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Is This Standard Practice For Apple?
windmiller
post Jan 16 2007, 12:53
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An interesting article that describes Apple's attitude when asked to use the Apple Lossless Format. Is this standard practice for Apple and its lossless format?


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www.losslessaudioblog.com
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niktheblak
post Jan 16 2007, 14:18
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<sarcasm>

Probably. Since Microsoft's status as an evil empire has been widely debunked, someone has to take their place. As history has proven, it is the Evil Empires that conquer the land while the Good Ones have to make do on a patch of few acres. And remember that Apple has only been Good by comparison to Microsoft.

Steve Jobs, sharing the most notable features with the wizard Saruman, would indeed be the ideal candidate for the next Emperor of the Black Tyranny of IT (Happy Land in Apple's own terminology). Appleism is already a religion so world dominance cannot be far away.

</sarcasm>
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boombaard
post Jan 16 2007, 14:27
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QUOTE
Alongside Apple’s well-known reluctance to allow others to use its FairPlay DRM, the company now appears to be refusing permission for others to use its Apple Lossless file format.

Although some people are content with the 128kbps lossy compression of standard iTunes store downloads, they do not satisfy audiophiles. Linn is a hi-fi company with its own record label, and is now offering digital downloads at a quality even higher than that of CD.


this is new.

This post has been edited by boombaard: Jan 16 2007, 14:29
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sketchy_c
post Jan 16 2007, 14:43
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QUOTE (boombaard @ Jan 16 2007, 13:27) *
QUOTE
Alongside Apple’s well-known reluctance to allow others to use its FairPlay DRM, the company now appears to be refusing permission for others to use its Apple Lossless file format.

Although some people are content with the 128kbps lossy compression of standard iTunes store downloads, they do not satisfy audiophiles. Linn is a hi-fi company with its own record label, and is now offering digital downloads at a quality even higher than that of CD.


this is new.

Yeah, really interesting. Wonder if the difference can be ABXed.
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Maurits
post Jan 16 2007, 15:02
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What if Apple is indeed moving to FLAC in favour of Apple Lossless?

I've heard the story before, Apple looking into FLAC to support lossless audio but missing some things in FLAC (possibly streaming capabilities) at that time and being forced to create Apple Lossless. They chose an existing format (AAC) instead of writing their own (WMA) before.

Not sure whether Apple looking into FLAC and being forced to create Apple Lossles is rumour or fact though.
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Lashiec
post Jan 16 2007, 15:14
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Most probably, Apple wants some royalties for the use of ALAC. That, or they don't have confidence in their format and they're scrapping the plans they had for it. I think they were adding FLAC support to the new Mac OS X, or so I read.

QUOTE (boombaard @ Jan 16 2007, 15:27) *
Although some people are content with the 128kbps lossy compression of standard iTunes store downloads, they do not satisfy audiophiles. Linn is a hi-fi company with its own record label, and is now offering digital downloads at a quality even higher than that of CD.

They're selling the studio masters at 24 bits, that's what it states in the albums they have in the catalog. So, in fact, they're higher quality, but they can afford it, as they offer what you can call "mature music" by unknown artists. Don't count on them adding the Studio Masters of the Rolling Stones wink.gif

Anyway, it's a nice shop.
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eofor
post Jan 16 2007, 16:13
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QUOTE (Maurits @ Jan 16 2007, 15:02) *
What if Apple is indeed moving to FLAC in favour of Apple Lossless?

I've heard the story before, Apple looking into FLAC to support lossless audio but missing some things in FLAC (possibly streaming capabilities) at that time and being forced to create Apple Lossless. They chose an existing format (AAC) instead of writing their own (WMA) before.

Not sure whether Apple looking into FLAC and being forced to create Apple Lossles is rumour or fact though.


I don't think there's a grand unifying vision (or "evil plot") behind it - Apple are a pragmatic bunch who will pick either open or proprietary technology. Developing a Lossless codec is a lot simpler/cheaper than developing a lossy codec (you'll need massive investment in psychoacoustic research and endless listening tests for that), so Apple took the easy way by adopting AAC (and then tweaked the MP4 container to their wishes). Same thing with OS X: developing their own kernel would've taken years, so they "adopted" a free one. Everything else built on top of it is proprietary again.

As far as FLAC goes, it's completely understandable why Apple did not adopt technology that is not their own when they can cheaply develop an alternative over which they have complete control regarding the future. What if someone forks FLAC, half the world switches to this "FLACv2", and Apple is flooded with support calls? It would've been a great boost to FLAC if they had, but then again, they didn't pick Vorbis either.
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dyneq
post Jan 16 2007, 16:25
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QUOTE (windmiller @ Jan 16 2007, 06:53) *
An interesting article that describes Apple's attitude when asked to use the Apple Lossless Format. Is this standard practice for Apple and its lossless format?


