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Apple is planning ‘virtual acoustics’ surround sound for MacBook laptops

Apple has patented new audio tech for its MacBook range of laptops that could enable users to gain the impression sound is emerging from a source other than the loud speaker.

The patent, unearthed by Patently Apple, describes the “virtual acoustics” tech, akin to that within the Apple HomePod speaker.

Apple’s filing points out that the audio could be presented in such a manner that makes it appear as if the sound is emerging from “elsewhere in an indoor outdoor space [rather] than directly from a loudspeaker.”

The company describes a system known as ‘crosstalk cancelling’ which will enable audio signal to contain ‘spatial cues’, making it appear as if the sound is deriving from elsewhere.

Related: Best MacBook 2019

Here’s a little more on what Apple’s up to from the patent application entitled entitled “System to move a virtual sound away from a listener using a crosstalk canceler.”

A labelled diagram showing Macbook Virtual surround sound

Apple writes: “Audio signal processing for virtual acoustics can greatly enhance a movie, a sports even, a videogame or other screen viewing experience, adding to the feeling of “being there,”

“Various known audio processing algorithms, executed by digital processors, modify one or more recorded, synthesized, mixed or otherwise produced digital audio signals,” it continues, “in such a way as to position a virtual source according to modelling that is based on human perception of sound, including the role of ear acoustics, other reflecting and absorbing surfaces, distance and angle of source, and other factors.”

It follows a patent filed by Apple this winter that could enable the tech to be applied to headphones as well as MacBooks. The application for both could aid Apple’s ambitions in the augmented reality space.

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