New payment option lowers cost for multiple users to access Spotify
Spotify is adding a new subscription option to its plan roster, one which covers multiple users. Spotify Family will provide access to the premium version of the music streaming service to up to five nominated users, with the group plan being discounted heavily compared to the single-user subscription, a payment option Rdio first introduced in June of last year.
Comes despite companies settling lawsuit
In spite of the two companies settling a lawsuit over noise cancellation patents, Apple has gone ahead and removed Bose headphones and speakers from its online store, visitors note. Rumors surfaced a week ago that Apple was planning to remove Bose products from its stores. Why it would want to was uncertain, but one point of speculation was animosity because of the lawsuit.
Programs gain new look, tap into Yosemite features such as iCloud Drive, Mail Drop
In addition to updating its iWork apps for OS X to better support the formal release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite (and give the programs the signature design language of the new OS update), Apple has also updated iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand with similar changes in the user interface and back-end improvements to take advantage of Yosemite features such as Mail Drop and iCloud Drive storage. In addition, the company issued what is likely to be the last update to Aperture, making it Yosemite-compatible, and also updated iBooks Author to version 2.2.
Publicity from ban, player fine makes Beats 'look like the underdog,' co-founder says
Speaking at the University of California's "Global Conversation" conference on Wednesday, Beats co-founder and Apple executive Jimmy Iovine offered his spin on the recent NFL deal with rival Bose to make the latter's headphones the "official" brand of the football league, and the fact that many players seem to prefer the Beats brand. He told the audience that players, both under contract to endorse Beats and not, have taken to taping over the Beats logo on their own pairs rather than wear the endorsed brand.
Move seen as part of rumored rebranding shift coming next year
One of the US' largest carriers, AT&T, has abruptly ended a promotion it began with Beats Music prior to the latter being acquired by Apple. The carrier was previously offering the ability to include a Beats Music subscription on a customer's wireless bill if desired, and told AppleInsider that it will continue to offer the plan to existing customers and those currently on the free trial. There is, however, no longer any access to a free trial through AT&T's website.
Deluxe version now available on Amazon, other retailers
While many users were happy to get a free album from iTunes, the recent promotion of U2's Songs of Innocence LP done through Apple -- where every iTunes user had a copy added to their past purchases list -- rubbed some listeners the wrong way. Bono, the lead singer for the group, has issued an apology for what he characterized as an overzealous move that resulted from a combination of "a drop of megalomania" and "deep fear" that the songs wouldn't be widely heard.
Plan only pegged for 'the near future'
Authorized Apple service providers -- and presumably Apple itself -- will soon start servicing Beats speakers and headphones, according to a memo to providers obtained by a Greek website. The message states that "in the near future, Apple will be responsible for providing service" for Beats products. The company adds that it is now sending out contract addendums, and will publish articles explaining the exact processes for handling Beats gear.
New device creates audio-only network for Sonos streamers
As expected, speaker company Sonos has released the Sonos Boost, a device which aims to provide "enterprise-grade wireless capabilities" to the company's speaker offerings, doubling the Sonos Bridge's effective range. The device connects to an existing Wi-Fi network, and makes a separate network for the wireless Sonos speakers. This removes the traffic from the main network, minimizing streaming problems that may cause audio dropout as a result of network congestion.
All-in-one DJ solution looks to remove focus on laptops, adds high-resolution displays
A new entry in Native Instruments Traktor series of DJ controllers was unveiled today, with the Traktor Kontrol S8. The newest model in the company's flagship line looks to change the way DJ move into the future, by pulling emphasis away from the laptop in order to focus more on the crown. Native Instruments does this by adding technology to controllers, such as high-resolution LCD displays that respond to touch-sensitive controls.
Red JBL earphones have 9mm drivers, inline controls
Chinese mobile device producer OnePlus has introduced a second set of earphones for its smartphone, less than a month after announcing another pair of slightly-smaller earbuds. Built in partnership with JBL, the E1+ Earphones are said to be "specifically crafted" for the OnePlus One, with the earbuds using 9mm JBL drivers with the company's PureBass technology, claimed to provide a high-frequency response between 10Hz and 22kHz and a considerable amount of bass.
