Sonos announced today on Twitter that its wireless speakers will be listed on Apple’s online store today and sold in Apple Stores starting October 5. Customers buying a Sonos system through Apple’s website or in an Apple Store before December 31 will receive a gift card giving them three months of Apple Music for free (ostensibly on top of the three-month free trial Apple already offers to new users). The deal further solidifies Sonos’ ties to Apple Music, following the company’s move earlier this year to make Apple Music available on all of its speakers for users without an Apple device. Apple Music users can add the service by selecting “Add Music Services” from any Sonos controller app, scrolling down to the Apple Music icon, and logging in.
After iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus owners started taking to Twitter to complain that the volume controls on their new Lightning EarPods stopped working, Apple said it is working on a fix, Business Insider reports. Some users have noticed that after a while of being plugged into the Lightning port, the EarPods keep playing music but the volume control dongle stops working, preventing them from using it to change the volume, answer calls or activate Siri.
CEO Tim Cook took on criticism of Apple’s new wireless AirPods in an interview with Good Morning America, telling Robin Roberts that he has worn them on the treadmill and out dancing without having the earbuds fall out of his ear. Cook even argued that wires make the old EarPods more likely to fall out during activity, providing chances to snag the cord on something, while also applying extra weight to the earbud that drags it down. A number of reviewers have said they were pleasantly surprised how well the AirPods stay in place, but The New York Times reported some interference and a glitch that caused a podcast to rewind and replay some segments. An Apple spokesperson said that reviewer had been testing pre-release hardware and that “bugs should be resolved by the time they are released next month.”
Apple also announced during today’s event that the W1 technology powering its new AirPods wireless earbuds will also be included in three new Beats earphone and headphone models, specifically the Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones ($300), the Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones ($200), and the BeatsX Earphones ($150). The W1 chip will provide improved power efficiency, allowing Solo3 to get up to 40 hours of battery life, or 12 hours and 8 hours for the Powerbeats3 and BeatsX, respectively, as well as taking advantage of the same seamless iOS 10 detection and pairing features from which AirPods users will be able to benefit.
Apple has listed an updated lineup of accessories for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on its official online store, including the EarPods with Lightning Connector ($29) and the Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter ($9). In addition, the lineup of Apple cases previously available for the iPhone 6s models has now been updated for the iPhone 7 models, with prices remaining the same as before — $35/$39 for silicone, $45/$49 for leather, and $99 for the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, which also retains the same “hump” design as the iPhone 6s version. Several Apple exclusive third-party iPhone 7 cases are also now listed on the Apple Store, including the Tech21 Evo Mesh ($40) and Otterbox Statement Series ($40). None of these products are currently available for purchase, but should be by next week’s release of the newest iPhones.
As part of the announcement of the new iPhone 7 models today, Apple also unveiled AirPods, a new set of Apple wireless earbuds. Featuring a new Apple-designed W1 chip for low-power Bluetooth-based communications, the AirPods pair seamlessly with an iPhone, sharing pairing information via iCloud with other devices such as iPads and Macs. AirPods include motion accelerometers for touch-sensitivity and Siri activation, voice accelerometers to recognize vibrations to determine the source of a user’s voice, and beam-forming mics to reduce external noise. Optical sensors detect when one or both AirPods are in your ears, automatically pausing playback when they’re removed, or switching to monaural audio when you’re using only one AirPod. The AirPods will provide 5 hours of battery life on a single charge, and come with a battery storage case that provides an additional 24 hours of battery life; 15 minutes of charging in the case will add an extra 3 hours of listening time, and the case and AirPods can be charged simultaneously via an included Lightning-to-USB cable. AirPods will be compatible with iPhone 5 and later models, iPad mini 2 and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, and the sixth-generation iPod touch. They’re expected to be available in late October for $159.
Today’s introduction of Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has already led a number of companies to reveal cases for the upcoming devices. With the basic form factor of the new phones staying the same as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, many casemakers have simply tweaked the shape of the camera cutout in their existing offerings. Ballistic has updated its Jewel ($30), Urbanite ($40), Tough Jacket ($35), and Tough Jacket Maxx ($50) offerings, pictured above, to fit the new cameras, and all are available starting today.
Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a note to investors about Apple’s rumored wireless “AirPods” ahead of the company’s iPhone event tomorrow, saying he expects Apple to have “its own-designed Bluetooth-like communication chip and launch own-brand Bluetooth headphones targeting the high-end market.” In a statement that echoes previous reports, Kuo said Apple’s own custom chip may deviate from Bluetooth specifications, providing the company with its own proprietary low-power wireless communications for home and auto accessories beyond headphones.
Wireless headphone maker Bragi has introduced a new set of Bluetooth earbuds, called The Headphone, ahead of Apple’s announcement that it’s doing away with the headphone jack in the iPhone 7. The new offering is a stripped-down version of the company’s Dash headphones, ditching the built-in storage and fitness sensors to get the price down to $149. The Bluetooth 4.0 earbuds boast a 6-hour battery life (up to 250 hours in standby mode) and a charge time of less than 2 hours. Three buttons on the side of one earbud give users the option to skip tracks, take calls, and deliver voice commands through the built-in headset microphone. Small, medium and large FitTips provide options to find a comfortable fit and passive noise isolation technology can be turned on to keep distracting noise out. Bragi says The Headphone will start shipping in November, and customers can currently pre-order at a reduced $119 presale price.
