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Sony Announces Three New Bluetooth Headphones

Ahead of the reveal of the iPhone 7, which is largely expected to usher in a new era of user interest in wireless headphones thanks to the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, Sony recently unveiled three new wireless headphone options for its customers (via SlashGear). Each of the three Bluetooth headphones couple together high-quality sound with Sony's "Extra Bass" technology, along with high-rated resistance to the elements for sports-related activities on two of the models. The first, most expensive set is the XB80BS Sports In-ear Headphones ($149.99), which come with a splash-proof IPX5 design that allows users to wear them in heavy rain and even clean them in water. In addition to being the most waterproofed of Sony's new headphones, the XB80BS also packs in the highest quality sound with "high fidelity wireless streaming" thanks to Bluetooth and LDAC technology for up to seven hours of music listening. From left to right: the $150, $100, and $80 models of Sony's new Bluetooth headphones The mid-range, XB70BT Bluetooth In-ear Headphones ($99.99) are a slight step down in comparison, with an overall lack of waterproofing and high-quality music streaming, that's compensated for with a focus on smartphone interactivity. Thanks to in-line remote controls with phone call and music playback functionality (lacking on the other headphones), along with 9 hours of battery life, Sony's XB70BT headphones are aimed more at daily casual users who don't need an emphasis on sports-related resistance. Lastly, the company's cheapest new headphones, the XB50BS Sports

Apple Partnering With Sony to Bring Apple Pay to Japan

Apple is partnering with Sony to bring its Apple Pay payments service to Japan, reports Japanese news site Nikkei. As has been previously rumored, Apple will make future versions of the iPhone compatible with Sony's FeliCa technology to allow Japanese citizens to use Apple Pay for contactless payments at FeliCa-compatible terminals. FeliCa is Sony's tap-to-pay format, which has been widely adopted in Japan. It's used to access the country's railway and bus system, and it's able to store e-money that can be used at vending machines, cafes, and other locations equipped with FeliCa systems. FeliCa is able to process transactions in a fraction of a second, making it suitable for use in a fast-paced transit environment. Users will also be able to store train tickets on their iPhones, letting them enter gates with a wave. Other proposed uses for the technology include integrating membership cards and replacing security key cards. Apple's foray into Japanese smartphone payment services will promote broader adoption of compatible terminals at retailers and event venues. Foreign travelers may be able to use foreign iPhones to make payments as well.The new iPhone is expected to be equipped with the technology needed to allow it to interface with FeliCa payment terminals, but according to Nikkei, Apple Pay is not likely to launch until Japan until next year. Instead, a gradual rollout is expected. Apple still needs to negotiate fees with financial institutions in Japan and establish deals with retailers and service providers that use the FeliCa readers, a process that will

Apple Turns to LG as Sony Falls Behind on Dual-Lens Camera Production for iPhone 7 Plus

Chris Chang of Nomura Securities has issued a note to investors claiming that Sony may be running behind schedule in terms of supplying Apple with dual-lens camera modules for the next-generation 5.5-inch iPhone, which rumors suggest may be called the iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone Pro.We think Sony may not be able to deliver its full share of dual cameras to Apple due to: (1) lower-than-expected yield, and (2) damage to its production facility from the April earthquake in Kumamoto.Chang believes that Apple will instead turn to LG as its primary supplier of dual-lens camera modules for the larger-sized iPhone expected to launch in September. Both investment bank Nomura Securities and research firm Citi Research believe all 5.5-inch iPhones will be equipped with dual-lens camera modules, rather than just one model, echoing comments made by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this month. Kuo previously said that Apple had two 5.5-inch versions of the iPhone 7 Plus in development, including one with a single iSight rear-facing camera and another boasting a dual-lens camera module, but he has since recanted. Meanwhile, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 is widely expected to retain a single-lens camera. Nomura Securities also believes that Apple will include optical image stabilization (OIS) on both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone, whereas the feature has been exclusive to the larger iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus over the past two generations. Leaked images, components, and renders potentially offer a first look at Apple's dual-lens camera system, but rumors have been

