We've been working hard over the past few years to bring reviews of high-quality audio gear, but some of our readers have pointed out that we have been mostly focused on headphones. They have asked for reviews of other parts of the audio signal chain — amplifiers, DACs, and wireless receivers. We have a bunch in the works, and here's the first: the Advanced Mezger aptX Bluetooth Receiver ($100). Though it’s limited by Bluetooth bandwidth and USB power, the Mezger is a solid performer.
If you’ve ever tried to tiptoe into your bedroom late at night without waking up your spouse, you’ve probably cringed when you’ve had to plug in your iPhone, only to hear it chirp or buzz as it vibrates to acknowledge the charging connection. Fortunately, it turns out there’s a handy, albeit it less than obvious way to prevent this: For whatever reason it turns out that if you simply swipe to the camera from your lock screen before plugging your iPhone in, it will not emit any sound or vibration at all. The Camera app will stay open, of course, but you can easily return to the normal lock screen once your iPhone is plugged in by pressing the home button. [via iPhone in Canada / Business Insider]
While not everybody is a fan of folio cases for an iPhone, Twelve South’s BookBook is among the classiest and most unique cases you’ll find in this style, and the company has of course updated its classic BookBook lineup with BookBook for iPhone 7 ($70) and BookBook for iPhone 7 Plus ($70). Still available in the classic colours of vintage brown leather and black, BookBook provides a wallet case that’s unlike any other, with generous room for storing cards — especially on the Plus version — and the aesthetic design of an old book.
Apple executive and AI expert Tom Gruber told the crowd at the TED conference that he sees artificial intelligence providing a boost to human memory in the future, Axios reports. He was hesitant to make predictions about the specific technology that would be involved, but Gruber said in the near future computer intelligence could help people clearly remember everything from people they met only once to food they ate years ago. While privacy would be a key concern with preserving such a massive amount of very personal information, Gruber said the benefits — especially for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s — could make a huge difference in quality of life in a person’s later years. He added that a friend of his who is blind and quadriplegic is already enjoying the life-changing benefits of AI, using Siri to meet other people online. “Here’s a man whose relationship with AI helps him… with genuine human relationships,” Gruber said.
Today in iLounge Deals, we’re offering the BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter for only $34.99 — that’s 41% off the regular price. This four-adapter voltage converter lets you continue using your personal devices in just about any country you find yourself. The single device provides a collection of three standard North American AC outlets and four USB ports — including two supporting 2.4A charging — so you can plug in all of your electronic devices in one place wherever you happen to be, with power adapters for the EU, UK, US and AU. Best of all, it’s portable enough to toss into your carry on bag for quick access on the go.
iDevices' new Wall Switch is the company's second new HomeKit product of 2017, joining Wall Outlet in the arena of its installable devices. Wall Switch replaces any standard wall switch with a Wi-Fi HomeKit-enabled switch that provides basic on and off controls. Like many of iDevices' other products, the company has also included an independently-controllable multicolour LED night light in the centre of the switch that can be used to help locate it in the dark, or simply provide a small mount of ambient night lighting for a room.
All of Apple’s 495 stores will begin featuring ‘Today at Apple’ educational sessions focusing on a wide range of topics starting sometime in May, the company announced today. While most will be led by Apple employees, the company also teased that in select cities participants will be treated to sessions from “world-class artists, photographers and musicians.” The free programs will focus on activities centered around Apple devices, like iPhone photography, drawing with the Apple Pencil and coding classes for kids that teach the company’s Swift programming language. For more advanced users, Pro Series courses will also provide “a deep dive into Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X with sessions on color correction and grading to post production, or audio mixing to editing for emotion, and more.”
Smart home device maker iDevices has been acquired by Hubbell, a company that’s been around for more than 100 years. As with many such acquisitions, iDevices claims nothing will change with its day-to-day operations, pledging that, “We will continue to support and update our existing products and make new ones; all while utilizing the backing and expertise of Hubbell to accelerate our growth and leadership position in the IoT space.” Hubbell has been around since the early days of electricity, gaining initial fame by patenting the now-ubiquitous pull chain lamp socket. According to the release, the partnership will see iDevices focused on “developing and designing smart home solutions” and utilizing Hubbell’s “extensive expertise in manufacturing and distribution across residential, commercial and industrial markets.”
Apple is delaying the release of its “Carpool Karaoke” adaptation for Apple Music, now saying only that “‘Carpool Karaoke: The Series’ will premiere on Apple Music later this year,” Reuters reports. During the Code Media conference in February, Apple said the show would debut in April, but a launch party scheduled for March was postponed without explanation, and another rescheduled for this Monday was also scrapped. A statement from CBS Television Studios echoed Apple’s vague timeline, saying, “We’re excited about our ‘Carpool Karaoke’ for Apple Music, and look forward to everyone seeing it later this year.”
A Dutch judge has ruled that Apple can’t use refurbished iPads to replace broken ones covered by its AppleCare warranty, Tweakers reports. While Apple’s terms of service explicitly state that the company can use refurbished units as replacements, the judge ruled that Apple can only issue refurbished replacements to customers who initially purchased a refurbished unit. “If a plaintiff had purchased a refurbished or replacement iPad, Apple may replace it with a refurbished or replacement copy,” the judge said. “But if the consumer, as in this case, purchased a new iPad, She is entitled to a new iPad as a replacement.”