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Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
2011-11-16, 18:01
Post: #1
Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
Some interesting developments...are we a step closer to our favourite albums being available in 24-bit?

'Apple's decision to finally open source its Apple Lossless (ALAC) format is welcome news.'
...
http://blogs.linn.co.uk/giladt/2011/11/a...itunes.php

Feedback and debate welcome as always.

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Gilad
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2011-11-16, 22:30 (This post was last modified: 2011-11-16 22:31 by ozzzy189.)
Post: #2
RE: Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
Hi Gilad. I can't help but think apple will be seen as the saviours of music quality when they've had such a big hand in bringing quality down!
However, it looks like that it's a step in the right direction. To what we all want. The option to buy a studio master of the more mainstream popular artists.
I just hope they don't charge 18 sodding quid for the pleasure.

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2011-11-16, 23:09
Post: #3
RE: Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
I saw the news a little while ago that Apple had opened up iTunes and I feel it is almost certainly a step towards 24 bit.

There have been rumors for a few months that Apple has been seeking to make 24 bit music files available. A big part of the problem is getting the majors to go along with it. But now that Warner has allowed their catalog to be distributed in 24 bit by HD Tracks the others will have to go along to remain competitive (and to try to get us to once more buy the same music).

I'm sure another restraint on Apple offering the 24 bit files is bandwidth and network capacity. But with all the money Apple has put into buying and developing large server farms, in part to support iCloud, they should have the storage capacity they need in place. Bandwidth remains a potential problem but as available consumer bandwidth continues to grow and networks improve this will get better. The big question remains whether the potential increased network traffic of so many more having access to 24 bit files will really slow things down tremendously. It will be interesting to see if Apple has a way around this.

But certainly opening up ALAC so that other companies can offer it on their devices is a great step in the right direction. Now I hope to see companies serving other parts of the market (like NAD and Arcam) offering ALAC compatibility for their products. When this becomes more universal the market for streaming audio should grow even more quickly.

Now if we could just get Apple to "drop the other shoe" and make iTunes into a UPnP server, preferably with FLAC support too, streaming audio could have a much wider consumer appeal.

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2011-11-16, 23:54 (This post was last modified: 2011-11-16 23:57 by popko.)
Post: #4
RE: Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
I think Apple may see that the iTunes program becomes obsolete. iTunes itself has no revenue stream, but its successor iCloud does. That's where the media is to be stored, both from your home collection uploads as well as online purchases. Streaming directly from iCloud to your media renderer (phone, appletv, or Linn?) is the most logical next step I would bet.

Apple will earn with every content purchase as well as payments for the iCloud storage:

5GB is free
15GB is $20/year
25GB is $40/year
55GB is $100/year

For lossless audio libraries, 5GB is nothing we all know. Opening up ALAC is creating a need for more iCloud storage space thus revenue. And 24bit would even more increase our storage needs. So yes, that's likely the case, but this is just about more ARPU.
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2011-11-17, 01:43
Post: #5
RE: Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
(2011-11-16 23:54)popko Wrote:  iTunes itself has no revenue stream, but its successor iCloud does.

How do you mean? The iTunes/Airplay/iPhone/ipod integration locks people into iTunes and, to some degree the iTunes Store. Surely that is a huge reason Apple sell so much music.

I can't see streaming 24bit from the cloud for a while. 10Mb/s is a bit much. I wonder if Apple opened up ALAC in fear of being unsupported by many devices.

I do hope Apple intend to make huge profits by re-releasing everything in 24bit, though if the masses are happy with mp3, why are they going to pay extra for 24bit?

All our favourite albums in 24bit, with no dynamic range compression? We can dream.

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2011-11-17, 01:43
Post: #6
RE: Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
Apple would be seen as saviour of quality music, even bring 24 bit capability to ipod/iphone. Anyway, welcomed.

IMO, lately Apple has been seen as all mighty saviour of everything, and even the media echoes every feature of apple technology like if them had just invented wheel. Just quite the contrary... most are using old stuff, but they are kings selling themselves.

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2011-11-17, 05:00 (This post was last modified: 2011-11-17 05:12 by Warren.)
Post: #7
RE: Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
Steve Jobs really understood peoples' emotional reaction. His insight pervades everything from the user interaction experience of his computing products to how people feel when they open the box and see their new phone offered up via a specially moulded plastic cradle.

As a result, millions of people have bought into the Apple way of listening to music. They have stopped buying CDs for their home hifi, instead buying lossy files from iTunes for their iPhone, enabling them to spend more of their day and lives listening to music. With the feelings insighted by an exciting marketing message repeatedly overpowering any lack of satisfaction from the low quality lossy delivery format and the poor quality digital to analogue audio rendering - and as a result people frequently jumping between tracks, rather than listening to whole songs.

As Apple will probably have a marketing strategy that will successfully motivate their customers to migrate to 24 bit recordings, a huge number of people will start to experience higher quality musical performances again.

As most of us on this forum have experienced, high quality digital to analogue rendering has a huge visceral emotive impact on one's music listening experience; one doesn't just hear the sound of a song, you are emotionally moved by the musical performance.

Apple's hardware marketing is interesting: here's 3 specs of MacBook Pro, buy 1 of 3 - very different to Dell's pick and mix approach. Apple's products are expensive rather than the cheapest, and they sell well as people know they are buying quality. And of course they may not have done the first mp3 player, but their devices, not Sony's, are ubiquitous today with portable music playback. Thus it would naturally be a good thing if Apple, or someone!, pioneered mass-market higher quality reproduction hardware as well as high quality recordings to play.

Also, having used AirTunes recently, I hope we end up with a better Apple alternative than uPnP.
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2011-11-17, 08:19
Post: #8
RE: Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
It could also be a way of differentiating their business in the face of Google's new Android music download service launch.

Possibly a response to their first "serious" threat; having to respond to a company with the technical and financial muscle to take them on.

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2011-11-17, 08:31
Post: #9
RE: Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
You have to remember Apple haven't even got 16bit lossless downloadable yet - everything purchasable on iTunes is 320 AAC.

I think we may have to wait a while, but I'm happy to be proved wrong.

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2011-11-17, 11:40
Post: #10
RE: Apple opens the way to 24-bit iTunes
(2011-11-17 08:19)Visoflex Wrote:  Possibly a response to their first "serious" threat; having to respond to a company with the technical and financial muscle to take them on.

I think the issue is vision, rather than muscle.

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