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: 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.

New Eos Bridge makes positioning instruments iOS-compatible

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Eos Bridge gives almost any positioning instrument iOS Bluetooth compatibility.
Eos Bridge gives almost any positioning instrument iOS Bluetooth compatibility.
Photo: Eos Positioning Systems

Montreal-based Eos Positioning Systems, known for its Arrow Series GNSS receivers, has released Eos Bridge. The device clips on your belt and gives almost any positioning instrument iOS Bluetooth compatibility.

Just by way of background, GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite Systems. As such, it underlies the better-known Global Positioning System (GPS) used in the U.S. and elsewhere. GPS is one of five GNSS constellations in play around the world, and the oldest one. You can learn more here.

Easily manage Bluetooth devices inside Control Center [Pro tip]

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Manage Bluetooth devices in Control Center
Managing wireless devices can be easy with Control Center.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Control Center Pro Tips WeekWe want to help you master Control Center, one of the most powerful and underutilized features on Apple devices. Cult of Mac’s Control Center Pro Tips series will show you how to make the most of this useful toolbox on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac.

Quickly connect to Bluetooth devices by using Control Center on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. You won’t need to fiddle around inside Settings or System Preferences — just a couple of taps is all it takes to start pairing.

We’ll show you how.

Apple helps Chipolo One Spot item tracker become a top AirTags rival

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Chipolo One Spot launches June 2021. Price is unknown.
The Chipolo One Spot boasts an advantage over every other Bluetooth item tracker.
Photo: Chipolo

The upcoming Chipolo One Spot could rise to be a top Bluetooth item tracker. And if that happens, it’ll be with Apple’s help. The product will be one of the very first accessible through Apple’s Find My network, which means iPhone, Mac and iPad users can locate it without having to install any software from Chipolo.

The same is true of AirTags, Apple’s own much-rumored item tracker expected to be released soon.

Stylish smart sunglasses offer built-in Bluetooth speakers [Review]

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Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses review
Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses pair well with an iPhone.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Flows Bandwidth’s Bluetooth audio sunglasses let you listen to podcasts or take calls without blocking out the world around you. Despite speakers built into the stems, the men’s or women’s versions look like any other sunglasses. But they keep you entertained on the go.

I’ve worn these smart glasses for weeks. Here’s why I like them.

macOS Big Sur 11.2 brings Mac Bluetooth fix

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macOS 11.2, the latest version of Big Sur, includes a range of bug fixes.
Apple called special attention to a Bluetooth bug fix in its release notes for macOS 11.2.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple released macOS Big Sur 11.2 to the public Monday, bringing more reliable Bluetooth connections. That should warm the hearts of those using recently released Macs built around Apple’s first-generation M-series processor.

The Mac update brings other bug fixes as well, but the release notes make no mention of new features.

iOS 14.4 brings improvements to QR codes and Bluetooth audio

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iOS 14.4 debuted to the general public on Tuesday.
iOS 14.4 isn’t a substantial update, but it does include new features.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple released iOS 14.4 to the general public on Tuesday, along with the iPad equivalent. According to their developer, these allow users to scan smaller QR codes, and to classify their various Bluetooth devices so audio notifications can be routed correctly.

It also closes a security hole that hackers might have actually used to break into iPhones.

Connect AirPods to almost anything with AirFly Pro [Review]

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Twelve South AirFly Pro with AirPods Pro
Twelve South AirFly Pro is the perfect companion for AirPods Pro.
Photo: Twelve South

AirFly Pro can wirelessly connect your AirPods to a plane’s entertainment system. Or the machines at your gym. If it has a 3.5 mm audio jack, this Bluetooth adapter lets it communicate with your AirPods. Even two pairs at once.

And the same easily pocketable gizmo can connect your iPhone to a car stereo’s AUX port to play music off your iPhone.

I tested both these features — find out how well they work in this AirFly Pro review.