As we move further into the age of wireless audio with the iPhone 7 abandoning the ever-so-present headphone jack, a new category of "truly wireless" earbuds has been popping up. So you may be asking, what does "truly wireless" even mean? Well, as you may have seen, many earbuds that have claimed to be "wireless" actually have a wire in between the buds that generally goes around your neck. So, a few companies, such as Bragi, decided to do away with any and all wires, leaving us with Bragi's first product, the Dash.
The Dash started as a Kickstarter project back in February of 2014, with an enormous amount of support, raising just under $3.4 million with the promise of earbuds completely free of wires and with loads of other features. These features included activity tracking, touch controls, on-board storage, water-resistance, and more. The campaign had initially intended to ship out the Dash units in October of 2014, but due to many setbacks, they started shipping out units in early- to mid-2016. With initial reports of problems with the microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, it seemed, at first, like the Dash could be just another Kickstarter flop. Instead, however, the company dedicated a lot of time into creating new updates to the firmware that drastically improved, if not completely solved these issues.
An earbud can't be good without sounding good, of course. So, how does the Dash stack up to the competition? After all, the price for these is not cheap, coming in at around $300. Well, they're actually pretty good! I wasn't expecting amazing sound from a device so small, yet packed full of components. What I found was that the Dash produces a good, clear sound, though certainly preferring the mids over the lows and highs. That said, I am quite a bass-lover myself and I'm coming from using a V-Moda Crossfade M-100, so I've been spoiled, and for earbuds, the Dash does a good job producing the bass it does. If I had to compare it to some other earbuds, I'd compare the sound to something like the "wireless" (but not completely wireless) Jaybird Bluebuds, which are quite good themselves.
Now, a common issue with truly wireless earbuds is their often lacking performance in their ability to hold a strong Bluetooth connection. In the beginning, there were lots of complaints from users experiencing poor connection even if the phone was placed only as far as the user's pockets. Obviously, that's a huge issue, but also one Bragi appears to have fixed through their updates. I can confidently say that I have had virtually no issues whatsoever with the connectivity of these earbuds, other than maybe one or two micro drops in connection. I tested the Dash by walking around a room and was able to go as far as 10 to 15 feet away from the source without experiencing any connectivity issues. Additionally, just the process of using and connecting the earbuds is really simple. All you do is take them out of the case and put them in your ears. The buds sense when they're in and automatically turn on, connect to each other, and connect to your phone or other device.
Comfort and Design
Another historically common problem with this category of audio products is the ridiculous look of the product or their inability to stay in ears due to the sheer weight they carry. Luckily, this is not an issue with the Dash. While you may get some head turns while using this product, people often just don't care, and the Dash really doesn't look bad at all. Additionally, these earbuds were surprisingly comfortable to wear. They come with multiple sleeves to fit your ears (XS, S, M, and L), and once you find the right fit, the earbuds fit snuggly and quite comfortably. I haven't had too many issues with the buds falling out, which has always been a problem for me, whether or not the earbuds I was using were wireless. Yet another check mark for the Dash.
A neat feature of the Dash is the way you control them. There are multiple ways that you control the Dash, including through the app, touch sensors on the outside of each bud, and head gestures. For instance, if you receive a call while using the earbuds, just nod or shake your head to answer or deny the call. Playing and pausing is easy, with just a tap on the right earbud, or start tracking activities with a tap on the left. One of the issues I noticed is that the touch sensors aren't only sensitive to your fingers, so putting on a winter hat caused the earbuds to do some unwanted actions. After looking around a bit, though, it looks like Bragi addressed this issue by including a touch lock that can be implemented by holding down on both the right and left touch sensors, which worked well and solved my problem.
The other features included with the Dash are a microphone, onboard storage, a heart-rate sensor, and a case that charges the buds 5 times on-the-go. To start off, the microphone had quite a few complaints in the early days, with users claiming it was unusable and that the person speaking sounded robotic over the phone. This is yet another area where Bragi has used its firmware updates to address an issue. When I was using the microphone for phone calls, some people said there were no problems at all, while others said it sounded a bit muddled, but they could still hear me and know what I was saying. As for the onboard storage, there's not much to be said about it. Songs can be added through a computer and using it works as described. Next up is the heart-rate sensor, which seemed to be relatively accurate, though I didn't have another device to compare it to at the time. This is a really nice feature for athletes looking to listen to music without an annoying wire and no need for a smartwatch. And lastly, the charging case. The case is built quite well, with an aluminum sleeve and a strong metal or plastic where the earbuds actually rest. The earbuds flash when they've been connected properly, and a magnet holds them in place. My only complaint is that I feel like I will drop the earbuds when trying to get them out of the case because you have to take the sleeve off, hold that, hold the battery part, and then fiddle with getting the buds out. That said, overall, the battery case is a nice feature, as the battery life on the buds isn't spectacular at about 3 hours.
