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Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, HomePod, and HomePod mini Can’t Play Lossless Audio via Apple Music: Report

Apple AirPods Max, AirPods Pro, AirPods, HomePod, and HomePod mini won’t support ‘Lossless Audio’ that arrives on Apple Music in June, as per multiple reports. Apple recently announced Hi-Fi streaming support and ‘Spatial Audio’ with Dolby Atmos for its music player. The new audio features for Apple Music will be available to subscribers from June 2021. The reports say that Apple is using Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) to provide lossless audio via Apple Music, but its truly wireless stereo (TWS) earphones, premium headphones, and smart speakers use the Bluetooth AAC codec for audio playback.

Apple on Monday, May 17 announced that ‘Lossless Audio’ streaming and ‘Spatial Audio’ with Dolby Atmos support will be available to Apple Music subscribers from June 2021 at no extra cost.

Multiple publications, including T3, have cited Apple to confirm that Apple Music’s new audio features won’t be supported on AirPods Max, AirPods Pro, AirPods, Beats Solo Pro, Beats Solo 3 Wireless, Beats Studio 3, Beats Flex, BeatsX, Powerbeats Pro, and Powerbeats 3 Wireless. A report from MacRumors also says that lossless audio streaming via Apple Music will also not supported on HomePod and HomePod mini smart speakers.

However, all these audio devices, along with the built-in speakers of iPhone, iPad, and Mac models, will be able to stream music using ‘Spatial Audio’ with Dolby Atmos support. It’s unclear if these devices will gain native support for lossless audio streaming in the future.

Apple Music subscribers using the latest iOS 14.6, iPad OS 14.6, macOS 11.4, and tvOS 14.6 or later can head to Settings > Music > Audio Quality to activate ‘Lossless Audio’. Apple says the quality of its ‘Lossless Audio’ tier is akin to CD-quality, which is 16bit at 44.1kHz, and goes up to 24bit at 48kHz. Its ‘Hi-Res Lossless’ tier offers up to 24bit at 192kHz.

Apple says subscribers will be able to listen to thousands of songs using the ‘Spatial Audio’ on Dolby Atmos with more being added regularly and ‘Lossless Audio’ will be available for 20 million songs at launch in June, which will expand to 75 million songs by the end of the year.

We dive into all things Apple — iPad Pro, iMac, Apple TV 4K, and AirTag — this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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