Apple patents virtual acoustic sound system concept for future laptops

A new Apple patent outlines a technology that could make sound from laptop speakers feel as though it is coming from various parts of a room

Earlier this week, Apple was granted a patent for a virtual acoustic speaker system for laptops, a technology that could potentially make audio from laptops sound as though it's coming from various parts of the room.

On Tuesday, Apple won a patent, originally spotted by Patently Apple, that outlines a concept which would give laptops virtual surround sound -- no extra speakers needed. This audio-processing system would make sound from a MacBook Pro laptop seem as though it's coming from several parts of a space either inside or outside by dividing it into at least three paths; the tech could enhance the "feeling of ‘being there'" for music listeners, sports event viewers, movie fans and video gamers.

This is accomplished by altering humans' perception of the sound in a fashion similar to the concept Apple described in a patent won back in November; instead of sound being altered on a loudspeaker, that patent outlined the idea of an augmented conference call experience using headphones.

Such a technology could provide users in any space with more immersive experiences without having to invest in additional stereo equipment. Instead, viewers and gamers could feel present within the context of a football game, movie, or video game thanks only to their laptop speakers.

The patent, which was originally filed during the first half of 2018, was officially granted on December 31, 2019.