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Review: Philips Hue White Ambience Starter Kit

Philips has continued to expand its Hue ecosystem with new offerings, and with last fall's introduction of HomeKit compatibility, the Hue system provides a great lighting solution for users who are looking for LED bulbs. This spring, the company has introduced a significantly updated iOS app along with a new Hue White Ambiance Bulb. Users can purchase these individually as Hue White Ambiance Extension Bulbs ($30) which can be added to an existing Hue Bridge, or purchased in the form of the Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit ($130), which provides two bulbs, a second-generation HomeKit-compatible Hue Bridge, and a Hue Dimmer Switch ($25) all in a single kit. The system is similar in concept to the Hue White Starter Kit, switching out the basic Hue White bulbs for the new Hue White Ambiance bulbs, and adding in the Hue Dimmer Switch for the first time.


Review: Naim Audio Mu-so Qb Speaker

We review very few speakers in the price range of Naim Audio's Mu-so Qb ($1,000), but the compact sound system is being sold in Apple retail stores, and we thought it was worth a look. The heavy modern cube speaker can connect right out of the box to an iOS device via Bluetooth, or AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Tidal or UPnP using Wi-Fi and the free Naim Audio app. Mu-so Qb's striking design conceals two tweeters and two mid drivers all backed by 50W amplifiers, two passive bass radiators, and woofer with a 100W amplifier, for 300W of total power. A 32-bit digital signal processor controls the music. Mu-so Qb can also connect with other Mu-so speakers for multi-room sound — a nice bonus, but an expensive multi-room sound system, to be sure.


Walgreens adds digital coupons to Apple Pay

Customers who have their Walgreens loyalty card synced up with Apple Pay can now save digital coupons to be used at the checkout. Coupons can be found through the store’s website or in its iOS app, then saved to the customer’s loyalty card. When visiting the store, a simple tap using Apple Pay at the terminal will now apply saved coupons to the customer’s order in addition to registering the loyalty card. [via 9to5Mac]

China orders Apple and others to monitor, report on app users

On the heels of severely tightening restrictions on mobile games, China is mandating that companies like Apple start monitoring mobile app users, Bloomberg reports. The new regulations posted Tuesday by China’s Cyberspace Administration require Apple to establish user’s identities, monitor their posts and report items that contain banned content to the Chinese government. The legitimacy of developers must also be verified, and app stores are now require to log each user’s activity for 60 days.


South Korea regulators investigating Apple

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has opened an investigation into “some matters” related to Apple, Reuters reports. FTC Chairman Jeong Jae-chan refused to disclose any further details of the investigation, but earlier this month domestic news outlets reported that the FTC was looking into Apple’s contracts with the country’s mobile telecom providers.


Apple Q3 earnings call set for July 26

Apple has announced that it will release its Q3 financial results on Tuesday, July 26. As usual, the company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time that day. Apple previously provided guidance for Q3 of revenue between $41 billion and $43 billion, and gross margin between 33.5 percent and 38 percent. As always, iLounge will provide coverage of the results.

Daily Deal: Virtual Reality Box Headset

Today in iLounge Deals, we’re offering the Virtual Reality Box Headset for only $18.99 — that’s 36% off the regular price. This quality iPhone-compatible headset helps you experience a whole new virtual reality world, with high-quality ABS construction and 42mm diameter spherical resin lens materials, super 3D picture rendering, and optical axis sliding controls so you can tailor the image to the best possible experience.

Get the Virtual Reality Box Headset now for only $18.99

Review: Phiaton BT 460 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Phiaton's new BT 460 ($200) is a lightweight wireless Bluetooth headphone that packs some good tech ideas, but has some issues with the details. The BT 460 is, at first, refreshing in its simple and understated design. This minimalism starts with its packaging, which is clean and straightforward except for the curious “Teddy Artist Edition” branding. Inside the box, we find a large carrying case, charging cable, and 3' headphone cable. On the headphone itself, there are no flashy logos or loud colors. BT 460 is a classy-looking black and gray headset made of plastic and rubber (the headphone also comes in white). Other than the power button, there are no visible volume or track controls — everything is handled via a touch interface on the right ear. The BT 460 makes a good first impression, promising some interesting features for a wireless headphone.


Apple’s UK tax bill under scrutiny

Apple’s UK corporation tax last year amounted to £12.9 million, but with £12.9 billion in profits in the last three months of 2015 alone, the Daily Mail is questioning whether the company is paying its fair share. Apple’s tax bill for 2015 was actually up from £11.8 million the previous year, but with the company still under EU investigation for routing its European profits through Ireland, suspicion that Apple is cooking the books is rampant.


Apple lays out ‘differential privacy’ plan for data collection

Apple is working to explain its new “differential privacy” method of collecting enough user information to make its products more useful while still protecting user privacy, Recode reports. Data collection will begin with the rollout of iOS 10, but will be entirely opt-in, allowing users to decide whether they’re willing to trade a little privacy in return for added functionality. Those opting in will allow Apple to see new words added to their local dictionaries, emojis they type, deep links used inside apps, and hints within notes.


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