Bluetooth 4.0 Stories June 14, 2015

PowerBeats2-wireless-applewatch

image credit: Ben Thomas

Apple quietly updated its Powerbeats2 headphones to match Apple Watch Sport colors this week signalling a new move to focus audio accessories to the Apple Watch ecosystem. The new colors, which match the Apple Watch Sport Band colors of Blue, Black, Green, Pink and (updated) White, are available in Apple Stores but haven’t arrived at other retail locations yet.

Powerbeats2-apple-store

The Apple Watch can store and play 2GB of music without a tethered iPhone wirelessly via Bluetooth 4 and with watchOS 2 will get access to many more audio applications. It wouldn’t be out of character for Apple to release over the ear Beats headphones in matching colors or even PowerBeats Wireless to match the more expensive stainless steel Apple Watch.

The new Powerbeats2 headphones will of course work with all Apple and other Bluetooth 4 devices even though they appear to be focused on the growing Apple Watch market.

Apple Powerbeats2 Wireless earphones still come in their original, dare I say, dated colors for $199 ($189 Amazon, $169 Best Buy or $160 Ebay) but the original White version has been moved from the old lineup the the new lineup. Original urBeats wired headphones can be found for as little as $45 via 9to5Toys.com

(Via Benjamin Thomas) expand full story

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories April 21, 2015

9to5Toys Last Call: iPad Air 128GB $500, 13″ Retina MacBook Pro w/ Force Touch $1,100, 11″ MacBook Air $800, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

Apple iPad Air 128GB Wi-Fi + AT&T Cellular $500 (Orig. $929), iPad Air 2 128GB Wi-Fi $590 (Reg. $699)

Get ready for Apple Watch w/ a pair of battery-saving Bluetooth 4.0 earbuds starting at $14 shipped

Portable USB 3.0 Hard Drives: Toshiba 1TB $50 (Orig. $75), 3-Pack Seagate 1.5TB $150 ($210 value), more

Seagate Expansion 5TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive $120 shipped (Orig. $250)

HooToo TripMate Wireless N Travel Router w/ USB port $15 Prime shipped (Reg. $20)

iTunes Free App of the Week: Pursuit of Light ($1 value)

Review: Moleskine’s new myCloud Smallpack offers plentiful storage in a tidy design, $150 giveaway

More new gear from today:

XYZprinting daVinci 1.0 3D Printer $350 shipped (Orig. $500)

More deals still alive:

Headphones: Audio-Technica QuietPoint over-ears $100 (Reg. $150+), Sennheiser HD 202 on-ears $15 (Reg. $24), more

Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR (refurb) w/ 18-55mm Lens Kit $336 shipped (Orig. $599), more

New products & more:

Sony’s new 43-75″ 4K UHDTVs bring an incredibly thin design, pre-orders start today

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories April 6, 2015

jotscript2-2

Up until last year, digital styluses — ones with electronic parts inside — worked pretty well across multiple iPad models. Developers including Adonit took over two years to develop electronic iPad writing tools that were thinner-tipped than fingers and rubber-domed styluses, but they succeeded, enabling iPads to serve as notepads and sophisticated canvases for artwork. Then the iPad Air 2 came out, subtly changing the touch-sensing technology that digital styluses relied upon, breaking some and reducing the accuracy of others. Stylus developers quietly acknowledged that new hardware would be needed.

Adonit’s new Jot Script 2 ($75, aka Jot Script 2 Evernote Edition) is the first digital stylus I’ve tested with full iPad Air 2 compatibility. As the sequel to Adonit’s 2013-vintage Jot Script Evernote Edition, it borrows a lot of its predecessor’s design and functionality, but also improves upon it in several ways. Beyond adding iPad Air 2 support, it has a thinner body, and a rechargeable battery rather than a disposable one, all at the same price as last year’s model…

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Bluetooth 4.0 Stories March 23, 2015

bravo-5

Two years ago, the Tile Bluetooth tracking device raised over $2.6 million in a crowdfunding campaign, thanks in part to an expansive ad run that seemed to blanket the entire Internet. Elegantly designed with a square plastic housing, Tile paired a low-energy Bluetooth chip with a battery, letting you track any attached item using a Bluetooth 4-enabled iPhone. Each Tile can track keys, a purse, or even a roaming pet for a year before the battery dies, at which point you are supposed to replace it. The first Tiles shipped last year, and can now be had for $20 each versus their standard $25 retail price.

