JBL Launches The Live 3 Series Of Touchscreen Earbuds For Personalized Audio Experience

JBL, a renowned name in audio technology, has made a splash at CES 2024 with the introduction of its latest generation of wireless earbuds, the Live 3 series. Comprising three distinct models – Live Buds 3, Live Beam 3, and Live Flex 3 – this lineup is designed to cater to diverse user preferences while offering a seamless and personalized audio experience. Let’s delve into the key features of these earbuds, showcased in a sleek touchscreen charging case.

Designer: JBL

One of the standout features of the Live 3 series is the inclusion of a 1.45-inch LED touch display on the charging case, a technology first introduced in JBL’s Tour Pro 2. This touchscreen functionality allows users to manage calls, view texts, control music playback, and even receive social media alerts directly from the case. Ideal for situations where users prefer not to handle their phones with sweaty hands like in the gym or when you’re out for a run, this innovative addition brings a new level of convenience to the earbud experience.

The Live 3 series introduces three unique models, each finely tuned to suit different preferences and situations. Let’s dive into what each has to offer:

First, the Live Buds 3:
Its sporting a classic bud-style design with a comfy fit. You get a solid 10 hours of playtime outside the case with ANC (active noise cancellation) off, plus an extra 30 hours of juice from the case. Perfect for those who want a laid-back, immersive audio experience.

Then, we have the Live Beam 3:
It’s JBL’s answer to AirPods Pro 2. These closed-type stick earbuds feature a noise-isolating design, giving you 12 hours of playtime with ANC off and an additional 36 hours of charge from the case. It’s all about that premium audio experience.

Lastly, the Live Flex 3:
It’s the open-type stick headphones for the AirPods 3 enthusiasts. Offering 10 hours of playtime with ANC off and an extra 40 hours from the case, these are designed for those who appreciate an open design and longer battery life.

Here’s the cool part; all of them share some awesome features. Think IP55 (for Buds and Beam) and IP54 (for Flex) dust and water resistance, Smart Charging Case tech with a 1.45-inch LED touch display, Hi-Res Audio, JBL Signature Sound, Bluetooth 5.3 support with LE Audio (via OTA update) for multipoint connectivity, and compatibility with top-notch Android phones like Google Pixel 7/8 and Samsung Galaxy S23.

This lineup isn’t just about earbuds; it’s about tailoring your audio experience to fit your style. So, whether you’re into classic buds, Pro-level sound, or an AirPods vibe, the Live 3 series has you covered.

All three models of the JBL Live 3 series are priced at $199.95 and are expected to hit stores later this summer. They will be available in black and silver, these earbuds aim to deliver a premium audio experience for users with diverse preferences and lifestyles. As the market eagerly awaits their arrival, JBL’s Live 3 series promises to redefine the standards of wireless earbuds in 2024.

Xbox Series S toaster is now a real thing that can toast your bread

You probably know a gamer or two (or more) who live and breathe playing games on their console of choice, to the point that they tend to skip things like talking to other people and even eating. There are also probably gamers who see their game graphics everywhere, even on their food. Well, this can happen literally now, at least for Xbox fans as you can now imprint the logo on your bread.

Designer: Microsoft

The Xbox Series S toaster is now available to make all your Xbox toast dreams come true. It may seem like a joke item but it’s a real product that you can buy at Walmart and you can use as you toast your loaf bread, waffle, bagel, or whatever else piece of bread that you want to have the Xbox logo on before you actually eat and consume it. It doesn’t serve any other purpose except to put that logo on your bread and for Microsoft to have that image of having fun at their own expense.

This is actually born out of the memes that populated social media sites when the Xbox Series S first came out, comparing it with, you guessed it, a toaster. It has a digital countdown timer and you can even choose the shade setting for the xbox logo to be imprinted on your bread. The design of the toaster itself is similar to the Xbox Series S so you might have to be careful or you could start playing games in your kitchen or you might put a piece of bread into your actual Xbox.

This isn’t the first time they created an actual appliance based on people making fun of their console designs. The Xbox Series X mini fridge came out previously and we wouldn’t be surprised if they will eventually lean into this and create other kitchen appliances with the Xbox branding like a microwave, cutlery, plates, and even other products not related to the kitchen or eating. But for now, enjoy having the Xbox logo on your toast as you play games while eating.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 and A9+ officially splits the A series in two

In a shift away from earlier Samsung Galaxy A-series Tablets, the newly (officially) announced Galaxy Tab A9 and A9+ come in two totally different sizes and price ranges. The base Galaxy Tab A9 seems to compete with the iPad Mini 6 in specs alone thanks to its octa-core Snapdragon processor and 8.7 inch LCD, albeit early sources – namely, the South American and Middle Eastern markets it’s already been sold in – show it as being valued at the equivalent of around $190, making it an easy cost-effective alternative.

