The Apple designer you’ve never heard of is making noise
Stringer said Cell Apha is only the first to have a broader product line. For now, it’s safe to say that Cell provides a special value because it provides a dimension of sound that others haven’t even thought about. To go beyond our current soundscapes and enter the world of spatial audio, we need to go beyond monophonic and stereo — wait.triphonic. Yes, that’s the word made up by Synge. “That had to happen,” says Stringer of the newly invented triphonic era, “because we’re trying to set a stable standard that prevails. We think we have the only technology that meets the bill.”
Stringer refers to the coming age of mixed reality, where sounds — not just music, everything we hear — must match or transcend the sound sources in the physical world. The multicellular configuration of its speakers can present a musical or theatrical performance as a way to repeat the experience of a live performance. It’s basically creating the soundtrack for holographic concerts that you know are coming. (If we had these holographs and cells before the lock.)
Stringer also showed me tricks that weren’t part of the initial version, but highlighted Syng’s options. A demo was recorded by a string quartet who recorded a special version of “Eleanor Rigby,” where Stringer’s band was able to isolate each musician. Using the Slick Cell app, they showed me how to drag and drop each instrument, like moving real instruments to different places in the room — the violin on the couch, the cello near the kitchen door. In another demo, Syng employee Elisabeth McMullin, an acoustic engineer, showed me how the system could integrate the sounds of a recording (in this case the song Radiohead) with other songs, or even sound effects like footsteps, birds, or sirens. In these cases, Syng basically provides the equivalent of a soundboard in a recording studio, where you can lower or increase the volume of each track. But instead of making the track louder or quieter, you’re moving into space.
Syng, in Venice, California, currently has about 50 employees, and financiers have invested $ 15 million so far. It is a tribute to Stringer’s appeal for the involvement of a lawyer representing his investors in Apple in this patent lawsuit and also against the opposing lawyer. It informs the enthusiastic responses of top musicians and producers (their names will not be revealed). “I’ve been giving a demo-demo for three years now, because it’s in my heart to ignite the passions of the creators,” he says. “These people need tools like this to get to the next level of creativity. We’re hearing a lot about how there’s not enough space in the stereo to do what they want. ”
Stringer himself has never been so excited. Apple was always in the background. He says he was fine with that, perhaps because he didn’t feel like working in public places all his life. But now, as a 56-year-old CEO (although he seems to have just come out of a reunion of singer-songwriters Laurel Canyon), he feels revived. “I just knew I had to do something else,” he says. “He really had to be away. To provide the solution you want to stay behind, you need to be involved throughout the process. You can’t be the step of a journey. This had to be, you had to do something. It’s when you’re comfortable enough to feel uncomfortable. ”
I hear you.
Christopher Stringer was on Apple’s design team in 2001 when the company released its successful iPod player. In July 2004, I wrote a Newsweek cover story how the product became its own documentary artifact: