• Did you order new AirTags? We've opened a dedicated AirTags forum.

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
52,495
14,176


Apple is laying the groundwork for adding HiFi support to Apple Music which would offer Apple Music subscribers and owners of compatible devices, such as certain models of AirPods, access to high-fidelity audio streaming, according to code within the iOS 14.6 beta discovered by MacRumors.

apple-music-album-cover-art.png

Earlier today, a report claimed that Apple will announce a new $9.99 per month Apple Music tier that offers HiFi music streaming in the "coming weeks." Now, code within the first beta of iOS 14.6 discovered by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser confirms that Apple is exploring the option and preparing for a possible release.

Within the code for the first beta of the upcoming update, references to "lossless audio," "high-quality stereo streaming," and "HiFi" are found within the Apple Music app. Accompanying code within the beta suggests that HiFi streaming could be limited to only certain AirPods such as the AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and newer.

Presumably, HiFi support would also be available to customers without AirPods, although it's unknown if Apple will have certain hardware requirements for speakers, headphones, etc.. to support HiFi Apple Music streaming.

Wording such as "Route Incompatible" and "Route Unknown Compatibility" suggests that much like how Spatial Audio is limited to only the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, HiFi Apple Music streaming could be exclusive to certain generation AirPods and other compatible devices.

Additional code within the beta suggests that Apple could incorporate a dynamic way for Apple Music to switch between standard, compressed audio streaming and high-fidelity streaming. On the iPhone 12 with 5G, Apple has a "Smart Data Mode," which automatically switches between a 5G and 4G/LTE connection depending on the user's current needs, connection strength, and battery life.

According to code within the beta, Apple may take a similar approach with HiFi support on Apple Music, only offering users high-fidelity audio streaming when there's sufficient bandwidth or depending on other factors such as a user's data consumption.

Spotify has announced plans to include HiFi support for subscribers sometime this year but has yet to announce a specific date. Apple is reportedly preparing to announce the new HiFi tier as soon as a few weeks alongside the release of new third-generation AirPods. The new tier will reportedly cost the same as the current individual Apple Music tier.

Given the evidence that HiFi Apple Music support could be limited to only newer AirPods models, Apple may offer HiFi as a separate, more expensive tier for owners of compatible AirPods. Thus, customers with older AirPods would be able to retain their existing Apple Music subscription without HiFi support.

At WWDC last year, Apple did announce automatic switching for AirPods and Spatial Audio for AirPods Pro and newer AirPod products. With WWDC 2021 being just weeks away, Apple could announce the new Apple Music tier at the event, marketing them as an add-on feature for the third-generation AirPods.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously reported that the new AirPods would enter mass production in the third quarter of the year.

Article Link: iOS 14.6 Beta 1 Code Hints at Upcoming HiFi Apple Music Support
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DeepIn2U

kalafalas

macrumors 6502
Aug 26, 2008
302
762
California
There’s no way they would gate it to exclusively the new AirPods. Over Bluetooth sure, but Wired and AirPlay, Mac HomePod and Apple TV should definitely be supported for HiFi playback. It does sound like they are implementing a seamless switching tech so the device can detect airpods, wired or airplay, WiFi/5G etc to send the appropriate stream and not waste data where unnecessary which is welcome. I hope I can offline tracks in lossless as well.
 
Comment

IllinoisCorn

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2021
278
275
Hmmm I guess we'll have to wait and see but I don't like this idea (if true) to only new AirPods. The devil is in the details. I'll wait for those.
Wouldn't there also be a hardware requirement the AirPods released in 2016 might not be able to support?
 
Comment

munpip214

macrumors 6502
Feb 21, 2011
339
765
Wait… what? The ONLY way that you will be able to listen to HiFi music is if you own AirPods?? What about through speakers and whatever home set up?

That seems like a very odd decision if true as that would push me straight to Spotify.
Most likely this requires a new chip for small devices to enable higher bitrate streaming. Airplay 2 already supports lossless. I’m guessing homepods and Apple TV’s will get updated
 
Comment

MauiPa

macrumors 68000
Apr 18, 2018
1,779
2,534
Wait… what? The ONLY way that you will be able to listen to HiFi music is if you own AirPods?? What about through speakers and whatever home set up?

That seems like a very odd decision if true as that would push me straight to Spotify.
don't get all snickety over a rumor. As the above post points out there are various other alternatives that could easily support HiFi: Airplay2, AppleTV, Mac, HomePods. and while the current streaming is 250 kbit AAC for AirPods and AirPods Pro, the standard supports up to 320 kbit. that is without a different codec being supported (I'm not an expert, but I pretty much think the codec is software which would allow modifications), so that would say that AirPods, AirPods Pro, etc could also be potential targets.

