Put a plus on it: Apple launches Pill+, the first new Beats product since takeover

The first Beats product announcement since the brand’s acquisition by Apple in August of 2014 just dropped, and it takes the form of a new Bluetooth speaker, the Beats Pill+.

A little larger than the compact Pill, yet slightly sized down from the now-discontinued Pill XL, the Pill+ aims to strike a balance between portability and sound quality. In addition to its reworked size, the new Bluetooth speaker takes on a new shape, with a slightly flatter bottom and top for increased stability. As well, control buttons have been moved from the back of the speaker to the top for more convenient access. The speaker is now charged by way of a lightning cable (of course!) and is said to take a full charge in just three hours. Battery life has been increased to an estimated 12-hours total playback time.

Otherwise, the Pill+ reads on paper very much like its predecessor. It continues to sport two mid/bass drivers, flanked by tweeters at the far ends of its enclosure to maximize stereo separation. You can also count on being able to charge your devices thanks to an included USB charging port.

Other new features include a DJ mode, which allows up to two people to connect to the speaker and trade off queuing up tracks, and the ability to pair two Pill+ speakers together for expanded stereo separation or for playing the same music in more than one room (provided your device is within reach of both speakers).

It will be interesting to get a listen to this new speaker when it comes available. Aside from its reputation as a fire-starter, the Pill XL was a pretty fine-sounding speaker, all things considered. One concern with the Pill+ is the absence of a passive bass radiator, which added a significant amount of low end to the XL that we fear may go missing with this new model. Still, much hay is being made by Beats over how much time was spent sculpting the Pill+’s sound. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

The Beats Pill+ will start out at a suggested price of $230 and can be found at Apple.com and authorized Beats retailers sometime “next month.”