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Apple rumored to add support for high-res audio with iOS 8

High-res audio is making big strides right now, and that’s something Apple can no longer afford to ignore. Fresh on the heels of a rumored deal to purchase Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion, a move that could raise Apple’s audio game in both prowess and innovation, a new rumor surfaced today that the company will be adding high-resolution audio support to iOS 8.

First reported by the Japanese site, Macotakara, the upgrade would see a file resolution that stretches beyond iOS 7’s current handicap for audio files, which is stuck at 48kHz/24 bit – just above the sampling rate of CD-quality audio, and with a higher bit depth. Currently, users who want to play high-resolution audio  files, such as those available from Apple’s ALAC file format, need to add third-party software to take advantage of the higher sampling rates. For more information about high-resolution audio, check out our in-depth feature that gives you the 411 on the expanding trend.

There is also a hardware handicap for current iPhones and iPads, which the report says will be addressed by an update to Apple’s Lightning adapter, allowing for higher-resolution HD playback for audio accessories. In addition, there will reportedly be an update to Apple’s in-Ear headphones to take advantage of the forthcoming sonic talents. The $80 in-ears have been long overdue for an upgrade, and it looks like this will all be part of a deeper focus on audio quality by the Cupertino camp.

Today’s news comes as several major tech firms, including big industry players like Sony, as well as mobile competitors like Samsung and LG, have all put a renewed focus on high resolution music. The sea change that has companies increasingly abandoning the lowly audio performance offered by the current digital music starlet, the MP3, can be attributed in no small part to a push from Neil Young’s forthcoming PonoPlayer and HD Music store, which garnered the third highest Kickstarter launch of all time.

We’ll have to wait for more details as they emerge to find out just how far Apple is willing to go to upgrade to the newest sonic trend. What do you think about Apple’s plans for HD audio, or the growing trend towards HD music in the marketplace? Let us know in the comments.

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