How much is having the highest quality audio on your iPhone worth to you? For most, you’re talking $399, the price of the 64GB iPhone 4S, since you’re going to need that extra storage to fit all those lossless audio files.
Or will you? One app aims to deliver those high-resolution tracks by streaming them over a network. The OraStream Digital Long-Play app for iOS and Mac OS X is a player that’s essentially an album in an app. Download it from the App Store, launch it on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone, and you’ll soon be hearing high-quality tracks up to 24-bit/96kHz. That’s “up to,” since the app automatically adapts the stream to your connection speed, making sure the song is never interrupted if Angry Birds starts hogging bandwidth. Quality on the iPhone, however, maxes out at 16-bit/48kHz, or about the same as a CD — those high-res tracks are strictly Mac- and iPad-only for now.
The best part is that those lossless files (based on the MPEG-4 scalable-to-lossless system) don’t reside on your phone, so the only thing that’s stored on your device is the app, which takes up less than a megabyte. It needs Wi-Fi to play live, though it can store some tracks in its cache for playing offline, too.
For now, the app’s developer, MP4SLS, has just a 10-track sampler for download, but this could be the start of a beautifully sounding friendship with Apple-loving audiophiles.