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AirPods will soon switch between devices automatically

And spatial audio is coming to AirPods Pro.
Billy Steele
June 22, 2020
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Billy Steele/Engadget

If you were expecting new features for AirPods at WWDC, you’re in luck. During Apple’s virtual keynote, the company announced a couple of big updates for its true wireless earbuds. First, for AirPods in general, the earbuds will automatically switch between Apple devices. When you finish up a podcast on your phone and move to your iPad to watch TV or a movie, AirPods will connect to the tablet without you having to tap through a Bluetooth menu. The earbuds will do the same with Mac, changing from one device to the next as you do. And if you’re on your iPad or Mac, AirPods will change back to your phone if you get a call.

Apple is also improving the audio quality for AirPods Pro. More specifically, the premium earbuds will soon offer spatial audio for more immersive listening. The company says it developed custom algorithms to power this, with the goal of creating a surround-sound like effect similar to what you’d experience in your living room or in a theater. The accelerometer inside the AirPods Pro will track head movement so the audio stays fixed even when you turn your head. The tech also leverages directional audio filters and subtle frequency adjustments for each ear to make all of this happen. Apple says this spatial audio feature will support 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos content when it arrives later this year.

Catch up on all the latest news from WWDC 2020!

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