Apple is rumored to be working on a new audio format designed to help bolster its iCloud services by allowing “adaptive streaming” for mobile users.
AppleInsider’s Katie Marsal:
In addition to improving streaming of music, the new audio file would also offer “high-definition” quality to users who have more bandwidth and storage available on their iPhone, iPad or iPod, according to The Guardian. The new file type is reportedly expected to upgrade the $24.99-per-year iTunes Match service as well, which allows users to access music they obtained from sources outside of iTunes over the iCloud service.
“A source with inside knowledge of the process says Apple has asked a London studio to prepare audio files for a new streaming format that will adapt to bandwidth or hardware capabilities,” the report said. It quoted an unnamed person who said users’ libraries would “improve in an instant,” and nothing would need to be done to upgrade files from the current AAC format to high definition.
Using the new method, users will be able to receive high quality audio when they are using a faster connection, like Wi-Fi, and be able to conserve bandwidth by receiving a lower quality file when they are on a 3G connection.
The Guardian says the timing of the rumor “suggests it will showcase the new streaming technology alongside the announcement of the third generation of its iPad tablet.” Apple is widely expected to hold a media event on March 7 to unveil its next iPad.
Marsal reports, “Rumors of a high-definition audio format from Apple are not new. Last February, one report claimed that the company was in talks with record labels to improve the quality of song downloads available from the iTunes Music Store.” Currently song downloads from iTunes are in the 16-bit format, but it’s said that Apple wants to improve them to a 24-bit higher-fidelity format.