Apple is planning to add a new HiFi tier to its Apple Music streaming service, and it could coincide with the launch of its AirPods 3 true wireless earbuds, sources say. Hits Double Daily quotes music label sources as saying the HiFi tier will allow high-fidelity music streaming (we're assuming CD-quality) and cost the same $9.99 (£9.99, AU$11.99) as the current Individual tier.
Both the new tier and the AirPods 3 will launch "in the coming weeks", the sources say. Apple's annual WWDC developers conference starts on 7th June, so there's a chance we could see a launch around then.
An Apple Music HiFi tier would compete directly with Spotify, who should be launching its own CD-quality Spotify HiFi tier later in the year.
The two firms are arch-rivals. Apple was recently reprimanded by the European Commission for taking a cut of any music subscriptions bought from within apps running on its iOS operating system. It was also criticised for not allowing firms to advertise other – potentially cheaper – ways of subscribing on their iOS apps. The case followed a complaint from Spotify in 2019.
Last week, Spotify raised some of its prices, which didn't go down particularly well in some quarters. And, it also launched podcast subscriptions, which is another area in which it will compete directly with Apple.
The third-gen AirPods have been rumoured for a while now. The AirPods 2 launched in 2019, so the earbuds are due a refresh. The next model is expected to look similar to the AirPods Pro, but without Pro-only features like active noise cancellation (ANC).
Amazon currently offers a high-fidelity service called Amazon Music HD. At £12.99 ($12.99, AU$14.99) a month, it costs a little more than the standard Amazon Music Unlimited tier but it does include hi-res versions of a number of tracks. Whether Apple wants to go down the hi-res audio route remains to be seen, but it looks like all could be revealed in the next few weeks.
Spotify HiFi: quality, price, release date, free trial and latest news
Open your ears: Listen to the What Hi-Fi? playlist on Spotify or Tidal
Best music streaming services compared