Smartphones, including the iPhone, almost entirely replaced the MP3 players, but Apple's iPod earned its place in history because it forever changed the world of music.
Steve Jobs introduced the iPod at a very humble presentation on this day, October 23rd, 15 years ago. The iPod, which had 5GB of storage and allowed you to carry a thousand songs in your pocket, along with iTunes, started a revolution in the way we buy music and movies.
The first iPod was the size of a deck of cards, with an aluminum back and plastic front end. It had a rather modest screen compared to today's standards, and its price was $399 for a 5GB model, FireWire port included.
Amazon's second-generation version of the Echo Dot is out now and features a much lower $49.99 price point (versus the previous $89.99), despite the product selling out recently.
A puck-like device, it adds the Alexa voice assistance to any speakers you have around the home, allowing you to control your media with just the sound of your voice.
The new version features a redesigned voice processor, and spatial perception tech that detects multiple uses of the Dot, so that if you like, you can have different Dots for different devices, and control them all independently, with no extra effort on your part. The technology is also being rolled out for first generation devices.
All of the attention at the PlayStation Meeting today was for the new and improved PS4 Pro console from Sony, which rocks 4K capabilities, faster internals, but it lacks a 4K Blu-ray player which has Microsoft trolling Sony on Twitter.
Sony also announced a new Platinum Wireless Headset for the PS4, with Sony teasing it as a "high-end gaming headset" which is made from a "premium construction and materials for extra comfort". The new Platinum Wireless Headset has positional 7.1 virtual surround sound which is powered by SIE's proprietary 3D audio technology.
There will be certain PS4 games that support 3D audio that will work on the Platinum Wireless Headset, throwing surround sound at your ears from all directions. The new headset also features multi-position, hidden noise-cancelling microphones for super-clear voice communications, and it's also compatible with the PlayStation VR headset, and mobile devices with its included 3.5mm cable.
Apple is expected to have its new iPhone 7 smartphone with a single Lightning connector on it, with the 3.5mm audio jack being removed, and now it's beginning to make much more sense, thanks to the rumors from KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo.
Kuo is reporting that the new iPhone 7 will not only see the headphone jack missing, but it'll include EarPods that will use the Lightning connector. But the goss gets better, with Apple reportedly working on its own wireless technology that will work on a higher-end set of headphones. Kuo said: "We believe Apple will position Beats in the midrange market once it launches Apple's own-brand Bluetooth headphones, in order to maximize profit with a dual-brand strategy".
The report from Kuo continues: "We also believe Apple will have its own-designed Bluetooth-like communication chip, given its higher requirements for power-saving, communication specs, and potential rapid growth of Bluetooth headphone shipments". The wireless headphones might be called AirPods, meaning that the EarPods could be the new Lightning-powered wireless earphones, while an actual pair of over-the-ear headphones could be unveiled by Apple.
This could be awesome: Apple unveiling its own premium brand of audio products will be huge, and it'll turn into a game changer for the company that's obsessed with design and quality. Sure, you and I might dislike iOS compared to the it-can-do-it-all Android, but audio products from Apple in the high-end market could be pretty awesome, and expensive.
Google Now really does make your life better, so JBL's decision to include Google Now voice integration into their portable speakers, it sounds like a no-brainer.
JBL's current portable speakers in the Flip 3, Charge 3, Xtreme, and Pulse 2 are capable of being updated with Google Now support. All you'll need to do is download or update the JBL Connect app, grab the update, and press the play/pause button on your speaker to start using Google Now.
The update also includes Siri integration, so iPhone owners won't miss out on voice integration in JBL speakers.
Samsung teased its new Dolby Atmos capable soundbars earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but now the company is shipping both of its new soundbars in the US.
The new HW-K850 and HW-K950 are shipping right now, with prices of $999 and $1499, respectively. The higher-end HW-K950 is the better of the two, including the soundbar, two satellite speakers, and a subwoofer. The entire set is wireless, which makes setting it up so much easier. Both the soundbar and the two speakers project sound upwards, so the overhead sound effects sound amazing with Dolby Atmos.
I'll be honest. With a flurry of meetings to attend during E3 and free time nonexistent, I wasn't initially excited about seeing Astro's updated A50 wireless headphones. Don't misunderstand me, I'm a fan. I've used the crap out of my 1st generation pair for gaming, Rock Band, and VR sessions. But when I hear "updated," I envision a few new bullet points to put on the retail box for marketing purposes, just barely justifying a new version. This is thankfully not the case with the new Astro A50s.
I went hands-on and ears-on with an Astro engineer during E3, and walked away super impressed. My only criticism? Astro probably should have stamped these with a brand new model number because they're a substantial improvement over not just the originals, but even the most recent iterations.
Bose's celebrated QuietComfort headphones are going wireless. Like its predecessor, the new QuietComfort 35s feature patented noise-canceling technology.
Also included: custom Bluetooth said to offer a strong and consistent connection wherever you are, mics inside and outside the cups that respond to unwanted noise and filter it out practically immediately, a new EQ said to "balance sound at every volume, for any genre", and handy buttons for power, volume, play/pause, and answer/end calls on the right cup.
As for battery life, you get up to 20 hours from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
HTC and JBL have partnered to make a sweet-looking set of earbuds that offer noise-canceling thanks to the power of USB-C. If you connect it to your smartphone, it draws power from it to feed the onboard adjustable active noise cancellation circuitry.
The Reflect Aware C headphones also include an in-line remote with volume controls and a built-in mic. More, they're powered by 14.8mm drivers and come complete with sweat proof ergonomic ear tips (three sizes available) for especially active people.
Pricing and availability are not yet known.
Suitable for those wanting to game on a Microsoft Windows PC, Sony PlayStation 4, or Xbox One, Corsair has today announced its VOID Surround headset - adding a wired version to the previously all-wireless product range.
"Most gamers don't play on just one platform, so we wanted to build a headset that can be used anywhere" said Corsair's headset product manager, Joshua LaTendresse, with this headset adding the same sound quality and comfort enjoyed in our VOID 7.1 RGB wireless review. Made with a cast aluminum construction and microfiber ear cups, lovers of leather should look elsewhere.
This headset functions with Dolby 7.1 functions only when plugged in through USB, as we're not being offered a 'true surround-sound' experience here - but as my reviews go to show, that's not really a bad thing. Being released with an MSRP of $79.99 compared to the newly-announced wireless RGB white model at $129.99, this product is available for purchase immediately.