Category Archives: Apple

BeatsX Wireless Headphones – My Review – Are these the best Beats Headphones to date? & vs AirPods?

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BeatsX Wireless headphones went on sale on Friday 10th February 2017 on Apple’s website. They are available in grey, white, blue and black and cost £129.95.

The Key Features / Specs

– Experience authentic, clear sound
– Up to 8 hours of battery life
– Fast Fuel, a 5-minute charge gives you 2 hours of playback
– Lightning to USB-A charging cable (short length cable in box)
– Pocket-sized carrying case
– Unique Flex-Form cable provides all-day comfort and easy pocket portability
– Eartip options provide a personalised fit and secure-fit wingtips available in box offer added stability
– Class 1 Bluetooth
– Apple W1 Chip
– RemoteTalk allows you to take calls with a built-in mic, play music, adjust volume and activate Siri
– Charges from a lightning port, short cable provide in box
– Noise isolating

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How To Setup

They instantly set up using the new Apple W1 Chip and iOS 10. Just power on and hold near your iPhone, a notification box appears, tap connect and after that you have simultaneously connected to your Apple Watch, iPad and Mac. This means no more pairing with your other Apple devices as the pairing is synced across using iCloud. The only exception is the Apple TV for some reason which will need manual pairing as will any non Apple device.

The Sound Quality

Apple describe the BeatsX sound as “authentic, clear sound with optimised noise isolation for an immersive listening experience. An innovative acoustic design delivers a clean treble response and distortion-free bass for the most natural tonality across a broad range of genres.”

Seriously, are the BeatsX possessing a natural tonality across a broad range of genres? Well, blow my socks off, because these are the first Beats headphones that have a more natural tonal response. That means there is soundstage separation (medium), there is treble and decent midrange, something that is missing off many older Beats products. And these do deliver a decent punch too.

In fact, I tried these with every genres including pop, rock, classical, dance, jazz, blues, new age and many more. The BeatsX did a stellar job with all of these plus provided a good amount of noise cancellation.

Also as these have the Apple W1 chip, the bluetooth connection range is crazy long and without any signal dropouts.

UnBoxing, Video Review and Comparison versus AirPods and other Bluetooth Headphones

Now its time to watch the next part of my review. This includes a quick unboxing, sound test, comparison with AirPods and other headphones.

Conclusion

The BeatsX are somewhat of a surprise sonically as the midrange and treble are not lost to the bass line. In fact they sound really good. With the iOS benefits of instant pairing across all Apple devices, music controls and more, these are highly recommended and for many will be preferred over the superb AirPods.

Finally, I just want to say a quick thank you to the excellent customer service at the Apple Store in Plymouth.

Useful Links

BeatsX earphones at Apple – More info
Beats headphones on Amazon

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PS. Note this was not a review sample or loan unit.

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Back in Action – This is what’s coming up

For those who listen to the Tech Addicts Podcast, you will have known I have not been able to record the last 2 weeks due to being poorly.

I picked up some sort of virus that took me out for a few days, but also left my voice rather croaky 🙂

Anyway, I now have several hot gadgets that I have been testing in the background, ready for publishing the reviews and videos.

So coming up for review will be the –

Huawei Mate 9 – don’t forget to scroll back several weeks to see all the photos taken from this phone.

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Bluetooth Headphones, the update to the incredible original version. These are the new flagship Bluetooth headphones from Plantronics.

Austell & Kern XB10 APT-X High Resolution Music Bluetooth Adapter with optional balanced output. This is a dream gadget for going wireless with high quality wired headphones.

Zecti 70 inch tripod. After reviewing the 50 inch version, Zecti has a new 70 inch model which I bought yesterday. Can’t wait to see this and put it through its paces.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 – great value phone from Vodafone. I reviewed the Smart Ultra 6 a while back, so I am looking forward to this.

BeatsX Wireless headphones. Just released today. I will see how these compare to the AirPods and other bluetooth headphones.

These will all appear over the next few days to a week or so.

Android Wear vs Apple Watch OS – Android plays catch up nearly

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Last night Google announced the new Android Wear 2.0 update and LG announced some new watches that run the new update.

So how does Android Wear 2.0 compare to the Apple Watch?