Less-obvious buttons, more white space, flatter icons fall in line with iOS 7 aesthetic
The flatter, more minimalist look sported by both iOS 7 and 8 as well as the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite has reached iTunes, or at least the version currently being beta-tested for imminent release. With OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1 expected to be unveiled next week at Apple's press event, the music management and storefront application that ties into most users' iOS devices for media access has gained a whiter, flatter interface that does away with shadows and 3D effects in favor of clean lines and subtle buttons.
Electronista and MacNN deals for October 10, 2014
Columbus Day or Canadian Thanksgiving weekend is upon us! Not only that, but its time for Friday Deals! Every Friday, we round up the best deals for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, all prices are verified at the time of publication, but may not be valid if you're reading this after the weekend, so check before buying. Check back frequently over the weekend, we like to add stuff!
Could theoretically bring Bose products back to Apple Stores
Bose has settled its lawsuit against Apple-owned Beats Electronics, filed in July over patents connected to noise cancellation technology, says Bloomberg. The companies have submitted joint filings to a Delaware court, and asked the US International Trade Commission to halt an investigation. Had Bose's original demands been met, imports of Beats' Studio and Studio Wireless headphones would've been blocked. The terms of the settlement are unknown.
Beats acquisition may be to blame
(Updated with references to Bose/Beats lawsuit) Apple is preparing to pull all of Bose's audio products from its stores, according to sources for MacRumors and MacNN. The MacRumors source says that the inventory change is due to start next week, and that workers will get instructions in the next few days. Commenting on the claim, the MacNN source suggests that it's likely true and "falls in line with a shelving reorganization for Christmas that we've already seen that's got nothing from Bose on it."
Great design, strong bass signature, but inconsistent sound outside of games
Sound quality and design are two of the biggest areas of focus for manufacturers when coming up with a new gaming headset. Depending on the brand, some headsets lean toward universal use and good looks, while others try to focus more on the quality of sound. Polk Audio, a company with a long pedigree in consumer audio, has stepped into the gaming market to try its hand at balancing looks and sound with the 4 Shot. But is the headset a one-trick pony, or does it manage to offer everything consumers want? Find out in our review.
League has signed exclusive deal with Bose that covers post-game and interview endorsements
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been fined $10,000 by the NFL for breaking a league rule about wearing unsponsored products when conducting interviews within 90 minutes following a game. Kaepernick was wearing a pair of pink Beats headphones -- which he later tweeted was in support of breast cancer awareness -- during a press conference following a game with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The NFL signed an exclusive deal with Bose back in March, and only that brand of headphones are supposed to be seen.
Apple counting only full album downloads; 81M more have 'experienced' tracks
Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue revealed on Thursday that the U2 album Apple bought and gave away to its users for free, Songs of Innocence, has now been deliberately downloaded by users more than 26 million times, with another 65 million users having listened to at least one of the songs from it either through iTunes Radio, Beats Music or on iTunes. This figure, Cue said, was a little shy of double the sum total of all U2 music bought from iTunes since 2003.
UltraWide screen monitors, cheap 4K TVs and more
Newegg.com this week has the LG 21.9-inch UltraWide screen backlight LCD monitor on sale for $250. That's already $100 off the list price of $350, and when coupon code 'AUTMNTIME88' is used at checkout, the price drops even further to $210. All together, that is around $40 less than the next lowest price. This monitor features a resolution of 2560x1080, 5ms response time, a contrast ratio of 1000:1, and provides a variety of input options including DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from LG.
Audiophile-grade amplified headphones feature perfect fit, great sound
Blue, a company that has specialized in microphones, has turned its techniques the other way around to create a set of serious headphones -- called Mo-Fi -- with an almost Apple-like attention to detail, from the packaging to the execution of the design. This is the sort of thing we were hoping Apple would create for Beats after the first year or two, but here it is now. At $350, they are not meant for casual listening, and it might be dangerous to wear them while walking the streets. They are primarily intended for serious listening to high-quality music. Are they for you? Find out in our review.
Bose granted rights to prevent other headphone use, NFL defends practice
Apple-owned designer headphone brand Beats by Dre is taking another hit in the professional sports arena. It was uncovered that a recent deal between Bose and the National Football League (NFL) will ban other headphones on game days as a part of the exclusive league sponsorship. While the ban is in effect for all other headphone manufacturers, Beats argues that its headphones are important to players.
