Apple launches promised spatial audio feature to Music subscribers

The tech giants also released their new lossless music audio formats after the keynote.
The tech giants also released their new lossless music audio formats after the keynote Photo credit: Getty Images / Supplied

This week's Apple WWDC keynote touched on many of the improvements users are likely to see across their devices later this year - but one previously announced feature did get an immediate release.

The tech giants announced spatial audio via Dolby Atmos last month for Apple Music subscribers, and the immersive sound format is now available in Aoteaora with songs and albums that have been mixed to take advantage of it .

That includes the likes of iconic Beatles album Abbey Road, R.E.M's multi-platinum classic Automatic For The People and Taylor Swift's critically acclaimed Folklore.

In a statement last month, Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and composer Giles Martin, the son of legendary Beatles producer George, said listening to Dolby Atmos enhanced music is a unique experience.

"We can take the music lover inside the music," he said.

"From the feeling of hearing your favourite artist in the same room as you, to the experience of sitting directly in the middle of a symphony orchestra, the listening experience is transformative and the possibilities for the creator are endless. This is a quantum leap in technology."

Mixing engineer Manny Marroqui, who has won 10 Grammy Awards and worked with the likes of Kanye West, Ed Sheeran and FKA Twigs said spatial audio "gives music a new identity".

"Every time I mix in Atmos it gives me goosebumps. The future has arrived," he said.

Dolby Atmos music is enabled automatically for songs available in the format when listened to via compatible Apple Airpods and Beats headphones as well as built-in speakers in newer iPhones and iPads.

As well as the spatial audio feature, Apple's promised lossless feature was also released to subscribers, with no additional cost for either.

The lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz, and goes up to 24 bit at 192 kHz with the new formats enabled using Apple's own ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec).

Dolby Atmos is also available to stream via Tidal's Hi-Fi plans for New Zealand subscribers, while both it and Qobuz offer lossless audio.

Spotify is set to deliver its own lossless listening option later this year.