The well-known composer Hans Zimmer was recently interviewed by Zane Lowe on Apple Music. While most of the conversation was about Zimmer’s career, they also talked about Spatial Audio – which is something the musician seems to enjoy quite a bit. Zimmer also mentioned that Jony Ive sent him new headphones created by Apple’s former design chief.
Zimmer told Lowe that he never listens to his own soundtracks “because usually they’re on stereo.” However, during the pandemic, the composer says he received a gift from none other than Jony Ive. Although they never met in person, Zimmer revealed that Ive always sent him “something,” and this time, the gift was a pair of headphones with a note saying “I made this.”
According to the composer, he experienced Spatial Audio for the first time with these headphones – and was delighted with the technology. Interestingly, when Zimmer contacted his friends at Dolby, he was told that the mysterious headphones “don’t actually exist.”
“These headphones arrive and I put them on and they’re amazing and I suddenly realized, ‘Oh, we can do immersive. We can do Dolby Atmos. We can do all this,’ and I phone my friends at Dolby and I say, ‘We have to do this. I want to go and do the whole soundtrack again and I certainly want to do the CDs again and I want to do all this immersive experience,’ and I phoned Denis and I phoned all my guys and go, ‘You got to listen to these headphones,’ to which I of course get the reply, ‘Well, they don’t actually exist. I think you have the only pair.’ So, there was a little bit of that going on.”
While Zimmer didn’t mention the name of the headphones given to him by Ive, the way he describes the product and the timeline suggests that the composer is talking about AirPods Max. Apple’s high-end headphones were announced in December 2020, while Spatial Audio for songs only became a reality earlier this year.
If this assumption is right, that means Jony Ive helped Apple develop the AirPods Max even after he left the company in June 2019. At the time, Ive said that he would remain “very involved with Apple,” but he has never been publicly mentioned by the company since. His last appearance as Apple’s design chief was at WWDC 2019 with the introduction of the new Mac Pro.
H/T: Benjamin Gibbs
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