What you need to know
- An Apple patent has revealed technology that could bring enhanced virtual audio to its devices
- It uses crosstalk canceler technology to make audio seem like it's coming from places that it isn't.
- It's said to add to the feeling of "being there" when watching movies, sports or playing videogames.
A new Apple patent published today has revealed technology that could bring enhanced virtual audio to Apple devices.
The patent, published today, is titled "System to move a virtual sound away from a listener using a crosstalk canceler" and the abstract states:
It's essentially a virtual acoustic system that gives the illusion that sound is emanating from places in the room where it isn't, a virtual surround sound system. The description states:
As you may have noted, the patent explains usage for both headphone and speaker users, for example in a MacBook, such that this is a patent for the audio system itself, not a speaker configuration, hence the option to use headphones. The audio processing system splits the audio into three signals, the three signal chains have various effects (reverb, gain) applied to them before being combined into left and right channel outputs that combine all three signals paths.
Some reports on the patent have suggested that this could hint at AR usage in a MacBook or some other such Apple device, however, there is absolutely no mention of either augmented or virtual reality anywhere in the patent. In fact, the drawings accompanying the patents all exclusively show users without any of the accompanying headwear for VR or AR. Rather, it seems that this is simply a way of digitally processing audio in order to enhance the acoustic experience through virtual, digitally generated surround sound.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9