iOS 8.1.3 available

A new iOS update is available for download. Apple lists five bugs that have been fixed, including reducing the amount of storage needed to do an update. iOS 8.1.3 is a 247MB download that you can get by going to Settings > General > Software Update on your iOS device.

Samson’s Go Mic Connect portable stereo USB microphone

Go Mic Connect features a custom, compact design that clips to the top of your laptop or computer monitor, as well as internally shock-mounted dual microphone capsules and a headphone output for zero-latency monitoring. Go Mic Connect combines studio-quality sound and “next-level” technology for exceptional VoIP, podcast, speech-to-text and YouTube audio.

Really nice looking portable mic.

Samson’s professional wireless system

Samson’s new Synth 7 raises the standard for premium UHF wireless performance. Available in five unique configurations (Handheld, Guitar, Headset, Earset, Presentation), the Synth 7 system features rugged all-metal construction, as well as dynamic LCD setup and monitoring options. Together with advanced system features and flawless operation, Synth 7 is the future of professional wireless.

There’s a little something for everyone here. They have a Web page set up for each category, so you can see how you can use it.

Samson releases the Meteor M2 multimedia speaker system

Samson’s Meteor M2 Multimedia Speaker System is the ideal sound solution for desktops, laptops and tablets. Through the use of premium components, innovative sound design and custom digital signal processing, the full metal Meteor M2 breathes new sonic life into your favorite music, movies and games.

I haven’t seen these yet, but I’m going to try to stop by today.

Taylor Guitars introduces new maple 600 series acoustics

The new 600 Series guitars elicit the best of the inherent tonal properties of maple. In 2014, Master Builder Andy Powers began to experiment with how far bracing, thickness, finish, and new seasoning processes like torrefaction, a wood roasting method, could enhance maple’s tone profile.

I played one of these yesterday and the tone was so warm. I’d definitely buy one of these.

Pay and the Super Bowl

Whether you’re attending the Super Bowl in person or watching it on TV like me, there are apps supporting Pay to make your life easier. I’ve said since its release that Pay is one of the best technologies Apple brought out in years—I use it nearly every day. [...]

The best headphones I’ve ever heard

I’ve listened to a lot of headphones over the years, from high-end models to in-ears, but none have sounded as good as the Mo-Fi. The Mo-Fi are made by Blue Microphones, a company that I’ve respected for a long time, but I had no idea there headphones would be so good. If you’re in the market, you have to try these out. You’ll thank me.

Yamaha introduces the perfect mixer for podcasters

Usually when I write about Yamaha at NAMM, I’ll talk about new guitars or keyboards, but today the company introduced a new mixer it said was designed specifically for webcasting, podcasting, gaming and music production. [...]

Universal Audio unveils Apollo Expanded

I’ve made no secret about my love of Universal Audio products. For years, they have been my go to company when recording and mixing audio. Today things got even better. [...]

Pro Tools 12

There are a ton of new features and licensing options available in the new version. Good day for Pro Tools users.

Avid unveils a free version of Pro Tools

Avid today unveiled Pro Tools | First, a free version of the industry-standard Pro Tools that offers many of the same music creation capabilities used by top artists and recording studios worldwide. Delivering on Avid Everywhere and built upon the Avid MediaCentral Platform, Pro Tools | First is simple enough for beginners to learn, yet sophisticated enough for the experienced musician. Pro Tools | First enables anyone to experience the industry’s most trusted digital audio workstation at no cost, so they can turn their musical ideas into fully realized, professional productions that stand out from the crowd.

What a smart move from Avid.

Line 6 Firehawk FX multi-effect processor

The Firehawk FX multi-effect processor combines world-class tone with intuitive app-based editing, so you can get the perfect sound faster than ever before. The Firehawk Remote app for iOS and Android gives you the power to sculpt great tone, right in the palm of your hand. Choose from over 200 legendary amps and effects—including 50 HD models—and wirelessly control every detail of your sound. You get access to 128 internal presets plus a massive online tone library, making it easy to find the right sound for any recording session, rehearsal or gig. With 1/4” and Variax Digital (VDI) inputs, two outputs, FX loop, USB connectivity and ultra-low latency, Firehawk FX is also an ideal guitar recording interface for PC, Mac and iOS.

I love that Line 6 is going after the entire market here—mobile and desktop. I haven’t tried the Firehawk, but it’s reminiscent of an HD500, but with more color and options.

Line 6, Yamaha collaborate on new Variax guitar

Addictively playable with classic looks, Variax Standard gives you exceptional handcrafted quality—plus incredible Variax HD technology that puts it in a class of its own. Inspire your playing with a collection of the world’s most coveted vintage electrics, classic acoustics and exotic instruments. Switch up your tunings on the fly.

I had a chance to play one of these yesterday and it is truly a step above the Variax guitars of old. The problem I had with the older models was the digital artifacts that you heard in the models and when changing tunings. These guitars have regular magnetic pickups, so first and foremost, it is an electric guitar. All of the electronics can be turned off completely if you want to play it like that. When turned on, the electronics give the guitar something really special that you won’t find anywhere else, all with no artifacts.

