speaker Stories May 27

AAPL: 100.35

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Amazon was first with its Echo Wi-Fi speaker — a dedicated, standalone hub for its Alexa virtual assistant software — and now word has it Apple is working on a similar product for Siri. The several reports this week detailing Apple’s plans followed Google’s unveiling of its competitive Home hardware and Assistant platform at its Google I/O developer conference earlier this month. But what exactly will Apple’s competitor look like? And how will its reported plans for a Siri SDK play into its approach?

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speaker Stories December 2, 2015

AAPL: 117.34

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A couple of months ago we took an in-depth preview look at the Sonos Play:5 all-in-one wireless speaker ahead of its release as the company unveiled its new Trueplay speaker tuning feature. The new Sonos Play:5 (2nd gen, $499) has since launched in stores and Apple Music streaming will be supported from December 15th. I’ve spent a few weeks testing a pair of new Play:5 speakers to see how it performs. The short answer is that it delivers on its promise of providing premium sound, but here’s how it compares to the cheaper Sonos Play:1 ($199) and mid-sized Sonos Play:3 ($299): expand full story

speaker Stories October 8, 2015

AAPL: 110.78

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Bowers & Wilkins, maker of the iconic Zeppelin speaker and its AirPlay sequel Zeppelin Air, today announced an upgraded model with even more horsepower and features: Zeppelin Wireless ($700). The original $600 Zeppelin redefined “high-end iPod speakers” at a time when Bose and Klipsch had established a $300 to $400 price ceiling, successfully upping the ante in both sound quality and industrial design.

Zeppelin Wireless retains B&W’s classic elongated football shape and five-speaker concept, but now relies entirely on wireless streaming for audio, boasting Bluetooth aptX, AirPlay, and Spotify Connect support. Backed by 150 Watts of amplifier power, a new twice-as-powerful digital signal processor upsamples all inputs to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, promising to deliver greater accuracy, lower noise, and enhanced dynamic range through an audiophile-quality DAC. The speakers and enclosure have been upgraded, as well…

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speaker Stories June 8, 2015

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 Stories January 23, 2015

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 Stories January 9, 2015

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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