| Cult of Mac

Bose busts out compact, affordable new soundbar with AirPlay 2

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The new Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is only about 2 inches high.
The new Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is only about 2 inches high.
Photo: Bose

Bose took a further step into the compact, affordable soundbar market Monday with release of its new Smart Soundbar 600. It looks set to compete in a growing pool of home-theater audio products that don’t break the bank.

Featuring Dolby Atmos, Bose “TrueSpace” and AirPlay 2 technology, the slender speaker goes for $499, Bose said.

New AirPods Pro support personalized Spatial Audio and precision finding

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They might look the same. but AirPods Pro bring powerful new features.
They might look the same. but AirPods Pro bring powerful new features.
Photo: Apple

At Apple’s ‘Far Out’ event, music lovers got a treat in the form of new AirPods Pro, Apple’s top wireless, noise-canceling earbuds — the first revision since their 2019 launch. The top-shelf buds keep the same design but gain support for personalized spatial audio, touch controls and precise location finding.

AirPods products are typically announced alongside new iPhones and Apple Watch models. Today was no exception, with their debut tying in with the new iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models, the new Apple Watch Series 8, SE and Ultra.

AirPods Pro 2 will be available for preorder on September 9 for a September 23 release date at $249.

AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Max could employ powerful next-gen Bluetooth

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AirPods Pro 2 could be among Apple's earphones that take advantage of the new Bluetooth standard.
AirPods Pro 2 could be among Apple's earphones that take advantage of the new Bluetooth standard.
Photo: Killian Bell / Cult of Mac

The standards body behind Bluetooth technology said Tuesday the next-gen version first promoted two years ago is finally here. With Bluetooth LE Audio now complete, new headphones like the upcoming AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Max can incorporate an array of improvements.

Just to name a few, we can expect better sound, improved power efficiency and connectivity to an “unlimited” number of devices if Apple fully integrates the new standard.

Got vinyl? New turntable streams high-quality sound over Bluetooth.

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Great record-player sound over Bluetooth? Yes, according to Cambridge Audio.
Great record-player sound over Bluetooth? Yes, according to Cambridge Audio.
Photo: Cambridge Audio

Cambridge Audio just released a new turntable that can play vinyl records the old-fashioned way or over Bluetooth, streaming audio wirelessly to speakers, headphones or amplifiers.

The new Alva ST follows the company’s Alva TT, which the world’s first aptX HD Bluetooth turntable.

And the Alva ST uses the same codec technology for high-quality sound — the kind that until recently could only be had through wires.

Bluetooth earbuds get more social with Auracast broadcast audio

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Bluetooth
Auracast will let many Bluetooth headphones share the same audio broadcast.
Photo: Bluetooth SIG

Bluetooth headphones are nearly ubiquitous, and an upcoming feature called Auracast will allow computers or phones to stream music to not just one Bluetooth receiver but all of them in the area.

While one goal of Bluetooth’s Auracast broadcast audio is to let people share their music with groups, it also has more practical uses.

Here comes the world’s first LDAC and aptX HD Bluetooth speaker

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The Acro BE100's support for hi-res codecs and quality build may actually justify the high price.
The Acro BE100's support for hi-res codecs and quality build may actually justify the high price.
Photo: Astell&Kern

A world where Bluetooth rises above compression and delivers full-stream, hi-res, lossless audio remains in the future. But sound specialist Astell&Kern said it’s about the roll out the world’s first Bluetooth speaker with support for the rarefied LDAC and aptX HD codecs — which should at least allow for CD-quality wireless streaming.

The Acro BE100, Astell&Kern’s first Bluetooth speaker, goes on sale March 7, the company said. And it’s not just the codecs that make it special.

macOS 12.3 beta 2 seems to fix MacBook’s Bluetooth bug

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abstract-MacBook
Your MacBook should stop dying in its sleep.
Photo: Dmitry Chernyshov

Apple’s newest macOS 12.3 beta appears to eliminate a frustrating Bluetooth bug that causes excessive battery drain for many MacBook users.

The bug, introduced in macOS 12.2 late last month, continually wakes up a MacBook when it’s supposed to be asleep. That means the battery slowly drains while the computer’s not being used. Only disabling Bluetooth will prevent it for now.

How to fix macOS 12.2’s Bluetooth battery drain bug with one simple app

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FluTooth app for macOS Bluetooth bug
FluTooth is effective and affordable.
Image: Jordi Bruin

Is your MacBook slowly dying in its sleep? It could be because of a frustrating Bluetooth bug in macOS 12.2 that’s causing severe battery drain for some users. But there’s no need to wait for Apple to fix it.

With the help of a simple (and incredibly affordable) app, you can automatically disable your MacBook’s Bluetooth connection when you close its lid — then enable it again when it’s reopened. We’ll show you how.

Apple staffs up to make its own wireless chips

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An Apple 5G modem might look like this
Apple is hiring experts to design 5G, Wi-FI and Bluetooth chips for its computers.
Artists concept: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is reportedly hiring at a new office in Irvine, California, where the company will make 5G modems and other wireless chips for future devices.

It’s the latest move by Apple to expand the number of critical components for its products that it produces in-house.

Bowers & Wilkins’ iconic Zeppelin wireless speaker flies again

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Bower & Wilkins revamped its powerful Zeppelin wireless speaker for today's streamers.
Bower & Wilkins revamped its powerful Zeppelin wireless speaker for today's streamers.
Photo: Bower & Wilkins

UK-based audio specialist Bowers & Wilkins first released its Zeppelin speaker as an iPod dock in 2007. Following a couple of other iterations over the years — the most recent one released six years ago — the airship-shaped powerhouse is back, and refitted for the streaming age.