So, what are my overall thoughts of the Dash? Well, I like them. I don't know if I, personally, would quite want to spend the $300 for them, but I could understand why some would. The features work well and the sound quality is pretty good, considering everything that's built into them. I think Bragi's next product, the Headphone, could also allow a lot more people to purchase their products, with reportedly better sound quality and a much lower price of $149. However, that new product does strip the Dash of many of its capabilities, including the water-resistance, touch controls, onboard storage, and heart rate sensor. So it really comes down to what you want. If you want the smart capabilities, there really is no other product out there that offers all of the Dash's capabilities, but if that does interest you, the Headphone is probably the way to go.
iOS 10 will be launching in the fall for consumers, but developers can use iOS 10 starting today with the first beta. If you are not a developer there is still a way to get it on your device but keep in mind that beta software is buggy and could cause issues with apps and battery life. If you want your device to remain fully functional I would suggest staying away from the first couple of beta releases. You can sign up and wait to get into the public beta like Apple did last year. The good thing about the public beta is that Apple doesn’t release a version until it’s more stable to avoid any major problems. The public beta program also doesn’t require you to register your UDID or do anything manually as it gets pushed directly to your device; you can sign up for the public beta here once iOS 10 is announced on the 13th of this month.
Backup Your Device
Before doing all of this make sure to completely back up your device just to be safe. I’ve never had any issues when updating to a beta but it’s best to take as many precautions beforehand to avoid any problems if something goes wrong. You also want to make sure your device’s UDID is registered in Apple Servers as a developer device. There are many places that can register your UDID, we do it for $4. Do not install the beta before registering your device somewhere as it could cause your device to brick and Apple will not help you as that is not covered with warranty.
Finding Your UDID
You Can Find Your UDID by:
-Launching iTunes and connecting your iPhone.
-In the top pane, click on the little icon of your device. Locate where it shows name, phone number, & serial number.
-Reveal the UDID by clicking on the Serial Number. You should now see a long string of characters.
Today Apple announce the iPhone SE which is basically an updated iPhone 5s with matte-chamfered edges, a color-matched stainless steel Apple logo, and four metallic finishes, including rose gold. iPhone SE sports the same 64-bit A9 chip from the iPhone 6s for fast speeds and it also has a longer battery life, faster wireless, a 12-megapixel camera featuring with Live Photos and 4K video, and Touch ID with Apple Pay.
The Most Powerful Phone with a Four-inch Display
iPhone SE takes a beloved iPhone design and reinvents it from the inside out, giving customers a powerful, full-featured iPhone no matter which model they choose. The 64-bit A9 chip, introduced in iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, offers iPhone SE customers two times faster CPU and three times faster GPU performance compared to iPhone 5s, all with gains in energy efficiency for improved battery life. M9, Apple’s next-generation motion coprocessor, is integrated into A9 allowing more features to run all the time at lower power, including “Hey Siri” without having to pick up your iPhone, and a range of fitness tracking capabilities like measuring your steps and distance. iPhone SE users can browse, download and stream content even faster with Wi-Fi up to three times and LTE up to 50 percent faster than iPhone 5s.* iPhone SE also includes more LTE bands for better worldwide roaming and supports Voice over LTE and Wi-Fi calling for high-quality wideband calls.
With an easy-to-use interface, amazing features, and security at its core, iOS 9 is the foundation of iPhone SE and brings powerful built-in apps like Messages, FaceTime®, Photos, Music and Maps to iPhone users. iOS 9 also brings more intelligence to iPhone SE with proactive assistance, powerful search, improved Siri® features, and a new Night Shift™ feature that uses your iPhone SE’s clock and geolocation to automatically adjust the colors in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark and may even help you get a better night’s sleep.
