Beats Launches New Beats Pill+ Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

The brand Beats and its Pill lines have been somewhat a revelation since entering the market in 2012, from celebrity endorsements to a booming sales forecast, this form of portable wireless unit has certainly captured the imagination of consumers. Now, the company has announced a new incarnation of the successful Beats Pill series with hopes of expanding its base even further.

Today, (7th October 2015) Beats have introduced a new product by the name of the Pill+ speaker, below are the announced features within the press release.

Sound – The Beats Pill+ is slightly larger than the original Beats Pill speaker, allowing for a bigger and fuller sound. The stereo active 2-way crossover system creates an optimized sound field for dynamic range and clarity across all genres of music. Tweeter and woofer separation uses the same acoustic mechanics found in professional recording studios around the world.

Design – . Compact and durable enough to throw in your bag, the Beats Pill+ has implemented convenient button controls which are now at the top of the speaker.

Power management – The Beats Pill+ speaker has a 12-hour battery life to stay charged on the go. The lightning cable and power supply provide a quick full charge in just 3 hours. Keep track of your power levels with the fuel gauge so you always know how much battery is left and use the USB port to charge out.

Additionally, a new feature by the name of the “Beats Pill+ app for iOS and Android devices” takes full advantage of app functionally. The additional features include controlling two Bluetooth sources, allowing consumers the chance to play from two Pill Plus speakers and also the opportunity to sync two units together for dedicated left and right playback and also a dynamic experience.

These features may be “added value” in order to increase the price instead of being of use to many consumers. The product is priced at $229.95, but it remains to be seen concerning the RRP for other countries and the release date is expected to be around November 2015 for the US.

Thank you businesswire for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of wired

Apple Set to Screw Users With Proprietary Earphone Jack

In an effort to corner the market on everything that interacts with its devices, Apple has filed a patent for its own earphone jack. The D-shaped jack has a 2.0mm width on its smallest side, which is effectively a regular audio jack with a flat edge on one side.

The patent, discovered by Apple Insider last week, mentions that standard headphone and earphone jacks are limiting how thin devices such as smartphones and tablets can be made, pitching the new D-jack as the solution to that problem. The patent reads:

“Electronic devices such as MP3 players and smart phones are continuously being designed to be thinner and smaller and/or to include video displays with screens that are pushed out as close to the outer edge of the devices as possible. The diameter and length of current 3.5 mm and even 2.5 mm audio connectors are limiting factors in making such devices smaller, thinner and allowing the displays to be larger.”

While Apple’s reasoning is sound – if a smaller audio jack can facilitate more efficient devices, then that is a positive thing – the fact that the patent is held by Apple is worrying. It means that the company, infamous for its micro-managerial control over its hardware (see the Lightning connector), can make its new jack the standard for its new iPhones and iPads, by which it can seize control over the earphone market, either through extortionately-priced headsets it produces itself – likely under the Beats brand – or rake in money from licensing the rights to the produce D-jacks to third-party manufacturers. A smart business move, but a huge disadvantage to consumers.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information.

Recent Beats Teardown Used Counterfeit Headphones

We recently shared a detailed teardown of glorified fashion accessory (and sometimes headphone), Beats by Dre. Prototype engineer Avery Louie stripped down the Beats headphones down to the gaskets, commenting that he was surprised at how cheap some of the components were, which really should be expected for an accessory that costs only $14 to manufacture and boast substandard quality sound. Now, the source of that shock has been revealed: Louie’s stripdown was conducted on a counterfeit Beats by Dre model.

Industrial design blog Core77 has collected together a number of inconsistencies that pointed to the headphones being fake, the most noteworthy of which was the number of drivers found during the teardown. Though Louie doesn’t mention which model of Beats he dismantled, a process of elimination suggests that they could only be Solo HD versions. However, Solo HD headphones have four drivers, two for each ear, while the model Louie was using only had one per speaker. This can be clearly seen in a post by redditor Vantt1, who broke down the difference between genuine and fake Beats on Imgur.

