Apple boss in in-depth interview about Airpods and bluetooth audio

If you are interested in sound and Apple, the British audio magazine What Hifi has an interesting one interview with Gary Geaves, who holds the title of Vice President of Acoustics at Apple. He bases the development of sound in headphones like Airpods, speakers like Homepod and also technologies like spatial sound. Eric Treski from the marketing department is also in the interview.

Regarding the new Airpods 3, Gary Geaves says that the biggest challenge was to get a consistent sound image for different listeners, even though the headphones are not pushed into the ear canal. The automatic eq that was first introduced in Airpods Max has been adapted for small Airpods and does a large part of that work. A microphone on the inside measures the sound and adjusts above all the bass but also the middle register so that the music sounds as intended.

The interview also deals with spatial sound. Gary Geaves says that Apple has measured how different people hear the sound from speakers that are placed in different places around the room depending on the shape of the head, ears and even the shape of the face. The company has since developed a profile for spatial sound that provides the best possible spatiality for as many people as possible.

Eric Treski says that the development of spatial sound took place as an interaction between the acoustic developers, Apple Music and also the developers of Garageband and Logic, who in turn talk to professional musicians and producers.

An interesting thing that emerges in the interview is that the placement of the virtual speakers when you activate spatial sound with headphones differs between different playback devices. With Apple TV, the speakers are located further away from you than with the Iphone, because the screen you are watching is at different distances.

Speaking of bluetooth and its limitations, Gary Geaves acknowledges that of course there is a limitation and that Apple would like more bandwidth, but that he can say nothing more. What Hifi’s interviewer Tom Parsons writes that it seems that Gary Geaves would like to talk more about the subject, but that he does not.