All of these innovations are packed into a light and compact phone designed to fit comfortably in your hand, crafted from bead-blasted aluminum for a satin-like finish, refined matte-chamfered edges, a new color-matched stainless steel inset Apple logo and a brilliant four-inch Retina® display.
The World’s Most Popular Camera
iPhone SE has an advanced 12-megapixel iSight camera featuring Focus Pixel technology for fast focusing, an Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, third-generation local tone mapping and better face detection, all resulting in sharper, more detailed photos like the ones shot on iPhone 6s. With Live Photos on iPhone SE, customers can go beyond snapshots to capture moments in motion and relive unforgettable memories with sound. Live Photos are beautiful 12-megapixel photos that, with just a touch, reveal the moments immediately before and after the shot was taken, so users can enjoy a living memory rather than an instant frozen in time.
Additional camera advancements include:
The ability to shoot HD video with support for 4K at a resolution of 3840 x 2160. After capturing 4K video, customers can edit on a Mac®, PC or iPad®, and with the latest version of iMovie® on iPhone, can even edit two simultaneous streams of 4K on iPhone SE. Retina Flash, which momentarily makes the display three times brighter with True Tone® lighting technology, for wonderfully bright selfies in low light with the FaceTime HD camera. Features introduced with iPhone 6s, including up to 63-megapixel panorama photos, video capture up to 60fps for 1080p video and 240fps for slo-mo, time-lapse with video stabilization and cinematic video stabilization.
Pricing & Availability
iPhone SE will be available in space gray, silver, gold and rose gold metallic finishes in 16GB and 64GB models starting at $399 (US) from Apple’s retail stores, Apple.com, Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers, or for 24 monthly payments starting at $17 (US) exclusively at Apple’s retail stores in the US.** As part of the newly-announced Trade Up with Installments program at Apple stores in the US, customers can also purchase iPhone SE for as low as $10/month for 24 months.*** Customers in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US will be able to order iPhone SE beginning Thursday, March 24, with availability beginning Thursday, March 31. iPhone SE will be available in early April in Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Guernsey, Jersey, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Maldives, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and UAE. Apple-designed accessories including leather cases in black and midnight blue will be available for $39 (US), and Lightning® Docks in color-matched metallic finishes are currently available from Apple’s retail stores and Apple.com for $49 (US). Every customer who buys iPhone SE from Apple will be offered free Personal Setup, in-store or online, to help them customize their iPhone by setting up email, showing them new apps from the App Store® and more. Anyone who wants to learn more about iPhone SE or iOS 9 can register for the free workshops offered at every Apple Store®.
The team behind Firewatch has released three beautiful landscape wallpapers for your phones, tablets, and desktop. Firewatch is a single player game for Windows, Mac, Linux, and PS4. Check out the wallpapers below:
How To: Right click on the size that you want and click “Open Link in New Tab”. Then right click on the image and click “Save Image As”
21:9 Desktop (3440×1400 – Also great for mobile devices with multi-screen parallax backgrounds)
The 2015 Apple TV is the best product if you want to give some new life to your old (or new) tv. The interface is beautiful and very simple to navigate through. The controller is small yet packed with features and the box itself is simple and minimal. Some people aren’t even considering getting the Apple TV due to its lack of 4K support but as an owner of a 4K tv I can tell you that this isn’t as big of a deal as it has been made out to be. My 4K tv is able to upscale the Apple TV’s interface, games, and videos to the point where everything looks like it is 4K content. If Apple had said that this had 4K support then I would not have doubted it since everything just looks amazing on a 4K TV.
The full video review of the Apple TV can be seen below but if you just want a rundown of what makes this better to the other boxes in the market, I will tell you straight away that it’s the UI and Apps. The iOS App Store is a testament of how good Apple is at getting developers to get apps on their platforms and the tvOS store is no different. Apps are being added all the time and will keep being added which is completely different to the competition right now. The UI of the Apple TV is also very modern and simple which gives your tv a breath of fresh air and it also makes it easy for all of your family members to be able to use it.
Apple’s new Apple TV is now available for purchase, the device sports a slew of new features which set it apart from the rest but one in particular is a set of sweet Screen Savers. Apple filmed some aerial shots of London, Hawaii, China, NYC, and San Francisco that play on the Apple TV whenver it goes idle.
Auto Load Latest Aerials: Aerials are loaded directly from Apple, so you’re never out of date.
