Technological World for November 24, consumer tech: Fix your iPhone, Mophie's newest powerstation, Sonos Beam and Fire TVs

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Apple’s taking the right-to-repair movement seriously as it plans to sell parts to customers, Mophie’s got stocking stuffers, and connecting the Sonos Beam to Fire TV devices.

Apple’s making it easier for you to fix your own iPhone

Starting next year, Apple will start selling parts and tools to individuals who want to repair their own Apple products.

The rollout will begin in the U.S. only but will expand in 2022 to include other countries (presumably Canada will be on that list).

At first, Self Service Repair will be available for people looking to repair models of iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, but will ultimately include the line of computers that are built with Apple’s M1 chips.

Apple is clear that people should review a repair manual before ordering any parts to be sure that they’re capable of doing the work. If they end up placing an order for parts and tools, they can return their used parts for recycling and Apple will issue a credit.

The new Self Service Repair option adds to Apple’s expansion of retail repair options which includes a number of professional, third-party service outlets.

Power solutions from Mophie for your wireless devices

Mophie’s got a new portable power product that’s a great stocking stuffer.

The Mophie Snap+ powerstation and stand ($70 USD) is not just a provider of power for your smartphone, it also has a magnetic connector, so you can make sure that your magsafe iPhone is lined up properly for wireless charging. If you don’t have an iPhone it comes with an adhesive magnetic ring that you can affix to your smartphone.

And it comes with a stand, so you can perch it on your desk and have your phone titled so you can easily see it.

And it’s got a quarter-inch socket on the bottom so you can screw the power brick into a tripod, and you can use the portable power when you’re shooting video.

The other great Mophie gift is the Mophie 3-in-1 wireless stand for Apple products ($90 USD) which is perfect for the person in your life who has a Magsafe-enabled iPhone, and Airpods, and an Apple Watch, because they can have this on their nightstand and charge all three items at the same time.

Nothing better than Mophie for Christmas.

Answering some listener questions about the Sonos Beam soundbar

A listener called with some questions about the Sonos Beam soundbar that I talked about on the Shift last week.

They’ve got a 60-inch Amazon Fire TV (circa 2018) and was concerned about a note on the Sonos Beam product page that suggests the soundbar is “for TVs up to 55 inches”.

That’s misleading. I suspect that Sonos suggests that the Beam is best for smaller TVs because smaller TVs tend to be used in smaller rooms.

But it’s the size of your room that will dictate whether the Beam is sufficient of if you want to consider upgrading to the Sonos Arc ($1,099).

Where the Beam has five amplifiers, one tweeter, and four woofers, the Arc has eleven amplifiers, three tweeters, and eight woofers.

So the Arc will fill a larger room with sound better than a Beam.

But my family has a 65-inch screen in a smaller living space, and the Beam delivers more than enough sound.

The other question from the listener was whether Amazon’s upgraded Fire Stick Max would deliver better sound through the Sonos Beam and the answer to that is no.

The Fire TV Sticks provide streaming audio and video but the sticks themselves don’t provide any sound. The sound comes from the source, so if you’re watching a video with Dolby encoding the Sonos will be able to play it.

What the new Max version does provide, however, is a better Wi-Fi connection so you can stream larger files – like those that come with 4K experiences – without slowdowns and hiccups.

I will note that to use a Sonos Beam you will need to be able to connect to your TV with an HDMI cable or an optical cable. If you’re looking for Dolby Atmos surround sound, you’ll need to have an ARC or eARC HDMI port.

One final note about connecting a Sonos Beam to Amazon devices is that Sonos has Alexa built into all of its newer components. Google Assistant is also built-in.

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