Apple is working on spatial audio technology for its long-rumoured AR headset, often dubbed Apple Glass, according to a newly-filed patent application.
After rolling out the atmospheric three-dimensional audio technology for Apple Music subscribers last month, the company is now experimenting with how it could work in a mixed reality environment.
In a patent filing dated July 8, Apple details how it could present a “synthesised reality” to users and gets specific on how it would present sound and other sensory delights.
“For example, a SR system may detect an individual walking a few paces forward and, responsive thereto, adjust graphics and audio presented to the individual in a manner similar to how such scenery and sounds would change in a physical setting,” the patent reads (via Apple Insider).
“An individual may interact with and/or sense a SR object using any one of his senses, including touch, smell, sight, taste, and sound. For example, an individual may interact with and/or sense aural objects that create a multi-dimensional (e.g., three dimensional) or spatial aural setting, and/or enable aural transparency.”
Apple adds spatial audio in a synthesised reality environment could “provide an individual with a perception of discrete aural sources in multi-dimensional space.”
That sounds like spatial audio could be a major part of the mixed reality experience whenever Apple launches the Apple Glass head-mounted display, thought to be coming at some point in 2022 or 2023.
Apple has been working on the technology for years, according to various reports, and its efforts on iOS with ARKit AR apps could truly meet their potential in that environment.
Of course, Apple files patents with remarkable regularity and many of them never graduate to features in actual products. However, this one seems like it would have to be part of any Apple Glass headset the company eventually ends up launching.