AirPods Getting Automatic Switching Between Apple Devices, Theater-Like 'Spatial Audio' Coming to AirPods Pro

Apple today announced that the second-generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro are gaining automatic switching between Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. For example, if you finish a phone call on your iPhone and pick up your iPad to watch a movie, the AirPods or Beats will automatically switch over.

airpods surround sound
AirPods Pro are also getting a new "spatial audio" feature that promises to deliver a theater-like surround sound experience wherever you are. Apple says spatial audio with dynamic head tracking puts surround sound channels in exactly the right place, even as you turn your head or move your device. This feature will require an iPhone 7 or newer.

For developers, Apple is releasing a new Motion API that provides access to orientation, user acceleration, and rotational rates for the AirPods Pro, which will be beneficial for fitness apps, games, and more.

These new features are tied to the release of iOS 14, macOS Big Sur, and watchOS 7.

Related Roundups: AirPods 3, AirPods Pro

Top Rated Comments

QCassidy352 Avatar
48 months ago
This is my favorite thing announced so far! This will be extremely useful for those who use their AirPods with multiple devices.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kabeyun Avatar
48 months ago

For an authentic surround sound experience, the sound field needs to stay fixed even when you move your head. AirPods will be able to use the built-in accelerometer to track the motion of your head, remapping the sound field so it stays anchored to your device even as your head moves or when the bus you are riding on turns the corner.
Perpetual cynics, haters, and malcontents excepted, who doesn’t think this is just freaking cool?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
votdfak Avatar
48 months ago

Don’t AirPods already switch between devices?
No. I will welcome this addition with open and washed hands.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dekadent Avatar
48 months ago
That will not be kind on the battery...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Patriks7 Avatar
48 months ago
Would be nice if they fixed the noise cancelling before adding new features.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Superman730 Avatar
48 months ago

Don’t AirPods already switch between devices?
They do sort of. Like, if you're listening to something on a different device and your phone rings, you can tell it to answer and use the AirPods. It also quickly switches between the devices just not automatically.

My main concern here is it switching automatically when I DON'T want it to. Like I'm listening to a podcast on one device and scrolling through Safari or FaceBook on another and they think I want to listen to a dumb ad or autoplay video or something.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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