speaker ▪ June 8

Mashable has conducted an interesting interview with Tim Cook on the eve of WWDC, one of Apple’s largest events of the year. Although WWDC is known for its product announcements, Apple will announce the next versions of iOS and OS X as well as a streaming music service, the interview revolved around Apple’s efforts on company employee diversity.

Asked about the lack of women at keynotes, Cook says “you’ll see a change tomorrow”. This suggests that women will indeed feature more prominently at Apple’s presentation. In the last ten years, the number of women at Apple’s events comes in at the low single digits, most recently Christy Turlington Burns. Apple’s developer sessions have better gender diversity in their speakers but these are viewable only by registered developers, not the general public.

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speaker ▪ January 23

AirPlay isn’t dead as a wireless speaker standard, but it’s not exactly healthy: many models have been discontinued, and new releases have all but stopped. Having previously gone all-in with AirPlay, Danish designer speaker maker Libratone is now rolling out updated versions of its circular Loop, tube-shaped Zipp, and triangular Live systems that augment AirPlay rather than ditching it. The new Libratone Loop ($500) modestly tweaks the prior version to add Bluetooth 4.0 support — a feature that radically increases Loop’s compatibility. Though its high price tag will continue to keep this model out of reach for most consumers, long-awaited and substantial discounts on the prior-generation models (Loop here, Zipp here, Live here) may bolster their appeal.

Having tested the new Loop, my personal feelings are mixed: I applaud Libratone for consistently releasing speakers that look distinctive, working both as design objects and audio systems, but the MSRPs remain somewhat hard to justify given the sonic performance…

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speaker ▪ January 9

Along our CES 2015 journey we stopped over at The House of Marley to take a look at some of the new gear they have launching this year. If you’re not familiar with the company, they create a wide range of audio accessories which are crafted from natural and recycled materials. In the video below, we took a closer look at the Legend ANC headphones and Chant Mini Bluetooth speaker…

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speaker ▪ January 6

speaker ▪ December 29, 2014

Note, I originally was going to review this in early 2015, but Amazon is having a pretty insane 1-day deal on it and I love it sooo…

Fugoo is the best Bluetooth speaker you’ve probably never heard of. I got mine after a few readers (and PR folk) rightfully noted its omission from our Best Bluetooth Speaker of 2014 list. I have been listening to it ever since and yep, it should be among the top and for $135, it is a no-brainer… expand full story

speaker ▪ December 20, 2014

I’ve reviewed a lot of iHome clock radios over the past nine years. They weren’t all formulaic, but there was a very clear evolutionary line from the original 2005-vintage, iPod-only iH5 to the iPad-ready iDL95 released last year: take two speakers, stick a clock in the middle, center a dock on the top, then make the enclosure sort of flat but pleasantly curvy. iHome had a winning general concept and look, which it updated annually with small feature, color, and shape tweaks. But its new $120 model iBN10 breaks the mold in several ways.

The dock’s gone, the clock has been glammed up and shifted to the right, and there are four speakers inside, rather than the standard two. iBN10 is also atypically handsome, built and billed as an “executive music system” by discarding the faux metals that iHome’s midrange speakers have become known for, and adding speakerphone functionality. This isn’t iHome’s first Kleenex box-sized speaker, but it’s definitely the most sophisticated.

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