Apple Music Hi-Fi Release Date, Pricing, Features & More

Apple has teased an upcoming Music-themed announcement that could shake the foundations of the music streaming service if the company’s bold “music is about to change forever” teaser is to be believed. What’s more likely is the reveal of the heavily leaked Apple Music Hi-Fi tier, offering lossless audio playback to Apple Music subscribers – possibly at the same price as the standard subscription, which could be a gamechanger if true.

With release likely this week, here’s all you need to know about Apple Music Hi-Fi right now, including the latest release date, pricing and feature rumours.

When will Apple Music Hi-Fi be released?

Apple has teased that “music is about to change forever” in a teaser posted to its site and the Apple Music app for iOS users, suggesting that the new Hi-Fi tier could be revealed very soon – in fact, rumours suggest it could be as soon as tomorrow, 18 May 2021.

The date was first suggested by YouTuber Luke Miani, and it has also been backed up by reporter McGuire Wood whose source suggests it’ll be announced via press release tomorrow.

Talked with a new source who came forward and we are getting Apple Music HiFi tomorrow via Apple Newsroom

(Screenshot from @cryptofyre from the MusicKit Git)

— McGuire Wood (@Jioriku)
May 17, 2021

How much will Apple Music Hi-Fi cost?

If you want to access Hi-Fi-level music from the likes of Amazon Music HD, you’ll have to pay an additional fee each month – usually around £5/$5 – but Apple could be about to change that business model, if reports are to be believed.

Hits Daily Double claims that Apple Music’s Hi-Fi music tier will cost $9.99 per month (likely £9.99 in the UK), suggesting no increase in price from the current Apple Music offering. It’s far from confirmed at this stage, but high-fidelity audio at no extra price would be a huge benefit compared to every other streaming service at the moment, and ties into Apple’s “music is about to change forever” claim.

It’s worth noting that this wouldn’t be the first time Apple has offered a free upgrade where rivals have charged. Apple introduced a 4K upgrade for iTunes customers back in 2017, retroactively upgrading previous movie and TV purchases (where possible) from 1080p to 4K at no additional cost.

What will Apple Music Hi-Fi offer?

Apple’s Apple Music-themed announcement will “change music forever” and while that may be a little dramatic, the company is rumoured to be rolling out support for high-fidelity lossless audio on its streaming service. It follows on from the likes of Amazon Music offering a Hi-Fi tier, and let’s not forget Tidal, which has offered lossless playback since day one.

For those new to the world of high-end audio, lossless audio retains all the detail from the original recording, which should result in better-sounding music compared to standard streaming-friendly compressed audio.

It’s a great concept, but the results will depend largely on how you listen to music – you’ll need a pair of high-end wired headphones to make the most of the lossless audio on offer, as even Apple’s high-end wireless AirPods Max can’t quite compete with wired connectivity.

How do we know it’s coming? It’s one of the worst kept secrets right now, seemingly leaking here, there and everywhere ahead of its reported reveal later this week.

References to “lossless” and “Hi-Res lossless” have been spotted in the Apple Music web app, with additional mention of Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio, with the latter suggesting spatial audio could be supported on the likes of AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. That confirms earlier references to lossless audio playback found in a beta build of the Apple Music for Android app.

Even the logo – or, more accurately, the icon that’ll likely indicate Hi-Res support – appeared on the official Apple Music website prior to its announcement, as spotted by designer Stijn de Vries.

Hmm look at what I found in the Apple Music website….

— Stijn de Vries (@StijnDV)
May 17, 2021

One report suggests Apple could announce the third-gen AirPods at the same time, possibly offering support for spatial audio to take advantage of the new lossless tier, but most recent leaks suggest the next-gen wireless earbuds aren’t due until the second half of 2021. A surprise launch would be fun, but we aren’t expecting them this week.

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