Apple Reportedly Hires Audio Pioneer Tomlinson Holman

124830 tomlinson holman mac
Tomlinson Holman working at a Mac in 2007 (Source: Flickr)

As noted by GigaOM, tech pundit Leo Laporte today tweeted that he has heard "on good authority" that Apple has hired audio pioneer Tomlinson Holman to head up the company's audio projects.

Apple has reportedly hired Tomlinson Holman as its new audio chief, according to a tweet by Leo Laporte Wednesday morning. Laporte said he had it "on good authority" that Holman "is joining Apple to run audio." Holman is the brain behind Lucasfilm's THX sound, and the world's first 10.2 surround sound system. Apple had yet to respond to a request for confirmation as of this writing.

Holman spent fifteen years at Lucasfilm, working to develop the THX sound system and related technologies. He has been serving as professor in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California while also pursuing development of advanced surround-sound technologies such as "10.2" for increased spatial sound perception through his own company. The technology focuses on creating a heightened level of immersion by utilizing an array of seven front speaker channels, including a pair of "height" channels installed at a 45-degree angle above the listening area.

Holman received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 2001 for his contributions to the development of cinema sound systems.

Top Rated Comments

Elijahg Avatar
134 months ago
please bring lossless audio support to Mac OS.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lossless

Doesn't support more than two channels though.

It'd be great if Apple finally added some kind of proper support into the Mac OS/Quicktime for 5.1 audio over the optical audio port. Perian is a bit of a kludge, half the time I just get static through my Logitech z5500, or the sound channels get all mixed up. They'd need to licence either a Dolby Digital or DTS encoder to send discreet multi-channel audio (such as from games or some movies with an audio track for each channel) over the S/PDIF port. Some Blu-Ray movies include a pre-encoded DTS or Dolby Digital track, which can be sent over S/PDIF as raw digital data. As I said, it often won't work though.

It'd also be pretty cool if Apple did have some sort of quasi-surround sound built into their Macs, as they used to have SRS back in OS 9. Sometimes it can work quite well, especially if the algorithm is fed 6 separate channels. Generally Apple seems to use pretty decent quality speakers, the ones in my 27" Apple display are pretty impressive, as are the ones in my 15" MPB. They're loud, and for built-in speakers, pretty basey. Though they do have a tendency to make things sound like you're listening through a drain pipe.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jimmy James Avatar
134 months ago
Most people are not audiophiles. Yes, they listen to things, but they are not finely attuned to the quality of sound. Many audiophiles don't even realize they aren't really. However, being so progressive and perfectionist with sound shows how brilliant Apple is as a company. Does Dell, MS, or other computer companies give a ****? No. They crank out rubbish more often than not.

Are you really stating that Apple is brilliant for working on audiophile sound quality while simultaneously saying that no one cares?

Apple has long been behind the curve on SQ. It's funny you should mention MS. The Zune is felt to have much better SQ than the iPod.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NY Guitarist Avatar
134 months ago
Are you sure about that? Just tested on my 2009 Mac Pro and it didn't work.

Doesn't work on my 2008 Mac Pro either.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EGOvoruhk Avatar
134 months ago
5.1 in my car sounds amazing as it is
I hope you're joking, or you only watch movies in your car. Because 5.1 music is few and far between, and 2.0 sounds terrible coming out of 5.1
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sir Cecil Avatar
134 months ago
It'd be nice to give their macbook/pros and iMacs higher quality speakers.


Yes, I hear they have hired this world-renowned expert with the prime objective of using his immense skills to get improved quality from the one-dollar built-in speakers in our MacBook Pros.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tdmac Avatar
134 months ago
I am thinking this has nothing to do with Surround Sound etc. My guess is that he will be working on ways to get better audio quality out of Apple's compressed format both audio and video.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Pro Display XDR Yella

Apple Working on External Display With Built-In A13 Chip

Friday July 23, 2021 9:37 am PDT by
Apple is developing an external display that includes an A13 chip with Neural Engine, according to a new rumor from 9to5Mac. The A13 chip with Neural Engine would presumably serve as an eGPU, though details are light at this time. Having a CPU/GPU built into the external display could help Macs deliver high-resolution graphics without using all the resources of the computer's internal chip....
airpods 3 gizmochina Feature

