No change in model numbers suggests hidden capability now activated
While the addition of the latest Bluetooth specification, v4.2, was no surprise with the latest just-announced iPhones and iPads, Apple has taken the rare step of retroactively adding Bluetooth 4.2 capability to the iPad Air 2, and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models -- which previously boasted only Bluetooth 4.0 specifications. It is unclear whether a change in the Bluetooth stack in iOS 9 "activated" this capability in these models' existing BT chips, or if these models now being sold have had a part change-out internally.
Possible Force Touch input, Bluetooth LE support, integrated rechargeable batteries
A discovery deep in the codebase of the latest OS X 10.11.1 beta has revealed that Apple is planning to refresh it's "Magic" line of peripherals, including a new Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, and trackpad that will now include integrated rechargeable batteries instead of using replaceable ones, and take advantage of Bluetooth Low Energy (4.0) to dramatically improve battery life. In addition, Apple may have added its "Force Touch" technology, which allows for simulated "deeper" clicks, to the trackpad and mouse.
Updated Zeppelin speaker loses dock, relies on streaming
Bowers & Wilkins has updated the Zeppelin speaker once again, making its speakers more powerful while simplifying its design. The new Zeppelin Wireless retains the shape of its predecessors, except the company has removed the dock element completely, instead requiring users to stream audio wirelessly to the speaker using AirPlay, Bluetooth aptX, and Spotify Connect from their mobile devices.
AcoustoShock, Titan Bluetooth speakers have IPX5 water resistance
Turcom has unveiled a pair of Bluetooth speakers that are said to be durable enough to withstand the elements without compromising on sound quality. The Titan is a lightweight IPX5 water and shock resistant speaker housed in a compact aluminum shell, while the AcoustoShock is a larger speaker in a rubberized casing designed to protect the device from impacts and drops, as well as water, sand, and dust.
Stop reading now and go buy it
Okay, no messing: this is a gorgeous keyboard that we were instantaneously smitten with, and then came to like more and more in our testing. The Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard is a simply superb piece of work, and a pleasure to write on. Fair warning: with a few mild caveats, the rest of this entire Hands On is going to be in much this same style -- so if you're already convinced, just know that it's available on Amazon for about $70, and away you go.
Two Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth digital amplifier on offer at MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available from our MacNN Deals store. Today's three picks are all wireless music devices, including a waterproof model, one that gives up to eight hours of music on a single charge, and a digital amplifier that adds Bluetooth streaming to existing speakers.
Keyboard auto-detects type of device attached, customizes accordingly
Accessory manufacturer Logitech today introduced the Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard, and the Logitech M535 Bluetooth Mouse. As opposed to setting configurations for the device with software drivers, the K380 will recognize your connected device, and automatically map keys to supported functions and shortcuts.
Gorgeous and unexpectedly useful control for Macs
Look away. Look away. You don't need this, you really do not -- but you're going to want it. Here's how smitten we are with the Griffin Powermate Bluetooth: it's on our desk, it's connected to our Mac and we're using it constantly yet we still lust after it as if it were something Apple had just announced. That's a bit of a turnaround given that when we picked it up we expected it to be spectacularly pointless. It's only a knob, a round aluminium control that sits on your desk and does things like turn the volume up or down.
Pre-IFA debut also reveals wider LG ambitions for 'premium' input devices
In an effort to capture a larger share of the fast-growing mobile accessories market, LG will unveil the industry's first solid rollable wireless portable keyboard at the IFA 2015 trade show in Berlin, Germany. Unlike other portable keyboards on the market, the Rolly Keyboard folds up along the four rows to create a "stick" that fits into a pocket.
Excellent radio for the digital age
Before you get excited: Kitsound is a UK company, and though many of its products quickly become available in the US, this one hasn't got there yet. That doesn't usually stop you getting their devices direct from the UK, but it's different with radios -- as digital standards are different around the world. So, on the one hand, you need to drool now over this Kitsound Air DAB/FM Radio with Bluetooth and on the other, if you're outside the UK you can pity us for our low quality DAB (digital audio broadcasting).
Upgrade your listening experience with these wireless speakers from MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals, we are showcasing some of the offers available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today, we are highlighting three Bluetooth speakers that can help boost your listening experience, including a basic model, a waterproof one for the bathroom, and one with a Lightning dock built into it.
