A report from Japanese Apple blog Macotakara suggests that Apple is planning to offer “high-resolution audio” hardware and iOS software options, though the specifics of the functionality remain somewhat unclear. According to the report, iOS 7 and the current Lightning connector limit audio playback of high-definition audio files, so Apple will update the Lightning connector’s unseen chipset and iOS to support the higher-bitrate audio, as well as offering high-definition audio tracks such as upcoming remastered “Super Deluxe Editions” of three early Led Zeppelin albums. The report also claims that Apple plans to launch a new and improved version of its In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic, though there are no details on what the update will include.
Although rumors of high-resolution audio support for iOS devices have appeared before, there has been a continued lack of mainstream consumer interest in previously-announced formats, despite numerous attempts to market virtually unhearable sonic distinctions as worthy of higher album and song prices. It’s possible that Apple’s reportedly pending acquisition of Beats Electronics will be used to push the high-definition format, despite the well-established lack of sonic accuracy in prior Beats products.