Adds album artwork to Songs, supports multi-disc albums, more
On Thursday, Apple updated its flagship program iTunes to version 11.0.3, which brings some new features as well as addresses a number of minor bugs and improves security and performance for those running and sorting large collections. The main new features include a redesigned MiniPlayer that now features artwork and a progress bar, and some changes to the Songs view that also adds album artwork. Importantly, multi-disc albums are now seen and counted as one album rather than individual discs.
JAYS updates a-JAYS Five with all-new design in three versions
Swedish audio maker JAYS has released the latest version of its popular a-JAYS Five series earphones. Unlike the previous model that came in one edition, the new lineup comes in three discrete models, each individually tailored to iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. Each of the three models features its own three-button remote that supports all the remote functionality of each type of smartphone running each OS.
Paid-for service provides track recommendations, instant playlists
Google has announced its music service at its Google I/O developer conference. As leaked yesterday in a report, Google Play Music All Access is the search giant's take on Spotify and other similar music streaming services, with users able to stream from the large catalog of tracks already available to download from the Google Play Music store.
Undetailed offering expected during Google I/O as yet unpriced
According to "sources familiar with the company," Google is planning to debut a new subscription music service sometime during the Google I/O conference. Reports have surfaced that Google has signed licensing deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, the three largest record labels in the world in preperations to launch the music offering.
New model removes 30-pin dock in favor of wireless connectivity
Boutique sound system manufacturer Geneva has announced the new Model S Wireless Bluetooth streaming speaker set. The new Model S Wireless offers completely re-engineered components than the original Model S, higher-grade electronics, better speakers, drivers and the convenience of wireless connectivity.
MacBook Air, Logitech iPad keyboard and more
This week, MacMall.com has reduced the price of the 13.3-inch MacBook Air from $1,399 down to $1,319 with free shipping. That $79 discount makes this the lowest price we have seen by about $30. This MacBook Pro features a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, along with Intel HD Graphics, built-in FaceTime camera with 720p resolution, and it comes with Mountain Lion pre-installed. A one-year warranty is included from Apple.
Will be part of an album of songs inspired by ISS mission
The video of International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield performing a tailored version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" as a farewell to the ISS which has recently gone viral was created using an iPad. Hadfield, who has become a sensation in his native Canada and worldwide for his social media presence and earlier musical efforts, will be recording an entire album of songs based on the mission, and was the first person to record an earlier song while in orbit. Hadfield employed Garageband and other apps to help make the video.
Sony SBH50 Bluetooth earphones feature 'smart' tech
Following hot on the heels of the Sony SBH20 Bluetooth earphones, the company has also revealed a more upmarket variant, the SBH50. The new headset is notable for including a small OLED display into its remote with app extensions available through Google Play. The extensions allow users to browse their call log, read text notifications and messages on the display without needs to pull out a smartphone.
iPad Netflix now cues TV episodes automatically
Yesterday Netflix rolled out the next major release of its iOS app, introducing a new auto-play feature for TV shows. While currently restricted to the iPad users, the new feature brings the software in line with the functionality of the current web and TV app. At the end of a TV episode Netflix will minimize the credits and cue the next episode in the season. If users do nothing, then the episode will will automatically begin playing within 10 seconds. In addition, post play also works for movies by providing users with three recommendations of other movies they may enjoy.
Pair of DAC, hand-crafted leather case perks of boutique audio player
At the High End 2013 conference in Munich, Germany. electronic gadget company iRiver announced the launch of the second model from the Astell & Kern line of Mastering Quality Sound (MQS) portable players, the AK120. Astell & Kern was first launched in 2012 as the high-end brand of iRiver with the first MQS portable player. The AK120 was developed for professional users and audiophiles who demand the very best sound available.
Sony allegedly holding out for higher fee for streaming music
Apple may have hit another snag in its alleged plan to launch an "iRadio" service in the near future, according to an unconfirmed report from London's Financial Times. The forthcoming service, should negotiations get completed, would allegedly see iTunes offering a streaming music service that leveraged its enormous statistical and purchasing information from users to serve curated songs they would be likely to enjoy from artists they have bought before or would probably like. Sony, according to sources, is still holding out.
