Apple could offer high-resolution music downloads in June

Apple could be planning a complete overhaul of the iTunes store that may lead to high-resolution audio files being made available for download, according to rumours and leaks website MacRumours.

It expands on previous rumours that Apple is contemplating the release of a streaming service to rival Spotify, while also producing an Android iTunes Store app.

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The high-resolution audio rumours come via music blogger Robert Hutton. He claims an unspecified source has informed him Apple will release high-resolution audio in the store as early as June. An official announcement is expected at Apple's WWDC 2014.

Apple has been in talks with record companies for a few years now, trying to get high-resolution, 24-bit files onto the iTunes Store. Apple currently sells music in 16-bit AAC format, encoded at 256kbps.

BLOG: High-res audio – the science behind the numbers

Apple does also offer Mastered for iTunes version of albums and LPs. These files are submitted by artists in 24-bit/96kHz resolution to "create more accurate encodes."

High-resolution audio has picked up some ground in recent months. Sony is promoting a big push for the format, implementing the technology within many of its new products – including the MAP-S1 system.

Musician Neil Young took it upon himself to release the PonoPlayer and PonoMusic high-resolution audio service to much fanfare, receiving more than $5million worth of support through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

MORE: 10 of the best AV Kickstarter projects

by Max Langridge

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.