Apple asks for hi-res music files for iTunes

Apple is asking for hi-res music files for its iTunes service, according to one sound engineer, fueling rumours that iTunes hi-res downloads could become a reality.

Rumours have long persisted that Apple could add hi-res music downloads to iTunes and the latest nugget of hope comes from legendary sound engineer Tony Faulkner.

Faulkner, speaking to via email, reports being asked for a higher quality file than usual by Apple for iTunes.

"My hopes rose when I was asked to remaster some of our past hi-res LSO [London Symphony Orchestra] Live recordings for iTunes," said Faulkner via email.

"They were originally recorded at 176k4 and iTunes asked for 96k/24 uncompressed wavs. So far they have only appeared as new 'Mastered for iTunes' lossy 44k1 downsamples."

We first reported that Apple were in talks to provide 192/24-bit hi-res files on iTunes all the way back in February 2011.

Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M, told CNN at the time that, "[Universal] were working with [Apple] and other digital services – download services – to change to 24-bit. And some of their electronic devices are going to be changed as well. So we have a long road ahead of us." Clearly that hasn't happened... yet.

Neil Young noted that Apple had back-tracked on this apparent commitment to iTunes hi-res a year later, in February 2012, and has since launched his own hi-res music service and range of portables, called Pono.

Despite good intentions, Linn Products' managing director Gilad Tiefenbrun dismissed the Pono project as "misguided" and doomed to "ridicule and failure".

Regardless, there's clearly some reason that iTunes 11 has been delayed... could it be?

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Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is Content Director for T3 and What Hi-Fi?, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).