so the service could just be something that intelligently chooses between ALAC and AAC. That doesn’t account for the flexible streaming though.

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