– Complications are now included in Android Wear. Finally!
– Android Wear now allows switching between the different watch faces like the Apple Watch.
– GPS enabled android wear watches now work standalone, something Apple introduced months ago.
– Android Pay is now included if the watch has NFC
– Now its possible to select which apps are installed on the android wear watch.

– Google Assistant vs Siri – You decide which is better 🙂
– Android Wear now has its own version of the Google Play store
– LTE – Mobile connection on android wear are possible without a phone. The Apple Watch does not offer this.
– Google Fit has been revamped and now has auto workout detection.

Whilst it is clear Google has copied or has been inspired by Apple, it is great to see such big and worthy improvements to the android wear platform.

I sincerely hope android wear is now successful as Apple needs some competition for its Apple Watch.

Source

How to control all your home devices in one application – This is Really Slick Stuff – Imperihome for iOS & Android

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Imagine being able to control your home automation systems and connected objects from a single and highly customizable interface as I have done above with several of my home devices. An app called Imperihome for android and iOS allows you to do this.

You could for example wall mount a tablet or use your smartphone to control your smart home the way you want and without any required modification on your current installation.

Systems that are linkable include –

– Logitech Harmony hub-based remotes (universal remotes)
– Musaic HiFi speakers (audio HiFi system)
– Fitbit (fitness and health devices)
– XeeConnect (connected car module)
– Sonos (audio HiFi system)
– Kodi (home theater software, formerly known as XBMC)
– LIFX connected bulbs (lighting system)
– Parrot Flower Power (plant sensor)
– Legrand EcoCompteur (energy consumption sensor)
– Myfox Home Control 2 (security and home control system)
– Philips Hue (lighting system)
– Vera, VeraLite (ZWave controller by Micasaverde / Vera Control) UI5, UI6 and UI7
– ZiBase (Multi-protocol controller by Zodianet)
– eedomus (ZWave controller by Connected Object)
– Fibaro Home Center 2 (home control system by Fibaro)
– IPX800 v3 / v4 (Relay controller by GCE Electronics)
– Eco-Devices (Teleinfo energy counter by GCE Electronics)
– Netatmo Weather Station and Thermostat and Welcome Camera
– Zipabox (Multi-protocol controller by Zipato) / Cameras and security features not yet supported
– Systems implementing the ISS API (ImperiHome Standard System)
– MJPEG, MPEG4, h264 IP cameras
– Withings – activity trackers, scales, blood pressure monitors
– Jawbone UP

And more systems are being added constantly.

Options include –

List View – Smartphone optimized portrait layout, ability to hide devices and groups, notion of favorite devices, grouped actions (all on/off)…

Dashboard View – Tablet optimized landscape layout that matches the wall-mounted tablet use case, different layouts fully customizable, place holders for smart widgets, automatic wake-up using camera move detection. The screenshot shown at the start is one of my dashboard views.

Highly Configurable – Devices icons animated and changeable with built-in or personal images, possible customization of sensors units, customizable refresh rates, ability to define a custom name for each device, export/import of your configuration…

Use Power of Your Device – Fast and responsive user interface, voice recognition, NFC Tags (android), shortcuts on Android launcher, Android Wear & Sony Smartwatch 2 integration… Works great on my Huawei Mate 9 for example.

Charts Module – Built-in, generic, compliant with several systems, configurable timeframes, integrated in the different views…

Third Party Integration – ImperiHome Control API (android), integration with Tasker, ImperiHome Standard System for home-made installations

Ultimately, you are only limited by your lack of imagination in many cases. I have used Imperihome for over 2 years and it has been vastly improved in that time. In the screenshot shown at the top I have linked in 4 different connected systems on to one dashboard. From the one dashboard I can see all my security camera footage, adjust all my Philips Hue lights from fading, on/off and colour changes, check all the data from my weather station and much more. Have a view of the video below too, to give you a better idea of what is possible.

Useful Links

Imperihome for iOS
Imperihome for Android

Apple – iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch Set All-Time Records – Plus Additional Points to Note!

Apple iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch Set All-Time Records.

