Wi-Fi ▪ September 28

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Five years in the making and fifteen months since its last speaker release, all-in-one speaker maker Sonos is ready to unveil its next flagship speaker to the world with the all-new Play:5. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Play:5 is the same name as the previous flagship home speaker from Sonos before today. With its name unchanged, then what exactly is different with the latest premium connected speaker from Sonos? For starters there’s a streamlined design with a new input method for controlling playback. Sonically, the new Play:5 delivers an array of sound with volume that easily fills a sizable room.

And alongside the new Play:5, Sonos is releasing a new speaker calibration tool called Trueplay. Using the built-in mic on your iPhone or iPad, intelligent algorithms, and a bouncy sci-fi tone, Trueplay enables Sonos speaker owners to enhance their speakers to deliver enhanced sound in the home regardless of speaker placement. Current Sonos customers will be happy to learn that Trueplay isn’t just coming to the latest connected speaker either… expand full story


If you ever use your iPhone on poor-quality WiFi networks, you may want to check your mobile data usage. As Quartz noted, a new feature introduced with iOS 9 is leading some people to see dramatic increases in their mobile data usage.

Wi-Fi Assist means that iOS recognizes slow WiFi and supplements it with mobile data. Great for ensuring your browsing experience doesn’t suffer, but it can come at a cost, with some users reporting that their iPhone is now using literally gigabytes more mobile data since upgrading. Unless you have unlimited data, that can get expensive.

Wi-Fi Assist is on by default, and rather hidden away in Settings, so here’s how to switch it off …  expand full story

Wi-Fi ▪ August 26

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I love AirPlay. It’s simple and elegant. It also means that my elderly but much-loved B&O Ouverture hifi system (with BeoLab 6000 speakers) – which is actually so old that it has a cassette deck – needed only a low-cost WiFi audio receiver to allow it to wirelessly stream music from my MacBook Pro. One $40 add-on and a 20-year-old hifi became bang up to date in its capabilities.

With my particular setup, AirPlay does exactly what we expect of Apple products: It Just Works. I open iTunes, select ‘B&O’ from the speaker output menu, and anything I play in iTunes – whether from my own music library or streamed from Apple Music – plays through the hifi, while system sounds continue to play through the Mac speakers. My partner can stream her own music from her iPad or iPhone just as readily.

I’d previously tried a Bluetooth audio receiver, and the difference between that and AirPlay is night and day. No pairing. No worries about distance. No interference when someone walks between the Mac and hifi. No system sounds emerging at deafening volumes though my hifi speakers.

But despite my own happy experience of it, AirPlay is not without its problems …  expand full story

Wi-Fi ▪ July 22


If you were wondering why manufacturers seemed to be rather slow in launching HomeKit-compatible devices, it may all be down to Apple’s stringent security requirements. Forbes reports that manufacturers are finding it hard to incorporate the extremely secure encryption standards demanded by Apple in order to achieve MFi certification for their products.

Apple is requiring device makers using both WiFi and Bluetooth LE to use complicated encryption with 3072-bit keys, as well as the super secure Curve25519, which is an elliptic curve used for digital signatures and exchanging encrypted keys.

While mains-powered WiFi kit is coping, the processing workload in battery-powered Bluetooth LE devices is leading to extremely slow response times, say manufacturers …  expand full story

Wi-Fi ▪ July 6

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Last week, we noted that Apple’s latest iOS 8.4 release with Apple Music removes support for the long-existing Music Home Sharing feature. This function allows an iOS device user to stream music from a computer running iTunes on their own WiFi network. Today, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services noted on Twitter that Apple is “working” to restore Home Sharing functionality in iOS 9. It is likely that Home Sharing was removed in iOS 8.4 due to changes necessary with the record labels to launch the new streaming music service. Cook previously revealed details on this week’s iOS 9 beta, streaming bit rates, and more via Twitter.

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Wi-Fi ▪ May 23

Adapters for adding thicker ports are nothing new for Apple’s modern line of notebooks. Even the high-end Retina MacBook Pro decidedly excludes a direct Ethernet connection, and Apple’s MacBook Air and new ultrathin 12-inch MacBook are especially too thin for a wired connection to the Internet without relying on an adapter in the middle.

While modern WiFi is fine for most everyday situations, even Apple acknowledges that a wired connection is necessary in some instances. To remedy this, it sells a $29 USB Ethernet Adapter and a faster $29 Thunderbolt to Ethernet Adapter. The 12-inch MacBook has neither port, however, additionally requiring Apple’s $19 USB-C to USB Adapter to work with the slower adapter.

Fortunately with USB-C being a new industry standard, accessory makers like Kanex are ready with solutions like the $29.95 USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter made for the new 12-inch MacBook and other USB-C computers… expand full story

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