Teenage Engineering, the Swedish design firm that created various weird and beautiful gadgets like Panic's Playdate gaming handheld and the the OP-1 music synthesizer, has a new device to ogle. The TP–7 is a field recorder, meant for capturing audio during interviews, sampling sounds out in the wild, recording music performances, or capturing voice notes.
It looks like a retro-futuristic MiniDisc player or, as the designers likely intended, an old-school tape reel player. Retro aesthetics aside, Teenage Engineering’s gizmos are known for being absolutely stuffed with modern features. The TP-7 is no different. For starters, it has an accompanying transcription mode when synced to an iOS app, so your voice recordings can be converted to text.
The device is meant to nestle into the palm of your hand, so there’s a rocker along the side where your index and ring fingers would naturally rest. Pressing that rocker switch one way or the other lets you fast-forward or reverse the audio playback. Yes, that disc in the center smoothly spins like a tape reel while the TP-7 is playing or recording. The movement is mostly for show (it’s all digital; there’s no actual tape in there), but the wheel can be used to scrub through the audio by spinning it quickly or to pause the recording by grabbing it and stopping its movement. Unnecessary? Yes. Cool? Well, yeah. It’s got seven hours of battery life and 128 gigabytes of internal storage for all your audio keepsakes.
Cool as it looks and likely feels, it may not be the best choice for your audio recording needs. The TP-7 doesn’t have an XLR input, the connector type that is a standard in many professional mics and other audio equipment. There is an internal mic built into the TP-7, of course, along with three 3.5-mm inputs that will take a typical aux cord. There’s also a 6.35-mm output that you can use to connect the recorder to fancy headphones or speakers. It’s also much, much more expensive than one of the standard audio recorders sold by industry leaders like Tascam or Zoom. The TP-7 is going for—record scratch—$1,500. The company says it will be released sometime this summer.
Read on for more gadget news.
iPad Music and Video
In other audio production news, Apple is sticking its formerly desktop-only software Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro on the iPad. The iPad has carved out a nice little niche for itself in the beat-making business with a rich library of music creation apps, so getting the digital audio workstation Logic on there makes a ton of sense.
Apple is making its Final Cut Pro video editing software available for the device as well. Both software suites have new controls and features that take advantage of the iPad’s touchscreen. You can use multitouch to stretch and move clips around, or change pitch and other audio settings in Logic. Both programs allow exporting to their respective desktop counterparts.
Each program is available as a subscription service for $5 per month or $50 per year.
Amazon Anywhere All at Once
If you ever felt like it’s just not easy enough to impulse-buy from Amazon, good news: The retailer has a new service that lets you buy stuff while playing games. Called Amazon Anywhere, it’s a service that can be embedded in partner apps and virtual services to better enable you to quickly buy things in real life.
The first game to work with Amazon Anywhere is Peridot, by Pokemon Go creator Niantic. The game tasks you with caring for and bonding with augmented reality critters projected in the real world. (Think Pokemon Go meets Tamagotchi.) The way the payments work is that you sync your Amazon account in the game, which will then allow you to spend real money to buy physical merch with your imaginary animals printed on it.
In other Amazon-shopping-tech news, the company has expanded a recent TikTok-like feed where influencers and brands peddle their goods in short videos. Amazon launched the feature in a limited rollout in December but has now made it available to include everyone in the US who’s capable of scrolling endlessly.
An AI I/O 4 U
Google held its I/O developer conference this week, where it announced its plans to splatter AI features across its services like paint on a Pollock canvas. Google has always had AI and machine learning algorithms simmering in the background of its apps and devices, but now the company feels the need to catch up with the other key players in generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing Chat. So Google is sticking AI in everything and making a show of it, from new AI features in Photos, search, and Android to its Workspace suite of Docs, Sheets, Gmail, and Slides.