Apple is hoping to increase the quality of digital tracks sold through the iTunes Store, and is reportedly in talks with a variety of record labels. If the parties come to an agreement, the quality of digital music files sold through the iTunes Store would increase – however, these “premium” tracks would also boast a “premium” price.
Currently, Apple sells compressed, 16 bit audio files in the iTunes Store. These are of a lesser quality than the original “master” recordings, which are 24 bit, uncompressed files. Hypothetically, these “higher quality” tracks will be available as optional downloads (next to 16 bit versions), for a higher price.
However, price isn’t the only issue. As CNN reports, not all devices are compatible with 24 bit music files:
Many models of Mac computers can play 24-bit sound, and the iTunes program is capable of handling such files. But most portable electronics, and many computers, don’t support 24-bit audio.
To make the jump to higher-quality music attractive for Apple, the Cupertino, California, company would have to retool future versions of iPods and iPhones so they can play higher-quality files.
Could the next generation iPhone or iPad be compatible with 24 bit music files? This is a feature I had not considered, and it’s not something I’m particularly bothered about, either. I use iTunes a lot, but I also use Spotify, and tracks you stream are never going to be “higher grade recordings.”
If you have an opinion, feel free to post it in the comments.