I skipped Tile because I don’t like products that need to be replaced when their batteries die. Over the course of reviewing thousands of Apple accessories, I’ve watched some companies waste vast quantities of plastic, metal, magnets, and packing materials, and I try not to buy things that are designed to be worthless after a short period of time. (Note: Users are encouraged to recycle Tiles by buying discounted replacements and mailing old units back to the company.) So a new Tile competitor called TrackR Bravo ($29) appealed to me. Made partially from anodized aluminum, it’s shaped like a dog tag and designed to be kept rather than tossed away. The core functionality is the same as Tile’s, but Bravo’s battery can be replaced with ease. You can also use Bravo to locate a misplaced iPhone, and optionally sound a separation alarm whenever your iPhone and Bravo get too far away from one another…

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Bluetooth 4.0 Stories November 21, 2014

Screenshot 2014-02-11 20.59.55

The Jawbone UP bracelet has been on the market for three years receiving improvements every year. The Jawbone UP 24 received a major update: Bluetooth LE. Initially to sync the data onto the phone, the user had to plug the band into the phone’s headphone jack and wait, typically about fifteen seconds, for the data to sync into the app.

Now, since the UP 24 has Bluetooth LE capabilities, it is compatible with the iPhone 4S and later, the fifth generation iPod Touch, the third generation iPad and newer as well as the iPad Minis. Jawbone has made the UP 24 to be compatible with Android phones. Bluetooth LE allows the band to automatically connect with the Jawbone UP app.

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Bluetooth 4.0 Stories December 21, 2013

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Nike’s fitness band, the FuelBand came out in February of 2012. The Nike+ FuelBand SE, the newest model of the fitness device, was released last month. Since it relies on Bluetooth LE, the Nike+ FuelBand SE is compatible with the iPhone 4S and later, as well as the fifth generation iPod Touch. Bluetooth LE allows the band to automatically connect with the Nike+ FuelBand App. The new FuelBand has been designed to be more accurate and more water-resistant.

I have been using the Nike+ FuelBand SE for a little over a month, going through two defective units (one with a broken clasp, and one with a faulty battery and accelerometer) and finally stuck with the third band (which had a sticky button) for the purpose of this review.

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Bluetooth 4.0 Stories November 5, 2013

smartkey

Low-energy Bluetooth is really starting to take-off in a big way, with seemingly every other product on the main crowdsourced-funding sites using it. One product that actually exists, though, is the Elgato Smart Key – which appears good value at just $40.

If you can’t remember where you last saw your keys, the Elgato Smart Key iPhone app will tell you the GPS location of where the two devices were last in contact. Through the app you’ll also be able to make the Smart Key play a sound to help you find your keys when they are down the back of the sofa. Not only that, but attach them to your keys and your iPhone will alert you when you walk off and leave them somewhere. Leave one in the glove compartment of your car, and the app will show you were you parked a if you need reminding …  expand full story

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories June 14, 2013

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We already told you about a few big new features in terms of improvements to Bluetooth coming in iOS 7: Developers will now have a standardized controller framework for hardware game controllers and new features for BLE devices that will bring Notification Center support and always-connected apps. That’s not all Apple has planned for accessory makers in the near future, below developers have reached out to explain some of the other big new features that will be available to accessory manufacturers with iOS 7 and Mavericks… expand full story

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories March 13, 2013

First Pebble teardown claims watch is unrepairable, lacks Bluetooth 4.0 support (Update: Pebble responds)

Update: We’ve received information directly from Pebble that the watch does indeed support Bluetooth 4.0. The company provided the following explanation regarding iFixit’s findings:

The Bluetooth chips TI sent to Panasonic were labeled CC2560 but have been flashed with the firmware (and BT LE support) of a CC2564. That’s why the module was labeled PAN1316. Many chip vendors make silicon consistent between product lines but simply flash different firmware to enable features. Our chips were labeled CC2560 because TI asked us if we wouldn’t mind using them with CC2564 firmware to speed up our order. Pebble most definitely has Bluetooth LE support, though it has not yet been enabled in our operating system.

