The phonograph was invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison, the first commercial compact disc was released in 1982 (Billy Joel’s 52nd Street, Interestingly), Spotify was founded in 2006 and Apple Music launched its proprietary Spatial Audio music streaming outlet with Dolby Atmos in June 2021.
These are key consumer audio moments now recorded in time or, to blatantly quote one of my favorite tracks from Coheed and Cambria, cuts marked in the march of man.
And as with the coveted turntables in specialty storefronts around the world, the CDs we buy from the Virgin Megastore, or the streaming platforms that most of my friends and I eagerly subscribe to, early adopters of Apple for Spatial Audio music quickly became wool-dyed converts. And I am one of them.
I was working on ‘s sister publication What Hi-Fi? last year, and I wouldn’t rest until Apple’s Spatial Audio won our 2021 Innovation of the Year award. (Oh, there were some heated discussions).
You see, for the first time, Apple didn’t discriminate against those who couldn’t afford its products – Spatial Audio worked with all headphones from the start, as long as you turned it on in your device’s settings. Then it got even better as Android devices gained support and the launch made its way to my beloved Apple HomePod – although admittedly you still can’t get it on the HomePod mini.
The problem for me was the dynamic head tracking. Yes, it debuted for supported content when Apple’s Spatial Audio was introduced as a feature of iOS 14 in 2020, but until September 2021 it was absent from Apple’s Apple Music offering. That changed with iOS 15, and while users will still need AirPods Pro, AirPods 3 or AirPods Max and an Apple source device to take advantage of dynamic head tracking, this is where buying Apple-branded products is worth it. .
Opinion: you have to admit it’s getting better (it’s getting better)
If you haven’t tried it yet, we’ve compiled lists and love letters for the format, including 10 albums you need to hear on Apple Music’s Spatial Audio and 10 albums we wish were available on Spatial Audio, but I recommend listening to Truth by Alexis Ffrench, The Beatles Abbey Road or Elton John’s Greatest Hits.
Want to watch movies and TV in monitored spatial audio? try to watch Stranger Things: Season 4 on Netflix (remember, you need a set of AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or AirPods 3 to accompany your iOS device here), the opening scene of Gravitythe shooting in the latest James Bond epic, No Time to Dieor pretty much any scene Poison, ideally from an iPad Pro 12.9 to a set of AirPods Max. I could go on. But instead, I’ll cut to the chase – because it just keeps getting better.
At its June 6 WWDC 2022 event, Apple released an update for Spatial Audio that comes with iOS 16. What’s New? This time, it’s personal.
Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said that with the release of iOS 16 (scheduled for a September 2022 release), users will be able to use the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera to create a ‘Custom Spatial Audio’ profile. ‘. So adjustable, malleable and changeable spatial audio? This I want to hear.
No one is asking us to go out and get impressions of our ears from an audiologist just yet – your iPhone can do the business. OK, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this sort of approach from headphone manufacturers (the Sony Headphones App has been guiding us through photo shoot-style ear scans using our camera phones for quite some time now, using their own Sony 360 Reality Audio solution on two generations of their best-selling WH-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM5 over-ears), but Apple-tracked Spatial Audio is, in my opinion, a cut above other 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos signals with directional audio filters applied.
The really exciting thing is that I think Apple is capable of more when it comes to Spatial Audio – ultimately I want to be able to virtually walk around the Apple Studio on Savile Row in 1960s London, like the Beatles record Returnpausing for Ringo to fully understand what he’s playing – and one day, I think that wish might be granted, you know…