After a somewhat confusing announcement for Apple Music Lossless and its device support, Apple has confirmed that HomePod and HomePod mini will gain support lossless audio in a future software update through an updated support page. The support page also details that users need a wired connection to headphones or use built-in speakers to listen to lossless audio on iPhone or iPad.
Apple Music Lossless support coming to HomePod and HomePod mini
Currently, neither of Apple’s HomePod speakers are equipped to handle Apple Music lossless audio, but the company will likely add ALAC support so users can stream higher quality audio directly from the Internet to the speakers.
Apple’s support document titled ‘About Lossless audio in Apple Music’ says:
HomePod and HomePod mini currently use AAC to ensure excellent audio quality. Support for lossless is coming in a future software update.
The company has also addressed the other issue that users have been complaining about. Missing support for AirPods or Beats headphones to stream lossless audio. The company explains that AirPods use Apple’s AAC codec for audio, but Bluetooth is not capable of handling lossless quality.
AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and Beats wireless headphones use Apple AAC Bluetooth Codec to ensure excellent audio quality. However, Bluetooth connections aren’t lossless.
The company has made sure to not mention the H1 chip in the document, which is what the company uses for Bluetooth 5, audio-processing, hands-free “Hey Siri” and lower latency in AirPods Pro, AirPods Max and recent Beats headphones. It seems that despite all its benefits, Apple’s custom silicon is not good enough for lossless audio as it relies on Bluetooth.
To listen to lossless on iPhone or iPad, the company says that users need to use either of the following:
- A wired connection to headphones, receivers, or powered speakers
- The built-in speakers
- To listen to songs at sample rates higher than 48 kHz, you need an external digital-to-analog converter.
Only if Apple had not removed the headphone jack from iPhone, users might have been able to listen to lossless without jumping through hoops. Well, hindsight is always 20/20.