Plans to revamp Beats Music next year at lower monthly price
Apple is asking the major music labels to adjust their agreements with the iPhone maker to allow to go ahead with a planned revision of the subscription-based Beats Music service that may well portend a lowering of the monthly cost. The company apparently plans to introduce changes to the service next year, and wants to obtain new rights and features at a lower price as part of what it has in mind. Streaming services have recently gained in popularity at around the $10 per month mark, which is what Beats Music charges.
Further tweaks on design in preparation for likely October release
On Thursday, Apple released an updated version of the beta for iTunes 12, intended for developers and OS X 10.10 Yosemite Public Beta testers. The update follows on the heels of Monday's Golden Master candidate for Yosemite. The iTunes update makes very minor changes to version 12, including some refinement on vertical alignment in the top bar, a handful of revised icons and other minor tweaks. The forthcoming final release will include support for Family Sharing, and an overall new look.
Spotify opens Canadian streaming service to everyone
Spotify has opened up its service in Canada to all users, following a brief invitational period. The streaming music service boasts over 20 million songs served on 320kbps streams, with chief content officer Ken Parks claiming the collection has been "tailor made for Canadian music fans." Users have the same ad-supported free and paid service options as other regions, with Spotify Premium priced at $10 per month.
HighPoint Technologies launches RocketStor 6361A Single-PCIe slot Thunderbolt 2 Expansion Chassis
HighPoint Technologies has announced the launch of the RocketStor 6361A, the newest product within its RocketStor 6300 Thunderbolt 2 Adapter series. A single PCIe-slot Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis, the RocketStor 6361A is designed for Thunderbolt- and Thunderbolt 2-capable Mac platforms, delivering 20GB/s bandwidth for interface cards such as media capture, 10GB/s Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or external storage/RAID controllers.
Four headsets added under Siberia line five years after the release of the Siberia v2
Audio accessory maker SteelSeries announced that it is building upon its lineup of successful Siberia headphones, adding four new models under the line. The new models, named under the Siberia v3 and Siberia Prism monikers, come five years after the release of the popular Siberia v2 headset. The next iteration of the Siberia line is set to release this holiday season.
Steven Lamar said to have exaggerated association to boost new venture
According to new court filings, Apple-owned Beats is suing Roam and Jibe Audio founder Steven Lamar for false advertisements and unfair competition after Lamar posted numerous times on social media and his own company's website that he was a "co-founder" of Beats alongside Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. While Lamar does have a legitimate connection to the headphone maker, and collects a royalty on certain models of Beats headphones, Beats says in its filing that Lamar has "never had any ownership interest" in the audio products company.
Headphones for PS3, PS4 offer DTS 7.1 surround sound technology, 50mm drivers
Turtle Beach announced another new headset with DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound technology, the wireless Ear Force Stealth 500P. Like the recently-released Z60, the DTS technology allows the company to control the surround sound, moving it to the center of a user's body instead of several feet away. The headset comes with modes for games, movies, music and stereo.
OnePlus earphones launching next week for $15
OnePlus has created a set of earphones designed to match its flagship smartphone, the OnePlus One. The Silver Bullet Earphones are compact ear buds housed in a brushed aluminum casing, with the Chinese manufacturer claiming the audio devices to be durable as well as providing listeners with a "powerful and immersive sound."
Apple knew streaming would eventually replace product in 2003
In a new interview for the magazine Fast Company, former Apple executive and head of the original iPod project Tony Fadell, now CEO of Nest at Google, mentions his sense of loss that the last large-capacity iPod, the iPod classic, has been discontinued by Apple. While lamenting the passing of the unit that modelled most closely the design of the original iPod, Fadell notes that Apple began thinking about what would kill the product within two years of it emerging.
Apple plans for platform's tech still unknown
[Updated with Apple denial] Despite recent efforts to promote the streaming service, Apple is planning to discontinue Beats Music, sources within Apple and Beats say. "Many" Beats Music engineers have reportedly been diverted to other projects, such as iTunes. The sources have no insight on what Apple plans to do with the service's technology.
