Apple Music and spatial audio: What you need to know

apple music

Jide Akinrinade/CNET

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple has announced spatial audio will be available for Apple Music subscribers from today, during its annual WWDC conference.

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

Now playing:
Watch this:

iOS 15 brings AirPods upgrades


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

Here’s what we know about Apple Music and spatial audio.

What is spatial audio?

Spatial audio is designed to bring height and rear effects to video calls, music and specially remixed music. Apple introduced spatial audio on its AirPods Pro last year and it uses the headphones’ accelerometer for head tracking so onscreen audio stays in place when users move their heads.   

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

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

Which devices can I hear it on?

Apple has yet to announce any dedicated speaker devices — a la the Amazon Echo Studio — but spatial audio is supported by the company’s headphones. Here’s 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 of the latest iPhone, iPad, and Mac (M1 chips)

Which services do I need to subscribe to?

Apple Music is adding Atmos Music albums from today and it is available for a $10 (£10, AU$12) a month subscription. Last month both Amazon and Apple announced its HD streams including Atmos audio would be folded into their regular plans.

Apple Music isn’t the first spatial audio to appear on Apple devices though — Tidal brought Atmos Music to Apple TV 4K in May 2020. Sony’s Reality Audio 360 is available on its own headphones and high-end speakers.

Recent Articles

The Best Retro Game Consoles (2021)

Do you remember the alluring 8-bit music, flashing screens, and excitement of the arcades? Maybe you spent happy hours in front of an early...

Tiny Satellites Could Help Warn of the Next Big Hurricane

The Tropics satellite constellation will reduce this lag, offering a new, detailed look at each 16- to 24-kilometer region in the lower latitudes every...

Driverless car firm hires JP Morgan exec as its first CFO self-driving cars run along a road during a trial run on February 1, 2018 in Guangzhou, China.VCG | Visual China Group | Getty...

UK opens investigation into Amazon and Google over fake reviews

After opening cases against Facebook and Google, the UK's competition regulator is now taking on another Big Tech company. The Competition and Markets Authority...

Google Fi’s built-in VPN starts iPhone rollout

Google Fi’s VPN service has started rolling out to subscribers on iPhone, the company has announced. The feature, which routes your phone’s...


Related Stories

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here