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Review: 808 Audio XS Sport Rugged Wireless Speaker

It's tough for $100-and-cheaper Bluetooth speakers to stand out these days in a crowded market, but 808 Audio has added another option to the mix with its new XS Sport. Not that 808 Audio hasn't already had some success in the low-price range: as we've noted before in our review of the company's Canz XL, 808 claims its cheap Canz speaker is "the number one selling Bluetooth speaker under $50." The $80 XS Sport is a dust-resistant, water-resistant stereo speaker that uses two drivers and a passive radiator to deliver its sound. 808 claims the rugged XS Sport gets up to 8 hours of playtime before needing a recharge. The speaker comes with a carabiner, and a micro-USB cable for recharging.

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Honeywell debuts Lyric T5 HomeKit-enabled smart thermostat

Honeywell’s new HomeKit-enabled Lyric T5 thermostat ($150) will allow users to control their home’s temperature from anywhere with Apple’s Home app or using Siri voice controls. Priced $50 lower than Honeywell’s previous Wi-Fi thermostats (currently on sale) and $100 cheaper than ecobee’s ecobee3, the Lyric T5 features a touchscreen display, allows for scheduling up to 7 days in advance, and provides push notifications to warn users when their air filter needs changing or when the inside of the house reaches extreme temperatures. The device also uses a phone’s location to track when a user is headed home, changing the temperature in anticipation of the homeowner’s arrival. The Lyric T5 is available for preorder on Amazon, but is currently listed at $249 on that site instead of the $150 that Honeywell lists on its homepage.

Executives talk Apple Music successes and failures

After the launch of iOS 10 and a revamp of the Apple Music interface, Jimmy Iovine, Zane Lowe, and head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes Bozoma Saint John sat down with Buzzfeed to take stock of where the company’s streaming music service has been and where it’s going. Along with a cleaner, simpler user interface, the updated Apple Music adds two new playlist options: My Favorites Mix and My New Music Mix. Where the service initially banked exclusively on human curation of playlists, the My Favorites Mix is generated by an algorithm that uses deep historical knowledge of a user’s tastes and listening habits, culled from years of data brought over from iTunes. Songs given high ratings and ones that are played frequently appear on that mix, while the My New Music Mix algorithm uses that profile to serve up recently released songs that music experts think compliment those tracks users already like. “We were too ambitious in the beginning — we probably put too much into it,” Iovine said of the former focus on 100 percent human-curated playlists. “But we’re getting there now, one foot in front of the other, and the stuff we’re creating I don’t think anyone is gonna see coming.”

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Apple Q4 earnings call set for October 27

Apple has announced that it will release its Q4 financial results on Thursday, October 27. As usual, the company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time that day. Apple previously provided guidance for Q4 of revenue between $45.5 billion and $47.5 billion, and gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38 percent. As always, iLounge will provide coverage of the results.

Daily Deal: Pay What You Want — The Award-Winning Mac Bundle

Today in iLounge Deals, we’re offering the Pay What You Want: The Award-Winning Mac Bundle, with thirteen powerful apps to make your Mac a productivity powerhouse. Pay whatever you want for Screen Grabber Pro, eXtra Voice Recorder, and Photo Stitcher, and if you beat the average price you’ll receive the complete set of apps, including Drive Genius 4, The Hit List, Aurora HDR, and more.

Get the Pay What You Want Award-Winning Mac Bundle now

Gear: ToughTested 8’ Pro Armor Weave Lightning Cable

We know how handy it is to have at least one extra-long Lightning cable around, and ToughTested’s 8’ Pro Armor Weave Cable ($28) definitely fits the bill. ToughTested has included a five-year warranty with the MFi-certified cable. Pro Armor Weave is 2.4A rated, and ToughTested has done its best to make the cable durable. The cable is covered with a woven polymer jacket, and both ends have aluminum tips.

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Review: Mass Fidelity Core Bluetooth Speaker

Mass Fidelity's Core ($599) looks to bring the performance of larger high-end speakers into a small, portable Bluetooth speaker using wave field synthesis. The black and chrome speaker houses five custom designed drivers and a woofer which fires downward, all with 120W of power. The speaker comes with its own AC adapter, and Mass Fidelity claims that Core's battery life is an impressive 12 hours. Core can also connect to other Core units to create a multi-room wireless network. Mass Fidelity notes that Core is a Bluetooth Class 1 receiver, which should minimize dropouts and extend range — though the company only lists the speaker's Bluetooth range at 30 feet in its spec sheet.

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Sonos speakers available on Apple’s online store today, in Apple Stores next month

Sonos announced today on Twitter that its wireless speakers will be listed on Apple’s online store today and sold in Apple Stores starting October 5. Customers buying a Sonos system through Apple’s website or in an Apple Store before December 31 will receive a gift card giving them three months of Apple Music for free (ostensibly on top of the three-month free trial Apple already offers to new users). The deal further solidifies Sonos’ ties to Apple Music, following the company’s move earlier this year to make Apple Music available on all of its speakers for users without an Apple device. Apple Music users can add the service by selecting “Add Music Services” from any Sonos controller app, scrolling down to the Apple Music icon, and logging in.

Apple lacks lobbying power in fight with EU

Apple is fighting with the European Union over $14.5 billion in taxes without the usual lobbying force of a major company, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company spent just over $1 million in 2015 lobbying the EU, when Google parent company Alphabet dropped $4.5 million and employs more than 10 full-time lobbyists. American companies lack direct national representation within EU institutions, leaving them at a disadvantage when competing against European countries who can have their national representatives lobby on their behalf. Other companies have built a strong European lobbying presence to sway investigations and potential legislation, but while CEO Tim Cook has personally made the trip to Brussels to clarify the company’s positions directly with the EU’s antitrust chief, Apple is far behind in employing locals charged with keeping a constant eye on developing situations.

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Apple to offer ‘Spoken Editions’ of written content from top publishers

Apple will soon offer “Spoken Editions” of written content from some publishers through iTunes, TechCrunch reports. Early versions of podcasts branded Spoken Editions from brands like Time, Wired, and Forbes have begun appearing on iTunes, offering users the ability to get the written news delivered in audio form so they can listen while doing other things.

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