Bluetooth A2DP Reciever with iPod Dock Connectivity


This is probably really old, but it's still cool.  The Anycom Bluetooth Music Station Converter is an A2DP audio receiver with an iPod dock connector, so it can connect to any iPod speaker set or dock.  With this little gadget you can easily stream audio from a computer with Bluetooth (like a Mac running Leopard) to a iPod speaker set (like the Bose SoundDock).  And at just $50, it's a pretty good alternative to AirTunes if you already have a Bluetooth computer and iPod speaker dock.  It's available from Sprint but it should work with any A2DP Bluetooth device.

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A2DP Support Now In Leopard, Could an Apple Bluetooth Audio Gateway Be Far Behind?

The newest version of Apple's OS X, Leopard, finally brings A2DP support to the Mac.  A2DP is a technology that allows audio to be wirelessly streamed from a device, like a computer or cell phone, to a set of speakers or your home stereo.  One can only expect that A2DP support will soon be coming to the iPhone too.  Apple was a pioneer of wireless music when it created AirTunes, a nifty feature of it's Airport Express Base Station that enabled iTunes music to be played over your wireless network.  But now that Leopard supports A2DP, it seems very possible that Apple will create it's own Bluetooth Audio Gateway.

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Bluetooth and Audio

David Pogue's recent article, "Bluetooth and the End of Audio Wiring," really highlights the need for more computers, particularly notebooks, to support wireless music playback with Bluetooth.  The article also great job explaining the confusing aspects of Bluetooth audio in very plain language and describes some very cool Bluetooth audio gadgets that can free your music from your cell phone or iPod.

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Big Price Reduction at Roku


Roku, one of my favorite companies (whose products I don't own) cut the prices of all their products.   The Roku SoundBridge (above) is a little device that allows you to navigate and play you entire iTunes library on your home speaker system wirelessly.  The SoundBridge wirelessly accesses your iTunes library, just like other computers running iTunes can play from each other's libraries.  Best of all the SoundBridge includes a display and remote for navigating all those tunes as well as basic playback functions; no running to your computer to skip a track like with AirTunes.  The SoundBridge can also play internet radio stations, and now the base model is only $79, I think about a year ago it was double that.  They also make the SoundBridge Radio which is basically table radio with all the SoundBridge functionality, so you don't need a separate speakers set.  The SoundBridge Radio is now $299 (down from $399).  I really hope this isn't a sign of desperation.  I always thought Bose and Roku would be great partners, maybe if Roku really is in trouble Bose will buy them out.

Tivoli NetWorks: Radios with Wi-Fi, maybe AirTunes?


Since my very first entry here, I've been waiting for someone, anyone to come out with a compact high quality speaker system that works with AirTunes.  Today Gizmodo broke the story of NetWorks and NetWorksGo, two new radios from Tivoli Audio with built-in Wi-Fi.  It seems these devices will definitely be able to stream internet radio over a wireless network.  But I'm really hoping that these devices will work with AirTunes.  That will enable all us iTunes users to seamlessly play our music on the device without installing any additional software.  Of course one limitation of using AirTunes might be that pausing or skipping tracks from the device might not be possible.  However, that's probably an acceptable limitation for most people.  I'd also love to see a device like this based on the iYiYi, that would just be the best of everything.

Standalone Apple AirTunes


I love AirTunes!  For those unfamiliar, AirTunes is a feature of the Airport Express Base Station that allows your computer to wirelessly stream music to a stereo or set of speakers.  It works great and it's incredibly convenient for freeing your music from your computer without transferring music to an iPod or (bleh) burning a CD.  The problem is that the only way to get AirTunes is with the $150 Airport Express Base Station which is also a wireless router, wireless range extender and wireless print server.  While $150 for all that really is a good value, it's a little steep if all you want is AirTunes or already have a happily working router.  However, it would be really great if Apple made a $40 or $50 device that just provided the AirTunes functionality.  I'd pick one up in a heartbeat, maybe even two.  Who knows, maybe Apple could never make a standalone AirTunes device in the $40-$50 price range, but it seems pretty feasible to me.  Alternatively, it would be great if Apple added AirTunes to more devices like the iPod Hifi (as I proposed ages ago) or even an iPod dock.

EMI Goes DRM Free!

It's official!  EMI will make their entire catalog available on iTunes DRM-Free.  In press converence last night in London EMI's CEO Eric Nicoli and Apple's Steve Jobs made the announcement and took questions.  Here are the major details.

  1. The EMI Catalog will be available DRM-Free on iTunes in May
  2. The format is AAC 256kbps (twice the standard quality)
  3. These Premium Tracks will be available for $1.29
  4. Entire albums will be sold DRM-free and higher quality at no additional cost
  5. The Premium Tracks will be available alongside the standard versions that include DRM for $0.99
  6. For $0.30 customers will be able to upgrade any existing EMI music they bought to the higher quality, DRM-free version

There seems to be some ambiguity on #4, according to EMI's Press Release:

Complete albums from EMI Music artists purchased on the iTunes Store will automatically be sold at the higher sound quality and DRM-free, with no change in the price.


That would indicate that there would not be two options when buying an entire EMI album, customers would always get the premium version when they buy the album.  However, Apple makes no reference to complete albums in their press release. Additionally, Steve Jobs said in the press conference:

We are going to address both these issues [DRM and sound quality] by introducing new version of our songs and albums that will be sold alongside our existing version.  The new versions will be DRM-Free so they are completely interoperable and they will be encoded in 256 AAC...

Source - at about time 23:32

So next month we'll see if EMI albums automatically come in Premium format or if there's an option.  Hopefully, the Premium album will be the same price as the standard album as was stated in the press release.  Additionally, Steve Jobs predicts that half the iTunes catalog will be available DRM-Free by the end of the year by having more record labels agree to sell music DRM-Free.  Also, EMI's CEO Eric Nicoli said that Premium Tracks would be available to other retailers including places like

Bose should partner with Roku


Just in case you two haven't met, Bose meet Roku, Roku meet Bose. Roku, in addition to making their own sweet network music players, also licenses their "Wifi Media Module" to OEMs. Bose should seriously consider using this technology in a "Bose WaveRadio Wifi". Particularly since the iPod Hi-fi from Apple has been a big let down.

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