It is a function with which we had breakfast after the (virtual) keynote for the inauguration of WWDC 2020 in June of last year and that has achieved that Airpods Pro gain a new life as a way to enjoy content on Apple devices in a way we’ve never experienced before. Like the Airpods Max, which arrived in December.
Spatial audio is nothing but a technology capable of placing the sound source of everything we hear in the same 3D location as the device that we are using to watch a series or a movie, in such a way that even if we move our head in any direction, that source of the audio remains unchanged. That gives an absolutely incredible feeling that, even though we have headphones on, it seems that we are listening to the iPad without them, through its speakers.
Netflix is already working on it
The problem with this spatial audio is that, for now, is only available for content we purchase within the Apple ecosystem, that is, the movies that we can rent or buy inside the old iTunes store, or thanks to the Apple TV + subscription, with a good amount of series, movies and documentaries. Now, for everything else (Netflix, HBO, Disney +, Prime Video, etc.), it should be the developers who work on that compatibility.
And Netflix is doing it. This has been revealed by a French media that affirms that those of Reed Hasting are already testing this spatial audio to use it with the official applications iPhone and iPad. Now, do not think that the idea is to allow the entire catalog of the platform to be able to be reproduced with this spatial audio, in the same information they point out that in spring there will be only a “small catalog” with which they will start this new experience.
The foundation of this spatial audio lies in the information that the headphones are able to collect through gyroscopes and sensors that tell the iPad, or the iPhone, what is the position of our head with respect to the sound source. From there, all the channels are processed to adapt the listening to one ear or another and offer the feeling that the sound remains fixed at a point that, curiously, coincides with the place where we have the telephone or the tablet.