HomePod specs are indicating that Apple is serious about the audio quality on the device. Today, we’ve discovered that the smart speaker will support FLAC out of the box.
For those unaware, FLAC is a lossless format, meaning there is no compression whatsoever and recordings are kept as is. Not to be confused with lossy, which is used by most music streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music and is usually compressed to 256 or 320Kbps.
The audiophile community has been asking Apple to support FLAC for years. The company has been using its own lossless format, ALAC, or Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is only supported within Apple’s own ecosystem.
Apple added support for FLAC, a universal open-source standard, to all of its major platforms last year. While most will never use this audio format, it’s nice to see Apple taking audio seriously, especially with the HomePod.
Supporting FLAC is an important step for the HomePod as the only way to play audio is wirelessly. Traditionally, wireless formats such as Bluetooth have restricted lossless playback (unless you stream over the AptX codec), due to the higher bandwidth requirement. But from what it looks like, AirPlay 2 will be able to transmit lossless audio to the Apple-branded smart speaker.
HomePod will be available for pre-order this Friday, with an official release on February 9 for $349.