Play Different Aerial On Each Display: If you’ve got multiple monitors, this setting loads a different aerial for each of your displays.
Favorites: You can choose to only have certain aerials play.
Preview: Clicking on an aerial in the screen saver options previews that aerial for you.
You can now get these screen savers on your mac thanks to John Coates on GitHub. Depending on the version you download the Screen Saver you download it might stream the videos directly from Apple’s servers and consume data when on. If you download version 1.2 beta 4 and up then the Screen Savers will cache offline, here is what to do:
If zipped then double click to extract it (It should be a file with blue swirl square)
Open Aerial.saver and confirm installation
Now open System Preferences -> Desktop & Screen Saver -> Screen Saver
5. Select ‘Aerial’ as your Screen Saver and click on “Screen Saver Options” and choose the settings you want then click done!
You should now have the Screen Saver working without any issues. I highly recommend setting up a Hot Corner to activate the Screen Saver that way you can manually turn it on from time to time. If you are thinking of getting an Apple TV then check out our review here (YouTube).
Since the Apple Watch first came out, I’ve been looking for an accessory that will charge the watch on the go, as well as protect it while I am not wearing it. I think I finally found that accessory, and it’s called “Amber.”
The Amber is an Apple watch charger with a built in battery that resembles an older generation Mac Mini. The design is solid, and feels just as premium as the Apple Watch itself. I have no doubt that it could protect the Apple Watch, regardless of environmental conditions.
I have had to travel twice since I received the Amber for review, and both times it has become my ultimate travel companion. I used to have to unplug the apple watch charger from the wall and throw it into my bag, now all I do is make sure the Amber is charged up, and then I am on my way. Sometimes I didn’t even need to take the charger for the Amber with because the battery inside the Amber can recharge the Apple Watch 8 times. It can also, if need be, charge provide some juice to your iPhone.
The product was brought into production thanks to a successful IndieGogo Campaign that raised over $100,000. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Amber, it’s a great addition to your Apple Watch if you are in the market for an Apple Watch case/power bank. Amber is available for pre-order on their website for $69, and will be available for purchase later this year for $99. It will retail in Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Rose Gold so it will match your Apple Watch perfectly.
As expected, Apple introduced a 9.7-inch iPad Pro that has a pro Retina display with greater brightness, wider color gamut, lower reflectivity, and a True Tone feature that dynamically adjusts white balance. It also sports the same camera found on the iPhone 6s and even has the same rear flash and selfie flash feature. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available for pre-order on the 24th and in stores on the 31st.
Pro display The 9.7-inch iPad Pro features advanced display technologies, including a True Tone display, which uses new four-channel sensors to dynamically adjust the white balance of the display to match the light around you for a more natural and accurate, paper-white viewing experience. The advanced Retina display is 25 percent brighter and 40 percent less reflective than iPad Air® 2, making content even easier to see indoors and out. It uses the same wider color gamut as the iMac® with Retina 5K display, delivering 25 percent greater color saturation¹ for more vivid colors. A custom timing controller, photo alignment and oxide TFT deliver incredible color, contrast and clarity. Night Shift in iOS 9.3 uses iPad Pro’s clock and geolocation to automatically adjust the colors in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark and may even help you get a better night’s sleep.
Pro performance The new iPad Pro is just 6.1mm thin and weighs just under one pound, yet delivers groundbreaking performance, connectivity and versatility so you can tackle the most demanding tasks wherever you go. The powerful A9X chip with third-generation 64-bit architecture provides performance that rivals many laptops and console-class graphics, while also delivering all-day battery life.² Ultrafast wireless connectivity keeps you connected wherever you go with 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO technology, support for even faster LTE Advanced with up to 50 percent faster cellular connectivity³ and the most LTE bands supported by any tablet.⁴ Now with Apple SIM embedded directly in the new iPad Pro, it’s even easier to connect to wireless data plans right from your device when traveling in more than 100 countries and territories.5
iPad Pro has an advanced 12-megapixel iSight camera sensor featuring Focus Pixels for fast focusing, an Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, third-generation local tone mapping and better face detection, all resulting in sharp, detailed images, 63-megapixel panoramas and Live Photos. A True Tone flash improves low light shots and document scanning. The new iSight camera shoots 4K video, making the new iPad Pro the perfect device to shoot, edit and share pro-quality video. The improved 5-megapixel, front-facing FaceTime HD camera makes the new iPad Pro perfect for videoconferencing or connecting with loved ones.
