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Apple Adds Support For FLAC Lossless Audio In iOS 11 (thenextweb.com) 49

Reddit users who have installed copies of the developer beta of iOS 11 are reporting that Apple has finally added support for lossless FLAC audio files in their new mobile operating system. The Next Web reports: The functionality was first spotted on an iPhone 6S Plus running iOS 11 Beta 1 and is reportedly available as part of the newly announced file-management app, Files. Up until now, Apple had deliberately opted to ignore offering playback support for FLAC files in both iTunes and iOS -- though there are numerous third-party apps to do the trick. But it appears things are finally about to change.
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Apple Adds Support For FLAC Lossless Audio In iOS 11

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  • The marketing department finally realized flac support would be a great way to sell larger phone storage.
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      AFAIK, FLAC files are usually smaller than ALAC, not larger, though I guess if users rejected ALAC because of the sometimes extremely bad file size, there's a chance they might not reject FLAC, which I think is more consistent (at a cost in terms of CPU overhead).

      • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

        I'm pretty sure the OP meant uncompressed audio (or "HiRes" 24/96 audiophile quackery.)

        My view on the respective compression efficiency: Once you're pushing 24/96 recordings, a single track is just plain big. A few kiB one way or another is a pointless distinction.

  • Not only does Apple offer their own, inferior, incompatible format in preference to the industry standard, they also pretend the latter doesn't exist. Apple Lossless has St. Jobs' magical pee all over.

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @08:37PM (#54564653) Journal

      And what would the industry standare be?

      Dolby TrueHD?
      DTS Master?
      MPEG4-SLS?

      You gotta draw the line somewhere, and back in 2003, when ALAC was released, there was no clear standard. Even today, the market remains niche enough that virtually nobody cares about FLAC anyway. Most people don't subscribe to the audiophile quackery that believes in golden ears.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        no, when ALAC was released people pissed and moaned that Apple wasn't supporting FLAC which was the de facto standard back in 2003. with your user ID you should know that. the three formats you mentioned were not used in exchanging audio files and are not free formats, so obviously those would have been poor choices.

        back in 2003 most MP3 encoders used a low-pass filter as part of the encoding process. you didn't need "golden ears" to tell the difference, you just needed to not be deaf.

        if you're saying that

        • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

          Let's see... Monkey's Audio, shorten, optimfrog... they were all quite prevalent. I remember when FLAC joined the Xiph project. FLAC was definitely not a de facto format at the time.

          The fact that MP3 encoders use a low pass filter at ~15.5 kHz isn't that relevant. It was (and is) inaudible to most people - very few people over the age of sixteen can act ually hear sounds that high. Loud sporting events, rock concerts, etc. all take their toll on the upper end of your hearing range.

          I seem to recall it being

          • by Anonymous Coward

            FWIW, I only remember Monkey's Audio as having anything like the popularity of FLAC; Shorten and OptimFrog were very much also-rans, joined also by WavPack. Shorten seems to have died a death but the others appear to be still updated. Personally I used FLAC for archiving and in-home streaming but transcode to Vorbis for listening on a portable player; even if I could hear an audible difference (I can't) then the background noise of wherever I'm listening to a portable player will likely render that "bette

          • APE (Monkey's Audio) popularity kinda predates FLAC. Still even Microsoft managed to support FLAC in Windows 10 before Apple added support for it to iOS... There have been portable music players with FLAC support for like a decade already.

        • back in 2003 most MP3 encoders used a low-pass filter as part of the encoding process. you didn't need "golden ears" to tell the difference, you just needed to not be deaf.

          Almost every single MP3 encoders use a low-pass filter, unless you specifically disable it or use LAME -V0 specifically.

          http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/ind... [hydrogenaud.io]

          I'm 31 and I can't hear anything at all above 17 kHz. Not a damn thing, not even test tones. I don't give a shit about a lowpass filter at 17 kHz.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The purpose of FLAC isn't audiophilism. The purpose is archival. With FLAC, you archvie your cd collection once, and then you have a master copy forever. From that permanent archive, you can make as many different lossy copies as you need, whenever you want, to any format you want, while leaving the originals untouched.

        THAT is the purpose of FLAC: to put an exact original copy of your cd collection on your computer. Lossy compression formats simply can't do that -- their purpose is portability.

    • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @10:08PM (#54565165) Homepage

      Apple's OSes also don't properly handle the Matroska container by default. Matroska is used a lot in modern multimedia (including a limited subset of the Matroska container used for years in WebM). I think that Apple's choices help render Apple's OSes as also-rans and I wouldn't be surprised if this is based in Apple's preference for patent-encumbered stuff to which Apple is a licensee or beneficiary.

      • by Vroem ( 731860 )

        Apple's OSes also don't properly handle the Matroska container by default. Matroska is used a lot in modern multimedia (including a limited subset of the Matroska container used for years in WebM). I think that Apple's choices help render Apple's OSes as also-rans and I wouldn't be surprised if this is based in Apple's preference for patent-encumbered stuff to which Apple is a licensee or beneficiary.

        You are right: MP4, also called ISO Base Media File Format, is an ISO/IEC standard. Its patents can thus be licensed under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND) from its inventors ... Apple (and Panasonic to a minor extent). In practice, everybody seems to be using it for free, so I don't think Apple and Panasonic are big beneficiaries here.

        The reason why they won't adopt competing technologies (matroska) is because of the effort they put in developing the QuickTime File Format (.mov) an

        • MP4 sucks in comparison with MKV. It's much a much more spartan container format. MKV is also required for hardware to be able to have the DivX logo. So it's real lame that Apple doesn't support it while no one else uses QuickTime but them. Then again they haven't cared about their desktop or multimedia support for yonks. All that matters is how thin is the next device or how the icons look on this iOS version.

          Face it, Apple's love for their own proprietary formats of late is making even Microsoft look good

  • Because airplanes can't cope with flak.

  • If this only works for bare FLAC, then this is still kinda nice.

    But if it works for Ogg FLAC, then this is a watershed moment, because Apple has been dragging their feet on everything related to the Ogg container etc ever since iTunes and the iPod appeared, and even though Microsoft is adding VP9 etc support they too are still dragging their feet on Ogg.

    Support for the Ogg container could signal willingness to start supporting other open formats. If Safari added Opus support it would be a real boon.

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