Apple has been granted two patents regarding its Spatial Audio feature. The first (number 11,102,601) is for “spatial audio upmixing.”
About the patents
Spatial audio upmixing enables mixing spatial sound on a more granular per-channel level than is possible using conventional upmixing, according to Apple. A spatial bed is a multi-channel audio content that represents a complete sound field description, e.g., a virtual sphere of sound, for example surrounding a simulated reality listener in a simulated reality environment. A new spatial bed is generated by combining sections of at least two of such spatial beds.
Patent number 11,102,578 is for an “audio system and method of augmented spatial audio rendition.” The audio system can include a device to receive user inputs designating positions on an augmented reality view of a listening environment. Sound source icons can be presented in the augmented reality view at the designated positions.
The sound source icons can visually represent sound sources at locations in the listening environment that correspond to, but are different than, the positions. One or more processors of the audio system can apply head-related transfer functions, which correspond to the locations in the listening environment, to audio input signals to generate binaural audio signals. The audio system can include a headset that uses the binaural audio signals to render spatialized audio localizing sounds to the locations in the listening environment. Other aspects are also described and claimed.
About Spatial Audio
Apple announced Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio in May. It’s available to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost. The company says Spatial Audio gives artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with true multidimensional sound and clarity. Apple Music subscribers can listen to more than 75 million songs in Lossless Audio.
“Apple Music is making its biggest advancement ever in sound quality,” Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said in a press release. “Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible. Now we are bringing this truly innovative and immersive experience to our listeners with music from their favorite artists like J Balvin, Gustavo Dudamel, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Kacey Musgraves, The Weeknd, and so many more. Subscribers will also be able to listen to their music in the highest audio quality with Lossless Audio. Apple Music as we know it is about to change forever.”
Dolby Atmos is an immersive audio experience that enables artists to mix music so the sound comes from all around and from above. By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple says Apple Music will be adding new Dolby Atmos tracks constantly and will be curating a special set of Dolby Atmos playlists to help listeners find the music they love. In addition, albums that are available in Dolby Atmos will have a badge on the detail page for easy discovery.