Mid-range smartbulb features great app and equally great light
It's turning into a battle of bulbs here, as we're back to check out our third LED smartbulb. It's turning into a bit of a Goldilocks situation, with some bulbs being priced well but feature-starved, with others being feature-packed but far too costly. Today, we check out Bolt, a smartbulb by Misfit, that promises to give you lots features without the high-end price of some of the other smartbulbs.
Small plastic tag promises to keep you from losing your things
If you're like us, there's probably a time or two (or 10) that you've misplaced an item. Maybe it's been in your house. Maybe it's been at work or in a restaurant. Maybe you've left something on a bus or a plane. What if there was something that had your back? Something small, something that stuck with whatever it is you keep losing, and kept an eye on it for you? Well, released today there is -- and it's called Tile.
Cheap and cheerful fitness tracker offers features for new and seasoned gym-goers alike
Fitness tracking is hip right now, which is probably one of the more beneficial things we've done as a species, as far as trends go. If you've not jumped on the bandwagon yet, you might be a little wary about dropping a significant amount of cash on something you're not sure you're going to utilize. But if you're interested in getting started, we'd like to introduce you to Misfit Flash, a budget-friendly, feature-packed fitness tracker.
Discounts on wireless Bluetooth headphones available at MacNN Deals
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today's three highlighted items are all wireless Bluetooth headphones of varying utility, including for use while keeping fit, or simply for lounging around at home, listening to some relaxing music from the comfort of an armchair.
New peripherals will feature integrated batteries, USB charging
Apple plans to release a new version of the company's Magic Mouse and Bluetooth wireless keyboard that will use Bluetooth Low Energy and include integrated batteries, according to new filings with the US Federal Communications Commission. The new peripherals will eschew the AA batteries currently used in favor of USB-based charging. Both will use Bluetooth 4.2 with Bluetooth LE, which should result in dramatically longer battery life.
Tiny speaker promises to brave whatever you throw at it
Portable speakers are great, but there's still usually some sort of caveat. They're portable with an asterisk -- generally intended for indoor use, or outdoor use in "optimal conditions." If you lead an outdoorsy lifestyle, however, rarely will you be in "optimal conditions." That's why EcoxGear came up with the EcoPebble, a durable little speaker that can go wherever you do.
Fashionable speaker doubles as power bank, falls a little short on sound
If you're like us, you like your technology to work well and look good. There's nothing wrong with wanting your devices to be stylish, and there's something to be said for a device that wows you with its appearance and its capabilities. Braven takes that philosophy to heart with Lux, a Bluetooth speaker that's capable of turning heads.
Flexible silicone keyboard is lightweight, portable, and damage resistant
There's no denying that we love our tablets and smartphones, but we find that extended typing on them isn't nearly as comfortable as one would hope, especially in the case of smaller tablets. Our iPad Mini is too big to thumb-text, but too small to home-row, touch-type. Having a full-sized keyboard on hand to make extended typing easier is nice. Having a full-sized keyboard that is light, portable, and damage-resistant? Even better. That's where Scosche's FreeKEY roll-up Bluetooth keyboard comes in, offering both convenience and portability.
Bluetooth enabled LED bulbs create fantastic scenes in your home
If you're like most people, you don't think too much about the light bulbs that hang out in the sockets in your house. Maybe you've got a preference, but most of us are happy as long as they work and illuminate the area adequately. Still, innovation is generally a good thing, which is why we were so excited to try out the Satechi Spectrum iQ Bulb, an LED bulb that utilizes Bluetooth to give users nearly-endless lighting options.
Simple near-universal bluetooth remote allows for easy music and media control
Let's paint a scenario for you: you're driving along, letting your iPhone serenade you with favorites from your music collection, when suddenly it plays that one song that you hate more than anything. You look away from the road to grab your phone and switch the song to something else, and in that brief moment, you've drifted into the other lane. Sound familiar? If this sounds like something that you can relate to, we'd like to introduce you to the Satechi Media Button, a Bluetooth enabled media remote designed to help you avoid moments just like that.
