NEWS COMMENTARY

Apple releases AirPods with spatial audio and streams of behavior information

Published:
December 15, 2021
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The newest AirPods rely on inertial measurement units to track a user's movements and licensed Dolby Atmos technology to adjust sound for the motion. Spatial or 3D sound provides a more immersive experience than static stereo sound and will likely see growing adoption. Spatial sound is a differentiator for conventional listening experiences but is a foundational requirement for augmented and virtual reality. For Apple, the update allows it to refine the technology before future applications, while elevating its AirPods products over other wireless headphones. However, access to users' movement data could be the biggest gain, leading to behavioral insights or digital biomarkers, which are hard to get directly due to privacy concerns.

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