The economy speaker market is getting pretty crowded these days, with a lot of options vying for your attention and dollars, so needless to say when we initially heard about another $50 speaker by a new player, Fabriq, we expected it to be just another relatively unremarkable entry. However, Fabriq has done quite a few interesting things with its new wireless speaker that make it a huge breath of fresh air and innovation in the sub-$100 speaker market, blending support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Alexa, and more into an attractive and portable package. There's a lot more to Fabriq's eponymously-named speaker than you'd expect from its small stature and low price tag.
Apple and Musical.ly have partnered to supply content from Apple Music for the popular music video app, Recode reports. Musical.ly is a service that lets users create their own music videos from snippets of songs, and beginning today, Apple Music will now be supplying many of the songs, expanding on Musical.ly’s current catalog from music distributor 7digital. The partnership will presumably increase the amount of content available to Musical.ly users while also providing a new way for Apple to promote the Apple Music service to Musical.ly users — those who are Apple Music subscribers will gain the benefit of being able to listen to full songs within the Musical.ly app.
Apple has now suspended all licensing payments to Qualcomm related to the iPhone amidst the legal dispute between the two companies, Bloomberg reports. The battle between the two tech firms began earlier this year when Apple filed lawsuits accusing Qualcomm of withholding $1 billion in patent royalties, allegedly as a punishment in response to Apple’s cooperation with Korean antitrust regulators. A subsequent lawsuit filed in Beijing by Apple claimed that Qualcomm had abused its position in the chip industry and failed to deliver on its promises to inexpensively license “standard essential patents.” Qualcomm followed those filings up its own countersuit earlier this month, accusing Apple of breaching its contract and asking for an unspecified amount in damages.
According to Qualcomm, Apple has now stated that it will be withholding all future payments until the legal matters between the two companies are resolved. Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg added that “While Apple has acknowledged that payment is owed for the use of Qualcomm’s valuable intellectual property, it nevertheless continues to interfere with our contracts,” and that “Apple has now unilaterally declared the contract terms unacceptable; the same terms that have applied to iPhones and cellular-enabled iPads for a decade.” In a statement to The Financial Times, an Apple spokesperson responded “We’ve been trying to reach a licensing agreement with Qualcomm for more than five years but they have refused to negotiate fair terms. Without an agreed-upon rate to determine how much is owed, we have suspended payments until the correct amount can be determined by the court. As we’ve said before, Qualcomm’s demands are unreasonable and they have been charging higher rates based on our innovation, not their own.”
In our iLounge Deal for today, we’re offering the u-Jays Wireless On-Ear Headphones for only $169.95. The highly-reviewed wireless headphones provide both great sound and convenience, keeping you free from the inconvenience of wires when you’re travelling, working out, or just on walkabout. Integrated touch controls let you take calls, swipe through your favorite tracks, control the volume, and more, and 25 hours of wireless playback time means you can keep listening throughout the day.
Apple Music will be gaining another exclusive on a music documentary, this time in the form of Puff Daddy’s biopic “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story.” Billboard reports that the powerful new documentary, which is premiering tonight at the TriBeCa Film Festival, will come exclusively to Apple Music starting on June 25. The film chronicles Sean “Diddy” Combs’ rise to the top of the music business back in the mid-nineties, as well as the challenges he faced in putting together the 20th anniversary Bad Boy reunion shows last year. Although specific terms of the deal between Combs and Apple weren’t revealed, Apple Music is expected to have exclusive rights to the documentary for at least the first year. This latest exclusive documentary deal comes right on the heels of last week’s announcement that Apple Music would also be the exclusive home of legendary record producer Clive Davis’ new documentary.
Only three days after the release of iOS 10.3.2 beta 4, Apple has already rolled out a fifth beta of iOS 10.3.2 to registered developers. The release notes appear to be basically unchanged from the prior beta, listing SiriKit, VPN, and Siri fixes and a few outstanding notes on managed and shared devices, openURL, WebKit, and SOS (which continues to be supported only in India).
Advanced is a relatively new player in the headphone world. Based in New York, the company made its debut in late 2015 with a successful Kickstarter campaign for its wired IEM, the M4. Flash forward to 2017, and Advanced has a suite of unique-looking options available on their website. First up for the review are the M4 ($100) and Evo X ($130) Bluetooth IEMS. While we think these may be good budget options for some, we did not find them to be particularly revolutionary.
Apple Music impresario Jimmy Iovine is continuing to take a slow and steady approach to developing the popular streaming music service into a cultural centre point that goes beyond being merely “a bunch of songs and a few playlist.” In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Iovine touched on several of the projects that he’s working on with various artists and Hollywood moguls, from already announced projects like “Carpool Karaoke” and “Planet of the Apps” to several documentaries, suggesting that Apple could release as many as 10 original series by the end of the year. While Iovine didn’t go into details on any unannounced projects, sources suggest that two will about the legendary hip-hop labels Bad Boy Records and Cash Money Records, while another is about Clive Davis.
I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans. We have the freedom, because it’s Apple, to make one show, three shows, see what works, see what doesn’t work until it feels good.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering his roots, Iovine remains focused on music-related projects at this point. A possible sequel to R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” is said to be in the works, and Iovine is developing another show “loosely based” on the life of Dr. Dre. However, Iovine notes that he eventually does plan to go beyond music and has already had discussions with Hollywood producer Brian Grazer and director J.J. Abrams. As Iovine describes it, “Apple music is nowhere near complete in my head,” but emphasizes that he plans to grow the service slowly “no matter what,” much like how he founded and built Interscope back in 1989, beginning with a couple of lesser-known artists and slowly growing into one of the world’s most successful record labels.
For Thursday’s iLounge Deal, we’re offering the SFC30 Bluetooth Controller + NES Classic Bluetooth Receiver Exclusive Bundle for only $39.99 — that’s 23% off the regular price. This retro Bluetooth controller lets you play modern games on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and more with the feel of an old-school game controller. Wiimote emulation support also allows you to play with up to four players on a Wii or play multiplayer iOS games using the dual-keyboard code system, and touchscreen-only games with touchscreen simulation. Best of all, it’s portable enough to toss in your backpack and the rechargeable battery lets you game for up to 20 hours on a single charge. The included Bluetooth receiver also lets you take it back to the NES Classic, getting the freedom of a wireless controller — or even pairing up your Playstation or Wii controllers — to your old-school gaming console.
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.