I responded to this article but it isn't showing for some reason. I thought the article was an interesting read but I disagree with some of their wording. They generalize that all digital files won't have true CD quality or vinyl quality. However, CDs themselves are made from digital files and one can rip a CD in the wav, Apple lossless, AIFF, FLAC, etc. formats and they are all lossless and digital thus having the exact same quality as the source CD. I also don't like that they initially portray 128kbps AAC to be utter crap, then they add some quotes at the end saying it is damned good. Which is it? I think that 128kbps AAC is a pretty good trade off for quality and file size. It is extremely hard to be able to effectively distinguish between 128kbps AAC (or Lame mp3) and the source CD when conducting true blind ABX tests. There are many users on this board who say things like "I can hear a difference" or "Give me 320kbps AAC or give me death" but they never provide any ABX results. Without ABX tests, audio claims are worthless.
Anyway, I think they really overplayed the "bad" sound quality of 128kbps AAC in the beginning of the article. They defended it in the end but bashed it in the beginning. On top of that, most people don't need a $5,000 sound system and the average ear can't hear a difference anyway. Most people, even people who are wealthy, are perfectly happy with their sub $1,000 home theater systems and hooking their iPods up to them.
I know I am happy carrying around my lossy library. I would much prefer carrying around ALL of my songs even if they are lossy instead of toting around some lossless files or carrying a portable CD player and hundreds of albums. I think the advancements of digital downloads are only going to make companies switch to an all digital market. Most people are happy paying $0.99 for a song or $9.99 for an album even if it is lossy. I use the iTunes Store to download the early singles but I never use it to purchase full albums. I will really start using the iTunes Store when they offer lossless files. I just don't want to be locked into the AAC format.
The article is an interesting read though, even if they kinda contradict themselves.