Apple is purportedly set to make its biggest acquisition in the history of the company, as The Financial Times is reporting that it is about to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. What would Apple get out of Beats Audio? Well, for starters, there's the Beats Music subscription platform, which allows customers to listen to on-demand music along with curated mood-based playlists. That would be a great complement to iTunes Radio, which doesn't allow users to put songs on repeat, and limits skip functionality. Additionally, Beats is likely most known for its iconic Beats by Dr. Dre headphone line. Apple would become owner of the audio hardware in the case of an acquisition, and could even use the Beats Audio sound profile in future iOS devices (similar to what HTC did in its phones when it was a stakeholder in Beats Audio a couple of years ago.)
Apple and Beats Electronics are both keeping silent for now, but if the deal does go through, it's large enough that an official announcement will be made by both companies.
Gramofon might be named after the 19th century sound system, but it's as modern as it gets. It's a wireless jukebox that streams music from cloud services like Spotify.
It's the latest brainchild of Fon, the crowdsourced W-iFi network. You connect the Gramofon to your speakers and your Wi-Fi network, and it acts as a Wi-Fi booster and gives off a signal that mobile devices can connect to. Those devices can be used to manipulate playlists.
Now, if you are thinking “so how is this any different than plugging speakers into my iPhone?”, well, with the Gramofon you can make music more social, as anyone on your network is able to use it. You and your friends can share music, create and modify playlists and otherwise get your groove on.
At first, Gramofon will stream from Spotify and Rhapsody. However, the company plans to add other services like Rdio, Grooveshark, SoundCloud, Pandora, Google Play, Songza, and more. If you're interested, check it out on Kickstarter. Fon has stated that the first batch of Gramofons are ready to ship in July. You can get yourself one by backing it for $50. Check out video of the project after the jump.
Read More | Gramofon on Kickstarter
We've been huge Sonos fans here at Gear Live for years, but if there's one niggle we've heard complaints about from users more than any other, it's that you have to plug in one Sonos component into your wired network. Normally, this would mean buying the Sonos Bridge in addition to whatever speaker components you'd want to place throughout your home, because it's rare that the place you want to put your Sonos device just happens to be where your networking equipment is. The result? You'd have to pay $50 for the Bridge, upping the price of entry.
Well, now Sonos is set to change how it handles creating its SonosNet wireless mesh network, which is the way that Sonos components communicate with each other. "We've found a way to deliver all the benefits of SonosNet without a product directly connected to your router," the company said in a blog post. The best part? All that will be required is a software update, so existing Sonos owners will be able to ditch the wired requirement as well, once the update goes public.
With the new method, you plug a Sonos component in and then fire up the Sonos app on your smartphone or tablet. Then you simply select your Wi-Fi network, put in your password, and Sonos jumps on and takes care of the rest. As long as you don't have a huge house with Sonos components spread so far apart that the wireless signal can't talk to each other (and that would have to be a pretty big house), you are golden. Sonos is launching a beta program to allow those interested to try it out and find any bugs before pushing it out to the masses.
You can check out the Sonos product line-up now.
Read More | Sonos Beta
Marshawn Lynch, running back for the new Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, has been spotted rocking the brand new Monster 24k headphones. In fact, Lynch was even seen dancing with himself after the Super Bowl XLVIII win in the locker room following the big win. The Monster 24k is backordered and hard to find at the moment, so we thought it was cool that Lynch was rocking a pair in the wild. You can grab yourself a pair of the $280 headphones over on the Monster Web site.
Sure, we've given you a list of our top 10 most popular stories of 2013, but we figured we'd go a bit more broad than that. We also thought it would be interesting to give you a look at the top ten most read stories on this site this year, period, regardless of what year they were posted. We must say, we're just as surprised as you are at what did (and didn't) make the list! For example, you guys seem to really like Apple. Here we go:
- Sleeptracker Watch review: This one focuses on a watch that tracks your sleep data and aims to wake you up when you are in your lightest phase of sleep. The result is that you wake up feeling more rested, and more refreshed.
