Cyclists: Imagine that you could buy a speaker that combined the Bluetooth-connected, rubbery boxiness of JawBone’s JamBox speaker with the stretchy go-anywhere strap-and hook of Knog’s bike lights and cyclocomputers. Well, imagine no more, for a mere $70 will get you a SleekSpeak, a handlebar-mounted bike speaker over on Kickstarter.
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Braven’s new Bluetooth speakers are like feature packed JamBoxes, only with a slightly more confusing product lineup. They are all marked by a great 12-20-hour battery life, can also be used to charge your USB-powered gadgets and — here’s the neat part — can be daisy-chained together using their 3.5mm audio-in and audio-out jacks.
Described simply, the Amazon ($99.00) ($99) is a just little gadget that lets you plug your guitar into your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. But in this pairing of instrument and iDevice, the Jam unlocks a wonderful world of musical possibility that is nothing short of magical.
Porthole is a Mac app which will stream all the audio coming from your computer to AirPlay speakers, instead of just the music from iTunes. It’s kind of like Rogue Amoeba’s excellent AirFoil, only much less fine-grained in terms of control.
The world’s favorite music streaming service Spotify has just added a bunch of new music apps. Spotify apps are widgets that run inside Spotify and let you access the music in various ways. The first apps launched a few months ago on the Mac (they’re still not on the iPhone), and the second wave has just dropped. I have taken a quick look, and there are a few gems in there.
iPad-owning guitarists are going to love the Digitech iPB-10 Programable Pedalboard. It’s a stompbox with ten stud switches and a wah pedal on the side, all of which work with your iPad to give a range of music effects that you’d normally need a whole case of pedals to create.
On first sight, the Yaro digital audio system looks unpromising. It’s an amplifier/speaker set from Kanto AV Systems that’s small, black and looks like something Spinal Tap might use on a farewell tour.
But it turned out to be about the loudest, most responsive, richest, most faithful sound-media player I’ve heard.
Unless you really hate yourself, or are just plain weird, you probably throw up in your mouth a little every time you launch the iPad’s music app. Ugly, with tiny controls and no way to customize the various navigation buttons on the bottom row (terrible for podcast or audio book fans), it is worse in almost every way than the player it replaced.
So why not ditch it altogether? There are plenty of alternate players in the app store, but OnCue 5 has a great drag-and-drop interface, and will let you create (as its name suggests) play queues, along with a lot of other neat features.
ITunes has long given users the option of scaling music down to 128kbps upon sync to their iPod or other device in order to save space. The idea being, I guess, that you could keep your master collection at a higher bit-rate on the computer’s capacious hard drive, whilst saving space on the smaller flash storage on the iPod. Bit what if you liked this idea, but hated the low quality? Well, iTunes 10.6 has your back.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the iFrogz Boost, a magic box which amplifies the sound from an iPhone or other device just by being close. You put the iPhone on top and the battery-powered iBoost speaker goes to work, making everything louder.
The technology used is called near field audio, or NFA, but nobody would tell me how it works. Luckily, the iFrogz folks sent me one, so I took it apart to see what’s inside.