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Apple Had 'Worked On' Offering a High-Definition Music Format

In an interview with AllThingsD, recording artist Neil Young revealed that he had discussed high definition music formats with Apple's Steve Jobs prior to his death.

The interview is summarized by CNet, in which Young claims that MP3s have just "5 percent of the data present in the original recording." Young is concerned that there is no suitable high definition available to consumers.

Higher definition music, of course, would require much larger files. Young reportedly approached Apple and specifically Steve Jobs about it:
When asked if Young had approached Apple about the idea, Young said that he had, in fact, met with Jobs and was "working on it," but that "not much" ended up happening to the pursuit.

Of note, Young made mention that Jobs was a vinyl fan, despite having helmed the company that would spearhead the way people listened to and purchased digital music.
Apple presently offers their iTunes Music store at a quality of 256 kbps AACs. Apple does support a lossless audio format that can be used on their iPods and iPhones, but these files take up considerably more space than standard AAC files, and are not sold on the iTunes store. Based on the interview, it seems there is no present interest from Apple in such an offering.

Top Rated Comments

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43 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Apple does offer lossless music on the iTunes Store. As part of their agreement with the Beetles, Apple can only sell their music in lossless.

Sorry, you are wrong.
Rating: 19 Votes
43 months ago
Finally some one that speaks my language. I'm 31 and in remember that in past people used to have an hi-fi system an listen to vinyl and CD. Today people listen to music in crappy pc speaker and ipod headphones. Most people don't have hi-fi system. That's not evolution!:confused:
Rating: 17 Votes
43 months ago
As someone who greatly appreciates high fidelity audio, I've got to say, high definition (aka. lossless) music is rather pointless.

The difference between a 256 kbps AAC file and a lossless file is incredibly minor - especially with the audio equipment that the vast majority of people use. Even to a discerning listener with high quality speakers or a great pair of headphones, the difference will still be very minor. Once you've reached 256kbps, you've passed the point where diminishing returns has taken over any additional data is hardly noticeable - even to an audiophile.

Besides, as long as record producers keep releasing overly compressed, loudness war'd garbage, most music will continue to sound horrible regardless. In most cases, upgrading to lossless music would be like offering a multi-vitamin to someone who has just had his legs blown off. The level of dynamic range compression that exists throughout the music industry is many orders of magnitude more significant in harming overall sound quality than the 256kbps bitrate is.
Rating: 12 Votes
43 months ago

It's not Open Source in the sense that not as many decoders/amplifiers support it as support FLAC.

That makes no sense what so ever.
Rating: 12 Votes
43 months ago

Voted Down for the comment about Lossless being Pointless (although I'm definitely an Audiophile AND a Pedant)...Voted Up for the level of DRC being far more detrimental! ;-)

Screw Apple Lossless though...What we need is support for FLAC or some other true Open-Source format on iPod/iPhone.

Apple Lossless is open source under the Apache 2.0 license.
Rating: 11 Votes
43 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Apple does offer lossless music on the iTunes Store. As part of their agreement with the Beetles, Apple can only sell their music in lossless.

The Beetles?
Rating: 10 Votes
43 months ago

MP3s have just "5 percent of the data present in the original recording."

How did he pull that number up? Maybe if the MP3 was @ 64kbps...

And there is a "high-definition music format." It's called FLAC.
Rating: 9 Votes
43 months ago

Apple Lossless is low definition. We're not talking about bit rates and such. We're not talking about lossless. The best you will get with a Lossless file is CD quality.

Not true at all. ALAC can easily handle bit and sample rates far beyond what a CD can. If you could find a way to rip the SACD to a PC (not easy AFAIK), you could compress it with ALAC and get exactly the same quality.
Rating: 9 Votes
43 months ago
The part about the 5% is just ridiculous… The amount of Data doesn't really matter, unless its just white noise. What matters is information. You can store information with as many data as you want. The important thing is the lower bound; thats what you should compare and use as measurement. For example, if you have a signal with only 0, it doesn't include any information and a file with size 0 could represent all its information. That would be 0%, and still contain all the information. Music is something between white noise and this.
Rating: 8 Votes
43 months ago

Vinyl is a pressed copy of the master recording - in all its analog glory - and given a good job by the engineers involved, has a heck of a lot more info than any other medium widely available to consumers.

Most masters these days are 100% digital. So your vinyl comes from a digital source...

Vinyl IS highly limited in it's bandwidth and fidelity. Bass is rolled off during mastering. I'm sorry, but your enthusiasm for the medium is not backed by your knowledge.
Rating: 7 Votes

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