Sony's PlayStation Remote Play Feature Expanding to Mac and PC Tomorrow

Sony today announced plans to bring the PlayStation 4's Remote Play capabilities to the PC and Mac through an update that will be released tomorrow. With the update, PS4 owners will be able to play games remotely through a PC or a Mac. Remote Play is a feature that lets the PlayStation 4 send audio and video to a peripheral device, but it was previously only compatible with Sony's handheld console, the PlayStation Vita, the PlayStation TV set-top box, and select Sony smartphones and tablets. Remote Play has been around since the PlayStation 3 and the PSP, but Sony has never made an effort to expand it before. The decision to bring Remote Play to PCs and Macs comes after Microsoft introduced a remote gameplay feature for the Xbox One, allowing Xbox games to be played using a PC that runs Windows 10. Sony's feature is more robust as it also works with Macs and it works remotely -- the Xbox game streaming feature requires a connection through a home network. Sony makes Remote Play compatibility a requirement for all PlayStation 4 games that don't use peripherals, so most users will find that their entire PS4 game catalogs can be streamed to a Mac or PC. On Macs, Remote Play will work with the latest versions of Apple's OS X operating system, OS X 10.10 Yosemite and OS X 10.11 El Capitan. On PCs, the feature is compatible with machines running Windows 8.1 or 10 or later. A single DualShock 4 controller can be connected to a PC or Mac via a USB cable to serve as the gameplay controller for Remote Play. Games can be played in several resolutions and at several

Sony Announces Entry Into Smartphone Gaming Space With New Company 'ForwardWorks'

Sony is forming a new company, ForwardWorks, that will be focused on providing gamers with "full-fledged game titles" on their smartphone (via The Verge). ForwardWorks will begin operations on April 1, the same day that Sony has announced of all of its various PlayStation arms are set to be joined under the unified umbrella brand Sony Interactive Entertainment. The new company plans to create gaming experiences for users in Japan and Asia, but the company has hinted that there's a possibility for expansion into other territories after initial launches in those countries. While ForwardWorks has yet to confirm the specific smartphone operating systems it will be launching games on, it did tease the content of the upcoming mobile experiences, which will "leverage the intellectual property" of Sony's vast catalogue of well-known characters and franchises to use in each title. ForwardWorks will leverage the intellectual property of the numerous PlayStation® dedicated software titles and its gaming characters as well as the knowledge and know-how of gaming development expertise which was acquired over the years with PlayStation® business to provide gaming application optimized for smart devices including smartphones* to users in Japan and Asia. The company will aim to deliver users with opportunity to casually enjoy full-fledged game titles in the new field of the smart device market. The exact franchises in question that the Tokyo-based company plans to focus on have yet to be confirmed, but the terminology of the announcement suggests that ForwardWorks will be going a

Sony Launching 'Remote Play' of PS4 Games on Mac and PC 'Soon'

Sony has announced that its forthcoming Remote Play app for streaming PlayStation 4 games on Mac or Windows PC will be available "soon." PlayStation 4's latest 3.50 system software update launches in beta tomorrow, but Sony says the Remote Play functionality will not be available in the beta. Last November, Sony executive Shuhei Yoshida tweeted that it is working on an official Remote Play app for Mac and PC, enabling users to stream and play PS4 games on desktops and notebooks. Physically owning a PS4 will still be required to stream games. Remote Play is currently limited to various Sony devices, including the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV and newer Xperia-branded smartphones and tablets. All new PS4 games must be compatible with Remote Play, except for games that use peripherals such as PlayStation Move.

Sony's Dual Camera to See Inclusion in Devices From 'Major Smartphone Players'

