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Spatial Audio – the best audio experience

This week’s Apple round-up for you. All in one bite sized blog!

(14th Feb – 18th Feb)

Spatial Audio

Spatial Audio

When Apple added this feature to their Music app last year, there was doubt as to what the take-up may be. Well, roll that on a few months and, as is often the case with anything Apple touch, it has turned to gold!

Apple recently were interviewed by Billboard, the respected American music journal. In it, they reveal that there has been a 50% increase in Spatial Audio listening since September, and that figure is still witnessing a rapid rise. Over half of Apple Music listeners are now listening in Spatial Audio, with the adoption rate exceeding even their wildest expectations. Artists too are seeing an upturn in listening figures. Taylor Swift, for example, is experiencing growth of over 50% since re-releasing her albums in Spatial. Apple, now are reportedly working with Dolby in an attempt to recreate Spatial in the car.

Apple Music Replay

You may be familiar with Spotify’s ‘Wrapped’ in which you can look at your listening stats and habits for the previous year. Well, in an attempt to muscle in on some of that analytic action, Apple have spent some time breathing new life in to their equivalent, that being Replay. Replay will show you all sorts of stats like your total listening time, favourite artists and albums. To check out your stats, go to the Listen Now tab in the Music app, or, if you’d prefer, visit replay.music.apple.com on Safari for an even more in-depth insight to your listening habits. Whilst not being quite the user experience of Spotify’s Wrapped, it is certainly an improvement. And, unlike with Spotify, you can do this at any time of the year too.

Jelly roll – the gift that keeps giving

Let’s visit California for a moment. There, a Class Action lawsuit against Apple has been filed. It is against the odd phenomenon which became known as jelly-scroll on Apple’s iPad Mini display last year. Whilst Apple maintains it is ‘normal mini LCD screen behaviour’, their customers are not quite so sure about that, and have bought this class action against the company. In the claim, the plaintiffs state ‘the display bin warps, distorts and obscures to the point of being unusable’. Financial compensation, of course, is sought (what a surprise), but more often than not, these Class Action lawsuits have a way of fizzling out. Watch this space.

Further AirTag concerns

With yet more unwanted attention, Apple recently announced further safety measures. New York Attorney General, Letitia James, this week sent out a consumer alert with ‘safety recommendations’ to ‘protect’ New Yorkers from ‌AirTags. Included in her suggestions, were many of the same points raised by Apple themselves. These included keeping your iPhones updated with the latest OS, listening for any unfamiliar beeping sounds, and checking for any on-screen messages stating that a device is near you. Be vigilant folks.

AR/VR headset updates

So, where are we at with the release of this much anticipated headset, then? As I wrote last week, we now know that this VR/AR headset will have its very own OS. Details found in the App Store upload logs state the OS will be aimed primarily at ‘gaming, media consumption and communication’. The design looks set to have a curved visor with a mesh that will rest against the face. It will entirely cover the eyes and upper face for an immersive experience. It’s anticipated the headband will be replaceable and reminiscent of the Apple Watch sports band. Audio, set to be a massive part of the headsets lure, will come packed with Spatial Audio and Surround Sound, the latter being delivered via the headband. There will be two Sony hi-res 4K displays with 3000 pixels per inch, and two optical cameras tracking a whole host of body movements. There is a real desire to keep the weight down and Apple’s crack team are aiming at keeping it under 200 grams – way less than the Metaquest headset which is a hefty 503 grams. Prices? Well, they are top end, and will be between £2500 – £3000. I hope you are a keen gamer then! Originally, intended to be launched this summer, Mark Gurman now seems to believe that release will be put back a complete year. Apple is keen to launch this at an in-person event. WWDC 2023 is presently the target.

What you see, is what you get

Monitors and Mac Minis seem to be heading our way in a marriage made in heaven. Bloomberg reports that, in association with LG, Apple may about to launch three new monitors. Seemingly a brand new 24-inch and 27-inch monitor are almost ready for launch with a 32-inch coming too which is set to replace the existing ProDisplay XDR and will pack both more contrast and brightness. They are expected to have ProMotion and 120Hz refresh rate. Little is known about their design cues. Will they follow the gorgeous, industrial look of the existing ProDisplay XDR? Only time will tell. Early suggestions are that prices will range from around £1500 – £5000.

And of course, the perfect companion for a new Apple display panel, would be a new Mac Mini. On the Eurasian database, three new Macs can be found – the A2615, A2686 and A2681. Two of those designations were desktops, so it looks as if we will be getting two Mac Minis this year. One, the base model, with the soon-to-be released M2 Apple Silicone and the other will have an M1 Max inside. The design on both is to be updated, with a plexiglass glass top and bands around the sides, similar to iPhone.

The notch leaker is back

Last year, there was just one ‘leaker’ that said we’d be getting a notch on the new MacBooks. He (or she), of course, was proven totally correct. Well, that same person is back with more exclusives. They state, in reports seen by Mac Rumours, that Apple will next month debut its latest M2 Apple Silicon processor in a refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro model. It will have no major design changes, according to the previously reliable source. The 13-inch MacBook Pro will retain the same design as the current version, including the Touch Bar, but, it will not have a notch or a ProMotion display. If so, that means the main difference in the new entry-level MacBook Pro model will be the M2 chip.

New patents

And finally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 36 newly granted patents for Apple Inc this week. Of note, the patents cover Unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Series 7 minimised display border. You heard it here first.

More next week

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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on February 18, 2022.

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