Tech giant Apple has finally developed Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) – its own lossless audio compression technology. As per multiple reports, it is going to implement this technology through a software update in HomePod and HomePod Mini in the near future. It is to be noted that almost all of the audio compression techniques result in loss of some amount of data in the original source file but the new ALAC technique will allow lossless compression that will preserve all of the data contained in the original source file.
In other words, lossless audio compression is a way of compressing music which reduces the file size while ensuring that there is no loss of data. It is estimated that Apple Music will offer a library of more than 20 million songs in lossless quality for free at the launch of ALAC technology in June that is reportedly estimated to reach over 75 million users by the end of 2021.
As per reports, the devices in which Apple will provide music using lossless audio compression are iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV though it has been made clear by the brand that broadcast radio, live radio and on-demand content from Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, Apple Music Country and music videos will not feature lossless audio as of now.
The company in an official statement said, “Lossless will play back normally on Bluetooth speakers and headphones. However, Bluetooth connections don’t support lossless audio”, which indicates that all the wireless AirPods – the original AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max will not support lossless audio because there isn’t any way as of now to transmit audio lossless audio over bluetooth. “We’re offering Apple Music subscribers the additional option to access our entire catalog encoded using lossless audio compression at no extra cost,” the brand said.
It is to be noted that lossless audio and Hi-Res audio are not the same thing as the former is provided in both lossless (FLAC, ALAC) or lossy (MQA) codecs while the latter can either be a standard resolution or a high resolution audio. Apple currently provides users with AAC 16-bit 44.1 kHz and is planning to offer ALAC 16-bit, 44.1 kHz to 24-bit, 192 kHz, which will ensure lossless audio though it will not be a Hi-Res audio entirely. An article was published by the company today in which it revealed some features and details about its upcoming lossless audio support on Apple Music.
As already mentioned the lossless compression technique will be supported by devices like iPhone and iPad models that are reported to be running the upcoming iOS 14.6 update and MacBooks which will be supported by the upcoming macOS 11.4 update. The article has also revealed that one of the Apple devices, Apple TV 4K will only support lossless audio at its launch but it will be provided with an option to enable losslessaudio playback with tvOS 11.4 update as well.