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Sonarworks Releases SoundID Listen: Personalized Sound on your Computer

Sonarworks had caught our eye back at CES 2019, when they showed off their then-still-in-progress mobile app for personalized sound signatures called True-Fi. The Latvia-based company has credentials to back all their claims, and the in-suite demo was impressive to say the least. Getting it out in the real world meant that the company had to build up their database of compatible headphones to first normalize the sound signature, and then work on the best option for recuperating R&D costs without breaking any wallets. As it turns out, the company had more insight on this at CES 2020 but are only now ready to show their retail plans in the form of SoundID.

SoundID, as both a mobile app (iOS, Android) and the new desktop SoundID Listen experience, takes over from where True-Fi started. The interface is more colorful and user-friendly to the masses, and the mobile app in the current beta form is being marketed more for profile-creation than usage, although it has the option to plug into your Spotify library. The older A/B tests are retained here, and at CES 2020 the app only had the "Core" experience. As of May, the app has new features to coincide with the desktop client's release, and read past the break for more on both.

Apple WWDC 2020 Keynote To Be Held Digitally on June 22

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference virtually, beginning June 22, in the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website for free for all developers. The company also announced the Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for student developers to showcase their love of coding by creating their own Swift playground. Now in its 31st year, WWDC20 will be an opportunity for millions of creative and innovative developers around the world to get early access to the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, and to learn from Apple engineers as they work to build app experiences that enrich the lives of Apple customers around the globe.

"WWDC20 will be our biggest yet, bringing together our global developer community of more than 23 million in an unprecedented way for a week in June to learn about the future of Apple platforms," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "We can't wait to meet online in June with the global developer community and share with them all of the new tools we've been working on to help them create even more incredible apps and services. We look forward to sharing more details about WWDC20 with everyone as we get closer to this exciting event."

Apple Moves its WWDC Event Online Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Now in its 31st year, WWDC 2020 will take on an entirely new online format packed with content for consumers, press and developers alike. The online event will be an opportunity for millions of creative and innovative developers to get early access to the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, and engage with Apple engineers as they work to build app experiences that enrich the lives of Apple customers around the globe.

"We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead."
apple wwdc

Apple Agrees to Front $500M to Settle iPhone Slowdown Class-Action Lawsuit

Apple late last week agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing it of slowing down iPhones without the knowledge or consent of users, motivating them to upgrade their devices or batteries. The settlement amount is marked at USD $500 million or $25 per member of the class (which could be adjusted depending on how many iPhones from the class are found eligible). The lawsuit is being heard by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, and its settlement offer by Apple is subject to his approval.

In the settlement offer papers by Apple, the company reportedly denies wrongdoing, and seeks to avoid the burdens and costs of litigation. Eligible members of the class are U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus or SE that ran the iOS 10.2.1 or later operating system. It also covers U.S. owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017. Initial outcry after discovery of Apple's secret CPU throttling cause the company to apologize for the practice, promise transparency in the future, and introduce the "Battery Health" feature in iOS that informs users of the decay of their device's lithium ion battery (ability to hold charge), and give performance throttling control to end-users.

Quick Look: Philips PH805 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

zAnother day, another audio product quick look. This time, the folks over at Philips get some love with the US launch of their PH805 active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones, the news of which we covered before. The company has gone through big changes over the years, and one of the effects has been regional business units operating independently enough to have separate launch windows for products. Take this very product, for example, which had been out for purchase for a couple of months already last year in Europe and parts of Asia, and Philips USA only just got it in 2020. Somehow, we had no coverage on this to date, but that changes now.

The PH805, also referred to as the PH805BK or TAPH805BK, follows a trend of product names that make little sense, but all you need to know is that this is from the same company and team that brought out the excellent Fidelio series that offered great value for money to those wanting an open-back, over-ear headphones with a neutral signature without any real shortcomings across the frequency range. They are readying the new Fidelio x3 for launch soon, but the PH805 aims to interest a different segment entirely. In particular, the frequent traveler or mobile user that wants a lightweight set of cans with ANC and wireless connectivity. It ships in a retail packaging that is well designed, with the company and product name on the front along with a large render and marketing features throughout, with a clear note on Google Assistant compatibility. Sorry, iOS users! Read past the break for more on the Philips PH805BK, including an unboxing, user experience, and what it costs to get you one of these in the USA.

Minecraft Gets Cross-Play Update on PS4

Players of Minecraft on PlayStation 4 rejoice! Minecraft is now getting an update on the PS4 platform that enables all PlayStation users to gain access to cross-play features, so they are now able to play with millions of other players on Xbox, PC, Switch, iOS, Android, and even Samsung Gear VR platform. In the so-called "Bedrock Edition" update that arrives today, Microsoft will push new features to Minecraft and connect millions of players.

In the words of Microsoft's game studio boss Helen Chiang: "One of Minecraft's core missions is to connect players across devices and provide the best experience regardless of platform. We continue to fulfill that mission here today by welcoming PS4 players to Minecraft on Bedrock and growing our cross-platform multiplayer community".

Terra Master Unveils the Cost-effective F2-210 2-bay NAS

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products, including network attached storage and direct attached storage, is thrilled to share with everyone its undisputed budget offering for the NAS market. The TerraMaster F2-210 is built with quality in mind but offers a comprehensive feature set for the unbeatable price of $149.99. The TerraMaster F2-210 is perfect for new NAS users or SOHO usage that need a centralized storage solution but don't want to break the bank. With the F2-210, experience a full NAS experience at less cost so you can focus on what you need to do. The TerraMaster F2-210 has an MSRP of $149.99

TerraMaster builds the F2-210 around the ARM v8 quad-core processor. This CPU is used by many competing product but only TerraMaster is offering it at this price range. With speeds up to 1.40 GHz, users can enjoy performance of up to 114 MB/s for both read and write, perfect for file sharing amongst multiple devices or backing up your important data and memories. Use the TerraMaster as a media entertainment server for your 4K video files and enjoy real-time transcoding so you can enjoy your files with any devices. The F2-210 will handle most functions with no problem and easily repay itself in a year with savings in multi-device cloud backup account or live-streaming service accounts.

Valve Announces Steam Link App for Mobile Game Streaming Anywhere

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Valve had promised continued support to the Steam Link after discontinuing it last year, and most took it to mean basic updates to the hardware device itself at the time. That was 2018, and it is remarkable how the topic of in-house game streaming has come up since. Be it Google's Project Stream which seemingly is leading up to a major announcement by the company at GDC coming up very shortly, or Microsoft introducing their new Wireless Display app for PC game streaming on the XBOX One, as well as bringing its XBOX Live service to mobile platforms on iOS or Android alike, 2019 seems to herald a re-focus into the concept of game streaming whether the infrastructure is ready or not.

Valve for their own part has had their Steam Link be enjoyed by a fairly niche audience, one that shares a more local form of game streaming from a host device to another on the same network. NVIDIA's Shield offered a similar concept, and that too has not really made the news as much as NVIDIA would surely have wanted. This latest news from Valve allows streaming of one's Steam library (games, in particular) to phones, tablets, and TVs with no download or service fees applicable. Interested users can participate in the open beta program by simply downloading the app (Google Play store only for now) or on the Raspberry Pi as has been the case for a few months already. The Steam Link app is compatible with a number of popular Bluetooth controllers, including the Steam Controller, and Valve recommends a 5 GHz network or wired Ethernet for best experience. Looks like the weekend just got busier than I originally planned!

AVIF an AV1-based Compressed Still Image Format that Challenges HEIF, Goes v1.0.0

AVIF is a derivative of the AV1 compressed video format for still images that offer image-quality rivaling the HEVC-derived HEIF, while demonstrating superior compression. Earlier this month on February 19, the format was formally published on GitHub as version 1.0.0, collaboratively edited by engineers employed by Netflix and Microsoft, even as development of the AV1 format itself was largely led by Google. AV1 is sought after by on-demand video service companies for its royalty-free nature compared to HEVC. Netflix eyes AV1 as its key to ramp up to 4K and HDR content. YouTube, too, is looking to phase out H.264 in favor of AV1. AVIF, on the other hand, could challenge HEIC, which is the default image format used by Apple in its iOS devices. Google could propagate AVIF though its Android ecosystem, letting consumers capture photos in the format that saves storage space and data bandwidth.

SteelSeries Cross-platform Game Controllers Get Full "Fortnite" Support

SteelSeries, the global leader in gaming peripherals, today announces full Fortnite compatibility across all its mobile controllers including the new Stratus Duo, Stratus XL and Nimbus. This comprehensive family of critically acclaimed controllers is ready for Fortnite on mobile or PC. "With the massive success of Fortnite, we want to ensure gamers have the best possible gaming experience regardless of what platform they're playing on," said Tino Soelberg, SteelSeries Chief Technical Officer.

Elgato Unveils Key Light, Screen Link, Stream Deck SDK, and Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock

Elgato, the leading provider of hardware and software for content creators, today unveiled Elgato Key Light, Screen Link, Stream Deck SDK, and Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock, combining to make up the biggest launch in the company's history. From advanced lighting and connectivity to mobile streaming and increased software accessibility, Elgato is making it easier than ever for creators to produce and broadcast their own professional, high-quality video content.