Pro audio The four-speaker audio system provides powerful, clear and rich stereo sound for more than twice the audio output.¹ Built-in sensors automatically adjust and optimize the audio no matter which way you’re using it. iOS 9.3 also adds support for playing video encoded with Dolby Digital Plus audio streams with support for multichannel output using the Apple Lightning® Digital AV Adapter.
Pro accessories Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, available for purchase separately, bring breakthrough levels of precision and utility to iPad Pro. Advanced sensors in Apple Pencil measure both pressure and tilt for a natural drawing, annotating and note-taking experience. A new Smart Keyboard is custom-designed for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, offering a thin yet durable keyboard that never needs to be charged or paired over Bluetooth and is easily foldable into a protective Smart Cover®. The new Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader and Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter make it easy to download photos and videos from a digital camera to iPad Pro, while a new Lightning to USB-C Cable and Apple’s 29W USB-C Power Adapter enable faster charging.
Pricing & Availability The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes in silver, space gray, gold and a new rose gold metallic finish, and starts at $599 (US) for the 32GB with Wi-Fi model and $729 (US) for the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Both iPad Pro sizes are available in offerings of 32GB, 128GB and a new 256GB capacity, the highest of any iOS device. For more information, please visit www.apple.com/ipad. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available to order beginning Thursday, March 24, from Apple.com, and in Apple’s retail stores, through select carriers and Apple Authorized Resellers on Thursday, March 31, in Australia, Canada, China (Wi-Fi models only), France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available in early April in Albania, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Guam, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Macau (Wi-Fi models only), Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand (Wi-Fi models only), Turkey and UAE. Apple Pencil is available for $99 (US) and Smart Keyboard in charcoal gray for $149 (US). The Polyurethane iPad Pro Smart Cover and Silicone Cases for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro are available for $49 (US) and $69 (US), respectively, in a range of new vibrant colors. The Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader is available for $29 (US), Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter for $39 (US), Apple 29W USB-C Power Adapter for $49 (US), Lightning to USB-C Cable (1 m.) for $25 (US) and Lightning to USB-C Cable (2 m.) for $35 (US). Every customer who buys an iPad Pro from Apple will be offered free Personal Setup, in-store or online, to help them customize their iPad Pro by setting up email, showing them new apps from the App Store® and more. Anyone who wants to learn more about the new iPad Pro or iOS 9 can register for the free workshops offered at every Apple Store®. ¹Over iPad Air 2. ²Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results may vary. ³Based on theoretical speeds, actual speeds may vary. ⁴Data plan required. LTE is available in select markets and through select carriers. Speeds vary based on site conditions. For details on LTE support, contact your carrier and see www.apple.com/ipad/LTE. 5Embedded Apple SIM in iPad Pro (9.7-inch) may be disabled when purchased from some carriers. See your carrier for details. Apple SIM and embedded Apple SIM not available in China.
Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.
If you have an iPhone 6s then you probably know about Live Photos which are photos that you can tap and hold on to see moments before and after the picture was captured. The cool thing about live photos is that they can be set as a wallpaper on the lock screen and still have the touch functionality. But what happens when you want to add some motion to your pictures that aren’t live photos? This is where the iOS App LivePapers comes in, it allows you to take a picture or import any picture and add a really cool 3D Touch effect to them. Here is a video review of the app which is available in the App Store for $1.99…
Microsoft has posted a new ad to its YouTube Channel in which Microsoft Employees and a New York City children’s youth choir sing a song outside of Apple’s most iconic Apple Store. Check out the video below…
A special thanks to the voices of our Microsoft Store employees and a local NYC children’s youth choir. To celebrate the holidays, Microsoft employees, who were selected from across the country, gathered together, meeting each other for the first time, at the new Microsoft 5th Ave Store to spread some holiday wishes. Joined by a local NYC children’s youth choir, they share a message of peace and harmony with their neighbor down the street.
Last month Apple announced a new Apple TV which sports a new A8 processor, touch controller, and an overhauled user interface. Here is a recap of what’s new on the Apple TV just in case you missed it last month:
Yesterday at a WSJ Live Event, Tim Cook noted that Apple will begin taking orders for the Apple TV on Monday and will ship later that week so get ready to spend $150 for 32GB model or $200 for the 64GB model!