Tag Archives: iphone

Thoughts about my experiences with a new iPhone 7 without a headphone jack

Early this year the tech world exploded over that there wouldn’t be a headphone jack in the new iPhone, there are still blind people who say they won’t buy another one because of that; and Although I wasn’t happy about it, i thought boycotting them altogether was a bit too far. When Belkin announced their Lightning audio plus charge Rockstar  with 2 Lightning ports and Apple announced including their new $9 Lightning to headphone adaptor, I felt the annoyance was easily resolvable. Even with this resolution, some of those earlier mentioned extremists still won’t buy another iPhone saying it just makes the phone $50 more expensive than the already high price. Yes, spending $40 for an extra dongle to carry around so you can use wired headphones and charge simultaneously is annoying, but in the end I still don’t find it that big of a deal, even with a low income. Even though Apple does include one of their adaptors, I have bought 2 more and 1 sits in a drawer as a spare..

I got my iPhone 7 on October 4, and I was told the Belkin dongle wasn’t available yet until November second, ye that was annoying. A few Skype calls ended prematurely because of a dying battery, and some times I had to use Bluetooth headphones so I could charge, and then there was the pillow speaker I use when going to bed. For the first week I used my old iPhone 6 plus to play podcasts or audio books before sleeping, but I really wanted to use the new iPhone for everything and didn’t want to wait for the dongle.

Then I had a bit of intuition. I remembered I had 2 Anker Bluetooth adaptors, that I used for my combining audio streams into one Bluetooth headset project, so I paired one of them to the pillow speaker and it worked, great; except for 1 problem. The adaptors also run on a battery, and batteries still don’t last forever for some reason. I turned the adapter on so that it was receiving Bluetooth audio from my phone and piping it to the speaker, then I plugged it into USB to charge, and it shut off. I was momentarily frustrated, but then I just turned it back on again and it worked, even when charging on USB and it kept working, for 3 days until I unplugged it, and was still all charged up; problem solved. Finally the Belkin Lightning port Rockstar was available, even a week early, and it is nice to have; though I don’t need 2 of them as i originally thought I would with 1 going to the pillow speaker. The Bluetooth adaptor costs $30, so saved $10 there too. Now that I can charge and use wired headphones simultaneously even when charging like I could before when iPhones had headphone jacks, I can sigh with relief; that is until I forget to take the dongle with me somewhere. Still, for the most part, it puts the no headphone jack problem back into the tea pot with all the tempests of tempestuous pasts.

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How I combined multiple audio sources into one Bluetooth headset

Back in the day  i’d have to hold the phone up to my ear whenever I wanted to use GPS or anything with the screenreader, and if a bus went by, it was   a complete   fail.    then in early 2013  my friend Hai Nguyen Ly gave me a pair of the Aftershokz 1st generation bone conducting  headphones and my workflow in public was changed forever. I could use my iPhone  anywhere and besides being able to hear it in any situation quiet or loud it didn’t bother anyone around me either.

 

The problems above were very similar with talking watches which is why until the Apple watch I had always preferred braille watches. I’ve found a lot of cool uses for my Apple watch but the problem of its audio coming out the speaker in public still remained.

 

Aftershokz came out with their Trekz   Titanium model earlier this year, and among other things in their marketing speak was mentioned Bluetooth multipoint; that their new flagship model could pair with 2 Bluetooth devices. I was excited, if i could get the audio from both my iPhone and Apple watch into the same pair of bone conducting  headphones that would be huge, but alas pairing with 2 devices did not mean simultaneously.

 

Over a year  ago my friend @cajunluke

told me about the Belkin  audio splitter Rockstar, and I’d also remembered Allison Sheridan and Dave Hamilton  talking about the Amtech Bean Bluetooth receiver, but it could only receive, if there was a bluetooth transmitter? A plan began forming in my mind.

 

 an Amazon delivery later I had a Rockstar and 2 Anker audio bluetooth adaptors  , which can both transmit and receive, though not simultaneously, and a bunch of patch cords and was ready to go.

 

The Rockstar has been out for a while and using it to combine wired audio sources is widely understood, but I was trying to  combine both  Bluetooth and analog audio  sources and also put them altogether, out to a Bluetooth headset.

I wondered how to combine 2 Bluetooth devices together when neither had a keyboard nor a display, but the Aftershokz and the Anker Bluetooth adaptor pair nicely as long as you remember to get them both into pair mode simultaneously it works most times.

 

One adaptor is set to receive and is paired to the watch. The other adaptor is set to transmit and is paired to the Aftershokz.

I wear cargo pants so the large pockets are great for a bunch of cables plugged altogether, the shorter the patch cords the better.

 

the system works very well, the more devices plugged into the Rockstar the lower the volume is because of resistance but so far there’s still enough volume to go around for me. Having the audio from my watch in the headset makes it much more productive for me in public even if no one was around to be annoyed by the watch speaker. When I used Apple pay  VoiceOver lowers the volume  for security, i could still hear it and much better through the headset. 

I also do BrainPort testing for Wicab 

and the Rockstar has 5 audio jacks so I can  plugged that in also which greatly improves how I hear it especially in loud environments.  

 

I’m surprised that seemingly few know about the Rockstar, but also haven’t heard of anyone combining it with Bluetooth adaptors. I know it will be part of my workflow for some time.