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.
Bluetooth speaker releasing this fall for $300, contains 25 watts of power
Not to be outdone by the other brands under the Harman banner, Infinity will be releasing a new portable speaker this fall. The Infinity One Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System, which was designed in a collaboration with the rock group Linkin Park, looks to bring a new level of premium audio to the Bluetooth speaker space.
Cinema soundbar and base coming for entertainment, new portable Charge 2 speaker
This fall, three new products from JBL will be available for consumers looking to add some punch to their home theater setups without taking up much space or when listening to music on-the-go. The company announced that two new products in the Cinema line, the Cinema Base and Cinema SB350, and the Charge 2 Bluetooth speaker would be coming later in the year.
New headphones, Bluetooth speaker and wireless speaker system on sale this year
At a recent trade show, Harman Kardon made a number of announcements about the new consumer audio devices that would be hitting the market this fall. Offerings are spread across the board, with a new set of Bluetooth on-ear headphones, a professional Bluetooth speaker, and a wireless in-home audio speaker system and adapter are coming to tackle a number of customer needs.
Amplifier, headphone divisions come together create a speaker full of 'punch and drive'
Audio equipment maker Marshall, best known for its guitar amps and headphones, has announced a new consumer speaker coming this year called the Woburn. The new speaker is a joint effort between Marshall Amplification and Marshall Headphones, featuring classic Marshall styling in the unit, including gold piping, fret grille cloth and a vinyl covering.
Headphones feature interchangeable parts, smaller ear cups and rotatable arms
Pioneer Electronics has announced a new set of professional headphones in its DJ line today, with the HDJ-C70. The company took a different stance on design with the HDJ-C70s than other DJ headphones in the past, moving to create a lightweight headset to fit the sound quality demands and comfort needed for heavy use.
Cross DJ for Android updated, adds controller compatibility, record and sharing on Mixcloud, SoundCl
DJing app Cross DJ has updated its Android version, now enabling external controllers and other features. Users can now connect their Android device to the U-Mix Control-Pro, a MIDI controller that has all Cross DJ controls mapped onto it. When using the controller users can browse, scratch, sync tracks, add effects and more.
May have shot special video for the introduction, Bono could make appearance
A variety of rumors have surfaced suggesting that U2 -- the legendary Irish band whose members have close ties to former and current Apple executives -- may be involved in some manner with the launch of the iPhone 6, which is expected to happen at a scheduled press event next Tuesday, September 9. Reports range from Bono (and perhaps the rest of the band) performing at the end of the Apple event to the possibility that the group's new album would be pre-loaded onto the iPhone, though the latter seems highly speculative.
Experience in audio brought to gaming, Striker headset coming in October
Polk Audio brought a few of its audio units tuned for gaming to Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle over the weekend. Offering the existing 4 Shot Gaming Headset, N1 Gaming Sound Bar and Striker Gaming Headset for users to listen to, patrons of the gaming convention were able to experience what a company with more than 40 years of experience in audio can bring to gaming.
Komplete gets new Rounds, Kontour, Polyplex instruments
Native Instruments has announced Komplete 10, the next version of its audio production suite, bundling together all its instruments with some extra perks. This version adds several new instruments, including Rounds, Kontour, and Polyplex. Rounds combines sound design and sequencing functions, while Kontour is a synthesizer with "organic" textures. Polyplex designs drumkits, combining up to four samples per slot; randomization can be applied on a global, sound, or sample level.
Update eliminates requirement for physical network connection, Sonos Bridge
Sonos has started to implement a change to the wireless networking used by its speaker system, eliminating the need for a physical connection. The previously-announced update will now allow for speakers to connect to an existing Wi-Fi network, instead of the wireless mesh network created between the speakers.
Famed tenor Placido Domingo to close out month-long concert series
The iTunes Festival is now underway in London, having kicked off the first night of the month-long concert series with headliner Deadmau5 and opening acts Friends Within and Kate Simko & the London Electronic Orchestra. Performances are streamed live through the official iOS app, iTunes on the Mac or Windows, or via the dedicated Apple TV channel, with selected acts available for repeat or later viewing.
Curved Soundbar designed to have same curvature as Samsung UHD televisions
Samsung has revealed two more products ahead of this week's IFA show, this time pertaining to home audio. The M3 is the latest in Samsung's rival multiroom system to Sonos, following the M5 and the M7, while the Curved Soundbar is designed to match the same curvature and style as the manufacturer's curved UHD televisions.
