Apple Announces Beats Pill+ Speaker Available in November for $229

Apple today announced a new Beats Pill+ Bluetooth wireless speaker with a simplistic design, stereo active 2-way crossover system and 12-hour battery life. The speaker will be available for $229.95 in black or white through the Apple Online Store and authorized Beats retailers beginning next month.

Beats Pill+ Bluetooth Wireless Speaker will retail for $229.95 (Image: The Verge)
The new Beats Pill+ companion app will enable users to control the speaker using a smartphone, with features including the ability to control music from two Bluetooth sources and sync two Beats Pill+ speakers together for either simultaneous or dedicated right and left playback.

„When you obsess about sound the way that we do at Beats, portable Bluetooth speakers can be very tricky,“ said Beats President Luke Wood. „We spent countless days, weeks, months testing for that perfect combination of form and function – small enough to travel but still big enough to feel the emotion of the music. That’s what you get with Pill+.”

The new Beats Pill+ replaces the original Beats Pill unveiled in October 2012, and is the company’s first new speaker since being acquired by Apple for $3 billion in May 2014. The new Beats Pill+ is larger than the original Pill speaker, but smaller than the recalled Beats XL speaker, and weighs 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg).

The Verge went hands-on with the new Beats Pill+ speaker, calling it „the most attractive looking and sounding speaker that Beats has ever made“ after listening to a brief demo of songs from various genres, including tracks by The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Tom Petty and punk rock band PUP.

More important than the look and build is the sound, and judging from my brief demo the Pill+ is likely the best-sounding Pill ever. That’s apparently all thanks to what’s called a two-way active system, meaning that amplifiers are built into the speakers — two in fact, one for each pair of woofer and tweeter. This helps better assign the different frequencies of music to the right parts of the speaker, resulting in better sound.

The Beats Pill+ is equipped with both Lightning and USB ports on the back for charging your iPhone or other devices. The speaker has a rubberized power button and volume controls and a metallic Beats logo that doubles as a play/pause button. There is also a line in audio port.



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Apple Announces Beats Pill+ Speaker Available in November for $229

The Weeknd Stars in Two-Part Apple Music Ad During MTV VMAs

Apple debuted a new two-part Apple Music ad featuring The Weeknd during the 2015 MTV VMAs on Sunday night. The one-minute spots show The Weeknd walking backstage after performing at the MVAs, getting into a limo driven by actor John Travolta and listening to Beats 1 Radio while scrolling through his artist page on Apple Music Connect.

The Weeknd then arrives at an MVAs afterparty with his single „The Hills“ playing and shuffles through additional songs from an Apple Music playlist, followed by the tagline „It’s all in your head. Create your own party. Unlimited music for $9.99.“

The Weeknd was one of the most played artists on Beats 1 since the radio station went live on June 30, alongside Drake, Disclosure, Fetty Wap, Jamie xx, A$AP Rocky, Years & Years, Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala and Major Lazer.

Apple launched a worldwide advertising campaign for its new streaming music service earlier this month, with billboards, posters and other signage appearing in cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto and Mexico City. Later in August, Apple released three artist-focused Apple Music ads starring James Bay and Kygo.



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The Weeknd Stars in Two-Part Apple Music Ad During MTV VMAs

Vevo Partners with Apple to Stream iTunes Festival from SXSW [iOS Blog]

Music video and entertainment platform Vevo announced today that it is partnering with Apple to stream this week’s iTunes Festival at SXSW. Apple is limiting the service to include the same streaming options offered by its own iTunes Festival coverage, which includes iOS devices, Macs and the Apple TV.

Starting Tuesday, March 11 and ending Saturday, March 15, viewers can launch the Vevo iOS app or open the Apple TV channel to watch live performances from ACL Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Mac owners can view the live stream by pointing their Safari browser to Vevo’s iTunes Festival website.

Three performances are scheduled each night, with headline acts to include major artists such as Coldplay, Kendrick Lamar, Soundgarden, Pitbull an Keith Urban. Select performances will be available for on-demand viewing after the concert is over.

iOS owners who prefer not to use Vevo can watch the daily concert series via Apple’s iTunes Festival app [Direct Link], while Apple TV users can open the recently updated iTunes Festival channel. Both sources allow users to live stream the concert’s shows as well as view concert lineups, on-demand performances and artist information.

Vevo is available for the iPhone [Direct Link] or the iPad [Direct Link].





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Vevo Partners with Apple to Stream iTunes Festival from SXSW [iOS Blog]

Apple TV Updated with Revamped Channel for Upcoming iTunes Festival at SXSW 2014

In preparation for this week’s iTunes Festival at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2014, Apple has expanded its Apple TV lineup to include a revamped iTunes Festival channel that allows users to live stream the concert’s shows as well as view lineups and artist information.

The channel showcases artists who will be performing at the festival such as Kendrick Lamar, Coldplay, and Keith Urban, complete with artist bios and concert showtimes. Direct iTunes links to artist albums are featured as well, along with full details on opening acts.

Apple also updated its iTunes Festival app for iOS last week, which introduced a new design and a revamped icon. Apple announced last month that it would be expanding its iTunes Festival to the U.S. for the first time, as five shows will be held from March 11-15 at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas as a part of the film and music-focused SXSW event.




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Apple TV Updated with Revamped Channel for Upcoming iTunes Festival at SXSW 2014

Apple Adds Kendrick Lamar, Supporting Acts to iTunes Festival SXSW Lineup [Mac Blog]

Following yesterday’s addition of Soundgarden to its SXSW concert lineup, Apple has now announced that Kendrick Lamar will also perform during the iTunes Festival [iTunes Store Link], headlining on March 12. Joining Kendrick Lamar will be ScHoolboy Q and Isaiah Rashad.

With the addition of Soundgarden and Kendrick Lamar, Apple’s SXSW iTunes Festival lineup is complete with the following acts scheduled (times listed in CST):

March 11
10:00 p.m. – Coldplay
8:30 p.m. – Imagine Dragons
7:30 p.m. – London Grammar

March 12
10:00 p.m. – Kendrick Lamar
8:45 p.m. – ScHoolboy Q
8:00 p.m. – Isaiah Rashad

March 13
10:00 p.m. – Soundgarden
8:45 p.m. – Band of Skulls
8:00 p.m. – Capital Cities

March 14
10:00 p.m. – Pitbull
8:45 p.m. – ZEDD
8:00 p.m. – G.R.L

March 15
10:00 p.m. – Keith Urban
8:45 p.m. – Willie Nelson
8:00 p.m. – Mickey Guyton

Apple first announced the SXSW concert series last week, as an expansion of its long-running iTunes Festival in the UK. The festival will offer five nights of music, beginning on March 11 at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

While the SXSW concerts are presented for free, tickets are given to attendees on a lottery basis. Live and on-demand streams of the shows will be available through the iTunes Store on iOS devices and computers, the iTunes Festival app on iOS devices, and the Apple TV.




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Apple Adds Kendrick Lamar, Supporting Acts to iTunes Festival SXSW Lineup [Mac Blog]