Along with Lossless Audio, both devices will also be getting support for Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos, which has been in the works for at least the better part of a year now.
After reports of Apple Music gaining a lossless, HiFi streaming option made their rounds at the rumour mill, the feature was confirmed to debut in June with iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, and tvOS 14.6 and later.
Spatial Audio is a three-dimensional audio format that creates a unique listening experience with the music being played all around the listener. Lossless Audio refers to audio that has been compressed and transmitted with zero loss in quality, (usually) making for a better listening experience.
Lossless Audio will be offered in two variations — Standard’, with audio up to 48kHz, and ‘Hi-Res Lossless’, with audio between 48kHz and 192kHz. Hi-Res Lossless will require external attachments like a USB digital-to-analog converter.
While the HomePod and HomePod mini, which are both wireless devices, will get Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos in an upcoming update, other wireless devices from Apple won’t be as lucky.
Apple has already confirmed that AirPods and AirPods Pro won’t be supporting Lossless Audio, and neither will the $779 CAD AirPods Max (at least not entirely).
In regards to AirPods Max, Apple says they “can be connected to devices playing Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless recordings with exceptional audio quality. However, given the analog to digital conversion in the cable, the playback will not be completely lossless.”
When this fabled update for the HomePod and HomePod mini will be available currently remains unknown, although it should start rolling out before the official launch of the new audio playback features.
Thousands of tracks on Apple Music will be tuned for Spatial Audio at launch, with more added regularly. Lossless Audio playback will be available for 20 million songs at launch, with plans to reach 75 million by year’s end.