High-quality case offers stylish functionality, but at designer prices
Following numerous legal shenanigans between Typo -- a company founded in part by Ryan Seacrest -- and the clear object of his physical-keyboard affections, BlackBerry -- the company found itself in a position where it was barred by the court from making any sort of of keyboard for smartphones or phablets less than 7.9 inches in size. What to do when your entire raison d'etre has been taken away? Reinvent yourself as a tablet keyboard company. Did Typo succeed with its Plan B? Find out in our review!
Pair focusing on identity verification on mobile, handshake across devices
The Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance, the organization focused on changing the nature of online authentication, entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) to use Bluetooth Smart as an alternative to using a USB dongle in Universal Second Factor (U2F) authentication. The goal of the pair is to contribute to specifications for FIDO U2F over Bluetooth Smart to extend the reach of the protocol from the desktop to the mobile device.
High-tech temperature monitoring for busy cooks
If you're an avid cook like we are, chances are you have begun looking for the latest and greatest advances in kitchen appliances. We've got our fair share of devices that solve problems, but there are a few we've not replaced. Our colander is the same standard metal design that our grandmother used. Our rolling pin is nothing more than a simple, oversized wooden dowel. Our thermometer is a standard dial-style probe thermometer -- until recently. We're going to show you why we think it might be time for you to upgrade to the iDevice Bluetooth-enabled Kitchen Thermometer.
Speakers feature Google Cast, Airplay, Spotify Connect
Sony Electronics announced today three new premium wireless speakers -- the SRS-X77, SRS-X88 and SRS-X99. Like the HT-ST9 and HT-NT3 sound bars and STR-DN1060 and STR-DN860 A/V receivers, all three wireless speakers have Google Cast, AirPlay, and Spotify Connect, as well as multi-room capability through the Song Pal app. The SRS-X88 and SRS-X99 speakers also boast Hi-Res audio capability.
Improve the audio quality of a smartphone by acquiring a Bluetooth speaker
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the sales available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today, we have a collection of three Bluetooth-equipped speakers, and while two are fairly normal examples from the portable audio market, one is visually completely different from the others.
Light up your office and make it 'Hammertime,' all in one package
There's no reason why your tech can't look good while doing what it was designed to do. That's the reason that sports cars look good and drive fast, after all. That's why we're here to show you the iHome iBT74, an attractive Bluetooth speaker with built in LED lights, designed to help brighten up your corner. Check our full review to find out what we thought about it.
The MacNN Deals return, complete with new offers
After a brief technical-issue-related hiatus, MacNN Deals is back, and so is our daily look at three items you can pick up from the store pretty cheaply. For the first featured items to herald its return, we have selected deals involving an iPhone 5 and two Bluetooth speakers: one with classic looks, the other opting for a more unusual appearance.
UE Roll offers 360-degree sound, waterproofing in pocket-size design
Ultimate Ears is adding another resilient speaker to its range, this time in a form that is much easier to carry around. While its stablemates, the UE Boom and UE Megaboom, all offer high-quality sound in a water-resistant cylindrical shape, the UE Roll takes a different approach, shrinking down the design to a UFO-shaped disc measuring 135mmx40mm (5.3 inches by 1.6 inches) and weighing 330 grams (11.6 ounces), complete with the signature oversized plus and minus controls on the top surface.
These Bluetooth speakers give your audio playback a boost
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the sales available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today, we're looking at a group of three Bluetooth speakers that could help improve the audio coming from your smartphone or tablet, and in one case, can even provide people who sing in the shower with more entertainment.
Slick looking Bluetooth keyboard that takes some getting used to
We like having a Bluetooth keyboard on hand, particularly when traveling or just around the house for when disaster strikes. Unfortunately, we've yet to find one we absolutely love to pieces. Generally, they're made smaller than laptop keyboards, but not quite small enough to make them perfect for lugging around comfortably. Enter the E6700 keyboard from Rapoo, which looks very cool -- but has a rather awkward design choice. Check out our full review for more info.
Turn your whole Mac into an iOS keyboard
It is true that it's harder to type on the glass of an iPhone or iPad than it is to use a real keyboard with full-size keys that depress under your fingers. You could argue how much harder, as we do get by every day without carting large keyboards around with our iPhones, but it is harder -- and there's one more thing. We don't cart our iPhones around as much as we think: we are often right there with them at our Macs. Our Macs which have keyboards. Now Typeeto 1.0 lets you use that Mac keyboard with your iPhone.
Wacom offers well-designed, albeit simple drawing app to pair with stylus lines
Design giants Wacom are known for their line of drawing tablets, which they've been producing for the better part of two decades. Because of this, they've become an industry standard when it comes to graphic design and digital illustration. Seeking to extend their market, Wacom recently made the leap of producing a line of Bluetooth-enabled styluses for the iPad, and with it came Bamboo Paper, a stylus-compatible drawing app designed for the iPad.
Collapsible compact keyboard not for large hands
The Jorno Bluetooth keyboard and stand for tablets certainly looks nice. The gunmetal grey shell of the keyboard looks great while the unit is folded up. That's right -- the keyboard folds with two hinges into a swank-looking brick when not in use. There's also a nice case with a magnetic closure that transforms into a tablet stand. This keyboard and its care are ideal for travel -- it's lightweight and compact when not in use. There were some things we didn't like about it, but the designers were certainly on the right track when they came up with this one. Check our review to see what we thought about it.
Griffin Twenty brings wireless streaming to passive speakers
A few years ago Griffin launched the original Twenty, a small digital amp that used an AirPort Express to turn any set of passive speakers into a wireless system for streaming music. Unfortunately for Griffin, shortly after the launch of the Twenty, Apple updated the design of the AirPort Express, which instantly antiquated the digital amp. Now, thanks to advancements in Bluetooth technology, Griffin no longer needs to lean on Apple's AirPlay technology for streaming, and is back with a new and improved version of the Twenty Digital Amp. We have spent some time with the updated digital amp -- see what we thought about it in our full review.
A handy tablet or spare wireless keyboard made from natural materials
Sometimes, you need to do a lot of typing on a mobile device. While spiffy keyboard apps like Swiftkey and Hero Keyboard make it faster and easier using the on-screen keyboard, it isn't always enough. Or perhaps that deadline for a paper you were supposed to write is nigh, and your notebook or desktop computer with a keyboard is not handy. In each of these cases, a Bluetooth keyboard is a life saver. The Bamboo Bluetooth keyboard from Impecca is one such keyboard, and we quite liked using it.
The B2 brings an upscale design and new features
Huawei has introduced a new fitness tracker, the TalkBand B2, that made its debut alongside the company's new smartwatch at Mobile World Congress. Serving as a successor to the TalkBand B1, the B2 edition again doubles as a fitness wristband and a Bluetooth earpiece.
Jury declares Samsung infringed on pair of modem patents
Samsung has lost a patent infringement lawsuit over Bluetooth 2.0, to a non-practicing entity called Rembrandt IP. A jury in an East Texas federal court ruled the manufacturer had infringed three claims on two patents, numbers 8,457,228 and 8,023,580, relating to modem compatibility, with Rembrandt being given $15.7 million in compensation and royalties on future Samsung devices using Bluetooth.
BrydgeAir stands out from the Bluetooth keyboard accessory crowd
The market for keyboard accessories for tablets like the iPad is extensive, whether Apple likes it or not. That Apple hasn't released an equivalent accessory to speaks volumes about the typical ergonomics of these kinds of accessories. The best option that we have found to date is to marry an iPad with the Incase Origami and one of Apple's wireless keyboards, although it is not the most integrated solution. Does the BrydgeAir Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad Air offer a better, more integrated solution?
Mobile battery-powered speaker has four full drivers, one bass driver
Consumer electronics manufacturer Acemile has introduced the Theatre Box, a portable wireless speaker that delivers a 360-degree surround sound audio experience to everyone in the room, no matter the orientation to the speaker. The company claims that the speaker fills a 2,000-square-foot room, using four two-inch full range drivers, and one three-inch active bass driver.
Could give Apple more pull on Bluetooth standards
The Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) has announced several appointments within its board of directors, including the promotion of Apple's Joakim Linde to secretary. Linde has been with the SIG for some time, but his new role may give him -- and Apple -- more influence over the direction of the Bluetooth standard. At Apple, he serves as a senior wireless architect.
Ion Audio introduces new Air LP digital audio converter, Bluetooth turntable
Ion Audio has announced its new Air LP Bluetooth turntable, currently being showcased at CES this week. Capable of converting analog records into digital files on one's computer, the Air LP connects to a Mac or Windows PC with its included USB cable. The turntable streams audio wirelessly to Bluetooth-compatible speakers, and includes "EZ Vinyl and Tape Converter" software for the audio conversion via USB.
Altec Lansing introduces new speakers for all-weather conditions, 360 degree sound
Two new speakers have been announced today at CES by Altec Lansing, both featuring Bluetooth connectivity. The all-weather Boomjacket offers twice the battery life of Lifejacket, its predecessor, and is capable of playing audio for up to 40 hours on a single charge. Offering durability to resist the effects of rain, dirt, and shock, its dual two-inch neodymium drivers, passive radiator design and aptX wireless audio aim to produce a powerful sound in a range of settings. Priced at $200, the Boomjacket will be accompanied by a carrying pouch, USB charging, a 3.5mm aux-in jack and power supply cables.
Audio-enabled, insulated storage container launches Monday at CES
Portable audio system and food storage container Kube launched Monday at CES in Las Vegas. Designed for outdoor and indoor usage, the Kube offers a Bluetooth range of 50 feet for pairing with a Bluetooth-enabled device, and can deliver sound for up to 20 hours. Its exterior is comprised of aluminum and coated polymer, with five back-lit tactile buttons for controlling audio. Kube additionally includes the ability for charging USB devices with an available port, and its interior insulated food storage compartment features LED lights that automatically engage when the container is opened.
Panasonic offers four new models, one with Bluetooth and NFC
Four new models of headphones from Panasonic made their debut today at CES. The offerings included a foldable on-ear model, Bluetooth headphones with near-field communication (NFC), and two premium in-ear models. The Panasonic Foldz are designed to allow the ear cups to swivel around into a compact formation for storage and portability. The RP-BTD5 Bluetooth headphones include NFC connectivity that allows the user to connect them to a device by simply touching it to one of the ear cups.
Griffin adds Bluetooth connectivity to Twenty digital audio amplifier
Griffin is using CES to launch a large number of accessories for mobile devices, as well as something for audiophiles. The collection includes four items in its charging-related accessory range and two iTrip devices, along with an upgraded version of its Twenty digital audio amplifier, adding Bluetooth connectivity and a refined physical design.
New speakers waterproof, ruggedized, louder, and boasts longer battery life
Fugoo, makers of the Go Anywhere speaker line, today announced their newest product line at Las Vegas' Consumer Electronics Show. The new Fugoo XL series is larger and louder, ruggedized, and 100 percent waterproof, according to the company. Featuring Bluetooth connectivity, the new speaker has quadruple the wattage, and two new jacket styles that float.
'Adventure models' will debut at Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show next week
Last year, speaker maker Nyne unveiled its "Aqua" at CES 2014 -- a Bluetooth speaker with an IPX7 rating, which means it's considered "waterproof" (immersion for up to 30 minutes at 3.3 feet (1m) of water). This year, three new "adventure models," the Edge, the Verge, and the Rock will be available to demo at Nyne's CES booth. While these new models don't have ratings high enough to designate them as waterproof, they are still water-resistant.
Apple allows Drafts app to retain Notification Center widget
Drafts 4, a note-taking app for iOS, has received an update bringing back its Notification Center widget, which was axed by Apple earlier this month. The widget allows users quick access to simple tools for opening up the app and create a new note. Drafts v4.0.6 also includes a "New from selection" option, found within the document-creation options, as well as URL action steps now having "URL encode tag output" option. Improvements to background refresh and sync handling are also present in the update. Drafts 4 is priced at $5, and requires iOS 8.0 or later.
Flat sound, minimum clarity holds Dell's speaker back from being a good buy
For all of the high-priced, over-engineered Bluetooth speakers in the electronics market, there is still room for mass-market solutions. While consumers often compromise in battery life, design or sound, the sub-$100 market offers a wide array of choices. Computer builder Dell entered into the Bluetooth speaker market with a value model, looking to entice consumers with a long battery life and compact, minimal design. But is the Dell AD211 a good buy for consumers looking to get the most out of their money, or does it fail to meet modest expectations? Find out in our review.