Headset brings 60mm drivers, DTS Headphone:X technology for 7.1 surround sound
Turtle Beach released the Ear Force Z60 headset last week, a pair of gaming headphones that the company first unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Made to handle the surround-sound needs for video games, music and movies, the headphones utilize DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound. Turtle Beach does this without the use of separate software or drivers, unlike many other headphones on the market.
Sony cameras, 3D TVs, Harman Kardon earbuds and more
Right now at Amazon, save 44 percent on the Sony NEX-6L/B compact interchangeable lens digital camera in black. It was $898, but has been reduced to $500 and is eligible for free two-day shipping. That discount makes this the best price we have seen anywhere by about $230. This digital camera features 16MP resolution, with 10fps burst shooting, Full HD video, interchangeable e-mount lenses, fast hybrid auto focus, Wi-Fi sharing, multi-interface shoe, built-in HDR mode, dual format media card slot, and tons more.
Aim to help artists who don't make money from touring
Irish band U2 is collaborating with Apple on a "new digital music format" designed to entice people into buying more recorded music, according to Time. The band claims that the point isn't just to help its own sales, but artists that can't make money from live performances. "Songwriters aren't touring people," says frontman Bono. "Cole Porter wouldn't have sold t-shirts. Cole Porter wasn't coming to a stadium near you."
Car audio company gets minority shares in new DJ audio company, Onkyo
Pioneer's vision for the future is shifting, as it was announced this week that the company is spinning its disk-jockey audio line off into a new company. Through an agreement with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), the private equity firm will acquire a majority share in the new company, tentatively titled Pioneer DJ. News follows a change in the previously-announced venture, that would see the home audio division splintered from Pioneer, selling it to Onkyo in its entirety.
Some users downloading, some streaming, averaging 5.1 million per day
Less than a week after Apple added U2's new album Songs of Innocence to iTunes' users libraries as a free gift, Apple has revealed that the album has been downloaded, streamed or played in its entirety more than 33 million times, an average "sales" figure of 5.1 million copies per day. Apple did also provide a tool for users who didn't want the gift to remove it completely if they desired.
Wave Field Synthesis technology delivers consistent stereo sound from one speaker
Welcome to another edition of the Crowdfunding Critic, an article series where Electronista and MacNN staff look at some interesting projects being crowdfunded through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. While we believe these devices to be appealing or useful at some level, please note that the article isn't an endorsement of the project or campaign. With any crowdfunding campaign, there are inherent risks involved. As such, we ask our readers to research the items they may be contributing to since it's an investment. In this week's edition, we take a look at The Core wireless speaker system from Mass Fidelity.
Cambridge Audio announces G2 Bluetooth wireless speaker
British audio company Cambridge Audio has announced the upcoming release of its ultra-compact Bluetooth speaker, the G2. Comprised of a four speaker array, the G2 can run for up to ten hours on a charge. The speaker features Bluetooth connectivity as well as Near-Field Communication (NFC), which supports one-touch pairing, and can remember eight different devices. Its solid aluminium body includes soft touch controls, and is available in black or champagne finish options. Priced at $175, the G2 can be ordered in October.
May require iOS 8, hardware upgrade in order to play true 24-bit audio files
Audio and video equipment maker Philips has debuted a new headphone set for iOS devices that offers a pair of distinct differences: it features 24-bit digital-to-analog conversion and amplification built right within the headphones, and it uses a Lightning connector rather than a standard 3.5mm connector. The Fidelio M2L headphones are said to the first to use the Lightning connector.
Minor cosmetic tweaks a-plenty, but no new major features
Following its update of the iOS 8 beta to Golden Master status, Apple on Wednesday also updated iTunes 12, being tested as part of the OS X 10.10 Yosemite public and developer betas. The new version, which still carries the same v12.0 moniker, does not list any significant changes but testers have reported minor tweaks, ranging from a new transparency in the sidebar to a variety of tiny cosmetic changes.
Deezer launching in United States with beta streaming for Sonos owners
Music streaming service Deezer is finally heading to the United States, after being available across Europe, Canada, and a few other countries for some time. In order to differentiate itself from the competition, Deezer plans to offer a higher quality of stream to owners of Sonos speaker systems, with a far higher bitrate than Spotify and Rdio streams available on 90 percent of the catalog.
