Wireless is the way of the future when it comes to audio. Portable, Bluetooth-enabled speakers have exploded in the last year, and now it's time for headphones to cut the cord, too. In December 2013, Beats by Dre is taking its Studio headphones wireless and, for the already-wireless Pill speaker, adding the ability to pair with another Pill without cables.
We had the opportunity to try the new Beats audio gear for ourselves and were impressed with the accessories' new look and feel. If you're in the market for some new music makers or need a gift for the audiophile in your life, read on to find out more about Beats' upcoming gadgets.
Beats Studio Wireless
The midlevel Studio line was redesigned for Summer 2013, and the new Wireless edition ($380) is essentially that new Beats Studio look without the cord. After charging, listen up to 12 hours wirelessly or 20 hours using the audio cable. The headphones connect to any mobile device or computer via Bluetooth.
Like most Bluetooth-enabled devices, you can wear the headphones up to 30 feet away from the connected device, and they can be charged with any standard micro USB cable.
Most notable about the new Studio headphones is how subtle it looks. Titanium and matte black are especially nice with the B logo blending in to the design, but it also comes in a glossy black with a more pronounced red B. Beats is shedding its penchant for flash and flair with the new matte options and also by emphasizing the B button's functionality. Tap sequences (single-, double-, and triple-tap to play, move to the next track, or go the previous track) are now standardized across all Beats products.
The size and shape of the second-generation portable, Bluetooth-enabled Beats Pill ($200) has remained the same, but there is a new "Tap to" icon on the rear that allows the speaker to pair with another Pill.
Tap two Pills together, and the two speakers will play the same audio in sync. Tap again to enable stereo mode — one speaker will act as the right speaker and the other will act as the left.
There's also a USB port in the new Pill for giving a boost to mobile devices when they're on their last legs.
Beats is offering a supersize version of its speakers as well — the Pill XL ($300), which is said to last 15 hours on a single charge.
New accessories for the Pill are on their way, too. Take the Pill on a tour around city streets with the new Bike Mount ($50), which has a flexible silicone strap that should fit most bike handle bars.
You'll also be able to keep your Pill protected in a new Sleeve ($35) with a magnetic cover that's soft to the touch. The Speakers will even continue to play music through the sleeve.
Would you be comfortable rocking cordless headphones? Let us know what you think of the new Beats products when they launch next month.