Apple brings Spatial Audio to cars, starting with Mercedes-Benz • TechCrunch

Apple brings Spatial Audio to cars, starting with Mercedes-Benz • TechCrunch

Apple is bringing its immersive surround audio product to vehicles through partnerships with Mercedes-Benz and Universal Music Group, the latest example of the technology company’s push into the automotive industry.

For the first time, Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos from Apple Music will be natively integrated into a car, starting with the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, as well as its growing electric portfolio EQE Sedan, EQE SUV , EQS sedan and EQS SUV.

Spatial Audiowhich adds space, clarity and depth to the music, debuting in spring 2021. It was originally enabled on Apple hardware that supports Dolby Atmos, devices that include iPhones, iPads, Mac models, AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip. Spatial Audio on Apple Music later expanded to Android devices.

Now Mercedes-Benz owners can access what Apple calls the “gold standard of audio” – for a price. Owners will need two items: a $9.99 monthly subscription to Apple Music and a Mercedes vehicle equipped with a Burmester high-end 4D and 3D sound system. That’s where it gets really expensive.

The Burmester 3D system costs $4,550. The higher-end Burmester 4D sound system, priced at $6,730, has 31 speakers, including six 3D speakers that project their sound from above; 4 near-ear speakers in the front seats; 18.5 liter subwoofer; 8 sound transducers (two per seat); and 2 amplifiers.

“Sound quality is incredibly important to Apple Music, which is why we’re so excited to work with Mercedes to make surround audio on Apple Music available natively in the car for the first time,” Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said in a statement.

As part of the agreement, Universal Music Group will allow recording artists to base their song approval process on how the final mix sounds in Mercedes-Benz and introduce the “Mercedes-Benz Approved” seal as the “gold standard of sound,” the companies said.

The collaboration, which was announced Sunday at the Paris Motor Show, is another sign Apple’s automotive ambitions. Earlier this year, Apple announced that its next-generation CarPlay system would power the entire vehicle dashboard, putting it, once again, in direct competition with Google’s Android Automotive OS.

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