earphones ▪ July 30

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Zipbud-hero

I love music, so most of the time when I’m out and about I have headphones round my neck or in my bag. But there are times when I’m music’d out, and leave them at home – and I can then pretty much guarantee I’ll end up wishing I’d taken them with me.

Whether it’s to have a lengthy phone conversation while walking down the street, or watching the funny video a friend just posted on Facebook on the train (without subjecting everyone else to the audio), headphones aren’t just about music. For that reason, I’ve taken to chucking a few pairs of cheap-ish in-ear headphones in various bags and jacket pockets so that I always have some with me. In-ear ones can be squished into a small space so they take up almost no room.

The problem with that squishing, of course, is that whenever I do dig them out, I spend several minutes untangling them. This is the problem Zipbuds Slide sets out to solve …  expand full story

earphones ▪ June 17

Screenshot 2015-06-17 11.29.11

Earlier this week we noted that Apple has refreshed the Beats by Dre wireless Beats Powerbeats 2 earbuds with new colors aimed at Apple Watch Sport users. Today, Apple has updated its Beats headphones website to promote the new line of headphones along with a new price: $179, which is $20 less than the previous price at $199.

With its onboard storage for music and Bluetooth connection, Apple is promoting these headphones as a way to tap into listening to music with the Apple Watch without the need of a connected iPhone. Even with the ties to Apple and the new Apple Watch-centric marketing campaign, the new earphones will still work with other Bluetooth media players.

We noted earlier today on 9to5Toys that some retailers are offering as much as $50 off of the wireless headphones, and Amazon is selling the accessory at various discounted prices ranging from $169 to $189.

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earphones ▪ June 16

liberate-xlbt-1

Friends have often expressed surprise at the fact that I continue to use wired headphones. My beautifully-portable and much-loved Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones go with me almost everywhere, while my Master & Dynamic MH40s are my go-to headphones in the living room.

Friends know my aversion to visible cables, and I’m usually an ‘any excuse for a gadget’ type guy, so why, they ask, do I continue to wear wired headphones? There have been a couple of reasons for that. First, the ‘yet another device to charge’ factor – to add to my Macs, iPad, iPhone, bike cam, GPS and now Apple Watch.

Second, the sound quality of Bluetooth headphones hasn’t compared well to wired ones in my experience. I’ve tried a bunch of Bluetooth headphones in the store, but none persuaded me. However, designing with wood and leather is always a good way to catch my attention, so I thought I’d try House of Marley’s Liberate XLBT over-ear headphones …  expand full story

earphones ▪ April 16

Up until now, Bluetooth wireless audio was purely optional for Apple’s devices: every iPad, iPhone, and iPod has shipped with a 3.5mm audio port to connect with wired earbuds and headphones. The Apple Watch is different: it’s Apple’s first fully wireless device, with no user-accessible ports to connect accessories, even though it can work as a standalone music player during workouts. The lack of a headphone port is actually a positive, since tethering your wrist to your head with a cable would look silly, and isn’t ergonomically ideal. Thankfully, Bluetooth headphones have come a long way over the past few years, shrinking from gangly and boxy earmuffs into earphones comfortable enough to exercise with.

Since one of the Apple Watch’s major selling points is fitness functionality, this quick guide to the best Apple Watch headphones and earphones focuses mostly on accessories that can work anywhere, rather than options you can’t wear while exercising. But I’ll include some larger options, too, just in case you’re picking a pair for non-athletic use, or to share with your iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac…

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earphones ▪ January 8

HARMAN JBL Aware

Harman JBL Reflect Aware left, Philips Fidelio NC1L right

Noise-cancelling headphones are great, but they do have one big drawback: noise-cancellation requires power, giving you yet another device to charge. Harman and Philips have each removed that pain-point, announcing noise-cancelling devices with a Lightning connector instead of a 3.5mm headphone jack, drawing their power from the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

The Harman JBL Reflect Aware are earphones aimed at sports use, allowing you to choose the level of noise-cancellation – handy for times when you are on the street and want to retain some awareness of things like traffic noise. They come in at a reasonably wallet-friendly $149. Harman has them at CES, but no word yet on availability …  expand full story

earphones ▪ May 13, 2014

headphones

Following the presumed acquisition of Beats, Apple plans to up its music game with support for high-resolution audio files in a revamped Music app in iOS 8, and to offer a higher-quality version of its In-Ear Headphones, reports Japanese blog Macotakara

The source of the high-res audio rumor appears somewhat circumstantial, linked to a Warner Music post about the forthcoming release of a ‘Super Deluxe’ version of three remastered early Led Zeppelin albums in 96kHz/24-bit form – a resolution the current iOS Music app cannot play. It is, however, consistent with a similar earlier rumor regarding iTunes support for higher-quality audio …  expand full story

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