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Review: Harman Kardon Soho Wireless Headphones

Harman Kardon's Soho Wireless ($250) is a new Bluetooth on-ear headphone set — a newer version of the company's prior Soho Slim wired headphones. Soho Wireless has a similar look with a leather finish, but it has a different feel when wearing. In addition to Bluetooth, the headphones add NFC and a rechargeable battery. Hidden touch-sensitive controls on the outside of the right earcup control volume and playback, while the Bluetooth button, 3.5mm audio input, micro-USB port, and microphone can be found on the bottom of the same earcup. Harman Kardon includes an audio cable and a micro-USB cable for charging, along with a soft carrying case. The headphones come in black, brown, or white.

Tip of the Day: Monitoring Battery Usage in iOS 8

We all strive to get as much battery life as we can out of our mobile devices, and while many users have mixed experiences with the iPhone’s battery life, there’s little doubt that it can sometimes be confusing trying to figure out exactly why some days are better than others. While this has been shrouded in mystery for years in the world of iOS devices, the good news is that iOS 8 can finally give you some insight in this area.

While it’s a bit hidden away – you’ll need to take a trip into the Settings app and then look under General, Usage, Battery Usage – once you get there you’ll find some useful tracking on which of your apps are the biggest power hogs, and you can choose to see stats over either the past 24 hours or the past 7 days, expressed as a percentage of the power used by each app when your device is not plugged in. Apps that have been using power in the background will also be annotated with notes like “Background Location” to help you clarify where your juice is going. If there are any obvious tips that can help to improve your battery life, you’ll also see a section for “Battery Life Suggestions” covering things like enabling automatic screen locking.…

Daily Deal: Enter to win a pair of wireless Beats studio headphones

Today in iLounge Deals we’re giving away a pair of wireless Studio Beats Headphones. To enter, simply submit your e-mail address on the giveaway page to sign up for our iLounge Deals, and you can even gain additional entries by sharing on Twitter and Facebook – the more your friends and followers enter, the more entries you receive. The winner will be chosen in a random drawing on Februrary 25, 2015. Good luck!

Enter The Beats by Dre Giveaway now

Chinese Government may require Apple to build ‘back door’ into iPhones

A new report from The New York Times reveals that the Chinese Government is implementing new regulations that will require technology companies to comply with a stringent set of security disclosures and procedures in order to sell equipment to Chinese banks. The new rules are laid out in a 22-page document and are only the first in a new set of policies from the Chinese government which intend to strengthen cybersecurity in key Chinese industries. Requirements under the new terms would include turning over proprietary source code for operating systems and firmware, submitting to invasive audits, and including back doors in hardware and software that would allow the Chinese government to gain access to data stored on or transmitted from electronic devices. Apple, for example, would be required to redesign the encryption system used on the iPhone to protect user data in order to provide keys that would allow the Chinese government to decrypt such data. It was revealed last week that Apple agreed to allow the Chinese government to conduct “security inspections” on its products, although it is unclear if this is directly related to the new regulations.

Critics of the new policies, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, suggest that cybersecurity claims are really just covering for protectionism, and that the new rules are simply a means of bolstering the Chinese tech industry by requiring companies to use only domestically produced products and services. The new measures notably go far beyond those taken by most other countries, however they are also not atypical of the sort of technology policies seen in China – a country in which the government has routinely monitored and censored Internet traffic and services for decades. While the new policies only apply to companies doing business with Chinese banks, it’s generally anticipated that they will be expanded in the coming year to other industries which the Chinese government considers critical.

Ask iLounge: How do I get a phone number on iMessage?

Q: How do I create my own phone number or at least get a new number on iMessage? It’s kind of hard using my e-mail as a phone number.

A: The short answer is that there isn’t any way to assign a phone number to iMessage manually. In other words, you can’t actually punch a number in anywhere on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or even Apple’s website. If you have an active iPhone, that device’s phone number automatically gets used for iMessage, and if you don’t have an iPhone, the only way to get a phone number into iMessage for your other devices is to get an iPhone.

