The Philips Fidelio NC1L on-ear headphones with Active Noise Cancellation ($299.00) made waves at this year's CES, touting a direct digital connection to your iDevice via Apple's Lightning port. Even though Apple (quietly) announced support for this headphone feature earlier last year, few companies have taken advantage of this connective potential, not even Apple's own headphone company, Beats by Dre. The ability of the NC1L to establish a direct, 24-bit, Digital to Analog Conversion (DAC) is impressive enough. Couple that with the fact that the NC1L draw power for their Active Noise Cancellation from your iPhone or iPad and it's no wonder that these amazing sounding cans are the recipients of iPhone Life Magazine's Best of CES award.
I loved the sound and comfort level of the new Wearhaus ARC headphones. I found theem over in the Sands Tech Expo area at CES 2015 (booth 75045). Though they do look cool with the flashing color-changing lights on the earpiece, the innovation extends beyond mere looks. Well-made material with smart wireless features set these $199 Kickstarted (and successfully funded) headphones apart.
A year ago, I bought our daughter an acoustic guitar, complete with instructional DVDs. That guitar has collected dust ever since. But now, I have the Zivix Jamstik which should change that. The Jamstik helps kids (and adults) learn how to play the guitar using tools they are already comfortable with, like an iPhone or iPad and apps. It connects wirelessly via Wi-Fi, or via USB to a Mac. The Jamstik works with over a dozen apps like GarageBand or other MIDI apps, as well as the included Jamstik Connect, JamMix, and JamTutor apps from Zivix.
If you already have made an investment in speakers and want to turn them into wireless ones, there are a few options. You could get a Bluetooth adapter, but you would have to deal with the latency and distance limitations of that technology. On the high-end, there are SONOS speakers which use Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, but they are expensive and don't take advantage of your existing speakers.
There are earbuds, on-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones, but I was surprised to see the Open Ear wireless Bluetooth headphones from AfterShokz, dubbed BLUEZ 2 ($99.95). These attractive headphones use the bone conduction technology whose origins go back to Beethoven and you might find today in a Navy SEAL's communication system. The result is, you hear the music through the inside of your head, and more importantly, your ears are uncovered. If you're riding a bicycle, for example, you can safely hear traffic with the AfterShokz. They could even help some hearing impaired users the same way Cochlear Implants can help them "hear" the world around them.
Life n Soul has a Bluetooth speaker that is like a mullet...business up front, party in the back. That's because the BM211 Bluetooth Speaker ($79.99) has a no-nonsense speakerphone, suitable for conference calls with multidirectional speakers, so the whole office can participate. There's a clever slot that lets you rest a phone or tablet so you can control your VoIP, phone call, Facetime, or, when it's time to party, your music playlist. I could also see using the stand, and speaker, at trade shows.
We know you've come to rely on the bloggers at iPhoneLife.com for helpful reviews of all the best offerings in the App Store. With over 1 million apps for your iPhone and over 475,000 apps for your iPad, deciding which apps to download can be overwhelming. That's why we asked all of our bloggers to vote for their favorite apps released or updated in 2014. Here are their top two apps in each of six categories!
We have reviewed several Sonos wireless speakers and audio accessories at iPhone Life, and in this reviewer's opinion, there are few products that compare. The speakers sound astonishingly great, with solid wireless performance, and their streaming app and service library keeps getting richer and more refined. They don't often do sales or special offers, but the word on the street is they are offering gift cards and store promotions at select retailers for the Play family line.
It's unlikely that Apple had much role in designing the new Beats headphones that were released today, given the product design lifecycle, but they are the first Beats products announced since Apple acquired the firm for $3 billion this summer. The Solo2 Wireless headphones operate via Bluetooth and offer 12 hours of battery life. A RemoteTalk cable can be used to turn the wireless headphones into wired ones, complete with an inline microphone. This is useful if the battery dies runs out, or for Airplane Mode use.