Apple's Lossles Strategy

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple made its own closed lossless format when there were already other open formats. That's because it wants to DRM them someday and sell them. That's pretty much a given. So the question is when and, perhaps more importantly - how?

I don't think we can anticipate the sepcifics, but it seems pretty clear that the iPod Hi-Fi isn't just meant for Apple to "get in" on the iPod peripheral market or to be a speaker producer. They made it to play lossless music.

They made it so that you'll ask your friend who just bought it, "how does it sound? Is it really as good as they say?" And so that your early adopter audiophile friend will say, yeah, but only if it's lossless. "What's that you say? Lossless?" And your friend will tell you compressed music isn't good and, here, listen to the difference. "Damn, that's good. They don't sell lossless on iTMS, though..."

And that's when you say, "I want it."

The iPod Hi-Fi is a marketing device more than it's an audio device, used to create consumer demand for a lossless iTMS.

I'm still confused about how they're going to go about the rest of the strategy, like getting all those people who bought a billion songs to forget that what they just bought is crust.

It seems, however, that Apple really wants to use your audiophile friends to do some marketing for them. (i.e. "Steve said it's for audiophiles. I'm not an audiophile. I'd like to ask someone who is and see if he's full of it. He's not?")


  • Reply 1 of 2
    (disclaimer: I store all my music as lossless, previously FLAC now Apple Lossless, but put most audiophiles in the same 'deluded fool' category as those that believe in homeopathic medicine or astrology)

    Apple created their lossless codec for 3 reasons:

    * all music played through an Aiport Express is losslessly encoded, this allows a single low complexity decoder to be used for all formats.

    * Some weird people (like me) don't want to use lossy/irreversible compression

    * the MPEG-4 lossless project hadn't delivered anything yet

    You can't DRM a lossless file, well you can but it's entirely pointless. If you burnt it to CD and then re-ripped it you would suffer no loss of quality. You could even do this without a CD, instead using something like audio hijack.

    AAC at 128kbps ABR is perceptually lossless for 99% of people, listening to 99% of music, in 99% of music listening contexts. Apple's not going to increase it without a very good reason (e.g. all competitors increase their bitrates dramatically, and the public is convinced that these higher numbers translate to an increase in quality worth the sacrifice in download time and disk space.)
  • Reply 2 of 2
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,408member
    great post. Keep that up and we'll force you to become "Smarter...likeafox"

    I still don't know if I want to use 320kbps AAC or Lossless. Once I get some better speakers I'll test and see if I can discern any differences.
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