Apple today released tvOS 9.1 for the new Apple TV. Betas have included Siri support for controlling Apple Music, which Apple first said would be available for customers by early next year. Update: tvOS 9.1 does indeed add Siri support for Apple Music to all users. Apple’s Remote app also works with the new Apple TV for the first time. That means text input from iPhones and iPads will make setup much easier (and on par with older Apple TVs). watchOS 2.1 lets Apple Watch’s built-in Remote app work with new Apple TVs as a D-pad too.
Bluetooth Stories December 8, 2015
Bluetooth Stories December 4, 2015
At the start of the week we saw Apple officially pull the plug on Beats Music after using it as the foundation for Apple Music which includes a streaming radio station dubbed Beats 1 as a salute. On the hardware front, Apple is totally marching forward with the headphone and speaker business it acquired after buying Beats for $3 billion a year and a half ago. The first totally new product to come from Apple under the Beats brand is the recently announced Beats Pill+ ($195, reg. $229), a portable Bluetooth speaker that recharges over Lightning like iPhones and iPads.
The Pill+ marks Apple’s first real step back into the speaker business since briefly entering it in with the iPod Hi-Fi from 2006 to 2007; aside from color variations and wireless models, all other Beats hardware has been designed before the Apple move. Still, Apple’s new portable speaker resembles previous versions of Beats hardware more than you might expect from the iPhone maker in 2015. There’s even a companion Pill+ app for both iOS and Android. And even though this is clearly a Beats-branded product and not purely Apple, there’s something for fans of both to like, but is it the best speaker in its class?
Bluetooth Stories November 27, 2015
Citing a reliable source, a report from Japanese blog Macotakara claims that Apple plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone port from the upcoming iPhone 7, helping to achieve a “more than 1mm” reduction in thickness compared to the iPhone 6s. While the screen shape and radius will remain similar, the device will once again become Apple’s thinnest iPhone ever, albeit with a new restriction: headphones will only be able to connect over Lightning or Bluetooth… expand full story
Bluetooth Stories November 20, 2015
Yesterday I mentioned a useful tip for using physical keyboards with iPads in my guide to unlocking the full potential of the iPad Pro. The tip actually works with all iOS 9 iPads connected to external keyboards over Bluetooth, Lightning, or the Smart Connector: hold Command (⌘) to see a list of supported keyboard shortcuts for the Home screen or app you’re in.
This works in most of Apple’s built-in apps and plenty of popular third-party apps as well, but it can be monotonous prompting that sheet in each app to get a sense of what keyboard shortcuts work. Instead, I’ve compiled a cheat sheet of which keyboard shortcuts work in all the system apps and several popular third-party apps. Whether you’re using Apple’s Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, Logitech’s excellent K811, or any other physical keyboard, these will make you more efficient when working on your iPad.
Bluetooth Stories November 18, 2015
There’s a new software update awaiting Apple TV developers today. tvOS 9.1 beta 3 is now available for registered developers testing apps against the upcoming software update to Apple TV. The initial iOS 9.1 beta for developers was released a couple weeks ago, but no visual changes have surfaced yet aside from Siri support for Apple Music, which Apple promises will be available early next year for all Apple TV 4th-gen owners. expand full story
Bluetooth Stories November 17, 2015
There aren’t many iPad Pro-specific keyboards out there — Apple’s $170 Smart Keyboard and Logitech’s $150 Create (reviewed here) are the first two, if you can find them, with at least a few others announced and on their way to stores. But there’s really no need to wait on iPad Pro-specific keyboards, or spend a king’s ransom for one. Tons of iPad-compatible Bluetooth keyboards are already available, and thankfully at much lower prices.
Depicted with an iPad Pro on its box, Zagg’s Messenger Universal ($70) is clearly an alternative to Apple’s Smart Keyboard. Just like Apple’s accessory, Messenger Universal combines a full-sized keyboard with a magnetic iPad Pro-ready stand that folds down to a small size. But it skips the iPad Pro-only Smart Connector in favor of Bluetooth, and rather than serving as an oddly thick screen cover, takes the shape of a standalone folio that you can carry around as needed. Although it fits the iPad Pro perfectly, Messenger Universal works with all iPads — and other devices — so you needn’t feel constrained to using the keyboard with only a single tablet…