Elgato Key Light is the first of its kind: an LED light panel developed specifically for modern content creators. Key Light easily clamps to your desk, adding professional lighting to your setup while taking up a fraction of the space of traditional light boxes or lamps. Key Light wirelessly communicates with your PC or Mac, letting you instantly control lighting brightness and warmth via Elgato's convenient Control Center app or a key press on Elgato's highly acclaimed Stream Deck. Key Light shines with 80 premium OSRAM LEDs that output a massive 2,500 lumens while generating practically no heat.

Sonarworks Releases Mobile App, Making the Ultimate Sound Experience Accessible Anywhere

Pioneering audio calibration software company Sonarworks has announced the launch of its new Sonarworks True-Fi mobile app at CES 2019. The revolutionary mobile app, which provides audio calibration references on both iOS and Android for nearly 300 headphone models, has already launched in 'early access' and will be available for purchase later this year in the App Store and Google Play at a price of $3.99 USD per month, or as a lifetime license for $99 USD. Existing Sonarworks customers who already own the desktop version will be provided a free upgrade option to a lifetime license for the mobile app.

Sonarworks True-Fi mobile app- provides consumers with the ultimate sound experience 'while on the go- supports wide a range of native file formats as well as content from iTunes and Android local content libraries. True-Fi mobile supports native file formats including MP3, WAV, AIFF, AAC and ALAC (iOS) and MP3, WAV, OGG (Vorbis) and AAC (Android).

Apple's A12X Shows Us How The ARM MacBook Is Closer Than Ever

The shadow of a ARM-based MacBook has been there for years. Rumors have been adding up, and the performance of their own mobile processors is more and more convincing with each new generation of devices. The recent launch of the iPad Pro has reinforced those signs after knowing its Apple A12X Bionic' Geekbench 4 results. According to this benchmark, the new iPad Pro isn't that far in raw performance from what we have with a Core i9-8950HK-based MacBook Pro (2018). We have a Single-Core/Multi-Core score of 5020/18217 in the iPad Pro vs the 5627/21571 on the MacBook Pro. If this seems nuts it's because it really is.

This comparison is pretty absurd in itself: TDPs are quite different on both (7 W vs 45 W) but there are also important distinctions in areas such as the memory used in those devices (most Apple laptops still use DDR-2133 modules) and, of course, the operating system on which they are based. Those numbers are just a tiny reference, but if we pay attention to Apple's recent keynote, that Photoshop CC demo can really speak for itself. And again, comparisons are hateful, but let's look for a slightly fairer comparison.

Apple Claims Steam Link App Violates App Store Guidelines

As most of you have heard by now, Apple revoked the release of the Steam Link app on their platform last week. Concerned customers have been sending emails to Apple to inquire about the reasons behind the decision. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing at Apple, stated that the Steam Link application didn't comply with the App Store guidelines. Unfortunately, he didn't explain exactly how the application violated the guidelines. Nevertheless, Apple assured their customers that they will continue to work with Valve to bring the Steam experience to iOS users.

Steam Link App for iOS Rejected by Apple

Apple approved the Steam Link app for release. On Weds, May 9th, Valve released news of the app. The following morning, Apple revoked its approval citing business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team. Valve appealed, explaining the Steam Link app simply functions as a LAN-based remote desktop similar to numerous remote desktop applications already available on the App Store.

Ultimately, that appeal was denied leaving the Steam Link app for iOS blocked from release. The team here spent many hours on this project and the approval process, so we're clearly disappointed. But we hope Apple will reconsider in the future.

Apple to End the x86 Mac Era in 2020

One of the biggest tech stories of the 2000s was Apple's transition from the PowerPC machine architecture to Intel x86, which brought the Mac closer to being the PC it so loathed. The transition wasn't smooth, as besides the operating system, practically every third-party software developer (eg: Adobe), had to rewrite their software for the new architecture, with new APIs, and new runtime environments. Apple could be bringing about a similar change before the turn of the decade.

Apple already builds its own application processors for iOS devices, and some of the newer chips such as the A11 Bionic and A10 Fusion have already reached the performance levels of entry-level x86 desktop processors. It's only a matter of time before Apple can build its own SoCs for Macs (that's not just iMac desktops, but also Mac Pro workstations, MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro). That timeline is expected to be around 2020. Since these chips are based on the ARM machine architecture, they will mandate a major transformation of the entire software ecosystem Apple built over the past decade and a half. Intel shares dropped by as much as 9.2 at the first reports of this move.

