High-Resolution audio reportedly coming to Apple Music in 2016

Apple is reportedly planning to improve the sound quality of its online music streaming service, Apple Music. According to Japanese publication Macotakara, the company will improve the audio beyond what is possible to enjoy through the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, which fits in with reports that Apple may be looking to ditch the port on the iPhone in favor for using the Lightning port for headphones.

The Lightning port would be enable headphone manufacturers to provide 24-bit DAC (digital analog conversion) quality sound, a vast improvement as to what's available with the standard headphone port. It would certainly add yet another unique selling point to the company's family of smartphones, particularly for audiophiles and those who are rarely found without headphones attached to their skull.

Remember that this is all simply a rumor for the time being, folks. Be sure to take with as much salt as you have available in your tanker until official details are announced.

Source: Makotakara, via: Apple Insider

7 Comments
  • RE: "the company will improve the audio beyond what is possible to enjoy through the standard 3.5mm headphone jack" Oh please. This is pure unadulterated bullshit. The 3.5mm jack has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's the internal digital-to-analog converter (DAC) chip and software implementation that converts the bits to music. All the jack and attached cable do is carry the analog signal after it's been converted from digital by the DAC. From what I understand, the off-the-shelf DAC chips in current iPhones (Cirrus Logic origin, I believe) are already capable of decoding up to 24bit/96khz PCM data. Apple just doesn't implement it in the OS. They could continue using the 3.5mm jack and still give us "hi-res" audio easily. They just choose not to after weighing the potential downsides of having the phone performing the task, namely battery life. Most dedicated portable music players and professional grade desktop audio interfaces already offer high bitrate digital to analog conversion (24bit/192khz or higher in many examples), but they still need an analog cable to get the analog signal out. Even your wireles bluetooth headphones - there's a DAC inside em which pipes them out to an analog amplification section. The internal wires and op-amps carrying the analog signal from the DAC to the nozzles that go in your ears are basically the equivalent of a regular headphone cable.
  • I agree 100%. This kind of article is just another example of internet link bait. Come on, Rene, your team can do better than spewing out this kind of BS to its readers. Insults you, the site and most of all its readers. I expected better.
  • Not sure what the headphone jack has to do with the price of tea in China. Many companies produce high quality headphones with 3.5mm jacks. The same goes for DAC manufacturers. V-Moda does both. I think it makes sense that Apple maybe working toward a wireless protocol & wireless headphones that support high resolution music. I agree 24 bit sampling makes sense. Just wondering if they would go as heigh as 192Kbps, or call 24 bit/96 Kbp good enough. Sent from the iMore App
  • I don't know to muck about this subject but I do know Spotify premium sounds a lot better than Apple Music which is why I stuck with Spotify. If Spotify can do it why can't Apple. I would have preferred to stick with Apple Music especially now it's on my Apple TV. Sent from the iMore App
  • It would make perfect sense for Apple to announce "high-res" (we will see how high quality they go) streaming along with a new iPhone that lacked a headphone jack, and use the new streaming service as a way to justify the move (i.e. sound through the lightning port is higher quality). This completely ignores the fact that you can already get higher quality sound by using external equipment plugged into the lightning jack, (Lightning out > DAC/AMP > Headphones) and there are already companies making headphones that connect directly via lightning. Also, even if they remove the headphone jack, they will still need a DAC/AMP inside the phone to power the speaker, although it won't need to be very high quality since the speakers are so small/low quality anyways. Basically lightning is already an option for headphones, they'd just be taking the headphone jack option away. As @Moodzy mentioned, the equipment in iPhones is already capable of higher quality audio than Apple allows with their software. Heck, iTunes STILL doesn't support FLAC files, which are a common format for high resolution music. Apple could enable all of this now, with current hardware. From my perspective, it would be better if A) They just added a higher quality, high-res capable DAC/AMP section inside the phone, so we could get better sound with our existing headphones. Or, B) go ahead and remove the headphone jack, but drop the price of the phone to make up for the fact that I'll need an external dac/amp or more expensive headphones (since the DAC/Amp they'll remove from the phone will have to instead be in the headphones).
  • I love iPhones to bits but if they remove the 3.5mm jack there is no way for that not to be a complete **** you you have to buy expensive properiatiry adapters to make your headphones work like a normal person. It will 1000's times worse than 30 pin to lighting that was properiatiry to properiatiry this is moving a obiquitous standard used for audio output on consumer goods with a huge market to a (probably expensive) properiatiry technology. I'm not saying it's going to happen I'm just saying if 3.5mm goes I will regrettably be buying my first android
  • I will be interested to see if this site will be critical of Apple if they remove the 3.5 jack for such BS reasons. This article sounds like they are preparing for such defense. Sent from the iMore App