Apple Lossless (also known as Apple Lossless Encoder, ALE, or Apple Lossless Audio Codec, ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple Inc. for lossless data compression of digital music.
Apple Lossless data is stored within an MP4 container with the filename extension .m4a. While Apple Lossless has the same file extension as AAC, it is not a variant of AAC, but uses linear prediction similar to other lossless codecs such as FLAC and Shorten. iPods with a dock connector (not the Shuffle) and recent firmware can play Apple Lossless-encoded files. It does not utilize any digital rights management (DRM) scheme, but by the nature of the container, it is thought that DRM can be applied to ALAC much the same way it can with other files in QuickTime containers.