I never understood this extra charge to get "CD" quality audio. Have you ever went to buy a CD and been given two options for pricing for bitrate? My guess is that you haven't, so the extra cost has never made sense other than the fact that it was an exclusive to certain services, but that has completely disappeared with this announcement and Spotify announcing that they would have lossless before the end of the year.
Can anyone actually hear a difference?
This requires memory of how things sound and that is a different skill than just plopping down and listening to music. Also, let's say you hear the difference on 7 songs, but not on 3...in a 10 song cycle. This is failing. Does that mean you didn't hear a difference on those 7 songs? Is every song the same? Does every song have the clarity of certain instruments to show a difference? The list of possible issues goes on and on.
As a result, if all else being the same, I would go with lossless audio over compressed. Not saying I could hear a difference in every song, but why not go with the fact that one is lossy and the other is lossless? At this point, with the pricing being the same, I see no reason to use lossy unless I am losing a signal over cellular. I have an all you can eat cellular data plan, so even in my Jeep, with the top off, I will use lossless, even if there isn't a human on earth that could tell the difference.
Of course, spatial audio is a whole different thing. I am curious how that sounds over headphones.
1. The Remote App - Truly awful app in the world of streaming on the Mac. You have to add a song to your library from Apple Music before the Remote app can see it. That means you can't just control any song in the Apple Music library without using a mouse and keyboard. Audirvana gives you full access to your own library and the entire Qobuz library from the app.
2. Airplay - Will there be some firmware update that allows hi res audio (Apple has also announces music up to 24/192) in its native format? In the past, you could only send 16/44.1 via Airplay.
3. Casting - As of now, you can't Cast with the Apple Music app on iOS (not sure about Android). With the Qobuz app, you can Cast 24/96 files. I doubt Apple will add Casting, but it would allow for some high res files.
4. DLNA - Audirvana gives you the ability to send audio, even at 24/192 wirelessly. I doubt Apple will give us this ability, but it would be a way to add Apple Music hi res to a lot of systems without needing anything extra. It would be ideal if they didn't have an Airplay update. The open source LMS (Logitech Media Center) software gives you access to Airplay, DLNA, and Casting. However, Apple Music doesn't currently have a plug in for it, so let's hope they update the AM app to do more.
5. Apple TV limitations - Not sure about their most recent AppleTV, but the previous models would only send out a 48khz signal. Older Airport Express units are capped at 16/44.1.
All in all, I am not sure how Apple expects people to take advantage of hi res audio at this point. Lossless CD quality (16/44.1) is easily available now, so this update is still worthwhile. I guess they expect you to sit in front of the Mac you are using for music to use hi res, so if that isn't possible, you get some remote desk access software or something like that. I don't expect to hear much difference between 16/44.1 and 24/192, but if it is available, it would be nice to be able to play it.
Personally, I do have the Dragonfly setup I can use with the iPhone and iPad to get 24/96, but most of my listening is on my main system, so will have to figure out the best way to handle it. Will post again when I know more. Below is my video about the Dragonfly if you are interested. There may be 24/192 portable DACs available at this point, but I haven't looked into it.