• 12.21.15

Apple Music Said To Be Planning Hi-Res Audio Streaming Via iPhone’s Lightning Port

A report from Japan suggests Apple Music could begin offering hi-res audio in 2016.

Apple Music Said To Be Planning Hi-Res Audio Streaming Via iPhone’s Lightning Port
[Photo: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns]

Apple Music has taken a lot of lumps since its launch earlier this year. But one area in which it may soon have something people really want is in audio quality. According to a published report out of Japan, the service may launch high-resolution audio streaming in 2016.


The report, first published by the Japanese site Macotakara and picked up by AppleInsider, suggests that several exhibitors at the recent Portable Audio Festival who are familiar with Apple’s plans said that the new hi-res streaming–which has much higher audio quality than is possible via an iPhone’s standard headphone jack–will be delivered via the phones’ Lightning port.

Apple Music subscribers would be able to listen to their tunes at a 96kHz, 24-bit sampling rate, if the report is accurate.

Apple did not immediately respond to a Fast Company request for comment.

The move to stream high-resolution audio via the Lightning port would make sense given that Apple last year revealed a Lightning module for headphones that offered richer controls, including controlling iTunes Radio. Subsequently, according to AppleInsider, the specification was used in Lightning-equipped headphones from companies like JBL, Philips, and others.

In addition, rumors have been flying that Apple plans to ditch its standard 3.5mm headphone jack altogether and use the Lightning port exclusively for audio output. The idea is partly that that would save space on future iPhones, and partly because doing so would give Apple’s phones a competitive advantage by offering only high-quality audio.

Although some Apple Music users have publicly raised a number of complaints about it, the service has still gained millions of subscribers since its launch in June. By offering high-resolution audio, the company could be hoping to further differentiate the iPhone by comparing it to other smartphones that don’t guarantee such a high-quality listening experience.

About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a San Francisco-based technology journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. A veteran of CNET and VentureBeat, Daniel has also written for Wired, The New York Times, Time, and many other publications.