- Flash on iPhone is just around the corner: This five-year-old article made it's way back after being linked to by John Gruber of Daring Fireball. Since then we've learned that just because it's in testing behind closed doors, doesn't mean that it's going to make it's way to public release. Also, John, why couldn't you have linked to when we broke what was the biggest Apple software leak of the decade?
- Mod your Xbox without a mod chip: This is an all-time favorite of our readers. It dropped out of the top 10 last year, but has reappeared for 2013.
- Apparently that Xbox 360 Red Ring of Doom issue hasn't been fixed
- OS X 10.9 Mavericks Developer Preview 3 now available
- How To Mod Your iPhone on Windows Using iBrickr
- Apple releases iOS 7 beta 2 with iPad support: iOS 7 beta 1 supported the iPhone and iPod touch only. When beta 2 arrived with iPad support, many were excited.
- TiVo out-of-home remote streaming arrives on Roamio Plus, Roamio Pro DVRs: We'd been waiting for this feature for a long, long time, and it is finally here.
- Exclusive details on the next Nike+ FuelBand: We got exclusive details on the new Nike+ FuelBand months before its release.
- iPhone 5s review: Our review of Apple's flagship smartphone for 2013.
We've also compiled a list of the stories that have dropped out of the top ten between 2012 and 2013, which you can check out after the jump, and don't miss the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2013 either!
Enjoy sweet sound in a sleek, portable design with this Jam rechargeable Bluetooth wireless speaker by HMDX Audio, the next item in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide. Use the wireless speaker just about anywhere--from the kitchen or living room to a dorm room, office, back deck, or den. It can even be taken along to the beach when relaxing in the summer sunshine with friends. The Jam wireless speaker features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides up to four hours of wireless play. The speaker also comes with line-in capability, which allows you to connect your non-Bluetooth-enabled devices directly to the speaker. Using the line-in connection, jam to all your favorite tunes for up to 12 hours. Oh, and when you open the packaging, it actually smells like opening a jar of jam. Seriously.
You can pick up the Philips Hue Connected Bulb Starter Pack now from Amazon for $29.95. Also? We're giving one away! Wanna win it? Just use the included widget below!
Read More | HDMX Jam Speaker
Sonos has earned two spots in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, because the Playbar is just so fantastic. Soundbars are typically designed to replace your HDTV's anemic speakers. The Sonos Playbar does that, but but also has a much cooler additional function: It integrates with all the rest of the Sonos multiroom audio system lineup (some of which has already appeared in our Holiday Gift Guide!), streaming music from your Mac, PC, smartphone, and subscription online services. Pair it up with a Sonos SUB and a couple of Play:1 units and you've got a bonafide wireless surround sound system.
You can pick up the Sonos Playbar now from Amazon for $699, and they'll even throw in a free Sonos BRIDGE accessory as well.
Read More | Sonos Playbar
Up next in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide: the Pro-Ject Debut III Turntable. Audiophiles know that vinyl offers up a richer, more nuanced sound than those cold digital tracks (or so they say.) They also know you dont have to shell out audiophile levels of money to get a decent turntable. The Pro-Ject Debut III is outfitted with high-grade components and doesn't make your living room look like a DJ booth. Double win.
You can pick up the Pro-Ject Debut III Turntable now from Amazon for $299, a savings of 25%.
Read More | Pro-Ject Debut III Turntable
The Diamond Tears Edge headphones are the brainchild of Monster and JYP. While I'm not the best authority on the Korean pop music (K Pop) scene, I definitely know my headphones, and love eye-catching pieces of technology. That's why I had to get my hands on the Diamond Tears. You see, normally, when talking about headphones, you start out by focusing on how they sound. With the Diamond Tears Edge, we'll start with the unique look. Click on through to check out our full Monster Diamond Tears Edge headphones review.
We can’t all afford to pay $100 for a pair of earbuds that we’ll probably lose or break. SOL Republic, a popular name in the headphone industry, has recently released an affordable pair of in-ear headphones that gives similarly priced headphones a run for their money. The SOL Republic JAX feature a tangle-free flat cable, a three-button inline ControlTalk with microphone, and serious audio quality. Are they good enough to warrant your attention? We bring you our full SOL Republic JAX review to answer that question.
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