Apple Music and spatial audio: What you need to know

Apple has announced that albums mixed in Dolby Atmos are available from Apple Music on supported devices starting today.

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Apple has announced that spatial audio will be available to Apple Music customers starting today, during its annual WWDC the seminar.

“It’s available starting today with albums from some of your favorite artists like Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, J Balvin and KC Musgraves,” said Apple’s Gagan Gupta.

Spatial audio, or immersive audio, has been around for years in various forms, and Apple previously indicated that its spatial audio format would be released to Apple Music in June.

Here’s what we know about Apple Music and Spatial Audio.

What is local audio?

Spatial Audio is designed to bring height and behind-the-scenes effects to video calls, music and specially remixed music. Apple introduces spatial audio on that airpods pro last year and it uses the headphones’ accelerometer for head tracking, so the onscreen audio stays in place when users turn their heads.

The two main formats for music are Dolby Atmos Music and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio. Apple hasn’t made any announcements about Sony yet, and Apple Music will support Atmos for the time being.

“Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible,” Oliver Schuser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said in a press release last month.

On which devices can I listen to it?

Apple hasn’t announced any dedicated speaker devices yet — a la the Amazon Echo Studio — but spatial audio is supported by the company’s headphones. Here are the products that support it so far:

  • Apple TV 4K (2017 and .) 2021)
  • AirPods and Beats headphones with H1 or W1 chip
  • Built-in Speakers (M1 Chips) for Latest iPhone, iPad and Mac

Which services do I need to subscribe to?

Apple Music is adding Atmos Music albums starting today and is available for $10 (£10, AU$12) per month subscription. Last month both Amazon and Apple announced that it would stream HD, including Atmos Audio turned into their regular plans.

Although Apple Music isn’t the first local audio to appear on Apple devices — Tidal brought Apple TV 4K from Atmos Music in May 2020. Sony’s Realme Audio 360 is available on its own headphones and high end speaker.

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