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Review: Flexsound HuMu Augmented Audio Cushion

Don’t call the HuMu a speaker pillow. It’s an “Augmented Audio Cushion” that aims to add physical sensation to your audio experience with vibrations. It’s one of the more unique products we’ve ever tested and, in honesty, we thought it’d be a novelty device at best. We expected a cushion that transmits sound through foam to sound terrible and function like little more than a massage pillow, but we were wrong — the Flexsound HuMu sounds pretty good, and its vibrations really do add to the music experience. It’s about the closest thing to an audiophile pillow that we can imagine.


Review: Mophie Charge Stream Travel Kit with Charge Stream Pad Mini

Mophie has eagerly embraced Apple’s addition of wireless charging in its 2017 iPhone lineup — it was one of the first MFi partners to release an Apple-certified wireless charger in the form of its Wireless Charging Base last year, and more recently seems to have rebranded that original device into the Charge Stream Pad+, an updated version that is almost visually identical to the original model while offering more charging power and a micro USB power connection. Continuing with its “Charge Stream” branding, Mophie is back with a more portable version in the form of the Charge Stream Travel Kit.


Apple seeking to have four Qualcomm patents invalidated

Apple is now challenging four key patents as part of its ongoing legal battles with Qualcomm, Bloomberg reports. Specifically, Apple has filed petitions asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel four Qualcomm patents, claiming that the ideas that they cover aren’t new and therefore cannot be patented. All four are part of a patent-infringement lawsuit that Qualcomm filed against Apple last year in response to a patent royalty lawsuit initiated by Apple. The fight predominantly centers around whether the royalty fees that Qualcomm is demanding are excessive, and multiple hearings are already either scheduled or underway in the U.S., China, and Germany.


Daily Deal: Q3 Wireless Qi Charger

Today in iLounge Deals, you can get the Q3 Wireless Qi Charger for only $19.99 — that’s 33% off the regular price. Compact enough to tuck into your bag, the Q3 wireless charger is designed to take on the road with you, and features an anti-slip 360-degree silicon rubber cover for extra protection that also keeps your iPhone properly aligned and secure while charging. It’s also quite and unobtrusive, with no bright LEDs or loud beeping.

Get the Q3 Wireless Qi Charger now for only $19.99

Report: Apple actively seeking to phase out Lightning connector on future iPhones

Apple is actively working to remove the Lightning connector from future iPhone models, and in fact considered removing it from the iPhone X, according to a follow-up from MacRumors on today’s report on AirPower development. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman noted in the original report that “Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely” during the development of the iPhone X — which Gurman confirmed to MacRumors would have meant removing the Lightning connector entirely — but opted not to do so due to the lower speed of wireless charging and the added cost of including a wireless charging accessory in the box. That said, reports have circulated for the past few years that Apple is looking to remove most of the external ports and even buttons on the iPhone — a process that began with the controversial elimination of the headphone jack in 2017 — so it seems reasonable that as the cost and performance of wireless charging reaches an acceptable level, the Lightning port will be phased out entirely, and this also makes it seem unlikely that Apple is seriously pondering a switch to a native USB-C port. That said, the removal of the Lightning port is likely still a few years away, although with an increased focus on wireless headphones and wireless sync — compared to a few years ago, relatively few users tether their iPhone to a computer anymore — it definitely seems like something that is possible. It would also eliminate one of the most significant security vulnerabilities in the iPhone by preventing any direct connections at all — something Apple has already been working to tighten up in iOS 12.

Apple part of consortium working on Digital Car Key spec

The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), an organization dedicated to creating ubiquitous connectivity solutions between vehicles and mobile devices, has announced the Digital Key Release 1.0 Specification, which defines a standard that would allow drivers to download and store a digital key on their smartphones. Apple is part of the CCC, alongside car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, General Motors, and Hyundai, and Volkswagen, as well as other technology companies including LG, Panasonic, Samsung, NXP, and Qualcomm. The digital key spec defines way to securely transfer a vehicle key onto a smart device such as an iPhone, which can then be used via NFC to lock or unlock a car or star the engine. Keys can also be easily securely shared with other smartphone users. The application of the spec would go beyond personal consumer vehicles with uses in car sharing and car rental services as well. While some of these already implement their own server-based keyless entry systems, the new spec would allow for direct communication between a mobile device and the vehicle security system, rather than needing a request to be sent to a central provide and communicated back to the vehicle over a cellular data network. [via MacRumors]

AirPower to run stripped down version of iOS, now expected to arrive in September

Apple’s AirPower has gotten another more specific release date, this time from a slightly more reliable source, with Bloomberg reporting that the wireless charging mat is now on track for a September release. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also provides some insight into why the release has taken longer than expected — although Apple only said “2018” when AirPower was announced last year, many anticipated the device would be available earlier in 2018, with some reports suggesting March. Gurman notes that although Apple has been quiet about AIrPower, saying basically nothing since the initial announcement, the company has been actively working on the accessory behind the scenes, dealing with challenges such as making sure the charger doesn’t overheat and addressing the complexity of the circuitry. Unlike traditional Qi chargers, the AirPower is designed to charge up to three devices simultaneously, support the Apple Watch, and allow users to place any of their devices anywhere on the charging mat rather than having to aim for a specific spot.


Daily Deal: PDF Expert for Mac

For Thursday’s iLounge Deal, you can pick up the PDF Expert for Mac for only $24.99 — that’s 58% off the regular price. This 2015 App of the Year is still the top paid app in the App Store and will revolutionize the way you work and collaborate with documents, allowing you to edit PDF text, images, links, and outlines quickly and easily. Fix typos in contracts, rework sections of PDF documents, and more. You can also password protect sensitive documents and easily share your PDFs between your Mac, iPhone, and iPad via iCloud.

Get the PDF Expert for Mac now for only $24.99

Apple developing kids’ programming in partnership with Sesame Workshop

Apple is expanding its video content ambitions to include children’s programming through a new deal with Sesame Workshop, Variety reports. The deal includes a multi-series order and is expected to feature entirely original content including both live-action and animated shows, as well as a puppet series. Sesame Workshop is a non-profit educational organization best known for “Sesame Street” and has won more Daytime Emmys over the course of its 50-year history than any other children’s production company.

Apple Pay goes live in Norway, Poland; may be coming soon to Czech Republic

Apple has rolled out Apple Pay in both Poland and Norway this week, 9to5Mac reports, with the mobile payment service landing on eight Polish banks on Monday, followed by a subsequent launch on three banks in Norway on Tuesday. The service also launched in Ukraine last month, following Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent promise that the service would be rolling out to those three countries. Now, a new report from SmartMania (via 9to5Mac) suggests that Apple Pay will also be landing at Moneta Money Bank in the Czech Republic sometime in August. Meanwhile, Apple Pay also continues to expand in the U.S., with over 30 more new banks recently added.

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