In addition to unveiling next-generation iPhones, it appears that Apple will also unveil new Beats products at next week’s event, according to an email received from the Beats PR team by iGeneration. Although the announcement merely says “a selection of new Beats by Dre products will be unveiled” without going into specifics, considering that the iPhone 7 is expected to omit the headphone jack in favor of the Lightning port, it seems likely that new Lightning-equipped headphones and possibly even wireless headphones will make their debut.
Logitech has announced Circle Safe, a new subscription-based video storage plan for its Logi Circle camera that allows users to keep and replay video footage beyond the default 24 hours. Priced at $10/month or $100/year, Circle Safe allows users to keep up to 31 days of video footage in their Logitech Circle account, along with the ability to create custom time-lapse Day Briefs covering a specific time frame, rather than an entire day’s worth of footage. All Logi Circle users can take advantage of a 31-day free trial for Circle Safe, and plans are available at discounted rates for a limited time. Users can sign up through the updated Logi Circle app.
A new photo posted by French site NowhereElse alleges to show that Apple will include both Lightning-equipped EarPods and a Lightning adapter for 3.5mm headphones with its iPhone 7 Plus. The image shows an alleged packaging insert for a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus that lists both accessories alongside the usual Lightning-to-USB cable and USB power adapter included with every iPhone.
Russian trademark filings uncovered by mobiltelefon.ru show identifiers for 10 different individual versions of Apple Watch and wireless headphones referred to as “AirPods” designed for use with the iPhone 7. A leaked video of EarPods featuring a Lightning connector has led to speculation that Apple may package those with the iPhone 7, since they’re rumored to have done away with the 3.5mm headphone jack. These latest filings hint that Apple may be offering its first version of wireless earbuds for users who want to ditch the cord all together. The AirPods name implies that the accessory will be a first-party accessory, not branded through the company’s Beats label. But whether they’ll be in the box with the iPhone or sold separately is an open question.
Incipio Group has announced the acquisition of Griffin Technology, the latest in a series of acquisitions that have recently included Skullcandy, Clamcase, Incase, and Braven. “Griffin has a 25 year history of designing, manufacturing and distributing iconic mobile accessories,” stated Andy Fathollahi, Founder and CEO of Incipio Group. “As part of Incipio Group, Griffin strengthens our product development and manufacturing capabilities, complements our existing product lines in rugged cases, power and connectivity, and allows our brands to reach a broader domestic and international audience through enhanced distribution in the business-to-business, enterprise and education verticals.” Griffin will continue as a stand-alone brand and retain its global headquarters in Nashville. Other terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Apple has been working for the past few years on developing a custom low-power Bluetooth radio chip for wireless earbuds, according to a new report in Forbes. The report notes that Apple could launch a set of Bluetooth earbuds as soon as September alongside the new iPhone model, which is expected to omit the 3.5mm headphone jack found on prior models. Recent leaks have suggested that Apple will bundle either Lightning EarPods or a Lightning audio adapter in with the next-generation iPhone models. Low-power Bluetooth headphones could provide another alternative — although it seems likely that such earphones would be sold as a separate option rather than being included in the package.
After last week’s video showing a Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter, new footage appears to show a new set of Apple EarPods with a Lightning connector. Like pictures leaked earlier this month, the new EarPods in the video feature an in-line remote that allows users to control music playback and volume. A report from last week cited supply chain sources who said Apple would be including a Lightning adapter with the iPhone 7 rather than Lightning-equipped EarPods, but the narrator of this latest video seems convinced the new EarPods will ship with the latest iPhone. [via Apple Insider]
Photos that have popped up on Chinese search website Weibo appear to show new Apple EarBuds with a Lightning connector in place of the old 3.5mm headphone plug. Since Apple bundles EarPods with all of its iPhones, this is another indication that rumors about Apple ditching the headphone jack may be true. The Lightning connector on the pictured EarPods is a bit thicker than the one that comes with the current iPhone’s cable—perhaps due to the added bulk of the technology required to transfer digital audio—which could be an issue for some iPhone cases if the images prove to be legit. [via NowhereElse]
With Apple rumored to be doing away with the headphone jack on its new iPhone, Cirrus Logic is offering a development kit to aid headphone makers looking to simplify the switch to Lightning connectors. The company’s MFi Headset Development Kit includes reference designs for creating Lightning port connected headphones and a development board to be used in programming, debugging and testing audio performance. The design is compatible with earbuds or over-the-ear headphones and pre-programmed to support both digital audio playback and voice capture. With very few Lightning-connected headphone options currently available, the area is poised for rapid expansion.
Mobile device accessory maker Incipio Technologies has announced plans to acquire Skullcandy, which specializes in audio solutions, and gaming products through its Astro Gaming brand. This is the fourth in a spate of recent acquisitions by Incipio, with the company having acquired Incase and Clamcase last year, and Braven back in 2013.
Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman says the company is “still committed” to the wearables business, refuting recent reports that Jawbone is exiting the wearables business or going out of business altogether. In a blog post on the company’s website, Rahman denies recent media reports as “unequivocally false,” noting that the speculation appeared to come from “wrongful insinuations” made by “a particular digital publication,” and although the publication later made a correction, this was not done until after other media picked up on the news and spread it further. Rahman emphasizes that Jawbone “remains wholly committed to innovating in and building great wearables products” and has technology in the pipeline that they “look forward to sharing ... with the world.”