A curious report earlier today claimed that Apple is working on a HiFi plan for Apple Music. While the report itself doesn’t come with much evidence, 9to5Mac was able to find code in iOS 14.6 that suggests support for HiFi songs coming to Apple Music in the future.
The original report says that Apple is expected to announce HiFi support on Apple Music in the coming weeks, as it also mentions that it will cost the same $9.99 per month as the regular subscription — suggesting that Apple will not charge more for its HiFi plan.
9to5Mac can now confirm that a HiFi plan may indeed be coming to Apple Music. In the first beta build of iOS 14.6, which was released last week to developers, we found new code added to the Music app that specifically mentions “Dolby Atmos,” “Dolby Audio,” and “Lossless.” Despite supporting Apple’s own HiFi audio codec ALAC, the Music app has never offered support for Dolby Atmos or Dolby Audio.
What makes it more interesting, however, is that these references were only included in iOS 14.6 beta 1. We also verified the internal files of iOS 14.5 and iOS 14.6 beta 2 (released this week), but the codes are not there. This suggests that the mentions of Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio are indeed related to something new that Apple is trying to hide from us.
For those unfamiliar, HiFi songs have less audio compression, which means they sound better with more detail. TIDAL, for example, has long been well known for offering a HiFi plan, while Spotify recently announced that it’s also working on a version with access to HiFi songs. Apple Music, however, currently only offers songs using the AAC codec with 256kbps bitrate.
iOS 14.6 should also enable paid subscriptions in the Podcasts app, which were announced at Apple’s special event in April. The company says that this new Podcasts feature will be available to users in May, so we assume that iOS 14.6 will be released to the public sometime later this month — corroborating the Apple Music HiFi report.