Apple and other music retailers purportedly looking at 24-bit, high-fidelity audio downloads
Digital downloads, at least pertaining to music, have come a long, long way. The iTunes Music Store in particular has surpassed Walmart as America's leading seller of music, and it's evolved from a DRM-laden mess to a restriction-free(ish) marketplace with higher-than-average bitrate support. But it seems that 256kbps simply isn't high enough. According to unnamed "executives involved in talks," Apple -- as well as a few other digital music retailers -- are currently in discussions with labels to "improve the quality of the song files they sell." Essentially, these retailers are hoping to hawk 24-bit audio rather than the compressed 16-bit files available today, possibly with a price premium attached. The real trick, however, won't be coercing the labels to cooperate, but to retool future devices to actually play back 24-bit files. iTunes itself is already capable of handling 'em, but the iPod, iPhone and a slew of other handheld devices aren't. The report doesn't mention how close to a deal anyone is, but we're guessing it'll be sooner rather than later. Here's hoping the iPhone 5 ships with 128GB of capacity -- we're going to need an awful lot of space to handle those lossless Police albums.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.