Accessories

Happy birthday: Apple’s iPod turns 15

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Here’s a nice slice of Apple trivia for you: The original iPod happened fifteen years ago today, on October 23rd, 2001.

Nine months after the American tech giant introduced iTunes as a music software, then-Apple chief executive and co-founder Steve Jobs took the stage to announce the portable MP3 player that acted (somewhat predictably) as a precursor to the iPhone and iPad and revolutionized the way we listen to and buy music.

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It changed Apple forever, too. The iPod made it possible for Apple to pivot from a personal computer company to a consumer electronics company, where the action is — and where the money is to be made.

Here’s an excerpt from Job’s presentation; his self-confidence isn’t misplaced:

‘Now, why music? Well, we love music. More importantly, music is a part of everyone’s life — everyone. Music’s been around forever; it will always be around. This is not a speculative market… But interestingly enough, in this whole new digital music revolution, there is no market leader… No one has really found a recipe yet for digital music. And we think, not only did we find the recipe, but we think the Apple brand is going to be fantastic, because people trust the Apple brand to get their great digital electronics from.’

The former Apple head went on to describe the iPod as a “quantum leap in listening to music.” The first iPod had enough storage to fit 1,000 songs at CD-quality; had 20 minutes of skip protection; offered 10 hours of music playback.

Most important of all was that it could ride shotgun in a person’s pocket. “This amazing little device holds 1,000 songs. And it goes right in my pocket,” Jobs quipped, throwing shade at companies like Creative, SonicBlue, and Sony and their bulky, unattractive music gear. The first iPod went on sale for $399, but people gobbled it up.

Music will always be around; the iPod won’t.

Apple sold its millionth iPod in 2003. In the years that followed, the company introduced other iPods of varying colors, shapes, sizes, and functionalities. By 2010, Apple had sold 275 million iPods. But that same year, Tony Fadell, the guy who created the iPod, left Apple.

Steve Jobs introduces the iPod nano

Steve Jobs launches the iPod nano in 2005

 

Apple has stopped reporting financial figures of the iPod entirely. Sales are on a decline, and consumers are no longer excited about them. Apple probably feels the same way we do because it hasn’t touched the iPod line since last year — an eternity in the industry. The iPhone is its flagship product now, accounting for more than half of Apple’s revenue.

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It hasn’t stopped selling iPods in its stores, though. Surely, there’s still a market for them, however small and insignificant. But the question isn’t if Apple will eventually discontinue the iPod, but when. Music will always be around; the iPod won’t.

 

Accessories

vivo introduces TWS Earphone Neo

Joining the TWS party!

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Another one has joined the TWS party!

vivo is launching its TWS Earphone Neo — a companion to the upcoming X50 series. It’s built to provide a stellar audio experience for everyday music lovers. It also features voice-activated smart controls and AI noise cancelling for clearer phone calls.

Neo runs Qualcomm’s 4th-generation TWS platform named QCC3046, offering low latency, high precision, and stable listening experience. Moreover, it’s equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5.2 technology, reaching a maximum of 10-meter range.

This pair of wireless earphones carries a design-centric compact body. It has a 14.2mm ultra-large driver unit and a bio-fiber composite diaphragm, promising to deliver enhanced audio and powerful sound.

In 2012, vivo pioneered the Hi-Fi chip technology, being the first smartphone to incorporate the chip to deliver unparalleled audio experience. Together with the X50 series, the TWS Earphone Neo is the realization of vivo’s decade-long investments and commitment to improving consumers’ lives with their devices.

Pricing and availability of the TWS Earphone are yet to be announced.

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Redmi Earbuds S are the most affordable TWS offering

The price is unbelievable

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In India, Xiaomi’s Redmi division looks after the affordable segment while Mi-branded products are for the premium segment. On the side, POCO is now an independent brand. Continuing with the new strategy, Redmi today announced the launch of their new TWS earbuds, the Redmi Earbuds S.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 were announced in the country but they are far from affordable. To bridge this gap, the Redmi Earbuds S has been unveiled. It’s worth noting that they are the same as the Redmi AirDots S, which were launched in China earlier.

The Earbuds have 7.2mm drivers and are IPX4-rated for water resistance. The individual buds weigh only about 4.5g each. The company’s marketing has focused on how good their bass is, but we’ll be able to confirm that in our review later.

For connectivity, it leverages SBC codec, a commonly used protocol via Bluetooth. However, a low-latency mode has also been added to aide gaming. The earbuds are said to deliver four hours of playback on a single charge and the case can extend this to 12 hours.

The Earbuds S also has a physical button on either side to control media playback or skip tracks. The gaming mode can be triggered by pressing the function key thrice.

The Redmi Earbuds S will cost INR 1,799 (US$ 23) and will go on sale starting May 27 via Mi.com and Amazon.

These earbuds are an entry-level option for someone who’s looking for a pair of TWS earbuds. Instead of rich features, the point of this product is to offer an affordable option to the end-user.

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Apple moving its AirPods assembly line to Vietnam

iPhone production is next in line

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Apple has started shifting its iPhone production line to India but it doesn’t end there. With the ongoing trade war between China and the US, more companies are slowly finding alternatives — such is the case with Apple moving AirPods assembly to Vietnam.

Asia Nikkei‘s report indicated that Apple has already done production trials of the AirPods line in Vietnam last year. Just this month, numerous buyers (including a MacForums user) have pointed out the sudden change. The ‘Assembled in Vietnam’ engraving at the back of the AirPods Pro is prominent since loyal users know that Apple products are assembled in China.

A Reddit user initially shared his concern about the product’s authenticity, even before the mentioned tweet started gaining attention.

It says mine are made in Vietnam but all other ones say China ? Should I be worried or it has nothing to do with it?? from r/AirpodsPro

Even a staff from The Verge shared a photo of her recently bought AirPods Pro with the same engraving.

Photo by Kara Verlaney (The Verge)

A follow-up report stated that the mass production of the new AirPods units took place in Vietnam last March. Despite the pandemic, they were able to secure permits from Vietnamese officials to bring in engineers for better and smoother production.

Some of the old EarPods were also assembled in Vietnam, which means the country isn’t exactly new to assembling Apple’s audio accessories. Even Apple’s long-awaited AirPods Studio might be produced there as well.

A recently-published article by DigiTimes states that other than India, they’re also moving the iPhone production line to Vietnam. It makes sense considering Foxconn has already built factories in the northern province of Bac Giang.

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