The biggest unanswered question so far is, did Louie know? It’s conceivable that he didn’t – he made no reference to having previous experience with Beats, so it’s safe to assume that his teardown was the first time he’d seen the innards of the headphones. That does point to a lack of rigour in his preparatory research, though, since an industrial engineer should have found out, for example, how many drivers the device should have before he started.

To be fair, for the uninitiated, it’s bloody hard to tell the difference between real and fake Beats:

Thank you Core77 for providing us with this information.

How Dre Beats Are Made

How it’s made, Beats by Dr Dre.

It is almost impossible to go outside and not see these headphones everywhere, the headphones are very successful and give out a great sound quality. But for a whopping retail price of $199 are they packing some tech we don’t know about? Bolt has done a teardown and it seems not.

Lots of optimizations are expected when products are manufactured at a multi-million unit per year scale. Push-together components and glue are used for main assemblies where possible instead of screws as it doesn’t require a lot of human intervention, making it cheaper to make.

Bolt took a set of these apart and has come up with some interesting finds.

The headphones have several large parts of metal, these weigh in at 36 grams out of the 86gram headphones. This provides a feeling of stability, strength and weight. 30% of which is from four non-functional metal blocks.

The next part is the single plastic mold that makes up the main part of the headphones. It has many curves and angles on it and would be the highest cost part to make. The parts have to be made perfectly which requires a several part, precise process to be made. There are two sides to it too, which makes it even more complex.

The picture above shows how the manafacturer has made the speaker housings to connect together without requiring screws.

Screws are cheap, but they are tedious and complicated to install on a mass manufacturer level. you can see how many screws are saved by cutting two or more molds by looking at the left and right housings. One has two more screw holes. Screws are great here because they will hold the circuit board secure and stop it moving around right next to your ear.

They also used rather generic speaker drivers inside them, do they really enhance the bass? these drivers make it seem unlikely. Bolt states that they were impressed by Dr Dre’s ability to create such a good feeling product from such cheap and few parts.

Bolt also pictured a table with a price breakdown:

you see that bottom figure? $16.892 to make these headphones, wow!  This is the figure that Bolt came up with excluding labor or shipping. However I can’t imagine it would add more that $5 to the total cost of manufacture. It’s impressive to say that Dr Dre and Jimmy Lovine have been able to get people to pay a whopping $199+ for these things.

Thank you bolt.io and medium.com for providing us with this information

From Words to Beats with Typedrummer

Syllables have always been the building blocks of our words, sentences, languages. So what do you get when you change those letters, words and sentences into drum hits?

Typedrummer it’s a website which changes letters, words and sentences into drum rhythms, if music has never been a strong point, this could get you on your way.

Created by Kyle Stetz a developer at P’unk Avenue Typedrummer maps drum samples to the letter keys on your keyboard, numbers, symbols etc. don’t work, spaces act as rests.

You can get a nice rhythm going with careful spacing and letter placement. Sentences aren’t of much use as they create a chaotic mess. Gibberish, stuttering and slang creates workable rhythms, the less sense you make, the better it sounds, can share your beats with friends via the “share this beat” option.

There’s one downside, the tempo’s constant, though that can be fixed via audio editing software. If you’re a producer looking for a new way to get creative or someone with a bit of free time on your hands, this one’s for you, your next sentence could be your next a hit.

Thank you Typedrummer for providing us with this information.

Beats Music Will Be Relaunched With the Aid of Trent Reznor

With Apple’s recent acquisition of the Beats, they are pegging Trent Reznor to lead the relaunch of Beats Music, as to compete with Spotify. The $3 billion cost of Beats, which is best known for the headphones and earbuds, left everyone wondering what would happen with Beats Music.

Apple initially wanted to sell a subscription to Beats Music for $8 a month, $2 less than Spotify, but failed in their efforts to get music labels to lower the cost to license the music they wanted. This shows the shift from paid downloads to streaming services, which Apple has been best known for. In a statement to the New York Times, Toni Sacconaghi, a financial analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein, said:

“They’re used to being a shaper rather than a responder. This is one of the few times where Apple is playing catch-up and not necessarily coming from a position of strength.”

