Sale alert! Sennheisers are coming up with new models, and their HD218i headphones with three button Apple remote with mic headphones are on sale in many places. The “i” version used to fetch a sometimes $50 premium. Now they can be had for $39. They are great headphones for used in the office with your macs and iPads / iPhones. Or bring them with you to Starbucks as you sip expensive coffee while using their free wifi. The volume and mic control lets you adjust the volume, and use Skype. These are closed headphones which mean they do not leak sound, which is particularly important in an office environment.
Sound quality? They are going to be a step up from your standard ebuds. From an audiophile point of view, they are at the lowest bearable end which is a good thing. I bought two, adding to my collections of Grado RS1 and RS2.
If you have your phone’s date and time settings set to “automatic”, meaning it will automatically determine your time zone, you would be one hour early to your appointments today! For some reason, if you set your timezone yourself then the phone gets the day light savings change correctly. See the two screenshots I took flipping the automatic switch back and forth.
I have been eagerly awaiting the Jabra Supreme bluetooth headset. I always find boom based headset sounds better. While the Jabra is a bit larger then, say the Jawbone, I find that it is still small and comfortable to wear.
I like the flip boom design, where it switches on and off as you flip the boom open and close. Very natural. When the boom is folded in, the headset is smaller but still pretty thick. I wish for $99, Jabra ship the headset with a case.
Out of the Box Experience
The out of the box experience is pretty good, with the standard exception of needing to charge the unit up before first use. It is very nice that it comes with both a charger with a fixed cable, and an additoinal USB to micro USB cable so that you can use your computer to charge it up. It took just over an hour to get the headset fully charge.
Because the Supreme has “Voice Guidance”, it will literally talk you thru the initial pairing. You can see this video of the voice guidance in action. I suppose you are expected to wear the headset to listen to the instruction, but I thought (wrongly) that I have to press some buttons, so I had the headset off. The voice guidance is loud enough that I can hear it anyway.
The headset is really light. To be fair most of the new generation headsets are light. 18 grams. You really would not notice it. I wear eyeglasses, and it still fit over my very thin eyeglasses frame without problem. If anything I find that it is a little lose. I don’t think I can jog in it.
I say the sound quality is fair, which is good for a bluetooth headset. The noise cancelling works very well. I place a test call with the radio blasting in the office and much of that is muted out.
Voice Control and Guidance
Of course the Jabra is no Siri! But the voice system works surprisingly well. In fact if I do not have an iPhone with Siri, I would be really impressed. You can say “what can I say” and the headset will read you a list of available commands. One that is particularly useful is “phone commands”. When you say “phone commands” it passes you thru to the phone. Since I have Siri activated on the iPhone, it starts Siri up for me. However, currently the Jabra Supreme firmware does not work with Siri. I can hear Siri, but Siri cannot hear me. Jabra promised a fix really soon.
boom design for initiative on/off
long battery life (5+ hours)
comes with a charger and an extra cable for computer charging
voice guidance and commands
Does not work with IOS5, no SIRI, no Skype. Jabra promise a fix real soon, check their support page to see when it is available.
There, I said it. Siri really is amazing. People who think it is just voice recognition software need to try it before passing judgement.
This is BETA according to Apple, learning a trick from Google. That just means they are going to tweak it with user data. Some of these things are not working (yet):
It does not work with third party app. “Play Norah Jones” only work if you have her music on your music library. We need it to work with Rdio or Spotify, like Dragon Go does.
It does not take multiple calendars into account. I have 25 appointments next week according to “check my schedule”, what I really want is “check my work schedule”
You would think you can send tweets from siri, with all the twitter integration, but you cannot. You can say “text twitter” if you have twitter setup as an account with code 40404, the standard twitter SMS interface. You will be using your SMS credits though.
It will be nice if it interface with either the calculator app or something more streamlined for basic calculation, and then read back the result instead of showing me a wolfram alpha page.
With the new iOS4.3 firmware, HomeSharing finally work nicely across all device. This is particularly important if you have an second generation AppleTV in your home network. Will all the new sharing feature you can do two really cool things:
You can finally show any video or pictures from your iPhone on your AppleTV, especially photos and video from your camera roll on the phone. Isn’t this the normal use case? You took some pictures of the kids, and when you are at Grandma’s house, you can now beam the pictures onto their LCD TV seamlessly. (You did buy the grandparents an AppleTV, didn’t you?)
You can, via HomeSharing, listen to any music on your home iTunes library on your iPhone/iPad. Typically in a house hold, you will have most of the shared music and video sitting on an iMac. Now you can listen to any music from there remotely.
How to enable HomeSharing on your phone? There are actually TWO different settings. Go to “Settings / iPod” and enter your Apple ID for sharing. Then you can stream music from any iTunes library on your home network to the iPhone/iPad.
Secondly you can also enable Home Sharing on the Remote app. (you did download that didn’t you?) Enter your Apple ID there, then it will automatically find any iTunes library on your network without you having to manually link the remote app to the library.
Tip: The remote app now also can control the AppleTV user interface!
I do not have an iPad. That’s right. I am waiting for the iPad2. But I ordered the AppleTV on announcement date. And now with AirPlay fully supported (after a system update on both the iPhone 3GS and the AppleTV) it is media heaven.
on the iPhone 3GS, I can play a movie on the “ipod” app directly onto my AppleTV
the rdio app can stream all my rdio music directly onto my AppleTV — this is a big win. Now I can stream everything that rdio has in the cloud to my main home theatre system. My $10/month subscription is getting full mileage
the YouTube app on the iPhone can also send video to the AppleTV. This is slightly redundent, as there is direct YouTube support on the AppleTV. But I can use the keyboard on my iPhone to find video faster.
update: the pictures on the camera roll can go to the apple TV by using the airplay icon (Thanks to lance’s comment below)
What does not work?
I cannot figure out how to send a picture in my “camera roll” to the AppleTV
Hulu+ app does not support AirPlay — This is a big lost for me. I don’t know if it is Hulu that needs to update their app, or is Apple not allowing it to do so.
NPR News app does not support AirPlay either. It would be cool if it did.
So, after 30 minutes of playing, I’d keep to my original point — this is truly revolutionary, even if most of you don’t know it yet!
After watching this segment, this is my take away:
Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg has an insightful comment about people don’t want to carry iphone plus iPad plus laptop all the time, true. David Carr says how much it is a family computer, True. What is going to happen? People need to have multiple iPad. Leave one in the bag. Leave one in the living room. Leave on in the dining room. It is a “pick up and use” device. Expensive? Sure. But it works that way.