While it didn’t get the same amount of attention as iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, tvOS 15 was also announced at WWDC 2021 with some new features for Apple TV users, including, for the first time, support for Spatial Audio with compatible AirPods. At first the details were unclear, but now the company has finally explained how the feature will work on tvOS 15.
Spatial Audio was first introduced to AirPods Pro and AirPods Max users last year with iOS 14. When this option is enabled, the headphones detect the user’s head movements to deliver immersive 360-degree sound thanks to Dolby technologies.
On iOS at least, Spatial Audio uses special sensors to sense the position of the iPhone or iPad and also the AirPods to create the feeling that the sound is coming from the device, but this was never implemented on the Mac or Apple TV due to that Lack of such sensors. However, with tvOS 15 (and also macOS Monterey), Apple has been working on a new way to enable this feature.
As said by Apple Engadget, based on AirPods sensors, the system now analyzes which direction the user is looking in when playing a video. If the user gets up and walks around, the system recalculates their position to re-enable Spatial Audio.
When you sit down to watch a movie or TV show, the included head-tracking feature activates after it detects that you have been looking in the same direction for a while. As soon as you get up to walk around it will reactivate.
tvOS 15 also makes it easier to connect AirPods to Apple TV as it will now detect the headphones nearby and display a popup asking if you want to pair them with the TV. There’s also a new switch in tvOS 15’s control center to easily access settings for AirPods and other Bluetooth headsets without opening the Settings app.
The update is now available to developers and a public beta will be available in July. The final tvOS 15 version is expected to appear in the fall.
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