iFixit has performed its usual teardown process for yet another device today, this time giving us a look inside the recently launched Pebble Bluetooth smart watch. iFixit admits it has no way of rating the repairability of this type of device, and for that reason isn’t giving it a repairability score like usual. Unfortunately, at first glance the watch doesn’t appear to be easily repairable with the report noting waterproofing makes for a “very inaccessible battery.” iFixit noted that excessive adhesive used to keep out water made it impossible to access the insides of the device “without compromising the display”:

The Pebble employs tons of adhesive to keep water (and tinkerers) out. Add in a bezel around the screen, and it’s impossible to separate the cases without compromising the display.

The report also claimed that the Bluetooth chip being used does not appear to support Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE), despite the company promising support for the protocol in a future software update:

The backside of the motherboard houses a Panasonic RF module, promising both Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) functionality, as advertised by the folks at Pebble. Removing the EMI shield reveals a Texas Instruments chip in the same family as, but slightly different than the one we expected. According to its datasheet, this chip doesn’t support BLE. Word on the street was that Pebble had BLE functionality just waiting to be activated with a firmware update, but we can’t find evidence of the hardware to back up this hidden potential.

The good news is iFixit estimates the battery in Pebble will last 6 to 10 years and the developers confirmed a recycling program will be in place. We’ll have to wait for official word from Pebble on the questioned Bluetooth 4.0 support. You can check out the full teardown from iFixit here.

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories July 25, 2012

Broadcom just announced its next round of portable device wireless chip, the BCM4335, which includes the ability to connect to the superfast 802.11ac networks. Apple exclusively uses Broadcom chips in this family for its iOS devices (and a different family for its Macs). The current iPad and iPhone use the Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n baseband/radio with integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS and an FM transceiver—and the xxx5 is just a minor step up.

We found some code that indicates the next iPhone will use the Broadcom BCM4334, which adds the 40nm process and Wi-Fi Direct capabilities (perhaps opening some Airdrop capabilities too).

The 40nm chip will continue to deliver Bluetooth 4.0 and FM, but its 802.11ac networking could save some power using the new standard. It also features the “industry’s most advanced idle power consumption performance, which significantly extends a mobile device’s battery life.”

Sample chips are already available with a full production expected to be delivered in Q1 2013, just in time for next year’s iPads.

The press release follows: expand full story

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories July 6, 2012

Apple’s rumored curved-glass wrist computer mocked up

Federico Ciccarese has done many iPhone and Apple product design mockups in the past, and today he gave us his take on Apple’s rumored wearable, curved-glass iOS device. In August 2011, we made the case for a wearable, Bluetooth 4.0-powered iPod nano. In December, The New York Times reported a small group of people at Apple had been “conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices.” One concept described in the report was a “curved-glass iPod that would wrap around the wrist.” Below is a video rendering of the mockup from Ciccarese Design:

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories May 22, 2012

Run by former Nokia and Fossil execs, and previously available in beta for Android devices only, Meta Watch officially launched its smartwatch platform today that interfaces with iOS—the first of its kind to utilize the low energy Bluetooth 4.0 technology. The watch works with an iOS app for customizing which notifications will pop up on its display. Notifications consist of the usual phone calls and messaging, but developers have access to an API that will allow them to send almost anything to the device.

The company previously had issues getting the platform to run smoothly due to limitations of iOS. However, thanks to Bluetooth 4.0, the device featuring a 96-by-96-pixel LCD display is now slated to ship sometime this month for $199. The Meta Watch is clearly still more of a development kit than an end-user product at this point, but with six fully programmable buttons, a 3-axis accelerometer, vibrating motor, ambient light sensor, and of course Bluetooth 4.0, there is a ton that devs will be able to do with the device.

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Bluetooth 4.0 Stories January 9, 2012

We previously told you about the benefits of Bluetooth 4.0 technology found on the iPhone 4S, also TV and —conceivably— rolling out to all Apple products soon. While Zomm’s Lifestyle Connect is not exactly the first Bluetooth 4.0 accessory (bragging rights belong to Find My Car Smart, a Kickstarter project), this device is a dream come true to people seeking a reliable medical solution to relay health information from compatible monitoring solutions “to a trusted network of people and professionals.”

