Wireless Stories January 31, 2019

Back in the summer we went hands-on with Pioneer’s budget-minded MVH-1400NEX CarPlay head unit (review). What we found was an excellent no-frills aftermarket head unit with a clean design.

The MVH-1400NEX with its ~$300 entry-level price point was nice, but it lacked wireless CarPlay capability, which made it a non-starter for users desiring a wire-free experience. Enter Pioneer’s ~$800 AVIC-W8400NEX, a truly wireless CarPlay aftermarket head unit. Is it worth paying more for wireless connectivity? expand full story

Wireless Stories May 8, 2018

Netgear has unveiled its newest offering in its Orbi mesh Wi-Fi router system. The lineup now includes a bundle that features the main router with a built-in cable modem and one satellite.

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Wireless Stories September 23, 2016

earin-true-wireless-earbud-capsule-alongside-plant

Apple’s true wireless earbuds called AirPods release later next month, but that hasn’t stopped me from testing what you can buy on the market today. Today we’ll take a deep-dive into what has become my daily driver in the true wireless earbud world. Earin M-1 true wireless earbuds really feel like the perfect package, if only they had included two more things…

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Wireless Stories May 31, 2016

Mophie launches new iPhone Juice Pack battery cases with wireless charging

Mophie is today launching a new line of wireless Juice Pack products for iPhone that add wireless charging capabilities to the previous lineup of popular battery cases.

Wireless Stories May 12, 2016

iPhone-6S-unboxing

A big question up in the air for iPhone 7 is what Apple will do with its bundled headphones. If this is the first year Apple is to remove the headphone jack from the device as rumored, that means one of a few things for the bundled EarPods that usually come with its iPhones…

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Wireless Stories April 29, 2016

Aukey Bluetooth Headphones

If you’re looking for a pair of inexpensive wireless earbuds for workouts, then Aukey’s EP-B20 Bluetooth Headset is worth a look. These aren’t the most prestigious earbuds that you can pick up, but they sound decent, feel great in ear, and come with a reasonable $27.99 price. expand full story

Wireless Stories April 22, 2016

definitive-w7

I love the concept of streaming music around the home. There are a lot of great wireless Bluetooth speakers for wireless music on the move, but it’s still unclear what to choose for a static home environment. Apple’s answer is AirPlay, but it has flaws: no multi-room support from iOS devices, limited adoption by speaker manufacturers, and spotty reliability at best.

I’ve been trying an AirPlay alternative, called Play-Fi, which is a competing industry technology for home Wi-Fi music streaming from DTS. Specifically, I tested the Definitive W7 wireless speaker which integrates Play-Fi. Read on for my review  ….

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Wireless Stories April 4, 2016

Satechi-Wireless-Keypad

Satechi’s new Aluminum Wireless Keypad is the numeric keypad add-on Apple doesn’t make for its own wireless keyboard. Apple has a truly full-sized keyboard with the number/keypad option, but it’s only available as a wired keyboard. Its wireless Bluetooth keyboard, however, which it bundles with its Mac desktops and also sells separately, is shorter and doesn’t come with the old number pad.

That’s probably because the majority of users probably don’t miss it with the top number row suffice for occasional number input, so it’s understandable why Apple doesn’t pay much attention to it. But I personally like and miss the speed of using a keypad for quick commands in pro apps like Logic and punching in numbers in spreadsheets (it’s tax time…), so I’ve been testing Satechi’s new Aluminum Wireless Keypad that recently arrived.

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Wireless Stories January 11, 2016

iPhone-7-Lightning

If all the recent reports turn out to be true, it looks like Apple might actually ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack for the next-generation iPhone later this year. It’s been a long-time coming, not just since Apple started preparing for the transition with audio over Lightning for headphone makers a couple years back, but also since wireless Bluetooth headphones have become good enough in recent years to replace wired solutions that rely on the 3.5mm jack we’ve used for the last century or so.

Apple is no stranger to being first to ditch old technologies while ushering in the new (think floppy drive, optical drives, and everything on the new 12-inch MacBook, as a few examples), but how do you feel about this particular transition? 

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Wireless Stories January 8, 2016

hint

With its resources from the 2014 acquisition of headphone maker Beats Electronics, Apple is prototyping a completely new set of Bluetooth earphones with the potential of launching the accessory alongside the iPhone 7 this fall. The new earphones are said to be completely wireless, which is to say that they do not even have a cable connecting the left and right ear pieces. Sources say that the headphones are similar in concept to the Motorola Hint headset (pictured above) and Bragi’s new Dash headphones that were shown at CES this week.

