Apple is working on virtual speakers that simulate sound from different locations

The technology allows audio signals to include "spacial cues"

It looks like Apple could have plans to build on the new 16-inch MacBook’s already impressive built-in speakers.

According to a recently granted patent regarding the virtual positioning of audio, Apple could have plans to create a virtual acoustic system that utilizes technology called crosstalk cancelling. This tech simulates that sound is coming from a different area in a room than where the speaker is located. Crosstalk cancelling specifically refers to overlapping sound waves that ears receive from the left and right channel of a speaker.

Patently Apple, the first publication to report on the filing, says that the patent outlines how audio can feature “spacial cues” that allow it to be virtually set in a specific location in a space. Apple first filed this patent in 2018, according to Patently Apple.

The application of this sort of technology could be interesting. For example, it could be applied to video games or even movies to make them feel more immersive. In a way, the virtual acoustic system seems set to be a more advanced version of simulated surround sound.

Apple’s history regarding audio technology isn’t resoundingly positive. While the company arguably popularized the wireless, Bluetooth earbud with its AirPods — then perfected them with the AirPods Pro — the tech giant is also behind the HomePod, a great-sounding but ultimately lacklustre smart home speaker that features Apple’s voice-activated assistant, Siri.

Source: Patently Apple