Apple appears to be planning an Apple Music HiFi tier judging by a new iOS beta currently available to developers.
A dive into the code of the iOS 14.6 beta 1 sees references to the future addition of a lossless audio tier to rival Tidal and the forthcoming offering from Spotify.
The code, identified within the beta by 9to5Mac, features references to Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio, and the word ‘Lossless’ within the Music app. That appears to confirm Apple is at least working towards the integration of a HiFi tier within Apple Music.
The references have been removed within iOS 14.6 beta 2, the report confirmed, suggesting Apple has removed them possibly to keep the pending feature under wraps until the time comes to reveal it.
Related: Best iPhone
We heard rumblings of a potential Apple Music HiFi tier from another somewhat less substantiated report. Music site Hits Daily Double claims the Apple will launch the CD-quality audio tier in the next few weeks alongside some new AirPods.
The report also says that Apple won’t raise the prices for the new tier, choosing to offer it for the same $9.99 a month.
Effectively that would allow existing subscribers to upgrade for free, or choose the resolution depending on the scenario. For instance, you may not want to stream in Hi-Fi when on mobile data or through speakers where you won’t hear the difference anyway.
On the face of things, this seems unlikely given there’s clearly additional value in a lossless tier. However, Apple does have previous here. It offered 4K upgrades for all HD movies on the iTunes Movies store, much to everyone’s surprise, effectively enabling viewers to have the beast possible experience depending on the capabilities of their display/set-top box.
If Apple does the same, it would have a similar effect in democratising access to the best quality music available. It would also throw down the gauntlet to other providers in the space to do the same and might win Apple some additional Apple Music subscribers if it comes off.