Sony, the manufacturer behind many of the camera sensors used in Apple's iOS devices, recently confirmed that its dual-lens camera platform will be featured in devices from "major smartphone players" in 2016. The information was shared by Sony CFO Kenchiro Yoshida during the company's recent Q3 2015 earnings call and was highlighted by Xperiablog. Sony's camera technology is used by a wide range of smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, and Yoshida declined to name specific companies that would take advantage of Sony's dual-lens camera platform. Dual-lens technology has previously been used in smartphones such as the HTC M8, but it may soon become a more popular option following rumors that Apple plans to incorporate a dual-lens system into its iPhone 7 Plus. iPhone 7 mockup with dual-lens camera system (Image: Computer Bild) Apple is said to be planning to use dual-lens technology it acquired from Israeli camera company LinX in the iPhone 7 Plus, but Apple may still be incorporating Sony sensor components into its camera module. Apple is also said to be testing dual-lens camera samples from a range of manufacturers in Taiwan, Japan, and China. According to Yoshida, dual-lens camera systems will be coming from multiple major smartphone manufacturers this year, but because of slowdowns in the high-end smartphone market could impact production, 2017 will be the year when the dual lens camera platform really takes off.Well, for next year, our so-called dual lens - dual camera platform will be launched by, we believe, from major smartphone players. However, as I

Sony Working on App to Stream PS4 Games on Mac and PC

Sony executive Shuhei Yoshida has announced on Twitter that the company is working on an official Remote Play app for Mac and PC, enabling users to stream and play PS4 games on desktops and notebooks, per The Verge. Remote Play is currently limited to various Sony devices, including the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV and newer Xperia-branded smartphones and tablets. All new PS4 games must be compatible with Remote Play, except for games that use peripherals such as PlayStation Move. Some people asked if we plan to provide Remote Play function to PC, and yes, we are indeed working on an official application for PC/Mac. :D— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) November 27, 2015 While owning a PS4 gaming console will still be required to play games like Fallout 4 or Destiny on a Mac or PC, the expanded Remote Play app will move Sony games one step closer to true cross-platform

Sony's 'Music Unlimited' Service Shutting Down After Failing to Emerge as Viable iTunes Alternative

Sony announced on Wednesday that it will be shutting down its Music Unlimited on-demand streaming music service ahead of launching Spotify on PlayStation Music. Music Unlimited will shut down in all 19 countries it operated on March 29, 2015, with nearly all of the countries among the 41 regions that Spotify for PlayStation Music will be available upon launch, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Music Unlimited launched in December 2010 on PlayStation Network in several countries worldwide, and the service was later extended to iPhone [Direct Link], Android, PlayStation Vita and other devices and platforms. In February 2011, it was reported that Sony viewed Music Unlimited as a potential iTunes Store alternative and that it was considering pulling music from Apple's platform if its own service became successful."If we do [get mass take up] then does Sony Music need to provide content to iTunes?" Mr Ephraim asked. "Currently we do. We have to provide it to iTunes as that's the format right now." "Publishers are being held to ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold."The on-demand streaming music landscape has gone through significant change in the past three years, however, and Music Unlimited failed to remain competitive with industry leaders such as Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and Beats Music. Music Unlimited users with active subscriptions will continue to have free access to the service through the March 29 closing

Sony CEO Confirms Camera Module Production for Apple? 8-Megapixel Camera on iPhone 5?

According to 9 to 5 Mac, Walt Mossberg tonight conducted an interview with Sony CEO Howard Stringer at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of the JapanNYC festival, and Stringer interestingly revealed that its shipments of camera sensors to Apple have been delayed by the effects of the earthquake in Japan last month. Sony is not currently known to be a camera supplier for Apple, as OmniVision Technologies has been reported as the sole supplier of image sensors for all of Apple's mobile products so far. Stringer just said that their camera image sensor facility in Sendai was affected by the tsunami. Getting image sensors to Apple will be delayed.Stringer's discussion of camera production for Apple was confirmed by The Wall Street Journal: Early on, he raised the irony of Sony supplying camera components for Apple devices. It "always puzzles me," he said. "Why would I make Apple the best camera?" It is unclear what devices he was talking about as Sony isn't known to supply key camera components, known as image sensors, to Apple; A Sony spokeswoman declined to comment and an Apple spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment.Given that Sony is not believed to be a camera supplier for any of Apple's current products, the assumption is that the cameras are for an unreleased product that may be in the early stages of a production ramp-up. That assumption draws renewed attention to an April 2010 report from Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar claiming that Sony had in fact been tabbed to provide image sensors for the 2011 version of the iPhone, with the sensors reportedly