AirPods 3 Rumored to Launch Alongside iPhone 13 at Expected September Event

Friday July 23, 2021 12:54 am PDT by
The third-generation AirPods will likely launch at the same event revealing Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup, according to a report from DigiTimes, which makes the claim citing sources familiar with the matter. The report as a whole echoes previous reporting that production of the third-generation AirPods will kickstart in August, meaning a launch shortly after can be easily expected. DigiTi...
discount m1 macbook yellow

Deals: Shop Record Low Prices Across Apple's Full MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Lineup (Up to $499 Off)

Friday July 23, 2021 8:23 am PDT by
Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lineup is seeing all-time low discounts across the board today, including the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro, 2020 13-inch MacBook Air, and 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. 13-Inch M1...
iPad mini pro feature

Next iPad Mini Won't Feature Mini-LED Display, Claims Display Analyst

Friday July 23, 2021 8:07 am PDT by
Yesterday, DigiTimes claimed that the upcoming iPad mini will feature a mini-LED display, but now, display analyst Ross Young is going at odds with that report, claiming that while the updated iPad mini continues to be on track for a release this year, it won't feature a mini-LED display. Young says he "confirmed" with Radiant Opto-Electronics, who DigiTimes claims would provide Apple with...
idos 2 app ios

Apple to Pull 'iDOS 2' DOS Emulator From App Store

Thursday July 22, 2021 3:22 pm PDT by
iDOS 2, an app designed to allow users to play classic DOS games, will soon be pulled from the App Store, the app's creator said today. According to iDOS developer Chaoji Li, he tried to submit an iDOS update with bug fixes to the App Store, but was told that the update was rejected because it violated the 2.5.2 App Store guideline that says apps cannot install or launch executable code.Durin...
m1 macbook air

Kuo: Mini-LED MacBook Air Coming in Mid-2022

Thursday July 22, 2021 7:48 pm PDT by
Apple will release a new version of the MacBook Air around the middle of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in note to investors seen by MacRumors. The upcoming MacBook Air will feature a 13.3-inch mini-LED display, which would make it the second Mac to gain mini-LED technology after the 2021 MacBook Pro, which is rumored to include a mini-LED display and is expected to launch later ...
iphone12cameras

iPhone Helps to Identify Rare Form of Cancer

Friday July 23, 2021 4:00 am PDT by
A photo taken on an iPhone has helped to identify a rare form of cancer, according to news reports. A mother of three from Gainesville, Florida took a photo of her three-month-old son using her iPhone and its True Tone flash, which highlighted an abnormality in his right eye. The boy's mother, a labor and delivery nurse, recalled learning about retinoblastoma during her training....
iphone 13 blue with text

iPhone 13 May Support 25W Fast Charge Power Adapter

Friday July 23, 2021 2:52 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 may support faster-charging speeds with a 25W power adapter, compared to the current limitation of the iPhone 12, which only supports fast charging at up to 20W, according to a rumor originating from China. The iPhone 12 supports fast charging with a 20W or higher power adapter; however, even if users use a more powerful wall adapter, the iPhone itself only supports up to 20W....
iPad mini pro feature

Next-Generation iPad Mini Will Reportedly Feature a Mini-LED Display

Thursday July 22, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple is widely rumored to be planning a new iPad mini with a significant redesign, including a larger 8.5-inch to 9-inch display with slimmer bezels, a Touch ID power button instead of a home button, a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connector, and more. According to a paywalled preview of a DigiTimes report today, the sixth-generation iPad mini will also feature a mini-LED display:BLU...
magsafe battery pack iphone 12 mini

Top Stories: Hands-On With MagSafe Battery Pack, iPhone 13 Always-On Display?

Saturday July 24, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe Battery Pack is now available, and we went hands-on this week for some early impressions of the new accessory to get more battery life out of Apple's iPhone 12 lineup. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. This week also saw a number of rumors about the upcoming redesigned MacBook Pro models, the iPhone 13 lineup, the next-generation iPad mini, a new...