Apple patents a technology that could take future iPhones’ sound recordings to the next level

Apple patents a technology that could take future iPhones’ sound recordings to the next level
Once again, we are in the potential world of patent applications and while we all know not all patents see the light of production, we are somehow curious about them anyway. This time, our attention is drawn by a recent patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office, submitted by Apple. 9to5Mac reports that Apple is most probably working on an interesting feature that may come with future iPhones and it is supposed to allow the phones to make binaural recordings.

But what exactly is this? Binaural recording is a recording that allows the listener to determine exactly where the recorded sounds are coming from, creating an immersive adventure best experienced with earphones. It imitates the feeling of “being there”. Apple’s patent application would allow a future iPhone to make such a recording that can later be listened to with, for example, Apple’s AR headphones (also a patent for now).

At the moment, binaural recordings are made with special equipment, several microphones that record sound, also taking into consideration how the sound is affected by the listener’s head and ears. Sometimes, those microphones are even embedded into a mannequin's head to mimic the effect of the human head shape and other factors. This allows for a more accurate binaural recording.

This effect, however, cannot be achieved using simply the hardware on a modern smartphone, given the fact that the microphones, supposed to make that recording, are closely-spaced in the smartphone’s slim body. Apple’s patent application suggests that the result could maybe be achieved by using two cameras and four microphones to capture the sound, which will then be analysed and processed by software to resemble a true binaural recording.

However, in order to get the full experience, you will most likely need to listen with earphones that support such recordings. Technically, normal headphones should also be able to reproduce the effect to some extent. Nevertheless, the aforementioned AR headphone patent has one strong benefit - the perceived sound location will not change when the user turns his head.

So, what do you guys think? Would you like it if your iPhone is capable of making such recordings or you won't be interested in such a feature?

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