Active noise control Stories June 14, 2015


image credit: Ben Thomas

Apple quietly updated its Powerbeats2 headphones to match Apple Watch Sport colors this week signalling a new move to focus audio accessories to the Apple Watch ecosystem. The new colors, which match the Apple Watch Sport Band colors of Blue, Black, Green, Pink and (updated) White, are available in Apple Stores but haven’t arrived at other retail locations yet.


The Apple Watch can store and play 2GB of music without a tethered iPhone wirelessly via Bluetooth 4 and with watchOS 2 will get access to many more audio applications. It wouldn’t be out of character for Apple to release over the ear Beats headphones in matching colors or even PowerBeats Wireless to match the more expensive stainless steel Apple Watch.

The new Powerbeats2 headphones will of course work with all Apple and other Bluetooth 4 devices even though they appear to be focused on the growing Apple Watch market.

Apple Powerbeats2 Wireless earphones still come in their original, dare I say, dated colors for $199 ($189 Amazon, $169 Best Buy or $160 Ebay) but the original White version has been moved from the old lineup the the new lineup. Original urBeats wired headphones can be found for as little as $45 via

(Via Benjamin Thomas) expand full story

Active noise control Stories January 8, 2015


Harman JBL Reflect Aware left, Philips Fidelio NC1L right

Noise-cancelling headphones are great, but they do have one big drawback: noise-cancellation requires power, giving you yet another device to charge. Harman and Philips have each removed that pain-point, announcing noise-cancelling devices with a Lightning connector instead of a 3.5mm headphone jack, drawing their power from the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

The Harman JBL Reflect Aware are earphones aimed at sports use, allowing you to choose the level of noise-cancellation – handy for times when you are on the street and want to retain some awareness of things like traffic noise. They come in at a reasonably wallet-friendly $149. Harman has them at CES, but no word yet on availability …  expand full story

Active noise control Stories September 28, 2012

Newly discovered Cirrus chip in iPhone 5 could explain enhanced audio features


When Apple introduced the iPhone 5, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller noted a number of new methods being used for noise cancellation from solutions using the device’s third microphone to an updated “noise-cancelling earpiece” and the addition of wideband audio. We know from reports earlier this month that Apple is not including noise cancellation technology from Audience, as it did in previous iPhone models. While we do not know exactly what powers the iPhone 5’s enhanced audio system, Chipworks discovered a second Cirrus chip being used in its recent teardown:

Audio chips from Cirrus.  We know that Audience announced that they no longer have the noise cancellation and we were hoping we could get a little insight as to what is being done in the iPhone 5. Unfortunately, without a little more depth than a die photo can provide the best we can say  is that Cirrus has two design wins related to the audio (one of which we originally guessed to be a memory MCP). One has some fairly large transistors and a whole lot of logic. If someone out there knows what the Apple package 338S1077 is we would be happy to report it. Starting here may be a good place.

  • Apple 338S1077 Audio CODEC. This is a wafer-scale device by Cirrus Logic.  They have long held this private-label package with Apple.
  • Apple 338S1117 Cirrus Audio Chip

It is very possible that Apple’s new, in-house noise canceling technology uses this new Apple-branded Cirrus chip.

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