It’s Friday, thankfully, and this past week was another busy one in the world of tech. Google I/O happened, meaning we learned a lot about the software updates coming to some of our favorite services, like Chrome, Google Photos and Google Maps. You can finally buy all of Apple’s newest gadgets — including the M1 iMac, M1 iPad Pro and brand-new Apple TV 4K (or even just the new Siri Remote) — starting today. There were also a bunch of cool new gadgets that were announced, which we’ve rounded up below.
Syng Cell Alpha
The Cell Alpha is a high-end spaceship-looking wireless speaker that’s been designed by an ex-Apple engineer who worked on the HomePod (as well as a vast number of other Apple products). According to the company, it’s the world’s first “Triphonic” speaker, meaning it’s able to play spatial dynamic audio that’s way more immersive than traditional stereo. It supposedly sounds great on its own, but the company actually recommends pairing three together in a room for the best possible sound — which is a very expensive proposition. The speaker supports Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2, and it has dual USB-C ports for analog connections. It’s available for purchase now.
Grado Labs Prestige “X” Headphones
For years, Grado’s Prestige line of headphones have been some of our favorite affordable hi-fi headphones — and this week it’s released upgraded versions of every headphone in that line. They’ve been upgraded with the company’s new “X Driver,” which promises superior soundstage. They also come with more durable cables and thicker, comfier headphones, too. The new headphones, which are marked by the “x” at the end of their name, include the SR60x, SR80x, SR125x, SR225x and SR325. As for price, well, they’re still very reasonable.
Price: $99 – $295
Amazon Echo Frames
Amazon first released the Echo Frames, its first pair of Alexa-compatible audio eyeglasses, back in December. Fast forward to this week and the e-commerce giant is giving people new options to choose from. There are two sunglass options to choose from, with either classic and blue mirror polarized lenses. Or, if you’re looking for eyeglasses, you can now get Echo Frames with blue-light-filtering lenses. Every one of these new options costs $270.
Apple Watch Pride Edition One Loop
Apple launched a special Pride Edition version of its Braided Solo Loop for Apple Watch to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ movement. You can also download a free Pride Woven watch face for your Apple Watch, so your watch and watch strap can match. Like the company’s other Braided Solo Loop, the watch strap costs $99 and has a unique stretchable design that allows you to quickly slip on and take off your Apple Watch.
McIntosh MB20 Bluetooth Transceiver
The McIntosh MB20 is the company’s latest accessory that’s designed to quickly and easily bring Bluetooth streaming to your current high-end audio system. It’s made by McIntosh, so it’s obviously a little nicer (and more expensive) than your standard Bluetooth receiver. It has ten times the range of a standard Bluetooth device and it’s one of the few Bluetooth receivers with a number of different analog and digital inputs and outputs. It also supports a number of digital codecs, such as AAC and aptX HD, for high-resolution streaming.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore
Bang & Olufsen announced a new ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker called the Beosound Explore. The speaker is designed to be super rugged and drop resistant, and it is thanks to its hard anodised aluminium shell. It also comes with a small carabiner so you can attach to your backpack. Other than its unique design, the Beosound Explore’s standout feature is battery life — it promises 27 hours playtime, which is pretty incredible given its size. The speaker is available in three different beautiful finishes, including black, green and gray. Available now.
Belkin Soundform Connect
Belkin’s newest audio adapter, the Soundform Connect, connects to any traditional sound system or powered speaker — via an optical or 3.5mm audio jack — and adds AirPlay 2 support. With AirPlay 2 support, you can integrate the connected speaker or receiver system into a multi-room audio system with other AirPlay 2 speakers. It also lets you control your music with “Hey Siri” commands. If you think about it, this little $100 adapter does effectively the same job as the $449 Sonos Port (only the Soundform Connect can’t integrate your speaker or receiver into a Sonos multi-room system, obviously), making it a pretty good deal for anybody with an iPhone who subscribes to Apple Music.
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