The news (which would cap off the month-long swarm of new stuff coming out of every tech giant on Earth, if not for the fact we still have over a week left in the month) comes mere weeks after the new Galaxy Tab S9 FE announcement, which itself came alongside the subsequent commercial release of the aforementioned S9 FE tablet as well as the Galaxy Buds FE.

Designer: Samsung

For those looking to save big on their next tablet, or those who want to dip their toes into the world of Android if they’re already heavily invested in Apple’s ecosystem, the new A9 and A9+ should bring Samsung Galaxy A-series up to snuff with modern specs. All A9 and A9+ models can be configured with either 4 or 8 gigs of RAM. Even though it sounds like the baseline storage space for both is a mere 64 GB, there’s also a microSD slot to expand storage up to 1 TB.

The most important deviation between both versions, aside from the price (which is still unclear), is their screen size. Unlike the A9, which is 8.7 inches diagonally, the A9+ uses an 11 inch LCD display – making it compete directly with the Galaxy Tab S8, which had a similar size. Another big improvement is the 5,100 mAh battery in the A9 and 7,040 mAh battery in the A9+, as well as 15W fast charging.

Though the A9 and A9+ come with Android 13 packed in, it sounds like Samsung is limiting the software capabilities of the new tablets. Though, it’s great that they can still use a wide range of multitasking apps like Samsung DeX, which allows up to three multi-active windows in a splitscreen configuration. This means the Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 is, at minimum, a strong companion tool for workers, students, and creatives who want to be able to juggle multiple tasks while on the go.

It’s unclear exactly when the new tablets are shipping out in the United States, but we will continue to update this article as more information becomes available.

Meet The A-frame Club: A Series Of Prefabricated A-Frame Cabins In A Snowflake Pattern

In Winter Park, Colorado are 31 A-frame cabins in a hexagonal arrangement called the A-frame Club. Designed by Skylab Architecture and completed this year, the prefabricated cabins are a rejuvenated and upgraded version of traditional ski chalets. With a contemporary twist, the compact and adorable cabins form a snowflake pattern across the three-acre lot. Occupying 23,450 feet, the project “takes design cues from 1970s American ski culture and the iconic A-frame cabins of that era,” said the studio.

Designer: Skylab Architecture

The entire project is a combination of raised cabins and a network of boardwalks that allow guests to interact with the mountain site, without harming the trees and natural watershed. It provides guests with an opportunity to completely immerse themselves in the natural landscape and beauty of the woods by the Fraser River. The cabins occupy 475 square feet and were prefabricated in Los Angeles by Plant Prefab, and assembled on-site.

The picturesque cabins feature steep black metal roofs that support warm vertical cedar boards. They are highlighted by tall triangular windows under the eaves that allow natural light to stream into the interiors while providing stunning views of the mountains. Inside, the cabins hold a living room, kitchenette, and bathroom, as well as a lofted bedroom space.

“The cabins are designed for adaptability. The lofted bed is accessible by a ship’s ladder, and the living room couches can be folded out. Guests are in control of their space, from individual keypads for self-check-in to simple, automated controls for heating, cooling, and lighting,” said the studio.

The interiors are quite warm and welcoming. They are lined with warm-toned cedar panels and custom millwork. Custom Malm fireplaces and vintage furnishings adorn the insides of the cabin – inspiration is drawn from classic ski advertisements. “Tactile custom finishes – including breeze blocks, bespoke woodwork, stained glass, leather upholstery, and even Noguchi-style lighting – emphasize craftsmanship while natural elements like cedar infuse a sense of warmth,” said the studio.

The cabins were also designed to be eco-friendly, as they are incorporated with energy-efficient heating, lighting, and low-flow fixtures. Since they are prefabricated, this also reduces material waste and allows them to be placed around mature trees without disturbing them.

Apple Watch Series 9 Hands-On: A Leap Forward or a Subtle Refresh?

The highly anticipated Apple Watch Series 9 has been released alongside the new Apple Watch Ultra 2. Both watches offer similar features in terms of hardware and software. However, the question on everyone’s mind is whether the Series 9 justifies an upgrade.

Under the Hood: Performance & Display

The Series 9 boasts impressive hardware upgrades that set it apart from its predecessors. The most notable of these upgrades is the new Apple Silicon S9 chipset, which boasts a staggering 5.6 billion transistors – a 60% increase from the previous Series 8 model. This translates into a significant boost in performance, with the upgraded GPU providing a 30% speed increase that results in faster rendering and smoother graphics. Moreover, the 4-core neural engine has doubled the speed for those interested in machine learning, making it a compelling option for those who require powerful computational capabilities.

