New audio format from Apple?

The Guardian reports that Apple is developing a new audio file format.

Apple is working on a new audio file format that will offer “adaptive streaming” to provide high- or low-quality files to users of its iCloud service.

The new format could mean that users can get “high-definition” audio by downloading to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Alternatively, it could offer a streaming service – like that of, the music streaming and online storage company, which Apple acquired late in 2009.

No technical details are available yet as far as I can tell. This part is weird:

“All of a sudden, all your audio from iTunes is in HD rather than AAC. Users wouldn’t have to touch a thing – their library will improve in an instant,” said the source, who requested to remain anonymous.

This presumably refers to your music files on iCloud, not the ones you’ve downloaded. It seems a bit disturbing to me that Apple would just replace all the music you’ve paid for with a new format, but maybe I just don’t understand iCloud.

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