Apple iPad Mini Literally has a World of Home Control Possibilities

Apple iPad Mini Literally has a World of Home Control Possibilities

Apple’s new iPad Mini, the newest worst-kept secret in the company’s history, has finally been officially announced. In comparison to its larger siblings, the Mini features a 7.9-inch screen, is a mere 7.2 mm thick, and weighs less than seven-tenths of a pound. But perhaps most importantly, it can be held in one hand, and costs a mere $329. And if you’re not already controlling your home from the palm of your hand, you really have no excuse left. Just as the original iPad made touchscreens commonplace in the home two years ago (has it really only been two years?) due to its features, apps, and yes it’s price, the iPad Mini’s reduced barrier to entry will almost certainly lead to a new boom in the proliferation of touchscreens in the home. Before the iPad, home touchscreens were generally only sold as part of much larger home automation systems. They were the remote control interfaces for advanced home theater, lighting, climate, and security control. And yes, they made it easy to see at a glance what was going on around the home, as well as activate sophisticated, complicated home control scenarios at the touch of a button, but at upwards of $1500 apiece, they were also a significant investment, especially when you consider that home control and monitoring (and maybe rudimentary web browsing) were all they could do. The iPad changed all of that, putting touchscreens in the hands of a much larger audience, who naturally wanted to control their lights and security and home entertainment systems, too. It still required a custom installer to configure all of the...

Bowers & Wilkins Debuts Two New Wireless Music Systems

Bowers & Wilkins just announced a pair of wireless audio systems that complement its award-winning Zeppelin Air dock. Unlike the Zeppelin, the A7 and A5 Wireless Music Systems eschew the physical iOS dock (which removes all of the brouhaha surrounding Apple’s recent docking port switcharoo as an issue), in favor of pure AirPlay connectivity. In stark contrast to the curvilinear aesthetics of the Zeppelin, the A5 and A7 also borrow heavily from the design of the company’s MM-1 desktop speakers, bringing their styling together into a single unified chassis that positively drips with luxurious simplicity. Both the A5 and A7 also feature the same drivers as the MM-1—glass fiber diaphragms designed with minimal resonance and improved off-axis mid- and high-frequency performance in mind. Both systems also include a number of design innovations from B&W’s beloved loudspeaker lines, including the same high frequency distortion Anti-Resonance Plug technology as is found in its high-end PM1, as well as Tapering Tubes borrowed from the Nautilus line to control rear reflections from the tweeters. Both systems also employ Bowers & Wilkins’ Flowport technology to reduce air turbulence and improve bass clarity, as well as proprietary digital signal processing to tailor the sound for any room at any volume. Their integrated audiophile caliber DACs also upsample all incoming audio to 96kHz/24-bit. Inside the glass re-enforced ABS enclosures, you’ll also find a power supply designed to deliver ultra-clean power, so the powerful little Class D amps operate to their full potential. At first glance, the difference between the two models appears to be one of size alone. The extra volume of the A7, though, gave...