After the recent Dolby Atmos tracks on Apple Music, the Cupertino firm continues to innovate by announcing the dynamic tracking of head movements. Available with the latest iOS 15 operating system for iPhone and iPad, this new feature promises an even more immersive spatial reproduction by creating surround sound that automatically adapts to the user’s head movements.
When music adapts to the user
Music in Dolby Atmos is more popular than ever now that many tracks and playlists are available on Apple Music. These tracks allow the listener to be immersed in a sound bubble, whether they’re listening with a home theater system or headphones. It is with this second solution that Apple wishes to provide an even more impressive spatial sound by modifying the restitution according to the head movements of the listener. Called Dynamic Head Tracking, this function moves the different music arrangements according to the user’s movements, in the same way as if they were moving in front of a concert stage.
How to activate Dynamic Head Tracking
To enjoy dynamic tracking with the Dolby Atmos tracks available on Apple Music, you must use an iPhone or iPad running the latest version of iOS 15. The device must be paired with AirPods Pro IEMs or AirPods Max headphones, with the “Spatial Audio” function activated. The latter uses the gyroscope built into Apple’s headphones to identify the slightest movement of the listener’s head and adjust the placement of various effects accordingly, based on a sophisticated algorithm. With dynamic tracking, voices and instruments no longer have a fixed presence, but adapt to the user to provide an increasingly realistic and immersive experience.
Dynamic Head Tracking for movies
Before appearing in Apple Music, dynamic head tracking had already been present since last August for video content in services like Apple TV+ or Netflix (Netflix now supports spatial audio on iPhone and iPad). This Spatial Audio feature with dynamic head tracking provides the movie or video you are watching cinema-like surround sound quality, giving you the feeling that the sound is coming from all directions.
Once again, the dynamic tracking feature is only available if you pair an iPhone or iPad with AirPods Pro earphones or AirPods Max headphones. With any other headphones or earphones, this function will not be accessible, except with a model like the Audeze Mobius which have their own spatialization technology.