This AirPods ad wants to sell you on Apple Music spatial audio with head tracking

Apple really wants you to use Apple Music spatial audio on your AirPods, with the company’s latest advertisement featuring Harry Styles’ new album “Harry’s House.”

AirPods ad: Apple Music spatial audio with AirPods

From the video’s description:

The magical listening experience of AirPods with Spatial Audio meets Harry Styles’ new album “Harry’s House.” With dynamic head tracking, to hear sound all around, you’ll hear Harry Styles like never before.

The seventy-second advertisement was published on Apple’s YouTube channel. Of course, you can listen to the whole “Music from a Sushi Restaurant” album in spatial audio on Apple Music if you’re a member. [Apple Music link]

But what is spatial audio? And how does it work?

Spatial audio is a computational audio feature that uses audio effects to separate layers of multi-channel audio, making you feel as if the music is playing all around you. With head tracking turned on, your device uses data from onboard sensors in your AirPods to make the sound follow the movement of your head. To use spatial audio, you need a compatible device, compatible headphones and audiovisual content from a supported app. Read: How to use Dolby Atmos on Apple devices

Here’s what you need to enjoy spatial audio

A still image from Apple's AirPods ad promoting Apple Music spatial audio with head tracking. Taking a cue from iPod silhouette ads, the composition sets six silhouettes of Harry Styles singing "Music for a Sushi Restaurant" from his album "Harry’s House", set against a solid pink background.
Image credit: Apple / YouTube

Spatial audio is supported on the third-generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max and Beats Fit Pro, says Apple’s support document. It also works via integrated speakers on the iPhone 7 or later, select iPad models and the built-in speakers on Apple silicon Macs. If you have an Apple TV 4K with tvOS 15 or later, you can enjoy spatial audio by setting sound output to a pair of connected HomePods.

In terms of content, Apple Music has or still is upgrading its catalog to spatial audio. Spatial audio is also supported in Apple’s TV app for Apple TV+ shows and movies. Other streaming apps like HBO Max may use multi-channel audio that works with spatial audio for some shows. Apple also provides a feature, called spatialize stereo, that simulates spatial audio on stereo content and other non-Dolby sound.

What’s next for AirPods?

We will soon learn what’s next in terms of new features for the AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max as Apple is holding its annual developers conference from June 6 through June 10. Apple’s pre-taped June 6 keynote should dedicate a section to new AirPods capabilities. Aside from the major new features in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, tvOS 16, macOS 13 and watchOS 9, the conference is packed with developer sessions. And it’s via these sessions that we learn a lot about new platform technologies that the main keynote didn’t cover. Read: 20+ things to do and know after buying AirPods