“CUPERTINO, California — January 31, 2017 — Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2017 first quarter ended December 31, 2016. The Company posted all-time record quarterly revenue of $78.4 billion and all-time record quarterly earnings per diluted share of $3.36. These results compare to revenue of $75.9 billion and earnings per diluted share of $3.28 in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 64 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“We’re thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Revenue from Services grew strongly over last year, led by record customer activity on the App Store, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”

Our outstanding business performance resulted in a new all-time record for earnings per share, and over $27 billion in operating cash flow,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “We returned nearly $15 billion to investors through share repurchases and dividends during the quarter, bringing cumulative payments through our capital return program to over $200 billion.”

WOW – APPLE IS SURELY DOOMED (NOT).

Note the additional points below which are mind blowing TBH –

– 78.3 million iPhones sold with average price per iPhone up by $4 dollars. This was driven by the higher priced Plus models/higher storage options. This is also a new record for number of iPhones sold.
– China – sales decreased by 12% from this time last year
– 13 million iPads (19% drop) and 5 million MACs were sold (MACs returned to growth too)
– $7 billion made in services – huge number and this is only going to get bigger
– $4 billion in other services which includes Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats products, iPod and Apple-branded and third-party accessories (8% decline)
– Apple Watch – best quarter for units and revenue – demand was so high they couldn’t keep up!
– AirPods – Apple still trying to catch up with demand!
– Enterprise – major partners with IBM, Cisco, SAP and many more
– HomeKit – best level of security – loads more products announced this month. Also Apple is unmatched when it comes to securing your home with HomeKit-enabled door locks, garage doors, and alarm systems
– Apple Pay transactional volume up 500%

Source – Apple

Apple Watch – Activity & New Years Resolution – How I’ve managed to clear all 3 rings every day and stay motivated

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Apple Watch, staying fit, being more active and New Year resolutions. Sound familiar.

My New Year resolution in 2017 was to continue my weight loss and improve my fitness. As you can see from the screen shot above, I have cleared all 3 activity rings on my Apple Watch every day this January, with just today to complete for the perfect month.

To recap, to clear the 3 rings, you need to first do enough calories to hit the calorie goal, exercise for 30 mins per day whereby your heart rate registers higher than just walking and stand for 1 min minimum in at least 12 hours per day. Apple’s method is slightly different from a few other fitness devices eg Fitbit which set a target of 10,000 steps per day. Apple’s approach is to ensure you stay more active during the course of the whole day and raise your heart rate to complete 30 mins exercise.

This year I decided to set a lower calorie target of just 400 calories per day. This meant if I was having a long day at work in meetings or driving or something else I had a higher chance of hitting this target. I don’t know about you, but if I had failed to hit the target one day during January, I could have easily given up. With a lower target, I am feeling more and more motivated and pleased that I am smashing my target. In reality, the lowest amount of calories burnt per day is 700. Every day I complete, makes me more motivated to complete the next day. I also like receiving the various achievements awarded in the activity app. After a successful day today, I will get my successful month award.

The next difficult part is completing 30 minutes exercise per day. The simplest solution I have found is to listen to some upbeat energetic music, and walk/jog on the spot at home. Sometimes, exercise minutes are registered when I walk my dogs but normally walking my dogs doesn’t translate into enough exercise minutes. Of course I could go to the gym, but with such a busy life and living on rural Dartmoor, going to a gym is not practical.

The final aspect of hitting the daily goals, is making sure you are sharing your progress with a suitable friend or two. This really helps maintain focus and adds a friendly competitive nature to the challenge.

Now if you don’t have an Apple Watch, all of the above still applies. Don’t set an unrealistic tough goal for each day. Set one that you know you will hit to keep you motivated and compete with friend or two.

Finally good luck!

AirPods – Is Apple now the Number One Headphone Manufacturer in the World? – The Data is In!

AirPods

I recently reviewed the new AirPods from Apple. To read the review, Click HERE to find out why I was blown away by these and still am.

Tim Cook went on record to say AirPods were a runaway success and based on my views and others, it does not surprise me that these are so successful.

“Now according to a report by Slice, the AirPods made up 75% of all sales in the USA in December 2016. Before the launch on December 13, Beats occupied 24.1 percent of online revenue for wireless headphone sales, according to the report, with Bose following behind with 10.5 percent, then Plantronics and Jaybird with 7.8 percent and 7.45 percent respectively.