Action platforming game Wipeout 2 available for iOS, Android
Activision Publishing has released its action platforming game Wipeout 2, available for iOS and Android devices, as well as for Kindle Fire. Based on the competition TV series "Wipeout," players dodge environmental hazards and challenge to complete each level as fast as possible. Players can choose from 10 playable characters, including Zombie, Pirate and Popstar, with 150 themed obstacles and 135 new levels. Free to download, Wipeout 2 is available on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon App Store.
RHA to debut new T10i in-ear headphones September 5
British headphone producer RHA has announced the upcoming release of its latest in-ear headphones, the T10i. Featuring handmade dynamic drivers, the noise-cancelling headphones possess a custom tuning filter system that allows for frequency response adjustment. Filter adjustments are also included for bass and treble response. Each high-fidelity driver is encased in an ergonomic stainless steel housing; other features include a multi-core, 1.35m (53-inch) oxygen-free copper cable with three-button remote and microphone (suitable for Apple devices) and mouldable over-ear hooks. Priced at $200, the T10i headphones will be available for purchase in Apple stores worldwide starting September 5.
Speaker doubles as a tablet stand, but offers weak bass, one control button
Bluetooth speakers aren't only for listening to some music at the park or on a long bus ride, but can also be built with tablets in mind. While some manufacturers craft speakers with a shape that is specifically molded to hold a tablet and offer little use otherwise, others have caught on to a better design. Life n Soul have attempted such a configuration with the BM211 Virtual Surround Sound Bluetooth speaker. Would it give consumers flexibility to have a speaker suited for tablets and everyday use, or would they be left with another single-use sound device? Find out in our review.
Company claims over-the-ear headphones have 24-hour battery life
Plantronics announced a new model of Bluetooth headphones this week with the BackBeat Pro. The over-the-ear headphones feature a long battery life, 40mm drivers, active noise-cancelling technology and "Plantronics signature audio performance and design." Not leaving noise cancelling as the only trick of the headphones, Plantronics also added a smart feature to help consumers pick up where they left off if the headphones are removed.
Gear S smartwatch can operate independently from smartphone with own 3G connection
Samsung has unveiled a new Gear smartwatch and earphones before its Unpacked event at IFA. The Gear S updates the original device's bulky design into a slimline and stylish smartwatch with a curved two-inch 360x480 Super AMOLED display, though unlike the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, this edition adds the SIM card and 3G connection from the rumored Gear Solo, allowing it to work independently from a smartphone.
Google Play Music set to join T-Mobile Music Freedom later this year
T-Mobile is expanding its Music Freedom program, almost doubling the number of music streaming services which can be used by subscribers without touching their LTE allowance. The seven existing music services, including iTunes Radio, Pandora, and Spotify, have been joined by another six, just two months after the carrier launched the initiative.
PayPal offering discounted UK iTunes cards at 25 percent off
PayPal is currently offering digital iTunes cards at 25 percent off for UK customers. Users can purchase iTunes codes to redeem for music, films, TV programs, games, apps and more from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store and the App Store. Content purchased can be accessed on iOS devices and Mac or PC computers. The discount offer is available until tonight at 11:59 BST.
Audio versions of articles temporarily suspended for changeover
The USA Today newspaper app for iOS is temporarily removing the program's ability to feature audio versions of top articles, revealing that the reason is due to a change of serving technology needed to prepare a forthcoming update of the app to be CarPlay-compatible. In the current update of the app, the announcement was buried in the program's release notes, and there is no mention of when the audio feature will return.
Shuffle play mode now available for Windows Phone 8.1, free version supported by ads
Subscripiton music streaming service Spotify has announced that it is bringing its free listening experience to Windows Phones beginning today. In today's software update, owners of phones like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC One (M8) for Windows can now partake in the Spotify experience, with a few limitations. As with the expansion into a free version for Android and iOS in December, the offering is supported by in-app advertising.
Mac minis, hard drives and headphones
This week at Adorama.com, get the Mac mini desktop computer for the reduced price of $879 with free shipping. That's $20 less than the retail price, and the lowest price we have seen on this Mac model by the same price margin. This Mac mini features a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core i7 processor, 1TB hard drive and 4GB of RAM. It is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Includes battery-powered preamp, adjustable headband, more
Blue Microphones, a digital audio brand best known for its USB audio mics popular with both podcasters and musicians, has expanded into headphones with the release of its first Mo-Fi headphone set. As recently noted by one of our reviewers, most headphones sound much better when paired with a combination DAC and amplifier like the Sony's PHA-2 portable headphone amps -- but Blue has taken it a step further by building the amp directly into its headphones.
T-Mobile adds 2GB LTE option to Simple Starter price plan
T-Mobile is giving customers using its Simple Starter price plan the choice of adding more data. From September 3rd, subscribers can opt to quadruple the LTE data allowance on the single-line plan from 500GB to 2GB, increasing the cost of the plan from $40 to $45, but retaining the same unlimited calls and texts as the original plan. Just as before Simple Starter users will find their data service suspended once they've used their allocation.