Could it just be as simple as the fact that ALAC has no DRM? That'd be my guess.

John
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spockep
post Jan 16 2007, 16:38
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QUOTE (windmiller @ Jan 16 2007, 07:53) *
An interesting article that describes Apple's attitude when asked to use the Apple Lossless Format. Is this standard practice for Apple and its lossless format?



My answer would be yes. How many sites besides itunes allow downloads with Apple losseless? But in the end as long as I can convert my lossless download to any format I want afterwards, its all the same to me.
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boombaard
post Jan 16 2007, 16:59
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QUOTE (Lashiec @ Jan 16 2007, 16:14) *
Most probably, Apple wants some royalties for the use of ALAC. That, or they don't have confidence in their format and they're scrapping the plans they had for it. I think they were adding FLAC support to the new Mac OS X, or so I read.

QUOTE (boombaard @ Jan 16 2007, 15:27) *
Although some people are content with the 128kbps lossy compression of standard iTunes store downloads, they do not satisfy audiophiles. Linn is a hi-fi company with its own record label, and is now offering digital downloads at a quality even higher than that of CD.

They're selling the studio masters at 24 bits, that's what it states in the albums they have in the catalog. So, in fact, they're higher quality, but they can afford it, as they offer what you can call "mature music" by unknown artists. Don't count on them adding the Studio Masters of the Rolling Stones wink.gif

Anyway, it's a nice shop.


the stones don't interest me overly much.. am more interested in classical music releases, wondering if it would make much of a difference in how the things sounded (curiosity rather than a burning desire to have everything in bigger numbers, though)
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jcoalson
post Jan 16 2007, 17:27
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QUOTE (eofor @ Jan 16 2007, 10:13) *
As far as FLAC goes, it's completely understandable why Apple did not adopt technology that is not their own when they can cheaply develop an alternative over which they have complete control regarding the future. What if someone forks FLAC, half the world switches to this "FLACv2", and Apple is flooded with support calls?

I don't think so; someone can fork ALAC or AAC now the same way, it's just unlikely to catch on.

Apple going with FLAC would be win-win. FLAC is lower complexity than ALAC for the same or better compression. they wouldn't have to maintain their own codec. they could tap into FLAC's existing user base and have another differentiating point between itunes and wmp.

BTW if you want to lend your support to this: http://flac.sourceforge.net/itunes.html

why Linn went with WMAL instead of FLAC I don't know, maybe because the reference FLAC encoder isn't tuned so well for hi-res recording yet and (maybe) WMAL is?

Josh

This post has been edited by jcoalson: Jan 16 2007, 20:40
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Lashiec
post Jan 16 2007, 17:29
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QUOTE (boombaard @ Jan 16 2007, 17:59) *
the stones don't interest me overly much.. am more interested in classical music releases, wondering if it would make much of a difference in how the things sounded (curiosity rather than a burning desire to have everything in bigger numbers, though)

If someone is willing to buy some music from the site, we can do some ABX as sketchy suggested. I wouldn't bet too much on it, anyway. As people are discussing in another thread, 24 bits is not much of a difference, if any.
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eofor
post Jan 16 2007, 21:56
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QUOTE (jcoalson @ Jan 16 2007, 17:27) *
QUOTE (eofor @ Jan 16 2007, 10:13) *
As far as FLAC goes, it's completely understandable why Apple did not adopt technology that is not their own when they can cheaply develop an alternative over which they have complete control regarding the future. What if someone forks FLAC, half the world switches to this "FLACv2", and Apple is flooded with support calls?

I don't think so; someone can fork ALAC or AAC now the same way, it's just unlikely to catch on.


AAC is an ISO MPEG standard with *very* active patent enforcement, forking it would get you into severe problems, even if you're Apple. In the same way, any attempted ALAC fork would result in "interesting" conversations with Apple's legal department.

And don't forget that Apple uses ALAC as the codec in their proprietary DAAP protocol (AirTunes uses it), and no doubt in whatever proprietary protocol Apple TV uses.
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jcoalson
post Jan 16 2007, 22:30
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I don't see how this supports to the 'fork danger' for FLAC. actually the fact that FLAC has not been forked in its 6+ years of existence, despite being the opposite of proprietary, is counter evidence. forking it serves no purpose because FLAC's unique feature is compatibility.
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