For the period after the launch, Apple suddenly became the dominant wireless headphones brand, moving from having no share at all to occupying 26 percent of the market. Revenue derived from Beats wireless headphones dropped down to a 15.4 percent market share during the same time, and though Jaybird and Plantronics dropped down to below 3 percent each, Bose managed to improve its standing to 16.1 percent.”

So it seems and comes as no surprise that out of nowhere, Apple is likely to soon be, if it isn’t already the number one headphone manufacturer in the world!

Source – Appleinsider

Apple Watch – Make it a Nike Style Apple Watch for under £20 – Comparisons

Apple Series 2 Nike TP Straps

Over Christmas I had time to experiment with different Apple Watch straps. I wanted to make my plain Series 2 watch more like the Apple Nike Watch. So I bought 2 different brand Apple Watch straps that claimed to look identical to the official versions.

Apple Series 2 Nike TP Straps

So what I did was go for a black/yellow finish and the same Nike looking style strap, but in a colour not offered by Apple officially. I picked the red/black finish.

My observations are the plastic used in the third party straps are not of the same quality as Apple original straps, but they do costs over £30 less. As the straps have holes, they are slightly lighter,  and they allow your skin breathe more.

To give you a better perspective, I have filmed a short video capturing more of the differences, comparisons with official Apple straps and showing the straps against some cases, for that perfect colour coordinated look.

Video Review

In my video review, I am hoping you get a better perspective of the different straps, the quality versus and Apple original strap and some colour coordination with some official Apple iPhone cases.

Conclusion

My little experiment in discovering Nike style Apple Watch straps was a huge success. I personally prefer the black/yellow mix although I at times I like switching back to the red/black strap. The Nike looking straps looks gorgeous!

Useful Links

iMiWell Black/Green Nike Style Apple Watch – Click HERE.
Elobeth Nike Red Style Apple Watch Strap – Click HERE.

Other colours and mixes of straps are shown on using above links.

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It’s a New Year and I’m using my Apple Watch to help me get fitter!

Apple Watch Fitness

Apple created a new achievement award for 2017. It’s goal was to help people kick start and get back on track with their health and fitness activity. To achieve this new achievement award, you have to clear all 3 activity rings on the Apple Watch from a Monday to Sunday. In addition to receiving the reward, you also received new stickers in the messages app.

So I wondered whether I could focus and hit this new award. In the first week I hit the target. In fact on most days I exceeded the required elements for each activity ring. This also meant I lost 3 lbs. On some days to make sure I hit the minimum 30 mins exercise I did do a fast paced walk on the spot.

So my goal for 2017 is to undo the damage done over Christmas and New Year and continue my quest to get slimmer and healthier.

Remember, you don’t need an Apple Watch to stay fit, in fact you don’t need any fitness device, but if you do have a tracking device of any kind, I have found it has helped to share my progress with a friend. In my case, I am sharing my data with my wife. When either one of us clears a ring, the other is notified. The end result is it keeps both of us on track in a friendly competitive way.

So whatever your plans for 2017, good luck, stay fit and healthy. At the end of this month, I will update you on my progress. Hopefully, it continues the way it started.

Converting all my house lights to a wireless setup using Philips Hue & Apple HomeKit – the highs and lows

For nearly 2 years my living room lights were all controlled via an app. These were the Belkin WeMo Smart Lights. These were on an Amazon Black Friday deal in December 2014. 
At the time, the Philips Hue lights were also discounted but they were nearly three times the price, so economics became the deciding factor. Belkin did promise to update the system to provide HomeKit but 2 years down the line they have renegaded on that promise or are asleep at the wheel!

So I decided to bit the bullet a few weeks ago, sell my Belkin WeMo Smart Light system, and acquire a few pieces from the Philips Hue system that work with Apple’s HomeKit and nearly all other systems on the market, including Amazon Echo and Samsung Smart Things. 

It is quite handy buying the lights around Christmas time, as often there are some decent deals available. If you are buying into the Philips Hue system make sure you buy the Philips Hue Hub v2 and upwards as this is when HomeKit support was added. If you have the original Hub, you can just go out and buy the newer version hubs. The same goes for the Hue lights. There are now 3 versions. Version 1 are the white bulbs that don’t change colours, version 2 added rgb colours and the brand new ones , version 3 go slightly brighter and have richer blues and greens. However, there is nothing wrong with version 2 or 1 bulbs as these work just fine. Also the extra brightness obtainable in version 3 bulbs is only possible with certain white hues. So buy the older versions and save some money. That is what I did. I decided I would not need every room to have colour changing bulbs.

