Apple Music Releases Spatial Audio and Lossless Streaming

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Apple is rolling out Spatial Audio and lossless music, its high-fidelity music streaming option Monday (June 7), the company announced during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Last month, Apple unveiled Spatial Audio, a new feature powered by Dolby Atmos Music that gives listeners a surround sound experience in their headphones. Both Spatial Audio and Lossless will be available at no additional charge for Apple Music users, a massive change for streaming services that previously charged between $15 and $20 a month for high-fidelity music. (Amazon Music was the first to cut its price to $10 a month for high-fidelity music in May).

Much like competing features like 3D Audio from Amazon Music and Tidal, Apple’s Spatial Audio catalog is limited at launch to “thousands” of songs, a notable gap from the 75 million songs on its platform, but the company has said it will focus on getting new music produced in Dolby Atmos to continue to add to its Spatial Audio catalog moving forward.

The feature, which has been present on iPhones since late 2020 for movies and TV shows, has been a priority for Apple, which has made it a staple throughout its latest line of products. Spatial Audio will roll out in FaceTime later this year in iOS 15, as well as its new Apple TV 4K and its latest MacBooks, the company announced Monday.

Lossless will also be available Monday, and Apple says that 75 million songs will be available in high-fidelity music before the end of the year. Apple has framed lossless as a “pro” feature since lossless music can’t be streamed over Bluetooth and it requires advanced hardware to fully take advantage of the improved audio quality. But for users who do have the proper equipment, Apple will offer lossless CD-quality audio (16-bit / 44.1kHz to 24-bit / 48Hz) and Hi-Res lossless (24-bit / up to 192 kHz, which will require a digital-to-analog converter).

Spatial Audio will work by default on the latest AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, and the latest iPhones, iPads, and Macs.