Apple will launch its classical streaming service – called Apple Music Classical – on March 28th and at no extra charge to existing Apple Music subscribers. The company has been promising a classical music add-on since acquiring Primephonic in 2021.
From the press release, Apple Music Classical “is the ultimate classical experience with hundreds of curated playlists, thousands of exclusive albums, insightful composer biographies, deep-dive guides for many key works, intuitive browsing features and much more”.
The announcement states that Apple Music Classical will offer around 5 million ‘tracks’ in resolutions up to 24bit/192kHz and users will be able to search “by composer, work, conductor, or even catalog number.”. Some content will also be made available in Spatial Audio.
The iPhone app landing on launch day will require iOS15.4 or newer but the Android app is currently marked as “coming soon”. Apple has so far said nothing about a dedicated MacOS app.
The wrinkle for some? Many audiophile-centric users of Apple Music will already know that MacOS doesn’t offer native automatic sample rate switching and requires a third-party workaround. Those same digitally audio-focussed users also know that the hi-res audio support baked into AirPlay 2, AppleTV and Sonos devices tops out at 48kHz.
The upshot? With the absence of a native iPad app, the only way to bit-perfectly stream sample rates higher than 48kHz from Apple Music Classical on March 28th will be to connect an iPhone to an external DAC via USB.
Apple Music Classical will be available in the same territories already serviced by Apple Music except for China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Further information: iOS App Store