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AIFF or Audio Interchange File Format is an audio file format standard used for storing sound data electronically. The format was co-developed by Apple Computer in 1988 and is most commonly used on Apple Macintosh and Silicon Graphics computers.
It was based on the Electronic Arts, Inc. IFF audio format widely used on Amiga systems.
The audio data in a standard AIFF file are uncompressed (PCM).
There is also a compressed variant of AIFF known as AIFF-C or AIFC, with a 6 to 1 compression ratio.
Standard AIFF is a leading format (along with SDII and WAV) used by professional-level audio and video applications.
Unlike the better known, lossy MP3 format, it is non-compressed (which aids rapid streaming of multiple audio files from disk to the application), and lossless. Like any non-compressed, lossless format, it uses much more disk space than MP3 -- about 10MB for one minute of stereo audio.
One advantage of AIFF over WAV is that it has standardised support for metadata (including album and track information and cover art). In iTunes, AIFF files can support lyrics and cover art, while WAV cannot.