Removal of iPod classic from range after seven years of availability
At the same time as introducing new iPhones and the Apple Watch, Apple has apparently stopped selling the iPod classic. The long-running music player is no longer visible in Apple's online store, suggesting the company has finally retired the device after seven years, and almost 13 years after the first version of the iPod went on sale.
U2 partnership allows large launch, free Sounds of Innocence album until October 13
Not leaving any stone unturned, Apple made a final announcement during the iPhone 6 unveiling that moved away from hardware. After bringing the much-rumored group U2 to the stage to perform their new single during the event, Tim Cook and Bono played out a little event on stage that would lead to one of the biggest musical launches in history, and it was happening on iTunes.
AT&T announces cost of second year of data plan for Timex Ironman One GPS+
AT&T has announced second-year data pricing for the Timex Ironman One GPS+ smartwatch. Originally announced in August, the Timex smartwatch offers stand-alone wireless connectivity without a phone, including fitness tracking, a "Find Me Mode" safety function, and more. After the initial year of included data service, AT&T smartwatch users will need to pay $40 for the second year of data and messaging. Pre-ordering for the Timex Ironman One GPS+ is available online for $400, with the product officially available this fall.
Small, handy mic add-on enhances iOS recordings
Blue Microphones, a company that makes some of the most popular digital USB microphones among podcasters and musicians, has for some time made a Mikey clip-in microphone for 30-pin iOS devices that significantly enhanced the sound quality of recordings. The company has now brought out a new model -- the Mikey Digital -- designed for Lightning-based devices, and introduced a few new tricks in the process. While not the equal of Blue's more expensive desktop mics, it is a godsend for on-the-go recording. Is it right for you? Check out our review for samples and insight on this little wonder.
Sponsored sessions provide advertising-free Spotify for 30 minutes
Spotify will soon be showing video-based advertising to listeners of its free service. The streaming music company has revealed it will start airing the videos to its free users shortly, with both desktop and mobile app users set to see the clips, though marketers will have a few options for how their advertizing efforts get utilized by the service.
Halo Slyr headset coming this holiday season, work with Astro allows customer focus
Skullcandy Gaming was present at Seattle's Penny Arcade Expo over Labor Day weekend, allowing gamers to experience its specific brand of gaming headsets. As part of its presence at the show, booth visitors were able to play Halo: The Master Chief Collection ahead of its launch, while talking about a new entry in the Skullcandy Gaming line. The company teased a development of its recently-unveiled collaboration with 343 Industries, a new Halo-branded Slyr headset.
Slix Bluetooth wireless speaker unveiled at IFA 2014
British tech brand i-Box has introduced its new Slix Bluetooth wireless speaker today at IFA 2014. A compact 6W speaker, the Slix features a durable chassis and rubber detailing designed for protective coverage, with a water-resistance rating of IPX5. Measuring at 155 x 58 x 28mm, its 1.5-inch full-range drivers are supplemented by a passive bass radiator.
21.5-inch iMac slashed to $1,030
MacMall.com has the previous-generation 21.5-inch iMac on sale for $1,110, which is already $390 off the list price of $1,500. An $80 mail-in-rebate offer is also available, that drops the price further to $1,030. That discount makes this the lowest price we have seen on this Mac model by more than $350. This iMac features a 2.9GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. It is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Hint earbud from Motorola actively listens for voice search prompts
Motorola revealed a new earpiece alongside its Moto G and Moto X updates, one which adds more usefulness to the standard Bluetooth headset. The Moto Hint is a compact earbud which can be used for voice searches and to interact with a paired smartphone using verbal commands, as well as for making and receiving phone calls hands-free.
Field recording through Lightning devices, stand gives tablet users positioning options
Two new products are coming from IK Multimedia, as the company announced the iRig Mic Field and iKlip Xpand Stand. The iRig Mic Field offers high-quality stereo recording through Lightning-compatible devices for projects that need a separate audio recording, like live bands or films. The new iKlip Xpand Stand offers tablet users a way to mount their tablets, giving them the flexibility to use them in a freestanding manner without bulky hardware or permanently attached fixtures.