Weekly Bytes | Clubhouse gets spatial audio, Apple acquires Primephonic, and more

Leah Lamarr is Clubhouse's September app icon. | Picture by special arrangement.  

Clubhouse gets spatial audio

Social audio app Clubhouse has introduced ‘spatial audio’ technology to enhance the listening experience on its platform. “When you're in the audience, you’ll now hear the people around you in 3D, which makes the experience a bit more lifelike and human,” the company said in a blog post. The feature works with headphones, both wired and wireless, and could make it easier for users to track who is talking in a room. Spatial audio has started rolling out for iOS users and will be available on Android soon, Clubhouse said. The feature will be on by default, however, users can turn it off in their app settings. In a separate development, community discussion portal Reddit was recently accused by a group of moderators for permitting COVID-19 misinformation to thrive on the platform.

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Apple acquires Primephonic

Apple on Monday said it has acquired Primephonic, a renowned classical music streaming service. The addition will significantly improve the classical music experience of Apple Music subscribers, beginning with Primephonic playlists and exclusive audio content. Apple Music plans to launch a dedicated classical music app next year combining Primephonic’s features, including better browsing and search capabilities by composer and by repertoire, detailed displays of classical music metadata, plus new features and benefits. Primephonic is no longer available for new subscribers and will be taken offline beginning September 7. In the meantime, current Primephonic subscribers will receive six months of Apple Music for free. In another update, Apple is facing an antitrust challenge in India for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the apps market by forcing developers to use its proprietary in-app purchase system.

IBM, Adobe partner to teach students basic design principles

IBM has teamed up with Adobe to help prepare students, particularly those from under-resourced backgrounds, for successful academic and professional careers by teaching them basic design principles and creativity tools, like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. All coursework is provided at no cost to learners through IBM’s SkillsBuild for Students programme. It will also help students present ideas to one another and clients, engaging them through clear and interesting storytelling. After successful completion, students are awarded a Basic Principles of Design badge that can be used in their resumes to show prospective employers what they have learned. In a separate development, Microsoft has partnered with India’s open schooling platform, National Institute of Open Schooling, to build customised classes, labs and sessions.

NASA starts air taxi flight testing

NASA started flight testing with Joby Aviation’s all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft as part of the agency’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign. NASA’s goal is to collect vehicle performance and acoustic data for use in modelling and simulation of future airspace concepts. In the future, eVTOL aircraft could serve as air taxis for those in cities and surrounding areas, adding another mode of transportation for moving people and goods. When fully integrated into the national airspace, AAM will provide an efficient and affordable system for passenger and cargo transportation, and other applications in the public interest, the space agency said in a statement. In another update, NASA’s newest Mars rover has successfully collected its first rock sample for return to Earth, after last month’s attempt came up empty.

Bose launches QuietComfort 45 headphones

Bose introduced the new QuietComfort 45 (QC45) headphones with improved noise cancellation, better voice isolation for easier conversations, and 24-hour battery life on a single charge. The headphones feature just two settings, both achieved using a new active noise cancellation system and new electronics package. QC45 owners can share their noise cancellation for phone calls and commands as well. The headphones charge via USB-C: it takes two hours for a full charge, and a quick 15 minutes for three hours of playback. The QuietComfort 45 headphones will be available starting September 23 for $329.95 (about ₹24,000), and pre-orders are open at and select resellers, the company said. In a separate development, Qualcomm introduced aptX Lossless technology that is designed to offer lossless audio streaming for Bluetooth-enabled wireless earphones and headphones.

Amazon Pay UPI touches 5 crore customers milestone

Amazon on Thursday said that 5 crore customers are now using Amazon Pay UPI. “We are excited by the rapid adoption of UPI, which now enables customers to do much more with their Amazon app beyond shopping,” Amazon Pay CEO and VP Mahendra Nerurkar, said in a statement. According to the company, customers are using the Amazon app to pay at 2 crore local shops by just scanning any UPI QR code. In the last one year, over 75% of the firm’s customers using Amazon UPI have come from tier 2 and 3 cities, showing the growing reach of UPI, the retailer noted. To celebrate the milestone, Amazon Pay is offering daily rewards through the month of September to all customers using Amazon Pay UPI, it added. In another update, Amazon is planning to hire 55,000 people for corporate and technology roles globally in the coming months.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 2:47:14 PM |

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