Source: TweakTown

HP Joins With Bang & Olufsen Similarly to Apple and Beats

In following Apple, HP has found a new audio partner. Teaming up with Bang & Olufsen, who make high-end audio gear, HP plans on improving the sound quality of their devices. By “custom tuning” future devices, as well as isolating audio circuitry and reducing metal used for the headphone jack, Bang & Olufsen will bring their expertise to the table. As of right now, that is all we know for sure, but it’s possible they may do similarly to Beats and pack high quality amps into devices. What separates this deal from the Apple and Beats deal, is that HP laptops, desktops, and tablets will feature either the Bang & Olufsen or B&O Play branding. The first devices released with the integrated features will launch this spring.

The deal won’t only be used for hardware, as HP says they will provide a new control panel for customizing audio, very similar to what was done with Beats. The control panel will feature usual presents found with most software, but a more in-depth manual tuning section, hopefully including a software EQ.

Even though Bang & Olufsen might not be the household name Beats is, the effect of their product won’t be any less.

Source: Engadget

Beats by Dre Headphones Only Cost $14 to Manufacture

Apple-owned Beats Electronics, founded in 2006 by hip-hop producer Dr. Dre and record label owner Jimmy Iovine, is worth over $3.2 billion, and A new report reveals concern regarding its profit margins.

The big concern revolves around the price of a pair of Dr. Dre’s Beats by Dre headphones, a product that costs upwards of $450, which actually costs approximately $14 to manufacture.

The quality of Beats headphones has been in question since before this revelation, with TIME Magazine naming the brand as the second-worst headphone manufacturer in the marketplace last month.

Despite the questionable sound and build quality, Beats by Dre dominates the headphone industry, boasting a 27% market share and profits of £1.8 billion last year.

Source: All HipHop

Free Ad-Supported Subscription Will Not Be Available on Apple’s New Music Service

Apple will launch a new music service later this year, courtesy of its Beats acquisition. It is know that part of the service has been done by beats, namely its former Beats Music streaming service, and now Apple is going to add its final touch.

However, new reports suggest that the streaming service will not have a free subscription pack, such as the one on Spotify. For those unaware, Spotify offers its users the ability to listen to music for free, as long as they can put up with its ads and are willing to use just a few skips a day.

Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine and Apple’s Eddy Cue are said to have been telling music labels that they can put them “behind a paywall”. This will draw the attention of a lot of people, since it is known that labels are currently not happy with people having access to music freely through services such as YouTube and Spotify.

If this is the case, then Apple’s streaming service will turn into the best place for labels to push exclusive releases, delaying records’ arrival to other music streaming services and in turn giving Apple an advantage in the music industry and the upper hand against competition.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Apple Hires BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe Sparking Music Service Rumours

Apple has taken the strange move of hiring  Zane Lowe, a popular BBC Radio 1 DJ. Lowe, who has grown to widespread acclaim and popularity in the UK and around the world for his work on Radio 1, will be completely relinquishing his duties at the BBC and moving to the US to work for Apple – something that has shocked quite a few.

Of course, this has lead to many wondering why Lowe might be so interested in essentially vanishing from his ever-growing and successful public career, and moving to a much more succinct, low-profile position at a technology company. Many have suggested that this may well be related to Apple’s music service plans, possibly related to Beats, the company Apple acquired last year.

Beats Music, the music streaming service largely cited as the reason Apple bought the company, features special playlists curated by so-called music experts and is subsequently different to other streaming services. The company may well be sourcing people like Lowe, a man famous for his efforts in highlighting new and independent artists, to help them curate the content for the new service.

Source: The Verge

Beats Music to Be Included With iOS

The music streaming service Beats Music will be bundled with iOS starting next year, according to a report from the Financial Times.

