Category - Audio
Editor's Note: there are many examples of our MacNN Podcast that we are proud of, but this one we picked as an example of "the best of MacNN" because it is so representative of what the podcast was about: comraderie, laughs, news, insight. Even though the podcast focused on stories that had already been reported on the site, it gave listeners both our analysis of those events as well as a look at the people behind the reporting. The good news is that the podcast will continue after MacNN's shutdown under a new name, so we hope previous listeners and new ones will join us for more banter, bad jokes, and ballyhoo starting the week of July 11. To our previous listeners, thank you again for your support. We loved doing this, and we think this episode shows that well.
Bang and Olufsen has unveiled the first wireless earphones in the company's history, to go alongside its existing wireless headphone collection. The Beoplay H5 take the appearance of a cleanly-designed pair of in-ear earphones, with the two audio-producing sections connected by a braided cable and a compact remote section, minimizing the amount of extra bulk that typically accompanies wireless earphones to house batteries and radio components.
Apple is helping to fund the music videos of artists and bands, as part of its plan to gain exclusives for its streaming music service. Executives from both Apple and elsewhere in the industry advised to a report the iPhone producer has helped finance musical projects, including Drake's Hotline Bling and MIA's Borders videos, to not only get content for its subscribers not available anywhere else, but also to make Apple Music a more attractive place to be, in a similar vein to MTV in the 1990's.
We've reviewed several things by Moshi over time, and they are among a handful of other companies you can count on to make high-quality stuff that's well thought-out. One of their newest products is their entry into non-earbud headphones, and it's a pair of on-ear cans that offer a stylish look and very good sound (after a bit -- more about that later). There are people who want great sound and a reasonable amount of noise isolation without the weight and bulk of over-ear headsets: will the Avanti fit the bill? Find out in our review.
A fourth lawsuit against Apple over alleged infringement of patents used by FaceTime has been filed, this time by Straight Path Group. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern California District Court, claims that FaceTime infringes on five patents previously owned by NetSpeak, which made the popular VOIP application WebPhone in the mid-1990s. As with previous suits underway by patent trolls VirnetX, VOIP-Pal, and Uniloc, the suit covers older and more general audio-video patents allegedly used by Apple in its FaceTime and Messages technologies.
It's billed as being for making sport and movies sound great, but I can tell you now that it didn't help make the UK European Union referendum sound any better at all. You can't expect miracles, though, and the Kitsound Stadium 120 is far from the top end of TV soundbars that you can buy. Yet it did transform my television, and it did make it very hard to go back to watching anything without it.
By sheer coincidence, our final episode of The MacNN Podcast comes just before a scheduled break for the Canada Day/Fourth of July holiday. Yes, it is sort of true -- because the site will be shutting down (more on that in a bit, but you can read about it here), this will be the last episode under the MacNN banner. However, because Mike and Charles and others are still having too much fun with this, we'll pick up again on the week of July 11 with a new creation, Cranky Old Guys Generally Disapproving of New Things, or Project Keep Us Off the Streets, or whatever we're going to call it.
Honda has revealed that it will offer an upgrade for buyers of the brand-new 2017 Honda Accord, which debuts June 27, that supports both Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto for those buyers who include the seven-inch Display Audio touchscreen in their options packages. Honda currently supports CarPlay in the 2016 Accord and Civic, and the 2017 Ridgeline, with the 2017 Civic Hatchback gaining the technology when it arrives this fall. The company did not say how much the 2017 Accord upgrade would cost.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE