Apple AR Glasses – leaks, rumours and predictions 2020

We’ve heard whispers about this product for years since Apple showed an interest in AR, but finally we have some fairly solid information regarding name, design, price and release date.

A ton of information about Apple’s upcoming AR glasses has leaked from Jon Prosser on YouTube. Jon Prosser claims he’s seen videos of a prototype from an insider. None of the following information is confirmed by Apple. Image concepts are thanks to Concept Creator, shared by EverythingApplePro.

Apple Glass Model

Name

Apple Glass is expected to be the final name for the new product, similar to the Apple Watch branding. This makes sense, as it gives the product a less-techy name than perhaps iGlass.

Apple Glass

Design

A stylish and friendly design is important for Apple to hit the masses. The design is said to be sleek, replicating a traditional pair of glasses, rather than a bulky headset as seen with Microsoft HoloLens.

Jon Prosser supposedly saw prototype models in white and black plastic finishes. These will likely change to a light aluminium material in the future.

Apple Glass Design

A LiDAR sensor will atop the right temple. LiDAR is a depth sensor, that should help the augmented reality layer map to real life objects. The LiDAR sensor can be found on the new iPad and is expected to come to the iPhone 12 Pro models later this year. Little iOS or real world implementation has been made with LiDAR thus far. For users who opt in to sharing data with Apple, AR data from these sensors will be integral for the development of Apple Glass.

Apple Glass LiDAR

Camera aren’t expected on the first generation of Apple Glass, due to privacy concerns. Cameras constantly at eye level, unknowingly recording, can be daunting for the public and a PR nightmare. Cameras may be added to future versions of Apple Glass.

Apple Glass will feature wireless charging and maybe an included wireless charging case, much like AirPods.

The glasses will not output audio, instead Apple will put a heavy emphasis on AirPods as part of the experience.

Most data processing will take place on the iPhone to keep the price and physical footprint down. As technology improves overtime, processing may be implemented into future versions of the glasses themselves. This is a similar strategy to that we saw on earlier versions of the Apple Watch.

iPhone 12 will likely get support for a new version of WiFi specifically designed for short-range, perfect for Apple Glass. Older devices will likely be supported but with limited capabilities.

Apple Glass Pairing

Unfortunately a sunglasses option is unlikely, as Apple are having issues implementing the display on tinted lenses. Apple SunGlass could be seen in a future generation.

Apple Sunglass

User Interface

We expect the display to be embedded into both lenses, not projected onto the lenses like Google Glass. The display will only be visible to the wearer and invisible from the outside.

Not much is currently known about the Glass UI yet. The name is supposedly StarBoard. For reference, iOS’ UI name is SpringBoard. Expect a slimmed down version of iOS, somewhat reminiscent of Apple Watch, but tailed for zero physical interaction.

Apple Glass UI

Apple Glass will be controlled via gestures on the device or hand gestures picked up by the LiDAR.

A heavy focus is said to be put on scanning proprietary Apple QR codes. Little information is known about these codes, but we may see them in iOS 14 at WWDC next month.


Price

Apple Glass is said to be starting at $499 + price of optional prescription. This is a very appealing price and way below earlier estimations. A reasonable price and welcoming design is especially important on a first gen product to gain mass adoption. Price has been kept down due to most of the processing taking place on the iPhone.


Release Date

We will likely only see these previewed at an event where the media are invited. Should COVID-19 restrictions be lifted by the planned iPhone event now due in October (rather than September), and the media are invited to attend, we may see an announcement for Apple Glass as early as this year at the iPhone event as a “One More Thing” preview. However, it’s entirely possible we won’t see them until March or June 2021. The product won’t hit shelves until Q4 2021 – Q1 2022.

Don’t expect the full flawless package from gen one of Apple Glass. Instead we will likely see major improvements to the first few updates, much like Apple Watch.

Will iPhone 12 come with EarPods wired earphones? Apple may remove them to boost AirPods sales

It looks like the upcoming iPhone 12 may not come with earphones in a bid to push sales of Apple’s wireless AirPods.

Apple have a track record of making questionable moves for music lovers with their devices. Back in 2016 they shocked the world by announcing the iPhone 7 would no longer have a headphone jack, leaving millions of headphone users dismayed and thousands of party hosts silently pleased that the jack couldn’t be stolen and used for any passerby’s music.

Fortunately they included their own EarPods which use a lightning connection, so iPhone users could still listen to audio even if not with their old cans. But it looks like Apple might not even include EarPods anymore, in a bid to push sales of their incredibly popular wireless AirPods.

New AirPods are on the way but won’t launch until next year so it’s thought that, if this is the case, Apple will offer some huge discounts on AirPods to soften the blow. However it still leaves new iPhone users without, what has become, a staple with new devices – particularly when they don’t work with a more universal option: the 3.5mm jack.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has often been on point with their Apple predictions, reported on the potential lack of EarPods with the iPhone 12. Kuo predicted last year that in 2021 Apple would move towards an iPhone with no ports at all. He reckons that they will want to “provide the completely wireless experience” using wireless earphones like AirPods for music and wireless charging.

Whilst wireless technology is all well and good, it hinders something which I personally find very important: using my phone to play music on stereos/speakers. With the lightning port you could at least use an adaptor for a jack connection. I suppose that with the rise of Smart Speakers and an emphasis on Bluetooth maybe traditional aux connections will be in the minority within a few years.

Still, if these rumours are true the iPhone 12 will be the first model not to come with a pair of earphones to listen through. There’s no way they will start bundling AirPods as they’re expensive, so perhaps this is the end of an era of getting free earphones with your iPhones. We’ll have to see how that plays for Apple amongst music lovers.

How to play Audible books through Sonos speakers

Want to simply lie back on your couch and let your Sonos speaker take you to another world through a great audiobook? Here’s how to.

Playing your favourite audiobooks through Sonos is simple if you use Audible. In no time you can set it up so that with a few clicks your speakers can start streaming any of the audiobooks you’ve purchased or gained on Audible through your Sonos set up.

  1. Head to your Sonos mobile app
  2. Head to the ‘More’ section and tap on ‘Add Music Services’
  3. Find Audible and tap to add it
  4. Authorise Audible on your Sonos speaker and sign in to your Audible account
  5. Now you’re ready to use Audible through your Sonos app or if you have a voice-powered Sonos speaker you can simply tell it what to play

It’s as simple as that to get whatever books are in your library streaming through your home. So whether you have a single Sonos speaker set up for your living room, or multiple through the home; you can sit back and relax with your favourite audiobooks streaming throughout your home.

NuraLoop’s $199 Bluetooth earbuds could be the best on the market

The self-claimed ‘world’s smartest earphone’ is finally available after years of loving craft to make them perfect.

NuraLoop have been working on their entry into the market of wireless earbuds for years, waiting until their award-winning sound technology was perfected for launch. The earbuds are finally available and promise a real alternative to the competitive market led by Apple’s AirPods.

NuraLoop prides it’s uniqueness in their personalisation, using their fine-tuned sound technology to offer incredible detail and customisation in a tiny, wireless package. Using it’s accompanying app NuraLoop automatically learns how you hear within minutes and adapts everything you hear to your ears.

With Bluetooth 5 and aptX HD connections they are capable of providing HD audio, something many wireless headphones and earphones can’t do due to a limited connection. Using Social Mode and Active Noise Cancellation you can find the perfect balance between hearing the world around you or blocking out all noises.

They have built their earbuds on the idea that all of our ears are unique and as such can be tailored to individually for a better sound that is personal to us. Reviewers who have gotten hands on with the buds through their development have sung their praises, Tom’s Guide professes: “NuraLoops are smarter than the AirPods Pro.”

Beyond their incredible sound profiles they’re also decent in other arenas. They have a very impressive 16+ hour battery life with a Smart power function that turns on and off automatically when you are and aren’t using them. Once they’re drained, just 10 minutes of charging will give you another 2 hours of performance.

The TWS (True Wireless Sound) market has become huge and overtook Bluetooth headphones in sales last year. A lot of this is from the success of Apple’s AirPods but many competitors have launched their own in an attempt to dethrone them including Samsung and Google.

The market is now full of TWS buds claiming to be cheaper, better quality and have a longer battery life. Whilst NuraLoop aren’t the cheapest at $199/£199, people who have gotten their hands-on with them certainly seem to think that they are the best sounding option on the market.

Find out more about these great little buds and order yourself a pair to find out just how incredible their personalised sound truly is here.

WWDC 2020 – what to expect from Apple’s software event

Worldwide Developers Conference is where Apple show off all their latest software for their various products. This year going fully digital for the first time.

There will be no usual event held this year for WWDC. 22nd June will see an online only keynote debut of Apple’s new software. Apple’s press release features a promo picture (above) and some information about WWDC and the new format. All the rest of the information is speculation based on previous years and leaks.

What we’ll almost certainly see
  • iOS 14
  • iPadOS 14
  • macOS 10.16
  • watchOS 7
  • tvOS 14

iOS is the big one. Bringing new life to millions of iPhones around the world. iOS updates have shifted in recent years. Going from major redesigns, to minor features and stability improvements. We’ll get a preview of iOS 14 at WWDC, with beta versions sent to developers and public release in September. What can we expect to see on stage next month?

iOS 14
  • A new list view home screen/app – Either a completely redesigned home screen or new app with better organisation for your apps. The app list will be sortable alphabetically, by notifications, most frequent or Siri smart suggestions (time-of-day, location, etc.)
  • Fitness app – a new fitness app with workout videos, and integration across iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Apple TV.
  • AR – apps and features to make full use of the LiDAR sensor on the new iPad and due on the new iPhone 12 Pro later this year. This could bring an Apple AR app, 3D AR feature in Maps, better focus in the camera and a better portrait mode.
  • Third-party app defaults – The ability to switch the default browser, music, maps and mail app. For example, tap an address and go straight to Google Maps, rather than Apple Maps.
  • iMessage improvements – Users will be identified by @username, retractable messages, mark as unread, a cleaner interface to bring it up to speed with competitors such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
  • Apple Pencil support – Handwriting recognition and conversion to text.

At past WWDCs we have occasionally seen some new and updated hardware product unveilings and releases. With Apple’s March event earlier this year cancelled, new products have been popping up out of the blue recently, such as an updated iPad Pro, iPhone SE 2nd gen, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch.

WWDC 2020 may be a good opportunity to debut some new products either as a preview for something they’re working on or straight up release.

Potential new products
Potential updated products
  • HomePod 2 (last updated 2018)
  • iMac (last updated early 2019)
  • iMac Pro (last updated 2017)
  • Mac Mini (last updated 2018) (Minor storage update 2020)
  • iPad Air (last updated early 2019)
  • iPad Mini (last updated early 2019)
  • Apple TV (last updated 2017)

Don’t count on their being any new or updated hardware at WWDC, as Apple may decide to announce outside of the event, as not to get overshadowed by their own software news.

What we won’t see
  • iPhones – iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will debut at their usual September event
  • Apple Watch – New watches always debut alongside new iPhones in September
  • MacBooks – The entire MacBook range (Air, Pro 13-inch and 16-inch) has recently been updated
  • ARM processors in Macs – There’s been a lot of buzz online recently regarding Apple moving away from Intel and building its own processors for its computer line. This will likely start with MacBooks later this year or 2021.

Head to apple.com on June 22nd to catch the keynote live.

Sonos announce a trio of new speakers with a fat sub and a brand new Dolby Atmos soundbar

Sonos have revealed three brand new speakers which will enhance upon three of their existing speakers.

This week a bunch of leaks seemed to suggest that Sonos had some new speakers in the works. A sub, soundbar and follow up to the Play:5 to be exact. Sonos made a big announcement yesterday that proved these leaks to be 100% on the money.

The new Sonos Arc soundbar sees a huge improvement on their existing Sonos Beam and Playbar. It features Dolby Atmos support and is filled with 11 speaker in total making it larger than any of its predecessors. They promise a “rich, realistic 3D sound” with multi-directional speakers pointing forwards, to the sides and up for the premium height channels promised by Dolby Atmos home cinema.

Sonos are also launching their third-generation Sub subwoofer with more memory and processing power and wireless radio ability to connect to the rest of the system. They also announced a follow up to the popular Play:5 in the Sonos Five speaker which also comes with more memory and an enhanced radio connection.

All three of their new speakers will work with their new S2 software which Sonos are working towards making the future of their speakers. It will see their older products slowly phased out of relevancy as they remain on S1. The new app feature better security and improved audio quality among other improvements.

New Sonos leaks reveal massive sub and a follow up to the Play:5 and Playbar

New online leaks seem to show a bunch of new devices in the pipeline for Sonos with an official announcement on the way this week.

New images were posted in a, since deleted, tweet that seemed to show brand new speakers on the way from Sonos, including a a new sub. It’s been referred to as Sonos Sub (3rd Gen) and was posted alongside Sonos Five which looks to be a successor to the Play:5 with a date of 2020.

Earlier this week another leak seemed to reveal an updated version of their soundbar. The new Playbar, called Arc, is expected to be the reveal that Sonos are set to make today – though some suspect all three will be announced.

The Arc has had the most supposed features leaked for it. It will feature Dolby Atmos speakers with four along the front, a side-firing driver on both ends and two suspected upward-firing speakers for eight in total.

The Sonos Five meanwhile seems to be a mostly faithful recreation of its predecessor but with enhanced audio outputs. There are 3 large woofers and 2 tweeters for a powerful and full stereo sound. Producer Giles Martin has been reported to be behind the audio in it.

We’ll find out later today how accurate the leaks were if it all.

New 13″ MacBook Pro 2020 – the ideal MacBook for music production

Faster performance, double the storage and the Magic Keyboard. An overview of the specs and features of the new MacBook Pro 13-inch. Which should you buy for music production?

After dropping their updated 16″ MacBook Pro late last year and MacBook Air earlier this year, the updated 13″ MacBook Pro has been given a much needed boost. Again, no special event or even promo video, just a quiet update.

Price remains the same as last year, starting at $1299 or $1199 with educational pricing.

The update brings the new Magic Keyboard with scissor switches over from the 16-inch Pro and Air models, meaning the death of the much hated butterfly keyboard.

Unfortunately, the screen remains the size with the same bezels at 13-inch. We would have preferred to see a 14-inch in the same body, similar to the 16-inch last year.

Tech-Specs
  • 1.4GHz quad-core 8th gen i5 – up to 2.3GHz quad-core 10th gen i7
  • 8GB – 32GB memory
  • 256GB – 4TB SSD – all doubled
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • 13-inch Retina display
  • Two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Magic Keyboard

Note, the baseline specs include an 8th generation processor that is over two years old. This will be fine for most users, but for intensive applications and to better future proof your computer, we recommend upgrading to the 10th gen processors. These start at $1799, which is a significant $500 bump, but worth it if you can afford it. The $1799 model hit a nice balance in performance with 2.0GHz 10th gen i5, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 4 Thunderbolt ports and faster graphics (with support for 6K displays).

You’ll find the same battery, same 720p camera and no WiFi 6 across the board this year, which is a shame.

MacBook Line-Up:

The updated 13-inch MacBook Pro cleans up the MacBook line-up nicely.

  • MacBook Air – $999 – Ideal for web browsing and word processing
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch – $1299 – Ideal for media creation (audio production, photography, video editing)
  • MacBook Pro 16-inch – $2399 – Bigger and more powerful

More info, full pricing and buy now at apple.com.

Get AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro extra cheap this month

This May you can get Apple’s latest TWS earbuds at some great prices from retailers.

Deals on Apple’s hugely successful Airpods are at an amazing low for the month. This could the perfect time to get your hands on both of their latest AirPod releases; AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro.

Thanks to Apple Insider for the heads up on these fantastic deals:

Apple are planning to launch a pair of Apple AirPods Lite later this year as well over-ear headphones for those who want a more sturdy listening setup. Now will be great time to nab some at a good price, but you may want to hold off if their upcoming offerings appeal to you.

Google’s Pixel Buds are here, are they a threat to Airpods?

Google’s long awaited TWS earbuds have launched with great sound, comfy design, and built-in AI. Are they better than competitors though?

It’s been 6 months since Google announced their Pixel Buds, their triumphant entry into the booming TWS market. So far Apple dominate the bunch by far despite a number of competitors getting on the hype of Airpods, but Google may be the one to disrupt it.

Google’s Pixel Buds are now available in ‘Clearly White’ for $179 in the U.S. and are launching further in the coming months. They promise high quality sound, a unique design that is comfortable and unobtrusive whilst sitting firmly in your ears and have been designed to work seamlessly with voice assistants for AI functions.

Google have gotten a bunch of their team to each describe a different part of what they feel makes Pixel Buds special. Here’s what they have to say:

Get started easily with Fast Pair

“I always used to use wired headphones because I had concerns about the reliability of Bluetooth® connectivity, as lots of other earbuds have pairing problems, including the original Pixel Buds. With the new Pixel Buds, we focused on improving Fast Pair to eliminate these pain points and easily connect to your phone.”

– Ethan Grabau, Product Manager

Presto_Tap4_full.gif

Clear calls with special mics and sensor

“To give you clear calls, even in noisy and windy environments, Pixel Buds combine signals from beamforming mics and a special sensor that detects when your jaw is moving. This helps so you don’t have to look for a quiet place to take a call. It’s come in particularly handy these past few weeks for me working from home with two young daughters.”

– Jae Lee, Audio Systems Engineer

Adaptive Sound for better audio  

“Adaptive Sound is perfect for those moments like when you’re steaming milk for a latte, or when you’re washing your hands or the dishes. Those noises can eclipse your audio experience for a bit, until the latte, or your dishes are done.” 

– Basheer Tome, Senior Hardware Interface Designer

“To help, Adaptive Sound temporarily and subtly adjusts your volume to accommodate for the new noise in your environment, and goes back to normal after it’s dissipated. It works kind of like auto-brightness on your phone screen: It momentarily adjusts to the world around you to make the experience of using your device a little simpler.”  – Frank Li, UX Engineer  

Hands-free help with Google Assistant

“When I’m working in the yard and wearing gloves, I can use  ’Hey, Google’ on my Pixel Buds and easily control my music. I can also hear my notifications, and reply to a text message with just my voice and Google Assistant. 

And when I’m taking my dog on our daily walk and using my Pixel Buds, I use Google Assistant to navigate and check my fitness progress hands-free while juggling a leash and bag of dog treats. The Pixel Buds are slim enough they fit snag-free under a hat or hoodie, too.” 

– Max Ohlendorf, Technology Manager 

HeyGoogle.png

Real-time translations with conversation mode 

“We set out to see how we could use Google Translate on Pixel Buds to reduce language barriers. Making the conversation as natural as possible even with the use of the phone was important, so we decided to create the split screen UI to show exactly what was being said, and translating it in real time on the screen with conversation mode. Any exposure to a different language is also an opportunity to learn, so we wanted to make the feature is not only as helpful as possible for things like being in a different country, but also as simple as being able to help bilingual households across generations connect through language.” 

– Tricia Fu, Product Manager

Peace of mind with Find My Device

“The fear of losing expensive wireless earbuds is real, and in many cases a reason why people are afraid of trying them. We tried to reduce that fear a bit with Find My Device. If an earbud falls out when you’re walking or running, you know right away. But you may be less aware when you return home and absentmindedly put them down somewhere. So we built the ability to let you ring your earbuds from your phone. We also wanted to make sure we were thoughtful in what that experience is like. You can ring one earbud at a time, to focus on finding either the left or right earbud. The moment your hands touch the lost earbud, the ringing will stop. We hope people won’t need to use this feature often, but if they do, they can find misplaced earbuds more easily.”

– Alex Yee, Interaction Designer

RingEarbuds.png

It’s early days but Apple haven’t had a tech giant like Google to compete with on the TWS pitch so far – except kind of Samsung. As Pixel Buds launch further and get better (they’re planning regular updates to improve them) we will see if the competition heats up.

Pixel Buds are available through the Google Store and retailers including AT&T, Best Buy, Target (coming early May), T-MobileU.S. CellularVerizon and Walmart. Other colors—Almost Black, Quite Mint and Oh So Orange—will be available in the coming months. Pixel Buds will come to more countries in the coming months as well.