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Wireless Stories November 7, 2015

JBL-Pulse-2

If you are looking for some differentiation in your Bluetooth speakers, the JBL Pulse 2 ($199) and the Marsboy Orb ($30 after SPDJVX3R code) offer varying degrees of light show to accompany your music. While the JBL Pulse 2 is essentially a very good Charge 2+ with a light show wrapped around the outside, the Marsboy brings a base model Chinese brand speaker with a LED array strapped on. Is there any middle ground here?

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Wireless Stories October 1, 2015

Taylor Swift Apple Music iPhone 6 Beats 21

Even in the age of the Apple Watch which only plays music over Bluetooth, Apple has yet to produce any Apple-branded wireless headphones or earbuds, instead promoting Beats-branded earbud and headphone designs created before Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of that company last year. A new report from MacRumors suggests that could soon change, however, as it’s believed Apple may have applied for “AirPods” trademark under an alias company name. expand full story

Wireless Stories September 28, 2015

Sonos Play 5 20

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

Wireless Stories August 31, 2015

T-Mobile to clamp down on network abusers, booting them down to lowest Simple Choice plan

T-Mobile has announced that it’s going to seriously clamp down on any users using unauthorized methods to get around its tethering cap. Those caught using more data than they should be on the highest tier, unlimited Simple Choice plan will be warned to stop, before being moved down to the entry-level plan. This move is aimed specifically at smartphone users who deliberately break T-Mo’s terms and conditions using workarounds to conceal their tethering usage.

The magenta carrier published an updated FAQ page on its support site stating that some customers have been blowing way past the 7GB tethering limit on the highest Simple Choice plan, some using as much as 2TB (2000GB) of data on their mobile plan. Its biggest concern is the experience created for others. With people using the network so heavily, it can ruin the network performance for everyone else. The carrier has developed software to detect those using workarounds and will initially warn users. If they carry on abusing the network, then they get moved on to a plan with just 1GB data (including tethering).

We’re first warning these customers that they’re illegally using more data than they bought. We hope folks will stop on their own so they can keep their current plan. These customers are on an unlimited 4G LTE smartphone plan that includes a set amount of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot data, but they’re using workarounds to make their tethering look like smartphone usage which helps them use significantly more 4G LTE tethering than their plan includes.

Once they’re on a plan with a set amount of 4G LTE data, it won’t matter what method they use for Smartphone Mobile HotSpot. Once they use their 4G LTE data bucket, they’ll continue to be able to use data at reduced speeds and still never worry about overages.

T-Mobile will start communicating these changes with its customers from today and notes that only a very small percentage of its customers have been discovered to be concealing their tethering. Despite it being a very small fraction of the customer base, it has a “disproportionately negative impact” on the experience for everyone else.

Wireless Stories August 27, 2015

LG debuts ‘Rolly’ universal, rollable Bluetooth keyboard

In a press release early this morning, Korean tech giant LG announced that it wants to grab a bigger share of the mobile accessories market. It wants to do so with Rolly Keyboard, a wireless, portable, rollable universal keyboard. Opened, it forms a four-row keyboard with close-to full size keys. What makes the keyboard unique is the method by which it’s stowed. Unlike the traditional single fold down the middle, each row of keys has a hinge, enabling the user to roll it up in to a ‘stick’.

Rolly Keyboard is powered by a single AAA battery and uses two Bluetooth 3.0 channels to pair to two separate devices and enable easy-switching between them, similar to the Microsoft Foldable Keyboard we reviewed recently. What’s more, it also features two arms to hold smartphones or tablets upright. It’s made from polycarbonate and black ABS plastic and LG claims it “offers satisfying tactile feedback often not found on flexible silicone keyboards”. Judging from the selection of keys on the device, it seems it’s going to be compatible with multiple platforms, including Apple-flavored devices.

Instead of offering a separate row for extra function keys for tasks like media playback, volume etc. LG has opted to use an individual ‘Fn’ key which — when pressed with a labelled key — will allow users to skip tracks, play/pause, change volume, pair devices and much more. And it won’t be alone on the accessory market his year:

“LG Rolly Keyboard is just one of the many premium input devices we’ll be unveiling in the coming months as we expand our accessories offerings,” said Seo Young-jae, vice president in charge of Innovative Personal Devices at LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “The goal was to create a product that could add more value to LG smartphones and tablets at the same time offering a unique design proposition that hadn’t been explored before.”

