We’ve got good news and bad news.
The good news is that The Next Web is reporting that iPhone users with early access to the forthcoming iOS 11 operating system are saying the OS includes “full playback support for FLAC audio files.” FLAC, if you’re unaware, is one of the highest quality audio codecs available. Reports say the functionality will be available as part of a new file-management app, Files. Previous operating systems did not support the playback of FLAC files.
That brings us to the bad news, which mainly applies to Neil Young and users of his PONO digital music service. PONO’s whole raison d’etre was that it offered a portable means of streaming FLAC files in addition to other high quality audio files. Now that users will be able to do so on their iPhone or iPad, there’s little incentive to using PONO, which was already on shaky ground. This revelation is also likely to affect Young’s latest venture, a high-fidelity streaming service called Xstream.
Of course, this is still speculative so don’t toss your PONO out the window just yet. iOS 11 is due for release in the fall.