Mac: Pushbullet for Mac

The Handoff and Continuity features in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are a really handy addition to improving inter-device workflows, but the features are still somewhat limited to Apple’s own technologies and pairings of third-party apps specifically designed to support the features. For those looking for something that goes a bit beyond, there’s

Apps: The LEGO Movie Video Game, Rocket Cars, SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run, 1Password 5.2 + more

New Games

The LEGO Movie Video Game ($5) — Almost one year after the release of The LEGO Movie comes the, aptly, if not originally titled, companion game. Generally following the storyline of the movie, the iOS game puts players into the world of Emmet as he finds himself unwittingly pulled into a quest to save the world and stop the evil tyrant Lord Business. Featuring a mix of more than 90 characters from the film, including Batman, Superman, the Green Ninja, Gandalf, Benny, and more, the game takes players through 45 exciting levels featuring all of the LEGO worlds shown in the original movie, from Flatbush Gulch to Cloud Cuckoo Land and beyond. Players must collect and use LEGO instruction pages to learn to build in a new way and harness the power of the Master Builders to create extraordinary LEGO structures and vehicles. The game also features scenes from the film and employs the same LEGO toy set animation style developed for the original movie.

Rocket Cars (free) — From Illusion Labs, the creators of Touchgrind Skate 2, Mr. Crab, and the Labyrinth series of games, comes this new car racing game. As the name implies, players strap in and rocket their way through a variety of landcapes, including offroad desert tracks, picturesque wooded areas, and a challenging copper world. Rocket Cars features over 60 levels and competing AI cars with increasing difficulty as well as unique single-touch controls and a variety of upgrades and power-ups that can be gained by performing tricks to knock out opponents and reach the goal first.

SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run ($4) — Just in time for the upcoming SpongeBob movie, Nickoledeon’s new endless runner puts players in the role of SpongeBob SquarePants and Plankton, on a quest to find the lost Krabby Patty formula. On their journey, players travel through Bikini Bottom, Apocalyptic Bikini Bottom, and a real world beach while flying past obstacles with Plankton’s jetpack, floating through coral forests in a bubble, or racing along in the Patty Wagon. Users can customize SpongeBob with unique costumes, collect various power-ups, and even become Super SpongeBob to knock everything out of their path. The game also features exclusive custom voice-overs and animation.

Daily Deal: Stay charged with the rugged ZeroLemon SolarJuice 20,000mAh battery backup

In today’s iLounge Deal we’re offering the ZeroLemon SolarJuice 20000mAh Battery for only $49.99 – that’s 50% off the normal price. Combining a 20,000 mAh battery pack with a 1.2W monocrystalline solar panel, the SolarJuice lets you power up your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or other USB device repeatedly and can be plugged in to charge up at home, or simply recharge from the power of the sun. Dual outputs allow for simultaneous charging of multiple devices, with a 2.1A port for charging your iPad at full speed. The battery is also certificated for over 1000 recharge cycles, and with 20,000 mAh, you can charge an iPhone 6 more than seven times over. As an added bonus, this durable, lightweight and compact battery pack also includes an ultra bright LED flashlight, making it a great solution for any number of outdoor activities.

Get the ZeroLemon SolarJuice 20000mAh Battery now for only $49.99

Notes from Apple’s Q1 2015 earnings call

During Apple’s conference call announcing its record-breaking numbers from Q1 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked it off by saying that “demand for iPhone has been staggering, shattering our high expectations,” referring to the 74.5 million iPhones sold in the first quarter. “This volume is hard to comprehend.” He said the company sold 34,000 iPhones every hour of every day of the entire quarter.

Cook also briefly mentioned that he expects Apple Watch to ship in April. It’s the first official acknowledgment of a specific month for the release of Apple’s upcoming wearable. “My expectations are very high on it, I’m using it every day, and love it, and can’t live without it,” Cook said.

Questioned about the iPad’s future, Cook mentioned that first-time buyer rates for iPads are very high, and later mentioned that Apple’s enterprise partnership with IBM is “profound.”

Cook: Apple Watch shipping in April

CEO Tim Cook said the company is expecting to ship the upcoming Apple Watch in April. Cook briefly mentioned the tidbit during today’s conference call announcing Apple’s record-breaking Q1 2015 results. It’s the first time Apple has narrowed down the release date of its upcoming smartwatch to a specific month, but no particular date was mentioned.

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