LG will show off its Rolly Keyboard at IFA in Berlin at the beginning of next month and launch in the U.S. in September. Pricing and availability details will be shared once it’s available to consumers.

Wireless Stories August 18, 2015

2-1iPadOver the weekend, we learned some preliminary details about Apple’s planned updates for two of their most popular Mac accessories, the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Mouse, in the form of FCC filings. Aside from new and improved connectivity thanks to Bluetooth 4.2, both accessories appear to have design deviations from their existing models, as detailed by the rough sketches accompanying the FCC filings. Based on these sketches, I decided to more fully visualize the changes Apple could be planning for an all new and more modern wireless keyboard based on other modern Apple product designs.

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Wireless Stories August 9, 2015

In this week’s episode of The Logic Pros, it’s the beginning of hardware month. As previously mentioned, we will be looking at a number of interesting hardware add-ons, instruments, controllers and more for Mac and iOS setups, starting with the puc+:

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Wireless Stories July 16, 2015

Solar cell touch surface patent

Apple tends to patent every one of its inventions that could possibly be used in a future product, so it can be difficult to read the tea leaves on which ones will eventually translate to product features. A new patent from Apple highlighted by PatentlyApple today, though, describes a technology that would be a very welcome remedy to battery life issues. The patent covers applying solar cells to a touch display surface like a trackpad or iPhone to store power for the device: expand full story

Wireless Stories June 17, 2015

Screenshot 2015-06-17 11.29.11

Earlier this week we noted that Apple has refreshed the Beats by Dre wireless Beats Powerbeats 2 earbuds with new colors aimed at Apple Watch Sport users. Today, Apple has updated its Beats headphones website to promote the new line of headphones along with a new price: $179, which is $20 less than the previous price at $199.

With its onboard storage for music and Bluetooth connection, Apple is promoting these headphones as a way to tap into listening to music with the Apple Watch without the need of a connected iPhone. Even with the ties to Apple and the new Apple Watch-centric marketing campaign, the new earphones will still work with other Bluetooth media players.

We noted earlier today on 9to5Toys that some retailers are offering as much as $50 off of the wireless headphones, and Amazon is selling the accessory at various discounted prices ranging from $169 to $189.

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Wireless 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

Wireless Stories May 15, 2015

Trader_Joe's

Last month, Apple added 10 new retailers to its Apple Pay website, which brought the total to 68 merchants and more than 700,000 payment terminals. Now, it appears that popular grocery chain Trader Joe’s is preparing to accept Apple Pay in its more than 400 retail locations.

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Wireless Stories March 26, 2015

techspecs2top

As I noted in Part 1 of How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Apple has designed the Mac purchasing process to be easy: pick a model, pick the good, better, or best configuration, hand over your cash, and enjoy your computer. Since most people get confused by tech specs — bullet points filled with numbers and acronyms — Apple downplays them in its marketing materials, leaving customers to sort through the details and figure out what most of them mean.

But these specs are really important when you’re shopping for the right Mac for your current and future needs. So I’ve created this How-To guide to walk you through each of Apple’s Tech Specs pages using clear explanations, hopefully enabling you to properly understand what you’re about to buy. Part 1 focused on the “big 5″ Mac specs you really need to know about, and this Part 2 looks at the rest — generally things that remain the same in a given model, regardless of the configuration you choose…

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Wireless Stories January 14, 2015

Apple LTE Phil Schiller

In response to Apple taking Ericsson to court over wireless patent licensing, the Swedish telecommunications company has filed a lawsuit in Texas that seeks the court to determine whether its licensing offer to Apple is fair. Ericsson told the court that it has been attempting to reach a new licensing agreement with Apple for over two years, but negotiations have failed to result in a deal. The patents in question are related to wireless LTE technologies that Apple uses in products like the iPhone and iPad. expand full story

Wireless Stories November 15, 2014

Logitech m320Logitech introduced its m320 wireless mouse last month and I’ve been trying it out for the past few weeks. The Logitech m320 is a wireless mouse (included wireless receiver required) with an ergonomic design for your hand to comfortably rest upon during use. Aside from fitting to your hand with ease, the Logitech m320’s super lightweight build allows it to smoothly glide across a surface without friction. Check out my hands-on with Logitech’s affordable desktop mouse… expand full story

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