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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
56,623
19,373



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The Guardian reports that Apple is currently working on a new audio format that could allow the company to offer "high definition" audio via iTunes. The format would also integrate an "adaptive streaming" component that would allow music being accessed from iCloud and iTunes Match by portable devices to be automatically adapted to fit bandwidth or storage constraints.
Apple is working on a new audio file format that will offer "adaptive streaming" to provide high- or low-quality files to users of its iCloud service. [...]

The new system would adjust itself to the bandwidth and storage available on the receiving device.

It is believed that Apple will use the new file type to upgrade its iTunes Match service, which allows users to re-download music from iCloud to their Apple devices.
According to the report's source, Apple has asked one London music studio to prepare audio files in the new format, which would allow Apple to instantly and automatically improve the quality of iTunes Match content. The source is unclear, however, on whether Apple would transcode the higher-quality files on the fly to match a given bandwidth/hardware setup or if it would simply maintain several versions of the track at different qualities and serve the most appropriate one for a given situation.

Given the timing of Apple's work, the source suggests that the company is likely preparing the new format for a demonstration at its iPad media event rumored for next Wednesday, March 7.

The new report comes less than a month after Neil Young revealed that he had worked with Steve Jobs on a high-definition music format for the iTunes Store but that "not much" had ended up happening with the effort. Apple has also recently begun a significant expansion of its Mastered for iTunes program. The initiative encourages recording professionals to utilize high-quality master recordings of songs and albums as the initial source material for iTunes Store submission, processing them using Apple's guidelines and tools to achieve file compression allowing for the highest-quality sound available.

Article Link: Apple Reportedly Developing High-Definition Audio Format with 'Adaptive Streaming'
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,181
115
When this comes out, I'll definitely get iTunes Match.

Home Cinema systems are becoming more and more popular in households, so it isn't just audiophiles that'll appreciate this, as the average Joe will probably be able to notice the difference.
 

mmcxiiad

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2002
259
17
This would be great. Having a higher quality audio is always better.

Although now with the 64GB iPhone i was just starting to think I could carry a majority of my music... looks like I'll have to decide which is better more music or higher bitrate...

... giveth and  taketh.
 

Tinyluph

macrumors regular
Dec 27, 2011
191
0
I'm confused. Does this mean you'll need iTunes Match to get higher quality audio?
 

cjbryce

macrumors 6502a
Jun 4, 2008
518
236
London
Because I need the highest quality sound for Apple's craptacular earbuds that come with all of their products... :p

Because I'd like the highest quality sound for plugging iPods/iPhones into my high-end home system, and even my high-ish end car system when I can't be bothered changing CDs.
 

mmcxiiad

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2002
259
17
Because I need the highest quality sound for Apple's craptacular earbuds that come with all of their products... :p

The one thing I never take out of the box is the included headphones. Not only do I think they sound bad, but they are very uncomfortable to me.

Personally, the best headphones I have used for daily use are the bose mie2i. I am not a bose fan, but these are really nice headphones. They have the iPhone controls, and they stay in your ears really well. Another thing that I like about them, is I am still able to hear things going on around me - these don't block out all sound. Which makes it possible to still be a little social.

these are not good for total sound isolation.
 

Dan--

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2008
237
23
A step in the right direction. I'm still not sure why a new format is needed though, when ALAC is staring at everyone straight in the face.

Maybe for variable bandwidth streaming perhaps?
 

dashiel

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2003
876
0
I wonder if this is finally the commercial introduction of AAC-HD, which allows for an lossy AAC core scalable up to lossless.

Because I need the highest quality sound for Apple's craptacular earbuds that come with all of their products... :p

Actually if you wear them the way they were designed to be worn they’re perfectly adequate, most people don’t though. If you look at the original earbuds they had a headband, the earbud sat in the ear very differently. If you emulate that with the iPod/iPhone earbuds you get a much better experience.

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stordoff

macrumors regular
Aug 24, 2009
132
0
I wonder if this is finally the commercial introduction of AAC-HD, which allows for an lossy AAC core scalable up to lossless.

I've been hoping for a while that Apple implement this. It's an ideal replacement for the "Convert to 128kbps" option when syncing - you have the full lossless audio for iTunes and in-home streaming, and the 128-256kbps core for portable devices.
 

mrholder

macrumors regular
Jan 3, 2009
147
6
And just when I got a refund for itunes match. :( The resetting of play counts to 0 and randomly erasing last played info just bugged me too much. The sound quality of the files is already amazing, though. Can't imagine what it will be like with the new format for match.
 

sammich

macrumors 601
Sep 26, 2006
4,300
266
Sarcasmville.
So is this something like how HTTP Live Streaming works? The client can select the bitrate of the next portion of the media?
 

d0vr

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2011
603
1
I have been waiting for this for a long time. The concept of storing a flac or other high quality format file for home use and an mp3 always annoyed me. Being able to use one format that works for both in an iTunes library would be fantastic!!
 

cameronjpu

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2007
1,330
69
The source is unclear, however, on whether Apple would transcode the higher-quality files on the fly to match a given bandwidth/hardware setup or if it would simply maintain several versions of the track at different qualities and serve the most appropriate one for a given situation.

Storage is cheap and simple, while adaptive transcoding is complicated and costly. Clearly they would do the former.
 
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