Apple Lossless Audio Codec -- now under the Apache license

Apple Lossless Audio Codec -- now under the Apache license

Apple has released their lossless audio codec under the Apache license.

The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple and supported on iPhone, iPad, most iPods, Mac and iTunes. ALAC is a data compression method which reduces the size of audio files with no loss of information. A decoded ALAC stream is bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed audio file.

The Apple Lossless Audio Codec project contains the sources for the ALAC encoder and decoder. Also included is an example command line utility, called alacconvert, to read and write audio data to/from Core Audio Format (CAF) and WAVE files. A description of a 'magic cookie' for use with files based on the ISO base media file format (e.g. MP4 and M4A) is included as well.

Any golden eared FOSS-advocates out their going to switch from FLAC?


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple Lossless Audio Codec -- now under the Apache license


Im interested in seeing the file sizes after compressing to ALAC. Especially since i already have to compress to AAC to fit the music I listen to on my iPhone to save space. And id like to hear what the diffrence in sound quality is.

Is there any chance that this could lead to Apple selling loseless tracks on iTunes down the road? I know trying to download bigger files sizes from the cloud would probably be a mess right now but in a few years when 4G is standard everywhere could this be a possibility?

Considering that carriers have been moving to capped data packages I don't see how 4G would clean up the mess. Nothing is really stopping them from doing this now for WiFi and hard line internet service. Aside from the server storage and bandwidth requirements on their side.

4G will never be a standard anywhere, period.
Because 4G doesn't define anything, and when was 7+Mbps not enough to DL a audio file?

Nice! ALAC is the lossless audio codec I use due to the integration with iTunes and Apple devices. I use an Android too, and many other players that could certainly play ALAC for me. Hope people take advantage of this codec now.