Beg to differ. It seems from recent insider rumour that Apple are considering high-res downloads, which would mean an upgrade to their current devices to accommodate it. I personally think this would be a step in the right direction. So it seems they do care.
I'd also disagree with your comment that their devices are audibly inferior. That's not what I hear (or is measured) on the recent iPhones or iPod touches. Properly conducted listening tests would be interesting I think. But this will come down to a difference of opinion - that neither of us can objectively prove unless we could organise an independent, peer reviewed test. Can't see that happening at this stage. If Apple came out with an iPhone 6 capable of playing up to 24/96 (I'm OK with aac256 - but others will want higher), with 128-256 Gb onboard memory, and the ability to buy decent lossless masters via iTunes, I seriously doubt that I (or a lot of others) would look further to boutique DAPs. Even if the onboard amp was a little weak - if you could get a clean line-out to an add on amp, I'd just add an Arrow (for full sized cans) and call it a day .
I know we'll disagree on this Mak - but I do genuinely see Apple looking seriously at the demand for higher quality (and lossless) music.
Oh I agree that they are looking at the demand of High Res, I just don't think they'll push it through their pre existing product line, I'm not saying the apple devices sound bad, but they are focused more on portable use than end of the line sound quality, for example I carry full size cans around with an external amplifier, I doubt Apple is marketing to people like me, rather I think they will focus highly on the users who want a simpler product, all in ones. I would think they would use the pre existing "beats" marketing to push that line, then there are the other customers who aren't as interested in hi fideility, people who are content with the Apple Ear Buds,
my point being is when we look at companies like iBasso and Hifiman, they are leaning more towards [well in the past] fideility over portability, they may countinue down that path, and if they do they will hold a large share of the market of users who want those end game hi fidelity players, where as I think Apple has placed them selvs in a good spot to have some control over those who seek better All in One Solutions, and most consumers fall into the all in one category.
Point being I don't think Apple is aiming at Summit Fi, the crazy nuts here who carry around the Hugo Dac to play their DSD, [heck I'm almost half way to Summit Fi my self] I do how ever thing Apple is going to hold a huge share of the "Mid Fi" market, and within that market there is a big want for the capacity to play High Res, Brooko follow me on the thread dedicated to Apples purchase of beats, Apple imo won't ever make an "audiophile dap" in the sense that it will be purely for music play back, when I think of audiophile DAPS they ONLY thing they do is sound good, the HM801 is a perfect example, the ui sucks, the battery life is a joke but it sounds great! The sound quality is TOP priority, that to me makes it a audiophile dap, before anything ELSE it sounds good
Apple, won't ever place audio as priority number one, their customers don't want that. But I do think they will start to place a greater importance on the sound quality, as the majority of users desire better sounding gear, Apple will provide it. But they most likely won't ever make anything on the level of the HM901 or the AK 240, they have no need to, in stead they'll combine the performance of something like teh Fiio X5 with the useability of the iPhone,
but I think the Botique players will still have a place, I'm not a fan of paying for all the "extras" that an iPad or iPhone can do, I want a device 100% dedicated to sound quality, and I've not heard the new Apple Products, how ever I state that they are inferior in that an iPhone 5 is about $649 [that's no contract, unlocked and with 16gb onBoard] for $649 your can get a new Hifiman HM802 that will most likely sound better, As an all in one device, the Apple Products are very good, and will continue to get better, how ever as a dedicated DAP they are a bad buy and I don't think that will change
but again, there's is now a big push for High Res capability within "all in one" devices, and that market Apple will most like dominate, the newer efficent Hifiman Headphones, and the new AKG k812 are evidance of this, even the new Audeze headphones are more efficent, but the market for a dedicated DAP is not something apple cares to venture into, the market for TOTL end of the line BEST sound is not something Apple cares to venture into, instead they focus on the much larger market of people who want their Phone to also serve as a good music host, and I think that's a smart move on their part :3
BUT as for me, I don't like my cell phone also hosting my music, the battery already dies in like 2 hours and I do a lot of buisness on my phone, I'd hate to be listening to music and hear the pings from texts and new emails, hence forth I keep my phone and DAP seperate, but for the people who want it all in ONE device, I think Apples in a good position to dominate that market