Just the other day we reported that Apple could be working on revamping its iTunes Music Store, whether or not that will be happening remains to be seen, but thanks to a new rumor via a source who spoke to music blogger, Robert Hutton, it seems that this could indeed be happening and one of the changes Apple could be making is to offer up higher quality music downloads.
According to the report, Apple could start hosting lossless 24-bit audio files as early as June, and that Apple has apparently been asking labels to provide them with music files in 24-bit format for the past few years, with either 96k or 192k sampling rates. Hutton also states that the kick off to the launch will begin with the Led Zeppelin remasters. Apple is also rumored to be charging users $1 extra if users wish to purchase audio files in higher quality.
At the moment Apple’s iTunes Store offers relatively high quality files for listening, although audiophiles would most probably prefer formats like FLAC which is compatible with more media players. For those unfamiliar, such formats are considered to be “lossless” meaning that when music files are converted from audio sources such as CDs, it does not lose the quality versus “lossy” formats like MP3, APE, AAC, and more.
Apple has their own lossless format also known as ALAC although some argue that it is not as efficient as FLAC, although the upside is that if you own an iOS device or listen to music via iTunes, it will be compatible with it. In fact a couple of years ago Apple launched a “Mastered for iTunes” section in which the songs offered would be of a higher quality, higher than AAC.
Of course it should be noted that these high quality audio files might not be very noticeable by the average listener, not to mention if you truly want to get the best sound possible, there are other factors to take into consideration, like your sound system setup where a pair of $30 speakers will definitely not be able to cut it. However for audiophiles who have always felt that the iTunes Store lacked high quality audio, perhaps this will finally appease them.