iPhones and iPads have become more than just media-consumption devices in so many ways. From using an iPad as a virtual cookbook to using it as a portable way to develop a website, the iPad and iPhone are extremely useful in everyday life. One of the biggest categories where these devices have made a huge difference is music.
Computers, tablets, even iPhones have grown into powerful tools for music making, but for many who play guitar the bridge from analog instrument to digital devices can be an intimidating one. The Jamstik Wireless Smart Guitar is a great way to cross the digital divide, a MIDI controlling guitar with frets and strings that feel familiar to any guitarist’s fingers. It’s also cheaper than most keyboard controllers (and certainly guitars), available right now for just $149.99.
Want to hear a good argument for the possibility of Apple launching an iRadio service? According to a couple ofnew report, 2012 is the first time since 1999 that piracy is down, and the music industry has actually grown. And music streaming services like Rdio and Spotify can take all the credit.
Pssst! You there, the one just about to buy that Airport Express for your AirPlay setup. Don’t waste your $99 on that plastic wall-wart. Come over here and I’ll sell you this nice white plastic AirPlay brick instead. How much? Well, seeing as it’s you, just $199, although it normally goes for $275.
Oh, by the way. It’s called the playGo AP1. You’re welcome.
Our iPhones, iPad and Macs all come equipped to pump out music and movies, and yet the built-in speakers are merely adequate. Depending on whether you travel or stay at home, whether you use a Mac or an iPod to listen to your music, or whether you live in the countryside or cooped up with easy-to-rile neighbors, there is a speaker just for you. And here’s our list of the best.
I’m not a big fan of music processing. As a child of the 1980s, I spent more time tweaking graphic equalizers than I did listening to actual music. And now, I figure if my iPad can’t manage to make an over-compressed MP3 sound good, then not much will help.
But those who prefer their music to be all big bass and punchy highs might find the SRS iWOW-U to be a compelling purchase. The dongle dangles between your iDevice’s jack socket and your headphones, and “will make you say ‘WOW’ within 10 seconds of turning it on,” according to the blurb. Then again, that same blurb also claims that the iWOW-U offers “an amazing HD-quality listening experience,” so take from that what you will.
Jean Michel Jarre might be laying off the lasers, the lightshows and the spectacular outdoor concerts, but he’s not letting his 63 years catch up with him: he has simply switched his ostentatious attentions to high-end iPhone and iPad docks.
The latest is the AeroPad Two, a 30-pin dock connector-equipped behemoth of a home stereo which could probably shake your house to pieces.
Way back in the dark days of the 1990s, when smartphones had styluses and mobile apps were made from Java, I yearned for a way to stream music from my Sony Ericsson P900 to my stereo via Bluetooth. At the time, it was impossible.
Fast forward to the present day (by drilling down through several hard-to-navigate menus and hitting the tiny “skip” button with the tip of the stylus) and there is an embarrassment of choice. These days I’d rather pick up my JamBox and carry it into the living room rather than fire up the proper stereo that’s already in there.
Joining this wealth of wirelessness is the Audio Cube from Satechi, an inexpensive, pocket-sized Bluetooth speaker with all of the features you’d expect.
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.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Futulele. It’s a crazy electric ukelele made of iPads and stuff.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Griffin has paraded off so much cool new stuff at this year’s CES, you’d be excused for thinking this site’s name is actually “cultofgriffin.com” — this time, it’s their StompBox pedalboard for iPad with swappable effect modules.
If you’ve been following our posts about making music on the iPad, you’ve probably already heard about iShred — who make the free app that pairs with StompBox, for which Griffin originally made the GuitarConnect cable that connects instruments with 1/4-inch jacks to the iPad (or any other iDevice) last year. StompBox is just the evolution of the idea, giving musicians better control over the sounds via the physical switches (rather than using the soft controls of the app).
The app comes with several modules that make different sounds, and more can be collected via in-app purchase for a few bucks apiece. Griffin says StomBox should be available by spring of 2011 at $99, which includes the $30 GuitarConnect cable for free. The pedalboard can also be paired with Griffin’s new $40 Mic Stand Mount for iPad, available in January.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Fittingly for a line of music accessories bearing the name of reggae legend Bob Marley, some of the product components are made from hemp.
The carrying pocket for the House of Marley earbuds, for example, are made from hemp fibre, a spokeswoman told me. Bob Marley famously used hemp for something else, of course.
The House of Marley launched a range of about a dozen music products here at CES, including a boombox, iPod speaker dock, and several headphones and earbuds.
It’s not just hemp; the products are made form a variety of eco-concious materials, including recycled plastic and aluminum.
They also sound pretty good. At least, they did in the cavernous press hall. The twin-speaker boombox pumped out a pretty hefty sound — but it’s impossible to give anything a proper listen at CES.
A portion of profits goes to 1Love.org, a charity supported by the Marley family.
Pictured above is Bob Marley’s son, Rohan, wearing a pair of Marley cans. Here’s some pictures of some of the other products: