The new iOS 14.6 includes support for Apple Card Family as well as Podcasts Subscriptions which are both expected to go public soon.
There are other cool new features added to the new iOS 14.6 based on the release note of the operating system and one of them is the new Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio and high-quality Lossless audio for Apple Music
The release also gives us our first look at the upcoming Beats Studio Buds, among other things. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough as we consider what’s new in iOS 14.6 RC.
Apple Music updates: Lossless and Dolby Atmos
The first thing is the announcement of the Lossless Audio quality in the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) across its Apple Music catalog. For further context, Apple Music’s Lossless tier begins with 16 bit at 44.1 kHz CD quality, and ventures up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is natively playable on Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV.
The only drawback is that the Lossless Audio feature will not be playable on AirPods but will require the usage of professional or specialist wired headphones in order to get this feature.
Hi-Resolution Lossless, which ramps up the quality to 24 bit at 192 kHz, takes it even further and will require an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter).
What to expect in the iOS 14.6 RC
The Spatial Audio feature is now being added via Dolby Atmos allowing users to listen to songs in a massive 3D surround sound effect and the support will be launched for Apple Music in June with thousands of songs gaining support for this new feature.
To enjoy this, the Spatial Audio will require headphones that has the W1 or H1 chips and those are present on the AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max and a number of Beats headphones.
Several of the preference panels in the Music app settings will be changed in iOS 14.6 once Lossless and Dolby Atmos support launches next month. A new Audio Quality panel will feature a new switch to enable Lossless Audio.
According to Apple, the Lossless Audio will be able to preserve almost all the details of an original audio and with that, you should be ready to use more data and that’s why Apple turns the feature off by default.
So if you’ve got what it takes, you can then turn on the feature and be willing to get your mobile data eaten up by high resolution Lossless playback.
Apple also includes the new Dolby Atmos panel in the Audio heading of the iOS 14.6 update. There will be three options for this and it includes: Automatic, Always On, and Off.
Automatic will play in Dolby Atmos and other Dolby Audio formats whenever connected to capable outputs like AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max (when spatial audio is enabled), and supported Beats headphones or Apple devices.
Now for those that chose to use the non-Lossless Apple Music via a wireless carrier, there is a new Audio heading which groups Cellular Streaming, EQ and Sound Check underneath.
The Cellular Streaming option, previously called “Cellular Data” in older versions of iOS, features a simpler structure with three options: None, High Efficiency, and High Quality.
High Efficiency playback over cellular uses HE-AAC with low data usage, while the High Quality option uses AAC 256 kbps bitrate.
Support for Beats Studio Buds
There are some cool features coming to the Beats Studio Buds which is expected to offer active noise cancellation as well as multiple color options (white, red, and black)
Other things known about the Beats Studio Buds includes the design of the wireless charging case which looks quite similar to the AirPods Pro but with the Beats logo and LED status indicator right beneath it.
Like other Beats earbuds, the Beats Studio Buds feature replaceable ear tips for a more ideal fit and noise isolation. It’s possible that each ‘b’ button on the individual earbuds, which feature a glossy surface, may function as a touch panel for activating features like noise cancellation, and/or interfacing with Siri.
Apple Digital Master branding
Starting with iOS 14.6 RC, albums ‘Mastered for iTunes’ will now say ‘Apple Digital Master’ instead. This makes sense given that Apple has largely moved on from the iTunes branding.
Along with Apple Digital Master branding, users can expect the aforementioned Lossless and Dolby Atmos branding to appear in the same area for compatible albums in the Apple Music library.
The main point of the App tracking system is meant to help keep your privacy safe and stop apps from tracking you without your consent and it can be enabled/disabled.
Apple now states that when this switch is off, all new app tracking requests are automatically denied.
In addition to this updated explainer, Apple also explains why App Tracking is unavailable when users see the switch grayed out as many users were complaining that they had issues turning on the feature on their iPhone.
When disabled, a note now explains that this setting cannot be changed because a profile is restricting it, there are also other barriers such as age restriction and even your Apple ID all which would determine if the feature will be grayed out or not.
There are now more bug fixes which includes Podcast subscriptions and Apple Card Family support meant to and despite further enhancing the security and privacy features of the previous iOS version.
The iOS 14.6 might get released officially later on this month or early June and by then, we might be able to write an indepth review of the software.