So the first change I did was to place the Philips Hue version 2 bulbs into my living room. To use with Apple HomeKit is a simple setup. You will need two factor authentication on your iCloud account and for remote access either an iPad left in your home or an Apple TV 4th edition. Fortunately , I have two factor authentication already setup and the latest Apple TV. 

To start using Apple HomeKit, you simply open the Home app on your iPhone, search  for the bulbs, then scan the HomeKit code on the Philips Hue box or Hub sticker. You can add the bulbs first using the Philips Hue app, which I would recommend doing, as the app will update the firmware. So with HomeKit enabled, activating the lights using Siri is now live. So using Siri  via my Apple Watch or iPhone, I have full control of the lights, turning them on or off, setting a scene, adjusting the brightness or changing the colours. Now the real test became with my wife. Could she get used to using Siri to operate the lights or would she get totally p*ssed off with the technology. 

Once I had set up HomeKit on my iPhone, added some scenes and a few other settings, from the home app, I invited my wife into the HomeKit setup. She accepted on her iPhone 6S. So when she came into the room, I told her to ask Siri to turn on the lights using her Apple Watch. I then asked my wife to ask Siri to change the colour of the lights to a colour of her choice. She did this and was genuinely suprised at how cool and easy it was to operate the lights. This then gave me the go ahead to start changing more and more of the bulbs around the home, and include a few motion sensors and add some automation to the setup. 

Now in case you’re wondering, you don’t need Siri to operate the lights.  Flicking up on the iPhone to bring up the control centre, scroll left twice and your in the home scenes and accessories tab. Here you can turn the lights on or off, adjust the brightness or colours. 3D Touch is used on the icons. I will embed a video to show this and a load more options. You really should watch this video to see how Apple have produced such a great home application. 

So after nearly a month, I have automated the lights in the upstairs hall landing, master bedroom, living room, kitchen and dining room. If I leave the house or return home, certain sequences of lights turn on or off, at particular levels of brightness and colours. If I move around the house and trigger one of the motion sensors, certain lights are turned on or off.  The automated procedures are smart enough also to know that the lights only need come on after sunset as well (if you select this to occur). All this slick functionality is a joy to experience as a tech geek. Also being able to control the lights from the Apple Watch is cool. You don’t even need to use Siri on the Watch, as the home app with dock enables you to control the lights as needed. In the kitchen I added some Philips Hue light strips. These provide superb mood lighting. Green is the favourite colour with these. The light strips are hidden too. They have 3M sticky tape on the strip to secure them properly. If you buy version 1 light strips, these are not extendable. Version 2 can be extended. Version 1 strips do have changing colours though. I have used version 1 strips as they were long enough for my needs and saved money too.

Sounds like a dream doesn’t it. Well, it’s not quite that. These are the lows or things to think about. Unless you live alone, then the below points are not as important or relevant. If you change all the lights or a high percentage, you may not always have your iPhone or Apple Watch on you. My wife is a good example of this. So that means you really need to think about installing the Philips Hue switches in certain rooms to be able to manually control the lights just in case you haven’t got any Apple devices nearby. I would recommend having these switches in the main living areas e.g. Living room, kitchen and main hallway. I haven’t got these installed, so am trying to see if with the aid of motion sensors and automation processes I can avoid installing these. I might not be successful here, as my wife may not enjoy the inability just to walk into the living room and press a switch to turn the lights on which is simple and less effort sometimes. It’s all a fine balance. 

Like all uses of technology it has to make life simpler and more enjoyable. I believe I have reached that balance, but if I go the next step and change every single light bulb, I will need to also invest in the Philip Hue light switches. Problem is, going to the next level is very expensive. I also am very pleased with the moderate setup which adds automation, mood lighting and a certain cool factor. 

Just some final thoughts. I wish in the UK, that the Apple HomeKit hardware was more extensive. I imagine in the coming months there will be more products coming out though. However, I am prepared to wait patiently as Apple’s HomeKit system is the most secure available. This is really important point as I can tell you I don’t fancy my home lights and other internet connected devices being hacked. 

