Encore Stories January 7, 2015

Up until recently, Apple accessory makers were unable to make Lightning cables with plugs as thin as Apple’s — they were required to use thicker plugs that sometimes had problems connecting to cases. At the 2015 CES, Just Mobile showed AluCable LED ($25), which uses newer Apple connectors to create the thinnest metal-jacketed Lightning cable yet, removing case compatibility issues while adding metallic style. Markedly improved over the prior AluCable at the same price, the new gold version matches the latest iPhone and iPad colors, as well.

The USB plug notably has a MagSafe-style LED built in that shifts color to indicate charging status, just like Apple’s laptops. Photos of that feature, plus details on a new reversible USB car charger, a new iPhone battery pack, and a golden version of Just Mobile’s iconic Encore stand, are all below…

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Encore Stories May 23, 2013

Shazam for iPad introduces passive tagging, lyrics display, auto-play in Spotify & Rdio and more

A new iPad version of Shazam available today introduces a whole raft of new functions, ranging from passive tagging without user input to the ability to recognise a song and then play it in Spotify or Rdio.

With passive tagging, the app continually listens to any music in the background and automatically tags it, ideal for use in bars where you may idly wonder what a track is but not want to go to the trouble of manually checking. The feature also works in the background, displaying a notification while the iPad is running other apps. Shazam’s claim of one-second tagging appears somewhat optimistic, however: a random sampling of tracks I tested took the usual several seconds.

LyricPlay displays lyrics in sync with the background music (Encore version only), while you can now immediately open the currently-playing track in either Rdio (all versions) or Spotify (Encore version only).

Shazam for iPad also introduces the kind of networked feature which seems to be expected in apps these days even if we’re not quite sure why. You can see which music and TV shows people are currently tagging in your country, city of neighborhood – as well as use a map to see tagging charts for anywhere else in the world.

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