What Does The Apple Vision Pro Mean For Spatial Audio?

While it’s been rumored for a few months, the reveal of Apple’s new VR/AR headset at WWDC 2023 was still quite a shock. It took the internet by storm yesterday, with the announcement being one of the most talked about events that day. Various commenters and tech journalists alike expressed both excitement and concern. Any new technological innovation will likely cause debate, but here at MajorHiFi, we’re mainly concerned about what this means from the audio side of things.

What Is The Apple Vision Pro?

Apple is calling the Vision Pro their first spatial computer. It combines virtual reality with augmented reality technology that aims to mix your operating system with your physical world. From the official showcase trailers, it seems like the Vision Pro will allow you to interact with applications in new ways thanks to a fully 3D interface that takes advantage of all of your surroundings. VisionOS brings an ultra-high-resolution 4K display that places its interface in front of you in real time.

This new innovation in interaction calls into question all the ways we can possibly experience our entertainment, like music, gaming, and movies. More focus was given to productivity apps and FaceTime, but Apple’s inclusion of Spatial Audio in the Vision Pro can bring a whole new layer of depth to the experience.

The Apple Vision Pro For Audio Content

According to Apple, the Vision Pro will feature new dual-driver audio pods. As of right now, not much is known about these new ear pods, but they’re said to have better sound quality than the current generation AirPod Pros currently on the market. The Vision Pro has its own audio pods that are said to be more advanced, with each speaker being individually tuned and personalized, all while featuring new audio raytracing technology that takes the acoustic properties of your room into account. This can mean a whole lot of things for your audio entertainment consumption.

First off, Apple’s head-tracking technology could see a major improvement. Gaming wasn’t showcased too much at the presentation, but this could have huge implications for how game audio is implemented with the Vision Pro. Spatial audio with the Vision Pro could enhance games, music, and movies by making your space a whole sonic environment that you get to step right into. Apple showed off some of this with videos you take in your camera roll, where you can virtually step back in time and relive the videos you take. From all the talk coming out of WWDC 2023, it seems like spatial audio is going to act a lot differently than you’re used to with standard AirPods.

While $3,499 is a lot to ask for, it seems like Apple is trying to spark a major change in how we interact with and enjoy our entertainment. From the audio side of things, it has the opportunity to deliver new sound scenarios that not only heighten immersion but significantly change the way we experience audio in our media. It may not be an instant success, but the space for innovation in spatial audio has never been greater.

Check out the Apple Vision Pro here.

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Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.