June 09, 2004

A Quick Note on ITunes Lossless Compression

After the release of iTunes 4.5, I delayed installing it a bit. Mostly because I was not interested in having to deal with more bugs, as improvements to software usually have.

A week or two ago, I installed 4.5, and still no problems -- which is nice. It's one of the nicer things about Apple; relatively speaking, their software is not too buggy.

But I have to put out a warning to anyone who's thinking "Apple Lossless Encoder" means "a little bigger than AAC, but better quality". Let me assure you: it's much bigger. Average album size for my MP3s (VBR +128 size, on average), around 40-60 megs. Average for the Apple Lossless: 300 megs.

I'm guessing there's no compression on these files, so no matter how they slice it, it's probably equivelant in size to AIFF files, which makes your 20 GB iPod hold... about 60 albums.

That means one of two things: First, assume that Apple built the ALE encoding scheme on purpose, and wants to get away from so-so MP3 quality to a better quality. With the file size ALE is creating, Apple's either coming out with some MASSIVE iPods (note the rumors floating around about a 60 GB iPod, which is.. well, better, but still only 180 albums.

Or second, Apple's putting this out there just 'cause. At which point, I've got to ask: why bother? AIFF is pretty massive, but if you're such an audiofile that even high-quality MP3/AAC files bug you, you can already use AIFF. Why create a new format?

Lots of fun questions...

Posted by Ted Stevko at June 9, 2004 04:33 AM | TrackBack