Khronos Group Announces Free and Open-Source MoltenVK for macOS and iOS

A Vulkan-compatible driver for macOS and iOS, MoltenVK, is now available free of charge and open-source. Having invested into its development for more than a year, Khronos Group has sponsored The Brenwill Workshop to donate MoltenVK for inclusion in the Vulkan graphics ecosystem.

We've also continued our efforts with LunarG who is today releasing a corresponding update to deliver macOS support to the Vulkan SDK. Also as a result of that work, Dota 2 will soon be updated to target Vulkan on macOS. It's been almost four years since we started contributing to Vulkan's goal of becoming a cross platform solution. With support for Windows, Linux, and Android crossed off the list, this latest set of updates checks off one of the largest remaining targets, giving developers an easy yet robust way to also target their Vulkan-based engines and titles to run on macOS and iOS. By making the code to MoltenVK freely available and open-source, the goal is to enable developers to bring their games to macOS and iOS with minimal development cost.

Vuzix to Showcase Their 'Blade' Augmented Reality Smart Glasses at CES 2018

Vuzix Corporation, a leading supplier of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies for the consumer and enterprise markets, is pleased to announce the official unveiling of the Vuzix Blade, which was awarded four International CES Innovation 2018 awards in the areas of Fitness, Sports and Biotech; Wireless Handset Accessories; Portable Media Players and Accessories as well as Computer Accessories.

The Vuzix Blade AR Smart Glasses provide a wearable smart display with a see-through viewing experience utilizing Vuzix' proprietary waveguide optics and Cobra II display engine. It's like having your computer or smartphone screen information right in front of you, wherever you go. The Vuzix Blade weighing in at less than 3 oz. represents the first pair of smart glasses that provide the wearer with a sizable virtual screen and brilliant pallet of colors via a thin completely see-through lens, in a fashionable form factor. The Vuzix Blade features adjustable FOV location and brightness, and is prescription ready, enabling any wearer both indoors and out to enjoy a comfortable visual experience. The Vuzix Blade, which can be paired seamlessly to Android or iOS phones enables individuals or workers to leave their phone in their pocket while visually presented with location aware content driven by the user's phone. Built for today's world and usable for work or play, the Vuzix Blade AR Smart Glasses offer the wearer heads up and hands-free mobile computing and connectivity, in an unprecedented form factor.

Creative Unveils the Audiophile-Grade Aurvana Trio In-Ear Headphones

Creative Technology Ltd announced today the Aurvana Trio audiophile-grade in-ear headphones, the latest addition to its well-received Aurvana Series. The Aurvana Trio features a triple driver array that combines two precision balanced armature drivers with one dynamic bio-cellulose driver.
Aurvana Trio: Audiophile-Grade Hybrid Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones

The dual balanced armature module consists of a super tweeter that has been tuned to deliver detailed high-frequency playback, and a mid-range driver for natural vocals. The dynamic 10mm Bio-cellulose driver, on the other hand, is meticulously tuned to produce beautifully accurate and powerful bass. Bio-cellulose is an extremely fine natural fiber with high purity. Using cutting-edge biotechnology processes, this material is compressed to produce an ultra-thin diaphragm that is ideal for delivering sound velocity comparable to an aluminium or titanium diaphragm, while giving warm and delicate sound of paper ones.

ADAM Elements Launches Their iKlips II USB 3.1 Lightning Flash Drive

ADAM elements will be present at this year's CES in Las Vegas and showcase a new member of its highly successful and multi-awarded storage extension family for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices - the iKlips II. Connected to any of these via the Lightning interface, users can easily free up space on their mobile devices and use the iKlips app, now updated to version 4, for a multitude of other tasks.

Extra storage for iOS devices
The Apple MFI-certified (made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) iKlips II comes with both a Lightning and a USB 3.1 connector, so data exchange between iOS devices and a macOS or Windows computer is a breeze. Available with capacities of 32, 64 and 128 GB, these stylish flash drives support the exFAT file system, so there is no limit to the size of individual files. The iKlips II comes with a 3-year warranty. It will be available in the colors grey or red from mid-January 2018. Prices (MSRP) are as follow: £50 for the 32 GB, £70 for the 64 GB and £90 for the 128 GB version.

Zorloo Announces Their Second-Generation Portable USB-DAC

Zorloo is pleased to introduce its second-generation portable USB-DAC product, ZuperDAC-S, today. It builds on its wildly praised ZuperDAC to enable computers or mobile phones an unprecedented HiFi music experience. Today, computers and mobile phones are powerful enough to handle different audio protocols. However, the last but most critical step in the entire digital-to-analog conversion process, i.e. turning musical data 0 and 1 into audible sound waves, always sucks. Constrained by the limitation of this internal conversion process, audio may also have to be re-sampled to fit the pipeline.