Shure SE846 make Asia debut, set for US launch in June
Shure has quietly slipped out its latest in-ear headphones, the SE846 with quad-drivers, through an official launch in Asia. The see-through plastic enclosure also allows users to get a close look at some of the 10 laser cut stainless steel plates that help comprise its internal design. It also incorporates 4 balanced micro drivers with two low frequency, one mid and one high frequency on a 3-way crossover configuration.
Weak security resulted in DRM-free MP3 file downloads
A vulnerability found in Spotify's web player has been exploited, allowing users to download permanent copies of songs from the service. A Chrome extension by the name of Downloadify used the exploit to download MP3 files that were free of DRM, rather than just stream them, something which Spotify has been quick to rectify.
Bose AE2w Bluetooth headphones retailing for $250
Bose has revealed its new AE2w Bluetooth headphones featuring the company’s well-regarded TriPort audio technology. Interestingly although compatible with a wide range of Bluetooth devices, the Bose website seems to be targeting the headphones at Apple users, and iPad users in particular. The design of the AE2w is also notable for a control module that protrudes from the left side ear cup that incorporates the remote control functions, as well as a microphone for making and receiving phone calls.
Rhapsody adds 'liner notes,' technical info to music files
Music service Rhapsody has implemented a new "liner notes" feature, implementing the RIAA's "Give Fans the Credit" plan for including detailed production information with each digital song, including songwriters, background performers, producers and engineers involved in the production. The rollout, scheduled to take place over the next few months, would allow fans to search for music in new ways, such as tracking songs a specific producer was involved in, or for example finding out which songs featured a specific group of sidemen. The service has already started curating collections of tunes grouped by notable names of either producers, engineers or composers.
Retina MBP cut to $1,599
At MacMall.com this week, save 27 percent on the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro which has been reduced by $600 -- from $2,200 down to $1,600. This MacBook Pro features a 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage along with a Retina display, Intel HD graphics, and built-in FaceTime Camera. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Apple.
Denon INCOMMAND AV receivers support 4K, AirPlay
Denon has revealed the latest additions to its networked AV receiver lineup, designed to suit users with a range of budgets. The new INCOMMAND models also all support Apple’s lossless AirPlay wireless standard, which adds streaming support for the full range of Apple iOS devices and Macs. Three of the four new models also offer support for the new 4K Ultra HD standard.
BlueReach enables Bluetooth streaming on 30-pin speaker docs
Pyle has released a new Bluetooth wireless-based music interface that can convert any 30-pin speaker dock into a wireless audio device. The BlueReach can connect with any Bluetooth-enabled tablet, phone, or MP3 player and offers wireless audio streaming at distances up to 33 feet. Additionally, the device also includes a 3.5mm input allowing for direct audio input on any 30-pin speaker dock. The BlueReach can be purchased online from Pyle's webstore for $67.
Pinnacle Studio gains new speed controls
The iPad version of Corel's Pinnacle Studio has undergone a major update that introduces a brand new speed control. Tapping on the speed button will allow users to adjust the speed of any video clip, while pinch gestures can be used to actively speed up or slow down playback. Users can also add a freeze effect with a single click, as well as use a single finger swipe in the speed control for roll trimming. Other enhancements include faster rendering, simplified audio editing, and the ability to initiate renders directly form the preview message. Pinnacle Studio 3 is available in the App Store for $13.
27-inch iMac cut to $2,899
This week, MacMall.com has lowered the price on the 27-inch iMac from $2,949 down to $2,899 with free shipping. That's a savings of $49, making this the lowest price on this iMac brand new. This iMac features a 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 3TB Fusion Drive with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX graphics processor and two Thunderbolt ports. Included with it are an Apple wireless keyboard, Magic Mouse, and one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Marshall aims for high-end casual market with new Monitor headphones
Marshall has released its latest branded headphones dubbed the Monitor. The headphones are the first from Marshall that utilize an over-ear design, but is also relatively compact and features a collapsible design. Designed with studio listening in mind, the Monitor also incorporates an F.T.F insert that can be removed to allow a user to tailor their listening experience.
