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A Word In Your Ear

This iPhone headset is so light you can barely feel it

2 min read

Like most things Apple designs these days, the iPhone Bluetooth Headset (US $129) is elegant and simple. Most of all, it’s tiny—the smallest Bluetooth headset I’ve seen. It’s so small, in fact, that Apple designed a special travel cable for it. Instead of the usual 30â''pin USB cable—good for iPods and the iPhone—the 30â''pin end has, at the back, a slot for the headset’s 2.3- by 5.0â''millimeter slanted tip.

The advantages when traveling are enormous. Now, not only can you charge the iPhone directly from your computer with just this one cable, you can also charge your headset without bringing along a power cord for it.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
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Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford
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Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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