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Apple Music Spatial Audio is hitting the road, but it’ll cost you

The Dolby Atmos-powered Apple Music Spatial Audio technology is coming to new Mercedes-Benz cars as part of the MBUX experience, Apple and the German automaker have announced.

The partnership will see Mercedes emerge as the first manufacturer to natively support the immersive audio standard, which is designed to mimic 360-degree sound. Mercedes is also the first non-Apple company to offer Spatial Audio, even though it is through an Apple service.

The tech is now directly integrated directly within Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system, rather than Apple’s own CarPlay. The first cars to receive the update will be the Mercedes‑Maybach S‑Class, EQS, EQS SUV, EQE, EQE SUV, and the S‑Class. It’ll roll out to more vehicles thereafter.

The key is the 31-speaker Burmester sound system within those vehicles, which is an expensive option when purchasing the cars. It also includes an 18.5-liter subwoofer, eight sound transducers (two per seat), two amplifiers and 1,750 watts of power.

Apple says the upgrade “equips these vehicles with studio-quality sound better than in any concert hall, and giving drivers a fully immersive listening experience with unparalleled, multidimensional sound and clarity.”

We’re not sure now necessary it is to have sounds appearing as if they’re coming from all directions while you’re trying to pay attention to the traffic you’re surrounded by in all directions, but we assume the requisite safety standards have been abided by.

“Sound quality is incredibly important to Apple Music, which is why we are so excited to be working with Mercedes-Benz to make Spatial Audio on Apple Music available natively in the car for the first time,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats in a press release.

“Spatial Audio is revolutionizing the way artists create and fans listen to music, and it’s an experience that is impossible to explain in words; you have to hear it for yourself to appreciate it. Together with Mercedes-Benz, we now have even more opportunities to bring wholly immersive music to our subscribers all over the world.”

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