The service comes from the company of the same name, which Apple acquired earlier this year for $3 billion. Beats is best known for its ‘Beats by Dr Dre’ headphones, but the company has reportedly spent a great deal of time researching and developing its music streaming service, one with an intense focus on content discovery. Beats Music, which is currently only available in the US, delivers carefully crafted playlists of music, collated by experts. This was supposedly one of the big reasons why Apple decided to buy the company. With its iTunes downloads business in decline, it’s no wonder Apple was interested in finding a sustainable alternative.

The report in the Financial Times says that the service will come bundled via a software update, but that it will no longer be referred to as Beats Music. They say that it will be rebranded to tie in more closely with iTunes.

Source: Reuters

Beats Reveals Wireless Version of Solo2 Headphones

Dr Dre’s popular fashion headphones range, Beats, has announced the release of a wireless version of its première headset, the Beats Solo2.  This marks the first new release from Beats since its acquisition by Apple back in July, and the culmination of Beats’ strategy to provide a wireless iteration of all its products.

Apart from the wireless capability, the Beats Solo2 Wireless has the same audio hardware and sound drivers as its wired equivalent. Battery life is up to 12 hours, but the headset also includes a removable cable to plug directly into your audio source.

Beats Solo2 Wireless will be available, from Apple stores and other selected retailers, from the end of November, priced at $299.99.

Source: Mashable

Apple to Lay off Beats Employees after Recent Acquisition

Well it looks like Apple are going to be laying off staff at Beats as soon as the deal goes through. Apple recently purchased Beats for $3 billion, which is Apples biggest ever purchase. The company is looking to lay off 200 staff from areas that overlap both Apple and Beats technology, A person familiar with the restructuring plans says that Beats workers in human resources, finance, and other roles will be let go. The source claiming to know Apple’s plans didn’t want to be identified since the plans aren’t public at this time.
So if you work for Beats and work in one of those departments, i’d get job hunting!

I’m sure one will be released soon.  Apples purchase of Beats does make a lot of sense as Beats are high quality products, so are Apples so the pair are perfect for the market, maybe they’ll ship some new in-ear headphones by Beats with the iPhone 6 now that it’s owned by Apple, who knows! I personally hate both Apple and Beats because I hate their corporate strategies, I’ll be sticking with my HTC One M8 and Sennheiser HD598s thank you very much.

No official comment has been made by Beats nor Apple regarding the layoffs.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Headphones Maker Beats Sued by Bose

There is a new front in the never ending patent war, this time it is the sound system and headphone maker Bose that is suing Beats for infringing on their patents for noise-cancelling technologies. This isn’t the first time Bose defends those patents. Last year it sued Able Planet on noise-cancelling technology that apparently got settled outside of court. Then again in April, Bose sued Monster for a range of Headphones infringing on Boses patents.

Bose seeks an unspecified damage demand from Beats, that as we all know recently was swept up by Apple. Beats was originally founded by the rapper Dr. Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine in 2006 and quickly became a popular brand for music fans and hipsters alike.

On Friday Bose filed the lawsuit in the federal court in Delaware where they say Beats wilfully infringed upon five patents in their Studio and Studio Wireless line of products that in return has hurt Bose in sales and profits.

Bose specifically alleges that Beats infringed on these  five US patents: patent 6,717,537, titled “Method and Apparatus for Minimizing Latency in Digital Signal Processing Systems;” patent 8,073,150, a “Dynamically Configurable ANR Signal Processing Topology;” patent 8,073,151, a “Dynamically Configurable ANR Filter Block Technology;” patent 8,054,992, which specifies a method for high frequency compensating; and patent 8,345,888, which covers “Digital High Frequency Phase Compensation.”

Bose commented with the default statement “We are committed to protecting our investment, protecting our customers, and defending the patents we own”  where as Beats declined to comment to Reuters.

Additional to the lawsuit Bose also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission seeking to prevent import of the infringing product lines to the United States.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikia.

11.6-inch 360-degree Pavilion Convertible PC Announced By Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard has announced the HP Pavilion 360, an affordable flip-screen PC to adapt and suit the user’s needs. HP also notifies about its DataPass broadband having expanded to 12 additional countries, including the United States, to help users without an active Wi-Fi hotspot connect to the Internet.

