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A new rumor suggests that Apple will announce the third-generation AirPods and the recently rumored HiFi, or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, on Tuesday, May 18, via a press release on its website.

General-Music-and-AirPod-3-Feature.jpg

The new rumor comes from Apple YouTuber Luke Miani who shared the alleged exclusive news with the AppleTrack website. According to the YouTuber, Apple plans to release the next-generation AirPods through a Newsroom update and website refresh.

Miani, who we reached out to, said that new AirPods could be announced on May 18 via a press release that could also include a 'Apple Music HiFi' debut
In 2019, Apple released the all-new AirPods Pro via a press release on its website, so while it seems plausible, the information should be taken with a grain of salt. The new AirPods are expected to feature an updated design that's more in-line with the design of the AirPods Pro but lacking in "Pro" features such as Active Noise Cancellation.

The new AirPods will be the first major update to the standard AirPods following a slight refresh in 2019 which featured wireless charging, Hey Siri support, and improved battery life. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that the new AirPods would entire mass production in the third quarter of this year.

Alongside the new third-generation AirPods, Apple plans to announce a brand new HiFi or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, according to the new rumor. A report earlier this month indicated that Apple plans to begin offering Apple Music subscribers higher quality streaming with a new subscription tier in the "coming weeks."

According to that report, the tier will cost the same $9.99 as the current individual Apple Music package. Still, specifics around how Apple plans to include HiFi music streaming into its existing tiers remain unknown. Code within the first beta of the upcoming iOS 14.6 update found by MacRumors suggests that HiFi Apple Music streaming could be limited to only compatible hardware.

While the source for the HiFi Apple Music report pinned a launch of the new tier and AirPods as being only a few weeks away, it may have been referring to a launch at WWDC. Apple will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference beginning on June 7 where it is expected to announce brand new updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Despite WWDC being software-focused, hardware announcements at the event are certainly possible.

Article Link: Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier on May 18
 

matrix07

macrumors 604
Jun 24, 2010
6,684
3,305
Can't wait to see (hear) how good it will be. Maybe it's finally time to buy a Max.
 
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AmazeSE

macrumors member
Oct 30, 2017
91
465
When you say “cost the same 9.99” are you saying that it will be an additional 9.99 or that it will be a free quality upgrade to all paying subscribers? Wondering where Apple One subscribers would fall into all of this as well.
According to this article the HiFi tier will cost the same $9.99. So I think they mean that the current existing subscribers will get a free upgrade.
 
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samifathi

Editor
Feb 9, 2021
6
8
When you say “cost the same 9.99” are you saying that it will be an additional 9.99 or that it will be a free quality upgrade to all paying subscribers? Wondering where Apple One subscribers would fall into all of this as well.
We still aren't sure. The original report for the HiFi tier said: "at the same $9.99-per-user price point as its standard plan." Might be a free upgrade for current users, still not clear at this point in time.
 
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LeadingHeat

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2015
646
1,556
I agree with the sentiment in these posts it seems like, where I hope that this new hifi tier will be included for free alongside an existing subscription. I’m okay with it only being available on certain products though. HomePod (full sized), AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, etc.

I realistically don’t see that happening though sadly. With Tidal already offering the hifi tier for an additional $10/month, it seems fit to pattern it that way. The best would be to drop the prices down $3-$5 or so, and have the hifi be $5 extra to soften the blow. So that those who want it will pay roughly the same, but those who don’t need it can get a slight discount. Fingers crossed. Either way I’m excited!
 
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rumz

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2006
885
392
Utah
I'm curious about the "compatible hardware" bit. Unless it's referring specifically to streaming directly to certain devices (eg HomePod). Headsets are getting their audio relayed via another device (iPhone, iPad), so I can't imagine they'd limit it by headphone type, but who knows.

Not an Apple Music subscriber, but I do use iTunes Match or whatever they call it these days.... sure would be nice to have matched titles available in lossless.
 
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Stuey3D

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
715
751
Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
My biggest gripe with Apple Music is that you still have to use a Mac or PC with iTunes if you want to import music from 3rd party sources, create smart playlists, and edit song information.

A HiFi tier would be nice however if as I’ve seen other rumours suggesting it’s restricted to AirPods then it’s worthless to me. At home I listen to my music via AirPlay to a full Dolby Atmos surround sound setup so would probably benefit from HiFi, at work I listen via a cheap pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones so HiFi would be less of an upgrade there.

What would be a good way of implementing this would be to download/stream the regular AAC files when connected to standard pair of headphones or Bluetooth speaker which would also save storage space for those who save music to their phones for offline use, and then when at home on WiFi (or cellular if you enable a toggle) it will stream the HiFi versions when it detects a device capable of playing them such as high end Airplay speakers, AirPods, or a high end DAC.

Also whilst they are at it maybe they should consider adding support for some of the high end Bluetooth audio standards so owners of 3rd party high end headphones can get in on that party.
 
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Stuey3D

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
715
751
Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
Also whilst they are at it and I’ve been saying this for years as we’ve had the hardware capability for years, they should add a surround sound music category.

I know surround sound music is a niche category but so is HiFi to a point as most people don’t have the capability of playing HiFi either.

I’ve been able to employ a bit of a work around for years and that is ripping my surround sound music dvd/blu-ray to an MP4 file with a multichannel AC3 audio track which will then play via AirPlay to an Apple TV hooked up to a surround sound system.

If Apple made a multichannel audio category they could sell more Apple TV’s as people would use them to play surround audio via their home cinema systems, and there does appear to be a small but growing market for this as some albums now are being remastered in Atmos.
 
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cdrider

macrumors member
Aug 11, 2012
35
19
It's my understanding (and could be wrong) that all Apple headphones max out at 256kbps AAC and anything else is converted down. So an uplift in music quality necessitates purchasing new hardware, too.

It would be nice if Apple supported aptx so those with headphones that support this can benefit.
 
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AppleUser2

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2009
181
168
Instead, announce a mew release of the Music app with hundreds and hundreds of bug fixes.

Not being snarky, but the music app is embarrassingly low quality.
It’s slow, really clunky to now delete songs from playlists (have to add them to your library first!). Plus I can’t get the animated artwork to work. I’ll stick with it though as I’ve tried all the others.
 
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anshuvorty

macrumors 68000
Sep 1, 2010
1,813
1,722
California, USA
It's my understanding (and could be wrong) that all Apple headphones max out at 256kbps AAC and anything else is converted down. So an uplift in music quality necessitates purchasing new hardware, too.

It would be nice if Apple supported aptx so those with headphones that support this can benefit.
AirPods Gen 3 - now with support for higher bitrates and a new proprietary Apple Codec that supports higher bitrates, perfect for Apple Music HiFi...

I can totally see the press release marketing the new AirPods and Apple Music HiFi in this way next Tuesday...
 
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JippaLippa

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2013
222
227
If the hi-fi tier will be locked to specific hardware (Basically airpods pro and max) it would ne an insult, as many audio-enthusiasts have high quality third party headphones (mostly wired) and nobody has the resources to own a complete flac collection, so apple music hi-fi would be a fantastic option.
 
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