Apple is preparing for the video codec of the future and it is not too soon

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Gradually rolling out to our devices and major streaming platforms, the AV1 codec is now coming to Safari, but first via a beta version. Apple would thus begin to catch up in this field.

Through a new Safari beta, Apple would begin to catch up with the AV1 codec // Source: Nathan Le Gohlisse – Frandroid

After YouTube, Netflix, the latest graphics cards from Intel (and their new entry-level processors), but also those from Nvidia and AMD, and potentially Android 14, the free AV1 codec is also set to be installed in Safari. We actually learn from VideoCardz that Apple has added the deployment of the AV1 codec to the list of novelties that it brings to its browser through the Safari 16.4 beta.

As the specialized site points out, this could be a first sign that suggests a broader adoption of the AV1 by Apple. Good news in perspective as the firm has lately accumulated some lag behind its competitors on this point.

Is AV1 compatible with upcoming Apple Silicon chips?

And for good reason, Apple hasn’t seen fit to add AV1 codec hardware acceleration to its latest M1 and M2 chips. A deficiency that could cause them to be seriously lacking in the future, at least with some users. As a reminder, this free codec is intended to replace the very popular (but paid) H.264 and H.265. Apple is part of the Alliance for Open Media consortium that pushes the AV1 codec along with other tech giants.

However, the arrival of AV1 support in Safari 16.4 and WebRTC hardware decoding could herald a start to recovery at Apple. However, at this stage, the firm would be content to prepare the ground for later, since none of its devices will be able to take advantage of it immediately.

It remains to be seen which Apple products could exploit the AV1 codec in the future. As it stands, future A17 and M3 chips appear to be designated, but nothing yet allows us to confirm this at this stage. In any case, the idea would be to offer (finally) encoding and decoding of AV1, with hardware acceleration… in the manner of what the latest generation GPUs launched in recent months by Intel, AMD and Nvidia are already offering.

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