Apple’s Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) was integrated into the company’s Mac OS X platform back in 2004, and made its way into QuickTime and iTunes software shortly afterwards. Today, Apple has released the audio codec as open source project.
It made the announcement on MacOSForge, which read:
The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is a lossless audio codec developed by Apple and deployed on all of its platforms and devices for some years now. Apple is making the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) available as an open source project. Full details can be found on the Apple Lossless Audio Codec project page.
Apple’s codec is designed to offer audio compression without any loss of audio information, and is similar to other lossless audio codecs like FLAC. Apple’s codec, however, compresses files only by “about half” as compared to the originals, according to MacRumors.
Other audio codecs, such as MP3 and AAC, are said to compress audio files considerably more, but also lose some fidelity.
Of course, the major advantage of Apple’s codec is that it is compatible with all of Apple’s devices, including its iPod, iPhone and iPad.