Beats has been pretty quiet since being acquired by Apple early last year, coming out with only refreshed Solo headphones and Powerbeats earphones they were likely working on long before the acquisition. In other words, we’ve yet to see much of Apple’s influence over their new audio brand – until now. Today, Beats is releasing the Pill+, the first update to their portable Bluetooth speaker since its October 2012 introduction.
The original Pill was advanced for its time, but it was due for an update now that the market is flooded with lots of portable bluetooth speakers. The new Pill+ has separate tweeters producing mids and highs, with the woofers handling the low notes. It’s an industry standard choice in 2015, but that’s why a refresh was so badly needed. We had a brief hands on with the Pill+ and walked away impressed with its audio prowess, which is a major improvement over its predecessor. Another familiar Bluetooth speaker feature making its way to the Pill+ is stereo pairing – pair two Pill+ units, and you can use them as left and right channels for stereo sound.
Battery life has been improved as well, with Beats providing a 12-hour estimate, which is up from the original’s 7 hours. If you don’t think you’ll be using up all of that battery life, you can use the charging port on the Pill+ to give some extra juice to one of your other mobile devices. The device even has a dedicated lightning connector, and it’s powerful enough to charge an iPad on the go. Yay, for that Apple influence!
The Apple influence, unsurprisingly, is further seen in the aesthetic design. In other words, it looks like an Apple product, just with a ‘b’ on it. The ‘b’ on the logo has ditched red for white and sits on top of a speaker that comes in white or black. The white version is classic Apple, with white on a kind of machined aluminum shade.
The Beats Pill+ will work with a companion app available for both iOS and Android. The free app is what you’ll use to pair speakers, either to get more volume or to use the stereo sound feature. The Beats Pill+ is available now in stores for $230, but not quite yet on Beats’ website – you can sign up to be notified when it’s available online. Keep an eye out for our full review of the Beats Pill+ in November.