Announced earlier in February, Pioneer's Rayz Plus Lightning earphones allow Apple users to simultaneously listen to music or make a phone call while also charging their iPhone, thanks to the inclusion of an inline charging node. Today, the company announced a new feature called "Smart Mute" coming to the earphones as well as two new Rayz Plus colors launching exclusively on Apple.com and in Apple retail stores.
Rayz Plus and the basic Rayz earphones (the latter do not include an inline Lightning port) are both getting the new Smart Mute ability, which automatically mutes the microphone when a user is not speaking and unmutes it when they begin talking. Pioneer said that this will be perfect for any Rayz wearers who often find themselves taking calls on the earphones in noisy environments.
The update will be available through the Rayz app on the iOS App Store [Direct Link]. Pioneer worked with Avnera Corporation in developing Smart Mute, and Avnera CEO Manpreet Khaira said that it is "one of several smart technologies" being developed by the company.
"Rayz appcessories were launched with a commitment to deliver new compelling experiences for our customers through future software updates using the Rayz companion iOS app" said Munenori Otsuki, CEO of Pioneer and Onkyo Corporation. "In keeping with this commitment, we are pleased to announce Smart Mute today, a feature that will enable truly compelling call experiences."
Customers are also now able to buy Rayz Plus earphones in new Black and Rose Gold color options only on Apple.com and in Apple retail locations around the world. Currently, the Rayz earphones are available in Onyx Black and Ice White, while the Rayz Plus are available in Graphite and Bronze.
Existing features of the Rayz and Rayz Plus earphones include AutoPause technology so music starts and stops automatically when the buds are placed in or removed from the user's ear, HearThru noise cancelling, Smart Button controls, and dynamic audio adjustment via the iOS app.
Pioneer today introduced Rayz Rally, which it claims is the world's first Lightning-powered plug-and-play speaker that has no battery.
The portable speaker can be used to listen to music, but Pioneer is heavily marketing it as a speakerphone for conference calling.
For conference calling, Pioneer says users simply plug the Rally into the Lightning connector, initiate calls from the iPhone, and the call is automatically transferred to the speaker. Despite being small enough to fit in a pocket, the speaker is supposedly loud enough to be used in a boardroom.
The speaker has a single button on the front that can mute/unmute calls or play/pause music depending on what it's being used for. A standard Lightning to USB cable can be plugged into the Rayz Rally to use the speaker with a Mac or PC, or to enable pass-through charging to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Pioneer said the Rayz Rally is available today for $99.95 on Apple.com and at Apple Stores worldwide in the colors Ice, Onyx, and Space Gray. It's also available on Amazon in the United States. Prices vary by country.
Pioneer today announced a pair of new smart Lightning earphones, the Rayz and Rayz Plus. The Plus model includes a built-in Lightning port that allows users to charge their phone while listening to music. Pioneer says it's the "first and only" Lightning headset with a built-in "charging node."
While the regular Rayz do not include a Lightning port, both models use Avnera's LightX technology, which allows the headphones to "operate in modes that use the lowest power possible" from an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Both models also come with six microphones that can enable several smart features, which can be activated by an accompanying app that will be released in the future. Smart Noise Cancellation scans the user's ear and environment to optimize the noise cancellation for that specific situation. Pioneer says the noise cancellation covers "everyday life," including commuting and school environments. The earphones also have HearThruä mode, which allow enough outside noise to keep users engaged with what's going on around them.
Like Apple's AirPods, the Rayz also have sensors that stop and start the music when a user puts the earphones in or out of their ears. When not in a user's ears, the Rayz automatically enter low power mode to save battery power. The earphones also come with a one-button click to mute the mic during a call and a programmable smart button.
The Rayz app allows users to customize the sound the earphones deliver as well as programming the smart button. In addition, Pioneer says the app will allow the earphones to gain additional features in the future.
The regular Rayz earphones will retail for $99.95 in both Onyx black and Ice white while the Rayz Plus will retail for $149.95 in both metallic Graphic and Bronze. They'll be available to purchase on OneCall.com in the future.