A new report has emerged claiming that Apple is preparing to offer Hi-Res audio files through its Apple Music and iTunes services some time next year.
Apple has long offered its iTunes MP3 tracks as 256 kbps AAC files, while Apple Music can stream music at the same sub-CD quality. There have been numerous reports and rumours that this quality level was to be raised over years, but nothing has come of it.
Now Japanese Apple blog Macotakara is claiming that Apple will launch its better-than-CD quality audio files in 2016.
The website says that "several insiders familiar with Apple" have claimed that Apple will start streaming 96kHz/24-bit files next year. To place that in context, CDs offer 44kHz/16-bit quality.
Apple has actually been assembling Hi-Res audio files for years now, but it has always down-sampled those original files for consumer listening.
However, in a white paper on the virtues of providing high resolution masters, Apple revealed that "keeping the highest quality masters available in our systems allows for full advantage of future improvements to your music."
Related: What is Hi-Res audio?
In other words, Apple has been planning to bump up the quality of its music output for some time now. If this report is to be believed, 2016 could see those plans coming to fruition.
It's also worth mentioning that Apple has been steering things towards ditching the standard 3.5mm headphone port in favour of its own proprietary Lightning port, which can facilitate much higher quality music.
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