I’m gonna bet that a large part of AR, XR, Mirrorworld and spatial computing, will be spatial audio. Not just stereo sound, not just 3d surround sound, but spatial sound. That means virtual sound that is very specific in its locations, like real sound is. If a cricket is cricketing, it is perceived as being in a very exact spot, which we hear, and our brain translates, as RIGHT THERE. When we turn our head, the sound remains where it is. Like in movies, spatial audio will be at least 50% of the immersive experience.

There's something to this.

Occasionally, playing a video game, I'll observe a bug in the sound effects subsystem. A missing engine noise during a cutscene in a car, for example, entirely breaks the illusion.

But when visuals and sound fit together, the credibility of a scene is enhanced.

Watching Foundation with AirPods and spatial audio was surprising in its impact. I felt like I was sitting in a high-end home theater, and the show was all the more immersive. If indeed Apple is quietly churning away at an AR experience, their publicly available spatial audio tech is yet another tip of their hand.