New AirPods Pro Firmware Introduces Spatial Audio Support and Automatic Switching
Multiple reports on Twitter and the MacRumors forums indicate that the firmware update adds a "Spatial Audio" option to the Control Center, which can be activated to enable the feature. Note that using Spatial Audio requires the iOS 14 update to be installed.
Early reports from the MacRumors forums suggest Spatial Audio is functional and working with Apple TV+ content. Several people who have tested the feature have been impressed, calling the audio "immersive," "mind-blowing" and "trippy." From a MacRumors reader with Spatial Audio working:
Just tried out spatial audio on my iPad. Very cool! The illusion of the audio coming from the iPad is so convincing that I actually thought at first that the sound was coming from my iPad’s speakers. Had to take an AirPod out of my ear to confirm I was really hearing it from the AirPods themselves. I would really like to learn more about whatever dark magic Apple is using to pull off this illusion!
Introduced at WWDC and coming in iOS 14, Spatial Audio brings movie theater-like sound to the earbuds. Spatial audio uses dynamic head tracking to create immersive sound anywhere in space by applying directional audio filters and subtle frequency adjustments.
Spatial audio uses the gyroscope and accelerometer in the AirPods Pro and iPhone to track the motion of your head and your iPhone's position, comparing the motion data, and then remapping the sound field so that it stays anchored to your device even as your head moves.
Today's update also appears to enable the feature that allows for automatic switching between devices, which is available for AirPods and AirPods Pro. Automatic switching will connect the AirPods to any Apple device signed associated with your iCloud when you activate audio on that device and are actively using it.