Rumor Claims Hi-Def Audio Support Coming in iOS 8

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Apple may be planning on adding support for high definition audio playback support in iOS 8, and will release new in-ear headphones and updated Lightning cable designed to take advantage of the better audio quality. If true, that means iPhone owners would be able to listen to 24-bit 48 kHz audio files, which can offer better fidelity than the 16-bit files iOS 7 and earlier support.

Apple reportedly improving audio playback quality in iOS 8Apple reportedly improving audio playback quality in iOS 8

That improved audio quality support will come along with updated in-ear headphones designed to give better playback than Apple's current offering, according to sources talking with Mac Otakara (English translation). An updated Lightning cable that supports improved audio playback through supported accessories is said to be coming, too.

This rumor's timing is interesting considering reports that Apple is buying Beats in a US$3.2 billion deal surfaced only days ago. If true, that would give Apple a new headphone line as well as a subscription music service to go along with its own iTunes Radio.

The rumor mill has been busy churning out reports lately claiming the next iPhone will sport a bigger display -- or maybe even two bigger displays -- a redesigned body, and Near Field Communication support yet again.

Apple will be hosting its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco in early June where the company is expected to show off iOS 8 as well as the next version of OS X for the Mac. What isn't likely is a new iPhone announcement.

There hasn't been any word from Cupertino as to what's really in store, so for now all of the reports about the company's iPhone plans are still rumors.

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Better audio quality playback in the iPhone and iPad would be a welcome treat, but if our listening options are Apple's own earbuds or Beats headphones, why bother?

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it’s going to take a LOT to make this happen, since the whole iTunes ecosystem is based on lo-fi audio codecs.

Un-compressed audio files played thru iTunes to my receiver don’t sound as good as the same audio files played thru a media streamer to my receiver…  Why is that?  Because iTunes sends everything out via AirPlay as compressed audio files. 

So in order to get HiDef Audio to work, Apple is going to have to do a LOT of re-coding for iTunes…. which is very, very long overdue.


From what I’ve heard, Apple has been having the music companies submit hi-def audio for their albums for a while now when they submit the regular audio.  They’ve just been holding on to it for the future.  So I really don’t think it will be a Herculean effort.

Sakaphoto Graphics

When I’m playing music through my car stereo, that is not using the headphones jack, can it take advantage of the better audio?  Probably.  My home audio equipment with the iPod dock/USB port could also likely make use of the higher fidelity.

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