One of the new features Apple introduced in the latest update to iOS and macOS is group FaceTime calls. This is a long overdue feature that has been promised for years, and is finally available. However we imagine that like with most group video/audio chats, this can get messy when multiple people talk at once.
However in a recently discovered patent by AppleInsider, it seems that Apple is exploring ways to process the audio in group FaceTime calls that will allow users to better discern who is talking, kind of like if you were in the same room where sounds can come from a variety of directions based on where that person is facing.
Based on the patent, Apple is suggesting that the calls from each caller be split up into separate channels. These channels are then fed into a system that is designed to simulate a virtual audio environment. This will help create the appropriate acoustic properties of the listener’s local environment, giving the feeling that the other members of the FaceTime call are in the room with them.
It is unclear if Apple has plans to make this patent a reality, although we suppose this will also largely depend on how popular group FaceTime calls prove to be, which will determine whether or not Apple will want to devote more resources into it, but for the most part it does sound like a pretty good idea.