With a day ahead of what the rumors pointed out, Apple Music HiFi is now official. Apple has made it public without much fanfare, with a statement in its press area (at least for the moment only on the US website). Finally those from Cupertino have decided not to wait until WWDC 2021 for an announcement that, despite having been quite discreet, supposes a major blow on the table, and puts the rest of music streaming services in a somewhat complex situation that, however, has already obtained a first response.
The main question regarding Apple Music HiFi, lossless sound quality, has already been cleared. I am talking, of course, about the quality of the signal, and this is what we can read in the press release: «The Lossless level of Apple Music starts with CD quality, which is 16 bits at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz ), goes up to 24-bit at 48 kHz and can be played natively on Apple devices. For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless up to 24-bit 192 kHz.
As for the catalog, here we find another great surprise, and that is that Apple Music HiFi announces a catalog of more than 75 million songs in high fidelity. Yes, in case you’re thinking about it, this is indeed the complete catalog of the Cupertino service. Let’s remember that, today, Apple Music currently has the most extensive catalog, so even if the rest of the services take a step in the same direction, Apple will be able to boast of having the most extensive HD music catalog on the market. .
Another very important aspect of Apple Music HiFi is its compatibility with Dolby Atmos and its Spatial Audio technology. And it is that, with the latter, creators will be able to use positional sound in their recordings, a technology that has been present for many years in the world of cinema, but which has still hardly been tested with music. For its launch, Apple announces thousands of tracks with Spatial Audio upon launch of this new feature, and a catalog that will continue to grow regularly.
Although the press release on Apple Music HiFi mentions that Spatial Audio is compatible with AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as with the speakers integrated in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad and Mac, we are left in doubt If, actually, being based on Dolby Atmos, it will actually be compatible with any model of headphones compatible with this technology.
The good news is that we will not have to wait long to see it, since Apple Music HiFi, with Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio will arrive next June (Maybe its launch is what does coincide with WWDC 2021?) And, in what I already commented at the time that I think a clear torpedo to Spotify’s waterline, the service will keep its price. In this way, if Spotify was considering offering Spotify HiFi for a price higher than its normal subscription, now this is complicated.
And if you are thinking that it does not have to be this way, that Apple Music HiFi may be an exception, it does not seem that it will be this way, since almost immediately after Apple’s press release, Amazon has also issued a note of press reporting that Amazon Music HD, its HiFi quality streaming service, is now integrated into the base service in several countries, including Spain, so it matches in price with Apple Music HiFi.
Remember that Amazon Music HD supports Dolby Atmos and Sony 360RA, and that also offers its entire catalog, of more than seventy million titles, in at least one of the high definition audio formats available on the platform, ranging from CD quality (16 bits at 44.1 kilohertz) to, with seven million titles, 24 bits at up to 192 kilohertz.
Those responsible for Deezer, Tidal and Spotify must be, right now, deciding their next steps in this regard, and that is that the announcement of Apple Music HiFi can mean an important change in the sector, raising the quality standard that we have been enjoying for years to a new level, more suitable both to the sound quality of the devices we use on a daily basis, and to the speed of the Internet connections that we use to listen to streaming music. What until today was a premium option may be on the verge of becoming the norm, and as a music lover this strikes me as exceptional news.