New microphone source will be used once mic stocks dry up
HTC is planning to change its source of microphones for the HTC One once its existing inventory has run out, following Nokia's recent court action in the Netherlands. A statement from the manufacturer seeking to clarify the injunction filed by Nokia explains that the injunction isn't against HTC itself, but is against a component supplier in the Netherlands called STM.
Apple A Decade of iTunes promotion covers 10 years of artist, Apple hits
Apple has launched new iTunes promotion it has dubbed ‘A Decade of iTunes.’ However unlike Google Play, which has run has celebrated milestones and offered discounts on some content, Apple is not offering any apparent deals on charting songs and albums from the period covered. In fairness, however, many of the albums and singles have come down in price over the years since they first charted.
62 percent off refurbished LaCie 1TB Little Big Disk and more
This week, eCost.com has reduced the price on the refurbished LaCie 1TB Little Big Disk external hard drive with Thunderbolt from $450 down to $170, a savings of $280. That's about $180 less than buying this hard drive brand new anywhere else. This hard drive features 1TB of storage space in a compact, lightweight form factor with Thunderbolt connectivity that can be used to play, edit and acquire multiple uncompressed A/V streams directly from the drive regardless of the resolution of the content. A limited warranty is included from LaCie.
Apple to sponsor Lennor 'tour bus,' educational music clinics
Apple is now sponsoring the long-running "John Lennon Educational Tour Bus," a mobile audio and video studio on wheels that tours educational institutions, encouraging students to explore and produce their own music with free songwriting, recording and multimedia production workshops. Using Macs on board to help with production, children write, perform and record original music and produce music videos with the assistance of three on-board engineers. Most recently seen in Phoenix AZ last weekend, the bus is scheduled to be in Gulf Shores AL as part of the Hangout Music Festival. The non-profit organization has its own App Store iOS app (free) as well.
Uses followed artists, tweets to suggest music, shows popular tracks
Twitter has launched its rumored music service today, revealing both a web app and one for iOS. Twitter #music uses posts on Twitter, artists followed and mentioned by users, to generate a playable list of tracks that are either highly talked about on the microblogging service, artists it believes are emerging, and tracks that individual users may enjoy listening to.
Device intended for use with computers, portable equipment
Boutique audio devise manufacturer Orb Audio announced today the launch of an all-new Mini-T, the company’s micro-sized Class T amplifier designed for use with computers, televisions, iPods and most mobile devices. The new Mini-T is even smaller than the original Mini-T, and features a new glossy black cabinet, improved signal path design, and the first dedicated subwoofer output available in the device's class.
15.4-inch MBP now $2,099
Today's deal of the day from MacMall.com is on the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro which has been reduced by $449 -- lowering the cost from $2,549 down to $2,099. This MBP features a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive along with Intel HD Graphics 4000, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a FaceTime Camera and OS X Mountain Lion pre-installed. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Apple.
Win a bem wireless Bluetooth speaker.
Through modern history, portable audio devices have gone through many evolutionary phases -- from boom boxes and Walkman cassette tape players to CD and MP3 players. Now listening to music on the go consists of carrying around a smartphone and headphones, or a Bluetooth speaker. However, some Bluetooth speakers are too large to easily fit in a bag with other items. The Bēm Wireless mobile speaker was designed to fit where others wouldn't, and MacNN has one to give away to our readers.
Twitter Music launch may coincide with Coachella festival
Twitter may be launching its much-rumored music service later today, according to reports. A new page under music.twitter.com gives little in the way of clues for the service, and simply shows the Twitter logo, the hashtag "#music" and a sign-in button that requests permission to use the user's Twitter account for an app called "Trending Music Web," but currently redirects to the same page again.