Another standout feature of the Series 9 is its brighter 2,000-nit display, which represents a significant improvement over the Series 8’s maximum brightness of 1,000 nits. This increase in brightness is a welcome development, resulting in a more vivid and lifelike viewing experience, particularly in outdoor settings where glare and sunlight can be issues. Additionally, the Series 9 has a low brightness level of just one nit, which helps optimize battery consumption, especially when using the always-on display feature. This feature is especially useful for those who rely on their devices heavily throughout the day, as it allows them to conserve battery life without sacrificing performance or functionality. Overall, the Series 9 represents a significant leap forward in terms of hardware and features, making it an excellent choice for those needing a high-performance device that can handle a wide range of tasks.

Connectivity & Design Updates

Including the UWB 2 (Ultrawideband) chip is a significant step up. It promises better accuracy when locating devices, like your misplaced iPhone, giving exact distance and direction. Moreover, there’s a deeper integration with Apple’s Homepod.

Apple has introduced an array of new watch bands, all with a significant emphasis on sustainability. The Series 9’s case is fashioned from 95% recycled aluminum. But what truly stands out is Apple’s shift away from leather straps in favor of eco-friendly alternatives.

A Game-Changer: The Double Tap

Apple Watch has always pushed the boundaries of intuitive interactions, and the Series 9 is no exception. The double tap gesture catches everyone’s attention among the array of new features. Here’s my deep dive into this new addition:

The Intuitive Touch of Double Tap

The Apple Watch has always been a leader in wearable technology, thanks to its innovative features like the Digital Crown and Taptic Engine. The new double tap gesture takes ease of use to the next level. Users can now control their watch without even touching the screen – just tap your index finger and thumb together twice to unlock a variety of actions and features. This latest addition promises to deliver a seamless and intuitive user experience, making the Apple Watch Series 9 an even more impressive device.

Effortless Control in a Snap

The beauty of the double tap lies in its simplicity and versatility. Need to pause your workout playlist or play the next track? Double tap. Want to halt that ongoing timer or snooze the morning alarm? Again, just double-tap. The gesture even extends to phone functions, allowing users to answer or end calls seamlessly. And for those picture-perfect moments, the Camera Remote on the Apple Watch can be activated with this gesture, ensuring users never miss capturing a memory.

On the watch face, a double tap swiftly opens the Smart Stack of widgets. Do you wish to sift through these widgets? Another round of double-tapping lets you browse through them with ease.

The Science Behind the Gesture

I’m extremely impressed with the innovative feature that Apple has introduced in their latest Apple Watch Series 9. The watch boasts a Neural Engine that powers this remarkable creation. It gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor, and uses a unique machine-learning algorithm to interpret the data.

What makes this feature truly remarkable is its detailed detection process. The algorithm is designed to identify the wrist’s specific micro-movements and the subtle changes in blood flow that occur when a user taps their index and thumb together. This level of precision is critical to ensure that the gesture is recognized accurately and quickly, resulting in a natural and seamless interaction experience.

Coming Soon to Wrists Everywhere

There’s a wait for those eager to test out the double tap gesture. Apple plans to roll out this feature in an upcoming software update next month. Given the potential of this gesture, it’s set to redefine how we interact with our smartwatches.

The Apple Watch Series 9 continues Apple’s legacy of innovation. Its latest addition, the double tap gesture, demonstrates the company’s dedication to creating smooth, intuitive, and futuristic user experiences. Having personally tried out this feature, I can confirm its ability to revolutionize how we interact with our smart wearables. Stay tuned for future reviews where I’ll delve deeper into other Apple Watch Series 9 features.

Apple’s FineWoven Straps: Where Luxury Meets Sustainability

It is worth noting the remarkable commitment Apple has made to sustainability with the Series 9. The brand has taken significant steps towards eco-friendliness by using recycled materials for the watch’s straps and striving for carbon neutrality. This aligns with other brands’ similar initiatives. However, Apple has not disclosed the expected lifespan of the Series 9 watch.

Moreover, not only is Apple advancing technology, but they are also pioneering sustainability with their latest creation, the “FineWoven” straps. The recent unveiling at the Wonderlust event was a pleasant surprise that exhibited not only the capabilities of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 but also the future of eco-friendly fashion in technology.

The FineWoven straps resemble suede but are made from tightly woven fibers instead

Goodbye Leather, Hello FineWoven

During the recent event, Lisa Jackson, who is Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, made a bold announcement regarding the company’s environmental stance. Apple is bidding farewell to the use of leather and is committed to reducing its carbon footprint.

The replacement for leather is a material called FineWoven, which exudes an understated yet elegant satin finish. The aesthetic appeal is only one aspect of FineWoven; it is also composed of over 60% recycled material. This fabric speaks volumes about Apple’s dedication to not just design but also to purpose. The use of FineWoven is a significant step towards achieving Apple’s environmental goals.

Hues and Tints: A Palette for Every Mood

Apple has introduced modern buckle and magnetic loop bands as the latest addition to their collection of bands for the Apple Watch. These bands come in a variety of stunning colors that are sure to appeal to anyone’s taste, allowing for a personalized and expressive fashion statement. Each hue has its own unique story to tell, offering a shade for every mood and occasion. The FineWoven straps offer a choice between serene midnight blue and bold sunburst orange, among other colors. These bands not only provide functionality but also style, allowing you to accessorize your Apple Watch.

Hermes: A Fashionable Partnership Renewed

Apple has made the decision to discontinue using leather in its product offerings. However, this change does not mean the end of their partnership with fashion giant Hermes. Instead, the two companies have joined forces to redefine their collaboration. Hermes has introduced a range of three new woven bands and a rugged silicone variant, designed to provide both durability and style. These new products cater to the ever-changing demands of today’s consumers.

The Hermes collection features new FineWoven straps and a redesigned watch face

Software Enhancements

Besides new hardware, WatchOS 10 offers various software features such as topographic maps, support for cycling power meters, and a redesigned user interface. These features were previewed at WWDC, Apple’s developer conference.

Final Thoughts

The Apple Watch Series 9 has undergone significant updates, particularly with the doubled display brightness, setting it apart from the Ultra 2. While some of these upgrades may appear subtle, the watch’s focus on sustainability is commendable. The new hardware and software features are noteworthy, but the ultimate test of success will be its performance in daily use. Stay tuned for our in-depth review of the Apple Watch Series 9 in the coming weeks.

Is the Apple Watch Series 9 secretly going to become the new Controller for the Vision Pro headset?

As Apple revealed the latest fleet of the Apple Watch collection, one feature stood out as the most remarkable as well as the most intriguing. The Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 both boasted of a new gesture input – being able to tap your fingers twice to register a button press. This would work remarkably well if your hands were occupied or dirty, letting you answer/end calls, snooze alarms, play/pause music, and even trigger your iPhone shutter simply by tapping your index finger and thumb together… without touching your Apple Watch at all. Sounds impressive, but also sounds extremely familiar, doesn’t it? Because tapping your fingers is exactly how the Apple Vision Pro registers click inputs too.

Designer: Apple

When Apple debuted the Vision Pro at WWDC in June, their biggest claim was that the Vision Pro was an entirely controller-free AR/VR headset, letting you manipulate virtual objects using just your hands. However, news emerged that Apple was, indeed, figuring out a traditional controller substitute that would be much more reliable than just human hands. It seems like the Apple Watch could be that perfect alternative.

The Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra Series 2 were unveiled this year, with a few standout upgrades. Both watches now come with 2000 Nits peak brightness, doubling last year’s capabilities. They both also rely on the new S9 SiP (the watch’s dedicated chipset) which now runs Siri locally on the device, without relying on the internet. The watches are also accompanied by new bands, including the FineWoven fabric that now replaces all leather accessories in Apple’s catalog… but more importantly, both the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra Series 2 accept the new finger-tapping gesture that does what the home button on both watches would do. The feature’s due to roll out next month as Apple calibrates how it works… but the implications of the feature go beyond just the watch. In fact, the Watch could be the secret controller the Vision Pro truly needs to enhance its Spatial Computing Experience.

Sure, the Vision Pro has multiple cameras that track your environment, also keeping an eye on your hands to see where you’re pointing, tapping, and pinching. The big caveat, however, is any situation where the Vision Pro CAN’T see your hands. If you’ve got your hands under a table, in your pocket, or behind your back, the Vision Pro potentially wouldn’t be able to recognize your fingers clicking away… and that’s a pretty massive drawback for the $3500 device. Potentially though, the Apple Watch helps solve that problem by being able to detect finger taps… although only on one hand.

The way the ‘Double Tap’ feature works on the watch is by relying on the S9 SiP. The chipset uses machine learning to interpret data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor to detect when you tap your fingers twice. The feature only works with the hand that’s wearing the Watch (you can’t tap your right-hand fingers while the Watch is on your left hand), but even that’s enough to solve the Vision Pro’s big problem. Moreover, the new Ultra Wide Band chip on the watch can help with spatial tracking, letting your Vision Pro when your hands are in sight and when they aren’t. While Apple hasn’t formally announced compatibility between the Watch and the Vision Pro, we can expect more details when Apple’s spatial-computing headset formally launches next year. The Vision Pro could get its own dedicated keynote event, or even be clubbed along with the new iPad/MacBook announcements that often happen at the beginning of the calendar year.