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Editor's take: Apple Music is getting a couple of major upgrades and it won’t cost subscribers an extra cent. Based on recent announcements from competitors like Amazon, this could be the catalyst that helps push higher quality music into the mainstream.
The Cupertino-based company has announced that starting in June, it’ll be bringing spatial audio with support for Dolby Atmos to Apple Music. The streaming service will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks by default on all AirPods and Beats headphones equipped with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as on the latest versions of the iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Thousands of compatible songs will be available at launch, with more tracks to be added on a regular basis. Albums that are available in Dolby Atmos will feature a special badge for easy discovery, Apple said.
Apple is also making its catalog of more than 75 million songs available in a lossless format. Apple uses ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) so listeners can “hear the exact same thing that the artists created in the studio.”
To enable lossless audio, subscribers with the latest version of Apple Music should head to Settings > Music > Audio Quality to enable it. Worth mentioning is the fact that it’s an opt-in experience due to the large file sizes and bandwidth needed to support the higher quality files.
Apple Music’s Lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on Apple devices. For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless all the way up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.
In the fine print, Apple notes that Hi-Res Lossless requires external equipment, such as a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC).