Tag - EarPods
Today's Pointers column is about a part of the iPhone we all take so much for granted that we almost don't remember its there: the earbuds (or, if you have a more recent iPhone, EarPods) and the little controller they come with. As with iOS and OS X generally, it should not surprise you that there may be hidden abilities in there: this is true of many aspects of Apple's hardware and software. Both in Apple's own supplied earphones and Apple-compatible third-party ones with the little controller, there are some less-obvious and downright-secret features you may not know.
Apple may release some updated EarPods in the future, potentially wireless versions, if a report about a recently-discovered trademark filing is to be believed. A trademark application for "AirPods" was filed on September 22, and though the company applying for the mark isn't labeled as Apple, it is suggested that some details about the application hint strongly that Apple is in fact behind the application, using another name in an attempt to keep the application quiet.
Apple is experimenting with ways to use bone conduction technology with its EarPods, in order to make calls through headsets clearer for both parties. The patent application, recently published but originally filed in February last year, explains a system where untethered earbuds include a multitude of sensors and microphones that can combat background noise and wind, allowing the wearer to be better heard by the other party of a call.
Speaking yesterday at the Code Conference, Apple's senior VP of Internet software and services, Eddy Cue -- joined by Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine -- offered an explanation of the company's $3 billion buyout of Beats, and also discussed Apple's upcoming product pipeline. He noted that a deal for Beats and/or the people behind it has been in development for a decade, and that together the two companies should be able to speed up products that are being kept secret.
The ink hasn't even dried on Apple's acquisition of Beats and Dr Dre (Andre Young) and Jimmy Iovine, both newly anointed executives at Apple have already made a public gaffe a piece. Firstly, we saw Dr Dre quaffing Heineken beer and bragging about the deal before it was made official. Then just late yesterday, in an interview with Walt Mossberg at the Code Conference, Jimmy Iovine publicly criticized Apple's pre-packaged headphones (its EarPods) as being for little more than "to see if the sound [on the device] works." While it might have been a casual off-handed quip, it wouldn't have amused the team responsible for developing Apple's EarPods. Nor is it something you would ever expect hear coming from an Apple executive, indicating that this union may take a little while to become fully settled.
Apple's senior VP of design, Jonathan Ive, has collaborated with U2's Bono and industrial designer Marc Newson on a special set of EarPods for a charity auction. The set is plated in 18-karat solid rose gold, and will offered as part of the (RED) Auction, meant to benefit the Global Fund to fight AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
Canadian company SPRNG has recently begun shipping its SPRNG clip for Apple EarPods. Although Apple says that the EarPods are designed to sit just outside the ear canal and stay there on their own, some users complain that they can move around or fall out when on the move or when jogging in particular. The SPRNG clip promises to end those issues if you're experiencing them by adding a stabilizing, flexible strut to the EarPods that sits in under the antihelix of a user's ear -- so do they work as promised and is the $10 asking price worth it?
A company that makes digital hearing aids with the trademark name "HearPod" is suing Apple over its "EarPods" trademark, claiming infringement. Filed in Hawaii, the "HearPod" trademark was originally issued in 2007, five years before Apple introduced its EarPods headphones. Oddly, Randolph Divisions is suing for infringement rather than claiming any harm from consumer confusion between the two similar-sounding brands. Apple owns the US trademarks for both "EarPods" and "Apple EarPods," but Randolph Divisions owns the "earpods.com" domain name.
A new iFixit teardown has exposed some of the inner workings of Apple's new EarPods. The product notably uses paper cones, a first for any set of Apple headphones. The earbuds Apple previously included with mobile devices relied on plastic cones, in theory hurting sound quality.
Two of the videos shown during the two-hour iPhone 5 and iPod rollout on Wednesday have found their way to YouTube through unofficial channels. In addition to a new ad for the iPod line -- the first in years -- there is also a mini-documentary around the making of the new EarPod headphones, narrated by Apple's SVP of Design, Sir Jonathan Ive. In it, Ive details the process that went into making what he calls the "impossible" task of creating a single set of headphones that would fit nearly anybody.
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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