“Customers have told us they want a single device that is designed to work and play the way they do, at an affordable price,” said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president, Consumer PC and Solutions Group, HP. “The HP Pavilion x360 is perfect for today’s busy lifestyles. Its 360-degree hinge allows multitaskers to easily transition from laptop to tent to tablet. It’s the laptop that doesn’t make you miss your tablet and the tablet that doesn’t make you miss your laptop — all at a price that is similar to an entry-level notebook.”

The 360 feature is useful in situation where the user wants to check and respond to e-mails as quickly as possible, where the notebook mode is handy, and afterwards browse social media sites, watch movies, perform video calls, etc, where the need for a keyboard and/or a touch pad is not needed.

The HP Pavilion 360 features a 11.6-inch 10-point capacitive multitouch screen, an Intel Pentrium CPU and HP TrueVision HD webcam. It also features Beats Audio for users who prefer to get the best out of their songs and the 3.08 pounds makes the convertible PC a must have as a portable companion.

It comes in two different colors, brilliant red and smoke silver, having a soft touch finish on the screen to prevent fingerprints and an aluminium brush on the keyboard deck. The reported start price for the convertible PC is said to start at $399.99 having it launch on the 26th of February in the U.S.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of TechPowerUp

Beats by Dr. Dre Launches Beats Music On The iOS App Store

Beats by Dr. Dre has approached a different path in selling its brand and services, coming up with the idea to release a mobile streaming application dedicated to popular music tunes. We have previously learned of it being named Beats Music and that it will inevitably launch on the iOS platform. Well, that day has arrived, and Beats Music is now live on Apple’s AppStore.

The streaming service is said to offer more than 20 million songs, available for both online streaming and offline listening. Users who wish to try it out can opt for a 7-day trial to see how the app is and if they really enjoy it. To be able to fully enjoy its services, Beats offer users a monthly subscription of $9.99. Apple has also introduced its iTunes Radio streaming service, and there is also Pandora and Spotify out for a longer period of time. Therefore, the online streaming market does not have a shortage of competitors, Beats Music being one of the last companies to get in on it.

Apart from all basic streaming services, Beats Music also has a Highlight section which displays popular music from the service’s community. It also has a “Just For You” section, which tailors playlists based on the user’s preferences. ”Right Now” is a feature that acts like a blank slate, it recommends music based on a variety of factors, such as the user’s location, their mood, people they’re with and their favorite genres.

The application’s main advantage lies in focusing on discovery, a feature which has not been seen in its competitors, which might give Beats Music a head start in the long run. The application can be downloaded from the AppStore for free, though the above mentioned subscription still applies in order to get the full experience out of the app.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information

A Couple Of 10-inch HP Tablets Surface At FCC

Thanks to FCC website, we now know a little bit more about two new HP. Now we see that HP has pushed two different models through the FCC, though not much is known about them. Other than at least one will run Android, the details are light.

First off is the HP Slate 10 HD, which sports a 1280 x 800 10-inch screen and Marvel PXA986 ARM SoC. Liliputing is reporting that it will also have Beats Audio, which could be the cause for the red housing. The Slate 10 will run a variant of Android, but a specific API has not been revealed yet.

The other tablet is dubbed the HP 10 1900, which it is believed to be a hint at a better screen resolution. a 1280 x 800 10-inch screen is a bit dated, but something more dense would be appreciated. While it is know that the Slate 10 will be an Android tablet, nothing was noted about the HP 10 190o’s operating system.

Both tablets have similar specs, too. Each will have GSM and CDMA capabilities, standard WiFi credentials, and Bluetooth 3.0. The Slate 10 is also said to be offered in WiFi or 4G variants, and support Micro SD Card storage as well as sport a front and rear camera. While they are not the best tablet, or maybe tablets, you can get with Android, the price will be the real determining factor.

Thank you Android Community for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Android Community