Smaller than a credit card, it connects wirelessly with a Bluetooth 4.0 smartphone such, as the iPhone 4S, allowing you to speak with a live operator dubbed Personal Safety Concierge directly from the integrated speakerphone on the device. The Personal Safety Concierge can then contact your doctor, send status updates via a phone call, SMS or email or even dispatch police, fire or medical rescue to you exact location…

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Bluetooth 4.0 Stories December 16, 2011

First Bluetooth 4.0 accessory helps you find your car, as Microsoft launches Bluetooth keyboard for iPad

The iPhone 4S is one of the first devices to support Bluetooth 4.0. Today, the first accessory to take advantage of the new technology is a new Kickstarter project called Find My Car Smart. Find My Car Smart uses a Bluetooth 4.0 powered dongle to transmit the location of a car that can then be […]

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories December 12, 2011

AirPlay, a proprietary protocol by Apple allowing for worry-free wireless streaming of audio, video, photos and related metadata between certified devices, is about to gain an enhanced support for the wireless Bluetooth standard via a new chip, Japanese blog Macotakara has learned. Apple apparently announced the new certification chip at a Shenzen, China conference organized for two thousand members of their MFI (Made For iPhone/iPad/iPod) program. The company is aiming to expand the market for wireless iOS accessories by a factor of seven by taking the IAP via Bluetooth (iPod Accessory Protocol) – first implemented in iOS 5 – to the Bluetooth 4.0 heights.

The new piece of silicon will enable future wireless accessories certified for use with the iPod, iPhone or iPad to stream content to and from a host iOS device using Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, in addition to WiFi AirPlay support. AirPlay over Bluetooth mitigates the need to connect to a WiFi network when AirPlaying your music, photos and movies. This feature comes into play when traveling, for example, or using your device in areas with no WiFi connectivity.

AirPlay already features a limited support for Bluetooth in that it can stream audio using the AD2P protocol. Apple has become a member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group board of directors back in June so they’re in a position to influence the development of the Bluetooth wireless standard.

Taking into account that Macotakara has had its share of misses in the past, this development really makes sense. iPhone 4S is the first handheld device from Apple to feature support for the new Bluetooth 4.0 wireless standard. It lets the handset connect to the mid-2011 MacBook Airs and Mac minis and future Bluetooth Smart Ready devices at an extremely low-power and low latency mode up to 50 meters away.

Instead of taking up to six seconds to pair like current Bluetooth implementations, Bluetooth 4.0 takes just six milliseconds – virtually instantly. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Think beyond Bluetooth headphones acting as an iPhone camera trigger.

One awesome possibility is the addition of Bluetooth 4.0 to the iPod nano. Low latency is especially important for gaming and healthcare accessories, so expect some big strides in those markets. Bluetooth 4.0 should also help reduce the lag when using the AirPlay mirroring feature in iOS 5 which lets you stream whatever is shown on your iOS device to your television set through the Apple TV set-top box. That’s only scratching the surface, though…

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Bluetooth 4.0 Stories November 29, 2011

When Apple ships new hardware elements in a product, they typically have good reason. With the future of wireless input devices flashing forward, Apple has realized that the next-generation of Bluetooth – Bluetooth Smart (4.0) – will be the ticket to Apple being a part of this integrated wireless future. Apple demonstrated this with the release of this Bluetooth 4.0-powered phone – the new iPhone 4S – and also with the addition of bluetooth 4.0 in the latest versions of the popular MacBook Air and Mac mini computers.

More evidence for a next-generation Apple TV:

The next-generation Apple TV, the one we first revealed as Apple TV 3,1 with the J33 codename, will include Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Before even getting into the advantages of Bluetooth 4.0, it is worth noting that our code-based finding in iOS 5.1 beta 1 of a next-generation Apple TV with Bluetooth 4.0 is further evidence that an Apple TV refresh will soon be upon us.

The advantages of Bluetooth 4.0: 

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