Creative set to roll out T3150 Bluetooth speakers, due May
Creative has announced the T3150 Bluetooth speakers. The new speakers work over wired connections, but will pair with any Bluetooth-enabled device including smartphones, tablets and PCs over a range of up to 10 meters. Using a 2.1 arrangement, the speakers include two satellite speakers and a subwoofer.
Warner Music said to be close behind, Sony in early stages
Should Apple actually succeed with its alleged plan to start up a Pandora-style streaming radio service, one of the biggest obstacles the company faced may be behind it as early as next week, if a report on The Verge is true. Multiple sources say that Apple and Universal Music Group, one of the "big three" music labels, have reached an agreement on streaming royalties -- and that the company is in the final stages of also closing a deal with Warner Music. The third major label, Sony, is an earlier stage of the process.
Sound library in new device drawn from Korg legacy equipment
Audio hardware maker Korg has announced the new Kross keyboard -- a mobile, affordable, keyboard workstation with audio/MIDI recording capabilities, AC or battery operation, and a vast selection of sounds drawn from Korg's flagship instruments. Available with 61 or 88 fully-weighted keys, the Kross is said by the company to be the first battery-powered, full-featured Korg keyboard workstation.
VSX-70 ready for 4k, both receivers boast multiple HDMI outputs
Pioneer Electronics today introduced two new Elite home theater AV receivers, the Elite VSX-43 7.1-channel receiver and VSX-70 7.2-channel receiver, designed for expanded entertainment options controllable throughout the home. The new receivers incorporate high-resolution file format playback, expanded multi-zone and multi-source management and functionality, custom installation features, AirPlay and 4K Ultra HD compatibility. Both receivers are controllable by way of Pioneer’s smartphone apps for iOS and Android.
Weatherproof, shock resistant casing protects device from the elements
Scosche has revealed availability of the BoomBottle, a new mobile speaker for streaming music while biking, hiking, camping, and other activities needing a durable speaker set. The IP4X-rated weatherproof construction on the device protects the BoomBottle from unexpected weather, sweat and other moisture.
Ferrari by Logic3, the creators of the Ferrari audio collection, launched the FS1 Air speaker dock enabled with AirPlay technology to stream music wirelessly from iTunes or Apple devices on Wednesday. The design has been inspired by the Scuderia Ferrari racing team and the GT Car's general design ethos.
Individual marketplaces will reserve space for local artists
In a posting earlier today by Google, the company revealed that it is expanding its Google Music service to seven additional countries. The posting declared that the service is now available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, New Zealand, and Portugal. In addition to the mainstream music coverage, Google is also hosting a Google Play artist hub customized for the country allowing local bands to sell music directly to listeners.
$300 off 13.3-inch Retina MBP
This week, MacConnection.com has the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro for the reduced price of $1,500. That's $300 off the original price of $1,700, and the lowest price we have seen on this model by about $100. Free shipping is included, but sales tax applies for residents of New York state. The 13.3-inch MBP features a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage, along with Intel HD Graphics 4000, Bluetooth, a built-in camera and a battery that lasts for up to seven hours. A one-year warranty is also included from Apple.
Windows Phone service in Windows 8 requires Nokia Music+ subscription
Nokia has released its first Windows 8 and Windows RT app, one that originally launched on the manufacturer's Windows Phone line of devices. Nokia Music brings the same streaming radio subscription service as its phone-based counterpart, but in an app scaled up to work on a full-sized desktop computer screen, or Windows RT tablet.
Finds workaround for obstacles with two major record labels
Late on Thursday, unnamed sources from "people familiar with the negotiations" said that Apple has come up with a clever workaround to the major obstacles preventing it from concluding a licensing deal for its alleged "iRadio" streaming service. The breakthrough is said to have been sufficient to get two of the three major record companies on board for the yet-to-be-announced feature, and relies on letting Apple get the streaming royalty rate it wanted -- far lower than comparable services -- in exchange for creating ways for labels to make up the cost difference.