Mackie introduces new Creative Reference multimedia monitors
Mackie has announced the introduction of its new Creative Reference multimedia monitors, offering studio-quality audio performance. Designed for home or professional studios, the compact monitors features 50-watt stereo sound, three-inch or four-inch polypropylene-coated woofers, and a 0.75-inch ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome tweeter. Its front-facing features include a volume knob with a lit power ring, and users can plug one's smartphone into the front. Prices start at $130 per pair, and are available through local dealers.
Satechi's Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keyboard now available
Satechi has announced the release of its new Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keyboard, suitable for Mac or PC systems. Measuring 0.7 inches thick, the keyboard's wireless functionality allows users to have an extra USB port available to them, and can use the keyboard from up to 33 feet away. Its multimedia keys provide access to controlling video and audio content, including play/pause, volume, forward/backtrack and activating functions on other mobile devices. The white version of the keyboard features specific keys mapped for use with OS X and iOS, and the black version mapped for PC and Android features. Priced at $55, Satechi's smart keyboard is available through Amazon and the company's own online store.
New line adds power, long-life battery to Bluetooth streamer mix
Speaker purveyor Cambridge Audio has revealed its new Bluetooth speaker line. Replacing the original Minx Go Bluetooth streamer, launched today are the Go and the Go Radio, with similar stylings to the predecessor. Also released is the 100-watt Bluetone 100 streaming device.
LG Music Flow Player app streams music from networked audio sources to speakers
LG is attempting to take on Sonos in the networked speaker market, with the launch of a new range of speaker components. The LG Music Flow collection consists of three Music Flow Speakers, a Sound Bar, and a Network Bridge, with a central Music Flow Player app for Android and iOS able to control all of the devices and manage the user's music library.
Middle-of-the-road headphones offer comfort and long battery life, but odd controls, sound
When it comes to music on the go, consumers generally have some options to consider when looking for the best experience. While Bluetooth speakers are good in a large number of situations, in some place they just aren't practical. This leaves consumers to look away from speakers and toward their counterparts for sonic deliver, Bluetooth headphones. But not all headphones are created equal, especially when the boutique market for headphones is examined. One company, Life n Soul, hopes to grab attention with its 8 Driver Bluetooth headphones. Do the headphones warrant some attention, or are they just another set in the middle of the pack? Find out in our review.
Bluetooth headphones feature 40mm drivers, 116dB sensitivity, on-ear controls
Genius announced a new set of stereo headphones today, giving consumers another option in the world of Bluetooth listening devices. The HS-920BT on-ear headphones feature 40mm drivers with a sensitivity of 116dB, an impedance of 32ohms and a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. Controls are placed on right ear cup, giving users control over volume, tracks and receiving phone calls. Power is provided by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Screenshots of YouTube Music Key show mixes, recommendations, 20M song library
Google's long-rumored music service for YouTube will apparently cost $9.99 per month, according to a leak. Dubbed YouTube Music Key, the subscription service will provide advertising-free music playback on the desktop, mobile, and through the TV, with the ability to cache songs on devices for offline playback, similar to the existing Google Play Music All Access subscription.
New technology backwards compatible with Blu-Ray, other content delivery
At an event earlier this week, Dolby announced a technology moving from the cinema to home theaters that challenges the channel-based stereo paradigm. Dubbed Dolby Atmos, the new protocol -- which is fully backwards compatible with older Blu-Ray players and other content delivery mechanisms -- uses up to 34 speakers to more accurately play back a moving sound, and enhance the home theater experience.
Buying a headphone amp is money well spent if you love music
Like many people, I love music and have an extensive iTunes collection. I also record my own music and even released a single with Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens on lead guitar. All of which means that, like many people, I take the quality of my listening experience seriously and am always looking for a great listening experience at home, in the car, and when on the go. I have managed to get a great sound at home, and in my car, but struggled to get an ideal listening experience on the go. Like some I've bought far too many headphones as part of this quest, when what I really should have done is buy a portable headphone amp as I recently discovered.
New 5.1 surround sound gaming headset features 8 drivers
Tesoro Technology has released its new true 5.1 surround sound gaming headset. The Kuvέη's fully customizable control of every channel offers wearers precise sound, suitable for tactical gaming. The headset includes a subwoofer, center speaker and one rear speaker. Each channel can be customized via the removable in-line control, which also allows for the microphone or speaker to be instantly turned off. Its unidirectional noise-cancelling microphone blocks out noise, and a virtual 7.1 surround sound audio mode is available.