Patent for 3D audio system suggests Apple could bring augmented reality to MacBook computers

Patent for new 3D audio system reveals Apple may bring augmented reality to MacBook computers

  • Apple’s new audio patent may help bring augmented reality to the MacBook
  • The system gives the illusion of sound coming from different locations in a room
  • It uses a type of noise-cancelling to achieve a kind of 3D audio
  • MacBook’s could be combined with an iPhone to achieve the feat 

A new patent suggest that Apple may be expanding its augmented reality plans to MacBook computers.

In a new patent filing discovered by Patently Apple, the company outlines an audio system that may help integrate augmented reality into the MacBook.

According to 9to5Mac, the technology, called a virtual acoustic system, may be more than just an upgraded sound system and could prove useful for AR applications and also non-AR games.

A patent discovered by Patently Apple suggests that Apple is bringing a type of 3D audio to the MacBook - a move that could enable augmented reality applications

A patent discovered by Patently Apple suggests that Apple is bringing a type of 3D audio to the MacBook – a move that could enable augmented reality applications 

Patently Apple writes:

‘A virtual acoustic system is one that gives the user the illusion that sound is emanating from elsewhere in an indoor or outdoor space than directly from a loudspeaker (e.g., one that is placed in a room, one that is built into a laptop computer, etc).

‘Audio signal processing for virtual acoustics can greatly enhance a movie, a sports even, a videogame or other screen viewing experience, adding to the feeling of “being there.”‘

As noted by 9to5Mac, the system utilizes a type of noise-cancelling by cancelling something called ‘cross-talk.’ By switching the side using the tool, Apple could make it sounds as if noise is coming from different parts of the room.

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The new system would also use tricks similar to those being used in Apple’s smart speaker, the Homepod. 

Namely, it would utilize microphones to process sound and then adjust the output based on the acoustics of the room.

Theoretically this would allow the newly patented audio system to read the acoustics of a room and adjust sound accordingly to cancel noise when needed.

While MacBook’s don’t have a rear-facing camera to enable augmented reality experiences, its possible that the new system could be combined with an iPhone to enable AR gaming or more.

Apple has concurrently been working on its own augmented reality glasses that could be released in 2020.

Reports suggest the glasses may enable users to do several things that are traditionally done on phones, like reading text messages, mapping, and more. 


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