Bypassing the internal conversion with ZuperDAC-S drastically improves sound quality to a new level. It supports up to 192kHz sampling frequency and 24-bit depth, which eliminates unnecessary sample rate and bit depth conversion. The music output from ZuperDAC-S is exactly what was recorded. ZuperDAC-S uses the ESS Sabre 9018 audiodac and delivers a stunning 120dB SNR and 0.0005% THD+N performance. It delivers a balanced, clear and articulated sound in a wide soundstage. The integrated headphone amplifier output can connect directly to headphones, or go through the amplifier systems.

ADATA Launches i-Memory AI720 iOS OTG USB Flash Drive

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, today launched i-Memory AI720 flash drive that is chic in style. The Apple MFi-certified AI720 is merely 7.5mm thick and comes with both Lightning and USB 3.1 connectors. Thanks to its unique save-as-you-record function for 4K video, high-resolution videos will no longer occupy much space in your mobile phone. The AI720 supports strong encryption and has been designed to resist water and dust for more care-free user mobility thanks to nano coating technology. The AI720 is available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities, with gold and gray schemes.

Dual connectivity, one elegant and stylish design
The AI720 is lightweight, thin, and beautifully shaped, making it a perfect match for iOS devices. It features a longer lightning connector to fit iOS devices perfectly even if the cover is extra thick or padded. And the metallic sandblasted surface not only makes it elegant, also fingerprint-resistant. The AI720 is available in two fashionable colors- gold and gray, for an urban vibe.

The Halos CatDrive Might Be the Most Secure Wireless External HDD Ever Built

Halos AI Inc. unveiled its flagship product "CatDrive" which will be crowdfunding on Indiegogo on 21st Nov. As the most secure wireless external hard drive, CatDrive is safer than the cloud and even smarter than mobile hard drives. It astonishingly allows users to be masters of their own data and to store and share digital content safely and freely.

In addition to functions such as centralized storage and on-the-go access, CatDrive also lets provides you with safe and easy storage.
  • 5 advanced technologies: Local-storage, shockproof HDD, independent accounts with private spaces and auto backup.
  • Multiple users: Each user has their own account and space which is invisible to others.
  • Private share circle: Members of CatDrive can share files without limits, receive real-time notifications, and the shared content will never expire.
  • Photo Roll: Organize and display photos in a stunning way.

Sound BlasterX Katana Now Supports USB Audio for Sony PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS4 Slim

Creative Technology Ltd today announced that its Award-Winning Under-Monitor Sound System, the Sound BlasterX Katana, now supports USB audio connectivity with all Sony PS4 console variants. The updated support allows PS4 users to enjoy cinematic audio performance via USB delivered by the Katana for all their gaming content, including popular titles such as Uncharted: The LostLegacy and Horizon: Zero Dawn, as well as highly anticipated upcoming titles such as Star Wars Battlefront 2, Call of Duty WWII, NBA 2K18 and Destiny 2.

On top of that, users will enjoy an enhanced in-game communication experience that allows them to enjoy a full suite of noise-reduction and voice morphing technologies made possible by Katana's built-in advanced Sound Blaster processor. Previously, Katana users could only connect to their PS4 via optical connection with a separate mic connection to the PS4's controller - all without the benefit of noise reduction and voice morphing enhancements. Also, users can look forward to accessing these technologies on-the-fly while Katana is connected to a PS4, from the convenience of an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, with an updated version of the Sound Blaster Connect App - which is slated to be released by end-October 2017 on the App Store and Google Play.

Razer Announces the Hammerhead V2 BT In-ear Gaming Headset

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today, unveiled two new headsets: the Razer Hammerhead BT and the Razer Hammerhead for iOS Lightning. Engineered to deliver clear and cordless audio, the new Razer Hammerhead BT is a Bluetooth 4.1 in-ear headset that features the Qualcomm aptX codec for low-latency, high-quality audio. Mobile users may enjoy uninterrupted listening and calls with a battery life of up to eight hours per charge. The Razer Hammerhead BT comes with an in-line remote and microphone that is compatible with iOS or Android devices, providing easy call pick-up or music track navigation.

Making full use of the Lightning Connector capabilities, the Razer Hammerhead for iOS delivers clean digital audio through a custom-tuned, digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Through the Razer Hammerhead iOS companion app, users can personalize listening experiences with customizable or pre-configured equalizer settings.
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