Useful Links

More information and the latest pricing on Philips Hue range of lights, sensors and switches – Click HERE.

My Top 5 Smartphones of 2016 & a message from me 

Can you believe that 2016 is nearly at an end. And what a year 2016 has been. World events have been seismic and so has the technology. 

So what are my top 5 phones for 2016? 

5th Place – Asus Zenfone Zoom – What a phone and what a clever piece of hardware. With 3 x optical zoom, this was a fabulous phone and camera. As Apple has shown, having optical zoom is so useful. 

4th Place – LG G5 – the phone that has every technical specification. Replaceable batteries, micro sd card slot, dual lens system with a super wide lens (so cool), one of the best Bluetooth music using HD APT-X and so much more. Just let down by its build quality versus its competition. If the LG V20 had been sold in the U.K., this would have replaced the G5.

3rd Place – HTC 10 – the phone that everyone forgot about, yet is the phone that has the best audio quality with a headphone jack, solid premium build and super fast. I was going to put the Google Pixel phone in 3rd, but the HTC 10 is a lot less to buy.

2nd Place – Honor 8 – with its dual lens system, infra red blaster, gorgeous hardware and £300 price point, sometimes even less, this is a killer choice and a deserved second place. 

1st Place – Apple iPhone 7 Plus. Apple was helped towards this win due to Samsung suffering a PR disaster with their faulty Note 7. However, IMO there isn’t a single phone on sale at the moment that can offer everything that the iPhone 7 Plus provides. Great camera. Superb audio. iOS 10 and the Apple eco system. For me using the Apple Watch, with an iPad Air,  MacBook Pro and AirPods is a dream setup. HomeKit integrates tightly and Siri for me works very well. 

To catch up on my reviews on all the above phones, and all the other top phones of 2016, click here REVIEWS . Using that link, you can also get to all my Bluetooth headphone reviews and more.

Now in case anyone thinks I am an Apple fanboy or sheep, this is not the case. I just want the best of what’s available. Prior to the iPhone I was using Samsung S7 as my main phone with every Samsung accessory possible. However, after going through a horrific Samsung customer service experience with my Note 7, I have vowed never to use anything with a Samsung logo on it. Following my  Note 7 saga I also sold every Samsung piece of hardware I owned. 

The Holidays 

As we are approaching the holiday period,  news and reviews will be slower. This will allow me to look at the website design and try and improve it in a few places. I will also spend more time with family and friends. So whatever you are doing at this time of year, enjoy the next few days if you can and I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year! 

In the meantime,  if you are buying anything on Amazon UK, using my affiliate link helps me towards the increasing running costs of the website. The good news shopping via my link costs you nothing extra. 
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If you wish to make a one off dontation (thanks to everyone who has so far) please do so using my PayPal account. 

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Apple AirPods – My Review – The Wire Free Headphone Paradise

AirPods

Welcome to my review of the Apple AirPods.

The AirPods are probably one of the most anticipated products from Apple since it removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Judging by the 6 week waiting time many people are buying these.

I have already experienced Apple’s new W1 chip that is found inside the AirPods with the new Beats Wireless Solo 3 headphones. The W1 chip performs miracles with the connection process, locking on to the audio and then not dropping out any audio ever along with a huge distance possible from the iPhone. So my expectations were really high with the new AirPods.

Setup Process and Configuration Options

Just open the lid of little charging case the AirPods come in, and a message will pop up on your iPhone asking to pair. Tap connect, and voila. The AirPods will get renamed with your name. If you want to give them a different name, though, you can change it at any time via the settings app.

Now the AirPods are paired to your iPhone , via iCloud, the pairing syncs across all your Apple devices. Neat.

AirPods

So now whenever you pull your AirPods out of the charging case, they instantly turn on and connect to your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac. Audio will automatically play as soon as you put them in your ears and pauses when you take them out. The controls work by using Siri. To adjust the volume, change the song, make a call or to get Siri to do anything else, just double-tap to activate to bring up Siri. You don’t need to say “Hey Siri”, just talk.

