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Apple Music will offer Dolby Atmos and lossless streaming starting next month | Engadget

After clues in iOS 14.6 beta code and Apple Music for Android, and an intentional tease from the company, Apple has officially announced its spatial audio with Dolby Atmos and lossless streaming. True to the hints and rumors, there are two new high-quality music options available through the streaming service. And the best part is Apple Music subscribers will have access to both at no additional cost when they arrive next month.

Apple’s AirPods Max are equipped with spatial audio capabilities, but the headphones really only worked with your phone and there wasn’t much compatible content. With the addition of Dolby Atmos to Apple Music, you’ll have an immersive option for listening to music akin to what Tidal HiFi and Amazon Music HD already offer. Both of those services support Dolby Atmos Music and Sony 360 Reality Audio. Apple says the streaming service will automatically play music in Dolby Atmos on all AirPods and Beats earbuds and headphones with an H1 or W1 chip. Ditto for built-in speakers on “the latest versions” of iPhone, iPad and Mac. 

Apple promises to make Dolby Atmos content easy to find with curated playlists and special badges. However, the company didn’t go into specifics on the size of the music library here. It says “thousands” of songs will be available at launch, but didn’t give any numbers. The company did say it’s collaborating with Dolby to make it easier for artists, producers and engineers to create music in Dolby Atmos while working with artist and labels to bring existing material to the format. Apple promises more tracks will be added “regularly.” 

Apple is also making its entire catalog of music available in lossless audio. Lossless uses Apple’s ALAC codec (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) at up to 48kHz, while Hi-Resolution Lossless increases the quality to 192kHz. More specifically, Lossless starts out at CD quality16 bit at 44.1 kHz and goes up to 24-bit/48KHz. Apple says 24 bit at 192kHz is meant for “the true audiophile.” The whole idea here is to capture the original detail of the studio recording. “This means Apple Music subscribers will be able to hear the exact same thing that the artists created in the studio,” the company explained in a press release. You can access lossless audio by adjusting the audio quality settings in the Apple Music app and opt for different resolutions based on your connection.

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