A number of iPhone and iPad models will no longer support Apple Music’s Spatial Audio feature, although Apple initially promised they would.
An update to the feature’s compatibility list, which provided multi-directional audio powered by Dolby Atmos, sees a few devices being phased out.
IPhone XR, iPad mini 5, iPad Air 3, and iPad 6th, 7th and 8th generation are no longer included as devices that can support advanced audio technology through the built-in speakers.
It wouldn’t have provided such a great experience anyway, given the limited nature of these low-powered speakers, but it’s still a potential blow to owners of these devices.
The updated support document now says: “Built-in speakers on an iPhone XS or later (except iPhone SE), 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation or later), 11-inch iPad Pro, or iPad Air (4th generation)”, with selected devices now gone.
It will be possible to use these selected devices to listen to Spatial Audio tracks through headphones, so that all is not lost. These headphones will need to be of a decent level in order to mimic the experience designed for a range of speakers.
However, since Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos doesn’t use head-tracking technology, you don’t actually need headphones, hence the ability to stream the experience through the built-in speakers on some devices.
When announcing the feature, Apple explained, “Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos to Apple Music. Dolby Atmos is a revolutionary, immersive audio experience that allows artists to mix music so that the sound comes from anywhere and from above. By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as on built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad and Mac Apple Music will constantly add new Dolby Atmos tracks and host a special set of Dolby Atmos playlists to help listeners find the music they love.
Apple now lists Android devices on its support page, following an update to the Google Play Store version of Apple Music yesterday. Apple advises owners of Android devices to contact the manufacturer for compatibility information.