This article is from WeChat official account: products play (ID: pinwancool) , Author: leon ye, title figure from: YouTube @ Apple < br>

The Apple Autumn New Product Launch Conference held in the early morning of September 16th, Beijing time, may be the most “surprising” conference in recent years. The reason for the “surprise” is not that Apple released any breakthrough The product; but this conference has very little content, and even the new iPhone that must be unveiled at this time in previous years has not been seen, which is “unexpectedly” disappointing.

Apple Autumn New Product Launch Conference|Source: Apple

Fortunately, Apple still announced a news worthy of loyal users staying up late, that is, the official version of iOS 14 will be pushed on September 17. Compared with the previous beta 8 version, the most significant update of the official version of iOS 14 is the implementation of the spatial audio function of AirPods Pro.

New spatial audio|Picture source: Apple

spatial audio tapeWhat’s coming

As early as this June at the WWDC Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple has introduced a new feature in the upcoming iOS 14: spatial audio.

Technically speaking, Apple uses directional audio filtering and fine adjustments to the frequency of the sound received by the user’s ears to simulate the traditional surround sound in the sense of hearing of AirPods Pro.

Traditional surround sound box|Source: Apple

This kind of simulation does not just stop at realizing surround sound, but simulates the iOS device in the user’s hand as a set of speaker devices at a fixed position in the space.

Imagine a scenario, when you wear AirPods Pro to listen to music or watch a movie, spatial audio will designate the iOS device being played as the absolute direction of the sound. When you turn your head or the position of the device itself changes, resulting in a change in the relative position between your ears and the sound source, the sound effects you hear will also simulate this change.

For example, if the iOS device playing music is fixed in front of the user, and the user wearing AirPods Pro is fixed and looks up to the upper left, the user will obviously perceive the volume increase in the lower right, while the left ear perceives The volume key becomes smaller.

The sound changes dynamically from device to device.

Sound effects that simulate the relative position changes between the ears and the sound source|Source: Apple

How to get the latest update

To experience the latest spatial audio functions, you need to have an iPhone 7 or another updated iPhone device on the hardware, and a pair of AirPods Pro; the software requires that the iPhone be updated to iOS 14 GM or the official version, and AirPods Pro is updated To 3A283 and higher firmware version (check the AirPods Pro firmware version under “Settings”> “General”> “About This Machine”> “AirPods”)< /span>.

The firmware version that can turn on space audio

In the previous GM version, the problem that users reported more was that they could not update their AirPods Pro to the latest firmware to experience spatial audio. According to the solution provided by Apple Support, the operation of forcibly updating the AirPods Pro firmware is as follows:

1. Use AirPods Pro to listen to audio content for at least 30 minutes;

2. Put the AirPods Pro back into the charging case;

3. Keep the charging case closed for at least 30 minutes;

If AirPods Pro has not been updated to the latest firmware at this time, you need to repeat the above steps.

AirPods Pro

Perfect sense of hearing, incomplete experience

As far as the effect itself is concerned, the spatial audio is still perfect. Subjectively, when wearing AirPods Pro to play videos that support spatial audio, you can clearly perceive the increase in the sound field without distortion, which simulates the effect of speaker amplifiers in open spaces, and when wearing headphones, the sound is trapped in the ears. It feels very different.

The problem lies in the audio source that supports spatial audio. According to Apple’s statement on WWDC, when playing audio sources such as movies and music that support 5.1 channels, 7.1 channels, and Dolby Atoms, the spatial audio function of AirPods Pro can be turned on.

Space audio released on WWDC 2020

But after the update, you can see that Apple has a line of small words under the spatial audio function to explain: use in supported videos.

So the question is, who will support it?

The reality is far more complicated than such a short statement. The biggest trouble is, how do ordinary users find these music or movies that support spatial audio?

Let’s talk about movies first. Domestic iQiyi, Tencent Video, foreign Netflix, Disney+ and other services have already supported Apple’s surround sound requirements for the audio of some content.

Unfortunately, after the actual experience, the content provider has marked videos that support 5.1 channels, 7.1 channels, and Dolby Atoms, and does not necessarily support complete spatial audio functions; support for spatial The system will also misjudge the audio content as not supported.

The first is Apple’s own Apple TV+. After actual measurement, almost all content supports spatial audio function. However, when spatial audio is turned on, the system still incorrectly prompts that the content does not support spatial audio. While Netflix’s movie content almost fully supports at least 5.1 channels, but the actual viewing does not support the new spatial audio function.

Always show “unsupported” spatial audio

The domestic film and television apps also have similar problems. For example, in Tencent Video, videos marked to enable Dolby Atmos can normally support spatial audio; while iQiyi’s videos support “Dolby Sound”, not every movie can support the latest Spatial audio function-users need to try their own specific support or not.

Tencent Video can enable spatial audio support

The situation is even worse on music apps. For example, the 5.1 surround sound effect that can be turned on in QQ Music is only for users to manually adjust the surround sound effect, and is temporarily not compatible with Apple’s spatial audio function. And Apple’s own Apple Music currently does not provide support for spatial audio.

QQ Music’s 5.1 surround sound effect does not support spatial audio at this time

In addition, the current spatial audio function has not yet implemented the mutual communication positioning between AirPods Pro and iOS devices mentioned on WWDC. Therefore, when watching movies that support spatial audio, move the iOS device that is playing, Instead of the user’s head moving, the sound effects heard will not change.

You never know whether the movie you watch really meets the requirements of spatial audio, and you don’t know whether the content of the spatial sound effects that iOS 14 tells you that you cannot turn on really does not support this feature-so to speak, the current The actual user experience of spatial audio is still very incomplete.

Space audio can only detect the user’s head movement for the time being

The next step in spatial audio

Most of the technologies Apple introduced are a link between the past and the future. Before the official release of the spatial audio function, Apple had made a similar attempt on its smart speaker HomePod.

The spatial perception technology equipped with HomePod uses a sonar-like principle to monitor the surrounding environment to optimize the sound effects of HomePod. When the user moves the HomePod, the built-in gyroscope and accelerometer of the HomePod will quickly calculate the motion of the fuselage, and feed back the updated spatial perception results to the readjustment of the sound effects. The previous step of spatial audio can be said to be very stable.


So what’s next for spatial audio? We will naturally think of VR/AR, the application of virtual and augmented reality technology. From the release of ARKit 1.0 by Apple to the release of iPad Pro equipped with LiDAR lidar scanner this year, Apple has been deeply involved in AR products for more than three years. It seems natural to speculate that Apple’s spatial audio will be used in future AR products to assist users wearing AR peripherals in positioning.

LiDAR laser radar scanner

It has only been two months since the release of iOS 14. The existing problems of spatial audio technology, such as inadequate optimization by Apple, lack of support from third-party developers, and high user thresholds, seem to be understandable.

The absence of force touch on the latest Apple Watch represents the demise of this technology on Apple’s touch screen devices

At the beginning of its birth, the previous Apple technology, which is considered to be promising, will revolutionize touch screen interaction, only needs user adaptation, and third-party support, has a technologically full name-Force Touch Control. Force touch technology was added by Apple to the trackpad of iPhone, Apple Watch and even MacBook without touch screen. It was also popular and was imitated by major manufacturers.

At the Apple autumn conference on September 16, the day when Space Audio was pushed to thousands of Apple testers, the Force Touch technology in the touch screen product line was completely abandoned by Apple.

This article is from WeChat official account:Pinwan (ID: > , author: leon ye