Apple Could Be Readying To Change How We Hear!

Is paving a transformative path for a new audio experience?

Well, anything that Apple does is met with two polarised responses — great adulation, and even greater ridicule from the archetypical everybody-elses.

So even as just the rumours of the possible removal of the headphone jack from the next iPhone expected to be released 9 months from now, has the tech world in uproar, already.

Chip-Monks strives real hard to not be reactionary. We usually take ice water baths to keep our tempers in check and to keep our keel firmly balanced. So here’s our perspective on what could be the benefit of improvements in audio hardware.

First, the background:

Recent talk about the designs for Apple’s iPhone 7 are stirring up yet another hornet’s salvo as industry insiders have recently heard from solid sources that Apple plans to liberate its next smartphone from the round headphone jack.

While at first this sounds like a ridiculous idea — how can anyone make a great audio device and not have a physical headphone jack? — but one has to look at the greater picture to actually know what they’re aiming at.

So let’s do that — look at the greater picture

It’s a good bet that with the jack-liberated iPhone 7, Apple plans to launch ‘Wireless EarPods’ that would work with Bluetooth computability. Now, with the improvements in Bluetooth over the years, the quality of audio has already improved significantly.

What Apple could be aiming for is actually a huge shift in how we perceive digital sound altogether, paving a transformative way for a new audio experience, for the world at large (okay, I know that sounds like hyperbole, but fact is, when Apple does something novel, a lot of others seem to follow suit).

In terms of its hardware — the look & feel of the Wireless EarPods would most probably be quite similar to the current wired EarPods, or so are the speculations. Sounds weird, I know, but since no formal designs have been released by the company, and we don’t really expect Apple to pre-disclose, that’s all we can do — visualise. We think Apple might try and reduce the size of the earbuds, but given that batteries and receivers and mic(s) need to be shoehorned in, lithe size may not be the biggest priority.

What makes these Wireless EarPods exciting for everyone is the basic way in which it would change the way the audio perception works.

The primary idea behind the Wireless EarPods could be of holographic audio.

Explanation: When we listen to an audio on an ordinary device, the source of the sound is usually one, making things sound evenly for us.
 With holographic audio that would change entirely. The source of the digital sound would no longer be one, but would be like a real-life show.

The best way to explain this is an example, say that of three people conversing and you being the one in the centre, with A to your left, and B to your right. Now if you turn around, in real life, the voice of A would switch from your left ear to your right, and the voice of B from your right ear to your left. That is precisely what holographic audio would bring to you in digital audio, that any kind of headphones or earphones yet have failed to.

Holographic audio would work according to your movement and your bodily stances, giving you an enhanced digital audio experience, as close to real life as possible.

Wireless EarPods would also have other benefits.

With the Wireless EarPods you could also have a real life Siri. What these EarPods with CoreMotion technology can do is map the voice of Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant, onto the geographical space and environment around you.
 That would basically be like having a personal assistant in your ear all the time, which would answer to your command like speaking to someone next to you, and not to a device.

Also, if Apple goes down the Bone Conduction way, then the Wireless EarPods would, unlike other ordinary headphones and earphones, not block your ears. This would mean that you would be able to perceive the space and the sounds around you at the same time.

It would make immense sense for Apple to have a more elaborate noise-cancellation element (than the current basic version) as well, as that would allow you to block your surroundings when you want to.

Will this be an audio revolution? Well, that depends on how good Apple is nowadays. In the past, I’d have been more positively sure, now — well, I am not so sure that they care as much about peripherals any more.

The phones and tablets do have Apple’s focus, but it’s been a slow, eventless journey there too, over the last few years. They aren’t behaving like the trend-setting, futuristic, completely left-field tech company they used to be.

But should Apple really put on their Wizard Hat and change the EarPods, it sure could change a lot about the digital audio industry and how we enjoy our audio. Are we at the beginning of an audio revolution? Well, we’ll have to wait for the Big Reveal, come September.


Originally published at Chip-Monks.