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If you head over to the settings app, tap bluetooth, then look for the Airpods in the list, and tap on the “i” you can now do the following –

– To change the AirPods name, open the settings app from your iPhone’s home screen. Tap on Bluetooth. Tap on the current name of your AirPods under My Devices. Tap on Name. Edit the name.

– By default, double tapping the AirPods activate Siri. Again in the settings you can switch between Siri, Play/Pause, or to disable double tap function. That’s all you can do at the moment in terms of the double tap functionality.

AirPods

In the settings app you can also tell the AirPods which side you would like the mic to work. Normally, both mics are on, but you can just have the left or right side if you desire. I would recommend leaving this setting alone, as the AirPods will decide where the best signal is coming from.

Do they fall out? No they don’t no matter how hard I tried. The AirPods use optical sensors and a motion accelerometer to detect when they’re in your ears and automatically routes the sound and also engages the microphone. And when you’re on a call or talking to Siri, an additional accelerometer works with beam forming microphones to filter out background noise and focus on the sound of your voice.

Battery life is 5 hours of listening time on one charge. The case is a charging case and provides up to 24 hours of charge. A 15 min charge provides 3 hours of listening time.

Audio Quality / In Use Experiences

I have now used the AirPods for 8 hours. The 5 hour battery life is correct. I got 5 hours 15 mins on my first charge. Recharging them in the case was a speedy affair and I did check that the claim of a 15 min charge provides 3 hours of music. Impressive.

The AirPods are more comfortable than the EarPods. I am not sure why, but it might be because they are marginally lighter and sit better in my ears.

The charging case is smaller than I expected, which is great as it will easily fit in any pocket.

The AirPods have a stronger, fuller bass line that the EarPods and sound good with all genres. The mid and treble are average, but certainly not dull or recessed. The soundstage is middle of the road. The AirPods do sound better than the EarPods. The maximum volume is plenty loud enough for me.

At £159, there are headphones that sound better, but there are none that offer all the connectivity, flexibility, size, style and wire free convenience. The AirPods do not drop bluetooth connection and that in itself is remarkable.

I watched a number of YouTube videos and watched a TV programme. The voices were in sync. Walking down a very busy main road, I was still able to double tab and ask Siri a question. I used Siri to raise or lower the volume, skip tracks and more. It is worth noting, Siri can only change tracks with the official music app from Apple. Using Amazon Music or a third party music player app called Neutron, Siri could not skip to the next track.

I also tried the AirPods with my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. And as if by magic, the AirPods were showing up ready to select. Double tapping to bring up Siri to change tracks using iTunes work fine, albeit it is faster to manually press the next track on the Touch Bar. The AirPods sound superb when connected to the MacBook Pro.

When it comes to noise cancellation, the AirPods have none. You can use just one AirPod. If you take one of the AirPods out of your ears, the music stops. If you then ask Siri to play the music, it will now play through the other AirPod in mono. So if you wanted to listen to a podcast, and just use one AirPod at a time, you could manage 48 hours worth of battery life.

Overall, the entire package is beautiful to behold and a pleasure to use. The music quality is about 7.5/10.

Video Review

In the video below, I try and shake the AirPods out of my ears, unbox and reveal more about these little gems.

Conclusion

A superb product from Apple. Wire free headphones are the future. The future is now. Highly recommended.

Walk on Dartmoor – Shot on an iPhone 7 Plus – Edited on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar using iMovie

I wanted to see how tight the integration would be shooting video and photos on my iPhone 7 Plus and then trying to edit it on my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

For starters, I got some great photos and video from the iPhone 7 Plus. Since the latest software update on the iPhone 7 Plus, the Live Photos seem to be even better quality. Below are the a few photos the walk out on Dartmoor.

Moody Face #Tiggy #Dartmoor

None of these photos have been edited in any way.

All tongue #George #Dartmoor

What a tongue!! George has a huge tongue.

Sunk in the mud - Tiggy :)

Someone has been in the mud 🙂

Fury had just bathed in mud :) #dartmoor

Because Fury is black, she disguises the fact she is lined in mud !

