HomePod Will Support Spatial Audio for Apple Music, But Not Lossless Audio
Apple Music will be gaining support for two new audio formats in June, including Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio, but MacRumors has received confirmation that the HomePod and HomePod mini will not support Lossless Audio.
Apple's website does indicate that the HomePod will support Spatial Audio, but it's unclear if this includes the HomePod mini.
Spatial Audio, based on Dolby Atmos, is an immersive three-dimensional audio format that enables musicians to mix music so it sounds like the instruments are all around you in space. On the other hand, Lossless Audio refers to audio recordings that have been compressed without any reduction in the overall quality of the audio, which can result in an improved listening experience, although the difference is not always obvious.
Apple Music will have two tiers of lossless audio, including standard "Lossless" audio up to 48kHz and "Hi-Res Lossless" audio that ranges from 48kHz to 192kHz. Apple said "Hi-Res Lossless" will require external equipment like a USB digital-to-analog converter.
Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio will be available in June for all Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost on devices running iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, and tvOS 14.6 or later, according to Apple. Presumably, there will also be a companion HomePod software update that enables Spatial Audio support in time for the feature's launch.
Spatial Audio will be available for thousands of tracks at launch, with more to be added regularly. Lossless audio will be available for 20 million tracks at launch, and this will rise to 75 million by the end of the year.