Google’s move to become a wireless carrier

The new service is expected run on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks, two people familiar with the product say. Google is expected to reach deals to buy wholesale access to those carriers’ mobile voice and data networks, making it a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, they say.

I’m kind of ambivalent about this, to be honest. Google has never done a very good job selling phones, so I don’t know how they will make this work. I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

Apple releases Logic Pro X 10.1

Apple on Wednesday released a major update to Logic Pro X, the company’s professional digital audio workstation software. As part of the update, Apple also released a new version of Logic Remote, giving the software access to Logic or Audio Unit plug-in parameters and multi-touch gestures, as well as other changes. [...]

McDSP adds VST support in V6

In addition to VST plug-in format support, v6 includes a complete upgrade to the entire McDSP product line. New user interface features, faster loading times, and algorithm optimizations across all formats are just some of the improvements in the v6 release. Pro Tools users will appreciate v6 additions such as enhanced support for the Avid S6 and S3 control surfaces. Artist presets from the likes of Dave Pensado, Kevin Churko, Joe Barresi, and many others are also included.

This looks like a solid release from a great company.

Apple buys Semetric

Apple has acquired British startup Semetric, which runs the Musicmetric analytics tool, as part of its plans to relaunch its Beats Music streaming music service later in the year.

It will be fascinating to see what type of plan Apple has for Beats. Will it be integrated into iTunes as a technology, or will Beats get some Apple touch-ups and continue on as it is.

TAG Heuer CEO calls Apple Watch “an incredible achievement”

“It’s a fantastic product, an incredible achievement,” he said. “I’m not just living in the tradition and culture and the past, I also want to be connected to the future. The Apple Watch connects me to the future. My watch connects me to history, to eternity.”

Oh boy, this is going to be an interesting year.

iPhone 6 eats into Samsung’s lead in South Korea

Apple captured a record 33 percent market share in South Korea in November, the highest ever for a foreign brand, according to a monthly report released by Hong Kong-based market research company Counterpoint on Wednesday. In contrast, Samsung’s share slipped to 46 percent after hovering around 60 percent for five months.

The quarterly iPhone numbers are going to be incredible.

The iPad Pro’s stylus

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is back with another report outlining his belief that Apple will launch a stylus as an optional accessory for the company’s rumored 12.9-inch “iPad Pro”. With the new iPad’s larger screen, it will likely prove popular with enterprise and creative users who tend to have more need for a stylus and Kuo believes Apple will fill that need with an in-house solution.

A stylus may work for creatives, but I think the using a finger will still be the preferred method for the majority of people.

The worst password of 2014 is…

SplashData has announced its annual list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet – thus making them the “Worst Passwords” that will expose anybody to being hacked or having their identities stolen. In its fourth annual report, compiled from more than 3.3 million leaked passwords during the year, “123456”and “password” continue to hold the top two spots that they have held each year since the first list in 2011. Other passwords in the top 10 include “qwerty,” “dragon,” and “football.”

Sweet Jesus, you deserve to be hacked.

Úll 2015

Úll is a conference for people who build and love great products. We focus on great product businesses, presented through an Apple-shaped lens. We treat the conference itself as a product: with a deep emphasis on the attendee experience.

This is the best conference that I’ve ever attended and I’ll be speaking again this year. See you there!

Samsung’s Tizen smartphone makes poor first impression in India

“Samsung has been delaying the launch of this Tizen phone for a long time and when they finally did it, it turned out to be an under-powered phone,” said Mumbai-based filmmaker Samir Ahmed Sheikh as he shopped for a new phone for his wife.

The 3.15 megapixel primary camera and 300,000 pixel front camera are “like a phone from 2010″, he said.

Oh dear.

iScrapbook 5

It’s designed for both novice and professional scrapbookers. iScrapbook manages the entire scrapbooking process from page design to album organization.

This looks like a fun app and the new update adds a ton of new features.

Kemper Remote for guitarists

Profiler Remote is the quintessential foot controller for your Profiler. We’ve spent a tremendous amount of time to create a versatile and yet easy to operate floor board. The tight integration in between Profiler and Remote allows you to control, administer and program without any knowledge about MIDI or delving through cryptic data sheets.

This is fantastic. I need to get me hands on the Kemper system and try it out.

Netflix profits beat expectations

Shares of Netflix shot up 12% in after-hours trade Monday, after the video streaming service reported a fourth-quarter profit that was well above expectations, and provided an upbeat outlook for net subscriber additions.

Great news, I really like Netflix.

Pioneer introduces the XDJ-RX DJ system

The XDJ-RX, is a DJ console that incorporates two separate digital players, a mixer, and a built-in monitor. The uniquely designed DJ system is intended for users of the popular Pioneer rekordbox music management software, which enables DJs to quickly play prepared music stored on a USB device, eliminating the need to connect or carry a separate computer for use as a music source.