Subscribers sent e-mail suggesting Rdio as replacement
BlackBerry is shutting down its BBM Music discovery service after being in operation for less than two years, with hefty competition from Spotify, Pandora, and others likely to be the cause for the closure. BBM Music will stop functioning for subscribers as of June 2nd, with the phone manufacturer pointing customers in the direction of Rdio with a free 30-day trial as a possible replacement.
Lenovo IdeaPad S400, cut to $399, more
This week, TigerDirect.com has reduced the price of the 14-inch Lenovo IdeaPad S400 notebook PC from $540 down to $400 for a savings of $140. That's about $70 less than the lowest price we've seen anywhere else. Free shipping is included, but sales tax applies for residents of FL, IL, TX, and NC. The Lenovo IdeaPad S400 features a 1.8GHz Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Windows 8 is pre-installed, and a one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Lenovo.
Court rejects first-sale-doctrine defense
A federal judge has ruled against digital music reseller ReDigi, describing the company's business model as a form of copyright infringement. The decision, which was posted by Wired (PDF), rejects ReDigi's claims of protection under the first-sale doctrine, as initial buyers can simply make a duplicate copy of a digital track before offering it for sale through the resale system.
Service would offer streaming, customized music, buy buttons
Music industry executives are evidently not good at keeping secrets -- a number of them have gone on the record talking about Apple's proposed streaming "radio-like" service, currently dubbed "iRadio," and some details behind it. Following an apparent breakthrough in negotiations with Universal and Warner, the company is pushing to get the service launched sometime this summer, according to reports. Likely to be incorporated or at least tied to the iTunes Store, "iRadio's" main sticking point so far has been royalty rates.
Unit boasts detachable Bluetooth receiver, suction cup for any surface
Accessory manufacturer Digital Treasures has revealed the two-in-one Lyrix Duo Bluetooth speaker with removable receiver. The wireless receiver attaches to the Lyrix Duo speaker through a mini USB port, and the device pairs with a Bluetooth-enabled device for playback with up to 33 feet of working wireless range.
Audible, lympse, Rhapsody and TuneIn now supported
Just a day after Chevrolet debuted a commercial promoting its Siri "Eyes-Free" integration, BMW on Tuesday added support for integration of four iOS apps in new BMW models. Audio books app Audible, Internet radio tuner TuneIn, subscription music service Rhapsody and location-sharing crowdsource app Glympse now work with selected BMW entertainment systems, bringing audiobooks, subscription and Internet radio stations and other functions to the automobiles. BMW first began iOS integration in model year 2011.
Premium speaker set uses high-end material in construction
Audience today announced that it is now shipping the ClairAudient "The ONE" single-driver speaker set. The new model is the smallest in Audience's ClairAudient speaker lineup, at just seve inches high by 5.5 inches wide by seven inches deep. The ONE is tailored for desktop music listening, compact high-end stereo systems and surround-sound home theater.
Takes advantage of IPhone 5's wideband audio
The T-Mobile iPhone 5 will support the carrier's HD Voice technology, according to an announcement. The feature provides clearer voice calls when compared with normal cellphone service. To take advantage of it, though, all parties must be on a T-Mobile device, and connected to the carrier's HSPA, HSPA+, or LTE networks.
Device reads each track multiple times, ensuring correct playback
High-end consumer audio manufacturer Parasound has released a CD player driven by a Mini-ITX computer, powered by Linux to make CDs "sound significantly better than anyone has imagined possible" according to the manufacturer. The Halo CD 1 utilizes a PC-grade CD-ROM drive that reads the track multiple times before it is converted to audio, nearly guaranteeing no error in playback.
Trio of devices use iOS or Android app for fine tuning
Audio accessory maker Jabra on Monday announced a new suite of corded and wireless stereo headphones. Specifically designed for durability, everyday use, and portability, the new Jabra Revo Wireless, Jabra Revo corded and Jabra Vox in-ear earphones are coupled with Jabra’s Sound App for iOS and Android devices to tailor the listener's audio experience.