I know some CA readers are already skeptical of whether this will actually happen and if the downloads could be up to their standards. That's OK and likely warranted given past events and Apple considering 256 kbps lossy files equivalent to CD quality. Right now I'm very optimistic and would be happy for a Redbook start to this better sound quality "movement" by Apple. Even if the idea of better quality downloads has nothing to do with the actual music it's still a new income stream for all involved. Apple will need to upgrade its iPods to support higher quality and likely larger hard drives to hold the larger file sizes. The record labels will also profit from selling the same music in a new format like they've done over the decades with LP, 8-Track, Cassette, and CD. It's a business model with which they are familiar.
The astute Computer Audiophile readers have already started a thread about this development in the forum. I will close off comments to this front page article and link to the forum thread for continued discussion. Also, here is a link to a CNN article discussing the higher quality downloads.
CA Forum Link -> iTunes Audiophile Downloads