Ok, some firing up my MacBook Pro, and all the photos and video from my iPhone 7 Plus are already synced into the Photos app on the Mac. Open iMovie on the MacBook Pro and you can simply select the video and photos from the photos app and import them into iMovie. Next select create a movie, tweak the order of the clips, adjusts and colour corrections on the media if required, add a theme, choose from a vast selection of music and audio clips, or add your own, add a few titles and export. iMovie is relatively intuitive to use. Next save to iMovie Theater and now it appears on my iPhone 7 Plus in the iMovie app too.

The last stage is uploading to YouTube via iMovie. And below is the result. The power of the post processing speed of the MacBook Pro is stunning BTW.

Apple releases iOS 10.2, watchOS 3.1.1 and tvOS 10.1 – Details of the Key Changes & Improvements

Yesterday Apple released a wealth of software updates for its devices.

Apple TV and iPhone and iPad

TV (US only)

– Use Up Next to see the movies and shows you’re currently watching and pick up where you left off
– Get recommendations for new movies and TV shows in Watch Now
– Discover new apps and the latest iTunes releases in the Store
– Access the Library for your iTunes purchases and rentals

Emoji

– Beautifully redesigned emoji that reveal even more detail
– Over 100 new emoji including new faces, food, animals, sports, and professions

Photos

– Improves stabilisation and delivers faster frame rate for Live Photos
– Improves accuracy of groupings of similar photos of the same person in the People album
– Fixes an issue where Memories might generate a memory from photos of screenshots, whiteboards or receipts
– Fixes an issue where the camera would stay zoomed in after switching back from the Camera Roll on iPhone 7 Plus
– Additional support for RAW digital cameras

Messages

– Adds new love and celebration full screen effects in Messages
– Fixes an issue that sometimes prevented the keyboard from displaying in Messages

Music

– Swipe up the Now Playing screen to more easily access Shuffle, Repeat and Up Next
– Choose how to sort Playlists, Albums, and Songs in Library

News

– Stories you’ve saved for later now appear the new Saved section
– The best paid stories from channels you subscribe to will now appear in a dedicated section in For You
– It’s now easier than ever to get to the next story, just swipe left or tap Next Story while reading

Mail

– Fixes an issue that caused the Move sheet to persist after filing a Mail message
– Addresses an issue with long press activating copy and paste in Mail
– Fixes an issue in which the wrong message would be selected after deleting a Mail conversation

Accessibility

-Adds BraillePen14 support to VoiceOver
– Fixes an issue where the braille table could switch unexpectedly with VoiceOver
– Fixes an issue where sometimes Siri enhanced voices were unavailable to VoiceOver
– Fixes an issue where VoiceOver users could not re-order items in lists
– Fixes an issue where Switch Control was sometimes unable to delete Voicemails

Other improvements and fixes

– Adds notification support for HomeKit accessories including window coverings, occupancy, motion, door/window, smoke, carbon monoxide, and water leak sensors
– Adds notification support for HomeKit accessories when software updates are available to HomeKit accessories
– Improves Bluetooth performance and connectivity with 3rd party accessories
– Fixes an issue that could cause FaceTime participants to appear out of focus
– Fixes an issue that could cause FaceTime calls to appear with incorrect aspect ratio and orientation
– Fixes an issue that prevented some Visual Voicemail from completing playback
– Fixes a Safari Reader issue that could cause articles to open as empty pages
– Fixes an issue that could cause Safari to quit unexpectedly after marking an item as read in Reading List

If your iPhone is not receiving the new screen effects in iMessage, the fix is simple. Go to the iPhone settings app. Scroll down to messages. Turn off iMessage. Turn back on again.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch got updated to iOS 3.1.1. Updating the Apple Watch takes the longest to complete out of all of the devices, around 30-40 mins, so make sure you are not in a rush.

The update includes –

– Support for unicode 9 emoji, as well as being able to select skin tones for certain emojis
– Fixes an issue that could prevent contact names from appearing in the Messages app and notifications
– Fixes an issue that could impact ability to respond to notifications
– Resolves an issue where the Stocks complication may not update on the watch face
– Fixes an issue that may prevent the Activity rings from displaying on the Activity watch faces
– Fixes an issue that prevented the dials on an analog watch face from appearing after changing the temperature unit in the Weather app
– Resolves an issue that could cause the Maps app to stay launched after navigation has ended
– Resolves an issue where the incorrect date could be displayed in the Calendar app month view