How does Apple Lossless compare to FLAC

No lossless support for Apple headphones

Apple's in-house mobile audio hardware does not support the new lossless function for Apple Music. The company has now confirmed this to the media. Accordingly, neither the completely wireless AirPods and AirPods pods nor the high-end over-ears AirPods Max are able to play uncompressed music. The reason is that Apple uses the wireless Bluetooth AAC codec to connect the Bluetooth devices. Confusing: The AirPods Max could also be connected to an iPhone or iPad using a cable, but there is no lossless even with that - at least so far.

Apple Music HiFi doesn't cost anything extra

On Monday, Apple surprisingly announced that Apple Music would get a free new HiFi function. As of next month, it will be possible to stream a good 20 million music tracks without loss. The complete catalog of a good 75 million music tracks will be adjusted by the end of the year, it said. In addition, Dolby Atmos will be available in the future as "3D audio" with "thousands of titles". Artists can distribute their music in a surround sound mix. Dolby Atmos works with Apple's headphones and also with Beats products - H1 or W1 connection chips are required.

However, the lossless function requires certain hardware. It is available in several quality levels: starting with 16 bit with 41.1 kHz ("CD quality") over 24 bit with 48 kHz up to "Hi-Res Lossless" with 24 bit at 192 kHz. A dedicated converter (DAC) is required for Hi-Res Lossless, but lossless sounds can also be played on Mac or Apple TV. Apple does not use FLAC, but its in-house lossless format ALAC.

No aptX, cable solution unclear

We Apple opposite the magazine T3confirmed, the expensive ANC headphones AirPods Pro and AirPods Max also only use the Bluetooth AAC codec when they are connected to the iPhone. Accordingly, ALAC files cannot be transmitted in the necessary bandwidth. Apple has not currently integrated aptX support via Bluetooth in the iPhone.

It remains unclear whether software updates Lossless will be submitted for Apple mobile hardware. At least with the AirPods Max, it would be relatively easy to use a cable connection (Lightning-to-Lightning). Lightning to jack connection cables are also available for these, in order to connect them to analog hardware. The necessary DAC is in the connector. (bsc)

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