Bottom line, its only a rumor at this point, so relax. Besides, Spotify doesn't pay the artists. If you are going to switch, go with a service that honors the artists at least as well as Apple Music.
 
Comment

w5jck

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2013
298
386
I'm old guy, so I had to look up what HiFi supposedly refers to. I initially assumed it was either just another BS gimmicky name for better music quality with the streaming. What I read though is that HiFi is this new thing wherein you buy separate pieces/components of equipment to create your audio system. Really, new? Growing up in the 70s as a teenager we did that. You had a separate amplifier, a separate tuner, a separate record player, a separate tape deck, and later on a separate CD player. It was what we called a modular system made up of the components you wanted, along with separate speakers of course. Some even added separate reel to reel tap players as well. So if this is what young people are calling HiFi, well you are reinventing the darn wheel. With the advent of boomboxes and Walkmans in the 1970s and 1980s, the trend was to scale down to a bookshelf system which was still somewhat modular but much smaller. When the MP3 players became popular in the late 1990s and exploded in popularity after the iPods were introduced, smaller and pocketable became the fashion. Maybe the younger folks are oblivious to the old stereo systems of their grandparents era, but those old systems predate HiFi systems by half a century. So I have to wonder, is HiFi really just a gimmicky, BS term to refer to better audio quality? After all, AirPods hardly fit the description I've read for HiFi.
 
Comment

Marco Klobas

macrumors regular
Jul 14, 2017
213
464
Italy
I highly doubt the hi-res tier will be available exclusively on AirPods. It'd be a silly move to say the least. No other music streaming service did something like this.

Let's see if someone finds some references in the macOS beta. If there's a place where hi-res music makes sense is at home.

Granted, even good headphones can take advantage of Hi-Fi quality streaming. Limiting it to AirPods (especially the Apple's in-ear) is very limiting, IMO.
 
Comment

Carlson-online

macrumors regular
May 27, 2004
158
379
I highly doubt the hi-res tier will be available exclusively on AirPods. It'd be a silly move to say the least. No other music streaming service did something like this.

Let's see if someone finds some references in the macOS beta. If there's a place where hi-res music makes sense is at home.

Granted, even good headphones can take advantage of Hi-Fi quality streaming. Limiting it to AirPods (especially the Apple's in-ear) is very limiting, IMO.
It’s likely the hardware support for lossless isn’t in the standard AirPods.

Bluetooth 5.0 has enough bandwidth just for ALAC transfer though.
And im sure it will be hifi for any output that is wired !
 
Comment

Shiverme

macrumors newbie
Sep 14, 2016
22
15
don't get all snickety over a rumor. As the above post points out there are various other alternatives that could easily support HiFi: Airplay2, AppleTV, Mac, HomePods. and while the current streaming is 250 kbit AAC for AirPods and AirPods Pro, the standard supports up to 320 kbit. that is without a different codec being supported (I'm not an expert, but I pretty much think the codec is software which would allow modifications), so that would say that AirPods, AirPods Pro, etc could also be potential targets.

Bottom line, its only a rumor at this point, so relax. Besides, Spotify doesn't pay the artists. If you are going to switch, go with a service that honors the artists at least as well as Apple Music.
That’s what I said “if true” :p
 
Comment

eicca

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2014
770
669
Can AirPods even stream at CD quality? Typical Bluetooth sure can’t, and Apple seem to be very lax on adding APTX to their iPhone Bluetooth capabilities. If “HiFi” in this case isn’t at least CD quality then it’s pretty useless.
 
  • Sad
Reactions: Shirasaki
Comment

Capeto

macrumors 6502
Jul 9, 2015
328
661
I’d be ready to switch from Spotify to  Music if they offer HiFi (lossless) streaming at the same $9.99 price, but if it’s limited to AirPods then I might as well wait for Spotify’s offering, even if pricier - assuming it doesn’t have such a silly restriction.

Apple would be shooting themselves in the foot if they go this route. Bluetooth can’t even play music losslessy!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Feyl
Comment

LeadingHeat

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2015
616
1,495
Earlier today, a report claimed that Apple will announce a new $9.99 per month Apple Music tier that offers HiFi music streaming in the "coming weeks."
This wording still isn’t super clear. It either is going to cost $9.99 ON TOP of the normal $9.99 price? Like how Tidal does it? I sure hope I’m reading that wrong and that everyone that commented in the other thread interpreted it the right way, that it will just be included in the normal $9.99 tier. (Or family for $14.99). Fingers crossed!
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.