Apple released a firmware upgrade today, enabling a new feature called ‘spacial audio’ on the AirPods Pro. It replicates Dolby Atmos, the fancy new sound system in use at Odeon Luxe cinemas.
I tried it out on the opening scene of Greyhound. It’s not how you expect sound from headphones to sound at all. I’d go as far as describing it as weird, at least on first listen. It’s like the sound is coming from the iPad, but then you get the surround sound thrown in reminding you that you are wearing headphones. And using the gyroscopes, the audio is augmented in real-time as your head moves. It’s incredibly immersive.
E is completely ambivalent about technology, so a good tester. I asked her what she thought of it. After struggling for a moment to get the AirPods to fit in her ears, she said “it’s like being at the cinema,” and that pretty much sums the experience up.