Apple has been a member of Alliance for Open Media, which develops the open source AV1 video codec, since 2018, but still does not offer any hardware acceleration or operating system support for it - neither under iOS nor macOS or even in the Safari browser - even though the new codec requires very little bandwidth and has already been used for a long time by streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix for effective streaming of videos.
Also the recently introduced new M2 from Apple supports by means of its Media and Video Engine per hardware the playback 8K H.264/HEVC/ProRes video - but not of AV1. Unlike for example Intel, which supports the AV1 codec already for a long time on its chips and enables not only the decoding, but also the encoding.
Now, however, there seems to be a change in Apple&s attitude/support towards the AV1 codec, as indicated by new entries in the Core Media Framework library of AVFoundation, which contain a new global variable named kCMVideoCodecType_AV1. The AVFoundation is a comprehensive framework of media functions for apps under Apple&s various operating systems (iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS), with the help of which QuickTime movies, MPEG-4 files or other video formats can likewise be played, created or edited.
So if support for the AV1 codec were to be integrated into this framework, the AV1 would be supported across the entire Apple ecosystem in one fell swoop (or in the next update). It will also be interesting to see if the new M2 chip is already prepared for the AV1 codec natively on the hardware side or if it has to do the decoding or encoding of AV1 via software just like older chips.
The Alliance for Open Media includes influential companies such as Amazon, Apple, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix and Nvidia, which have an interest in the distribution of the AV1 codec. This is characterized not only by its high efficiency (it compresses up to 40% better than the HEVC/H.265 or 30% better than the VP9 codec), i.e. lower data rate, but also by its source openness and license freedom. The playback of AV1 videos is currently supported by - apart from Safari - all major browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Firefox Google Chrome, the Android browser and Opera Mini.