Details uncovered within version 3.6 of the Apple Music Beta app for Android suggest we could soon see a new lossless audio feature from Apple’s streaming service.
9to5Google performed a teardown of the Apple Music 3.6 APK file. For those unfamiliar with APK teardowns, they involve cracking open the application file and checking out the code within. Sometimes, these teardowns reveal code for features that haven’t gone live yet. At the same time, it’s important to note that unfinished features and code can be misleading or change before launch, so always take information uncovered in teardowns with a grain of salt.
That said, 9to5’s teardown of Apple Music revealed some fairly concrete details about lossless audio in Apple Music. That includes strings of code that include text from prompts about the lossless audio format. One prompt explains what lossless audio is, while another warns that using the format could use significantly more data when streaming or more on-device storage if you download the lossless files:
- “Lossless audio files preserve every detail of the original file. Turning this on will consume significantly more data.”
- “Lossless audio files will use significantly more space on your device. 10 GB of space could store approximately: – 3000 songs at high quality – 1000 songs with lossless – 200 songs with hi-res lossless.”
- “Lossless streaming will consume significantly more data. A 3-minute song will be approximately: – 1.5 MB with high efficiency- 6 MB with high quality at 256 kbps- 36 MB with lossless at 24-bit/48 kHz- 145 MB with hi-res lossless at 24-bit/192 kHz. Support varies and depends on song availability, network conditions, and connected speaker or headphone capability.”
Further, 9to5Google referenced information gathered by its sister site 9to5Mac about Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio coming to the Apple Music app for iOS. The Android app doesn’t mention Dolby, but it appears that Apple Music on Android will offer two variants of high-fidelity audio, “Lossless” and “High-Res Lossless.”
Lossless audio will offer music at 24-bit/48kHz, while High-Res Lossless will be up to 24-bit/192kHz. Further, both high-fidelity formats will use Apple’s lossless ‘ALAC’ codec instead of the lossy ‘AAC’ codec Apple Music typically uses.
We could see the new lossless audio launch alongside next-gen AirPods
The Verge expands on this, noting that the appearance of lossless audio in the Apple Music Android app code could indicate a very imminent launch. For example, the Apple One subscription bundle appeared in Apple Music for Android a few days before Apple announced it. Should that pattern hold true, we could see a lossless Apple Music announcement as soon as next week.
Moreover, a rather sketchy leak from a site called AppleTrack suggested Apple would announce the next-gen AirPods alongside lossless audio streaming in Apple Music on May 18th. On its own, the leak didn’t seem like much. Coupled with the new information about lossless audio found in the Apple Music for Android app, however, the leak seems to hold some water.
Naturally, take all this with a grain of salt. I’d say it’s likely that Apple will announce lossless audio streaming for Apple Music soon, although maybe not next week. An AirPods announcement is less probable, but certainly not impossible.