Elgato is one of the more prolific HomeKit accessory makers we've covered, with a diverse lineup of accessories ranging from weather sensors to outlets, so it's no surprise that the company has continued to expand its HomeKit lineup in unique new directions with the recent debut of Eve Light Switch, a Bluetooth-based HomeKit in-wall switch for controlling lighting or any other fixtures and appliances that are controlled via a standard wall switch. Although Lutron's Caséta Wireless System was the first to offer HomeKit-compatible in-wall dimmers, it's worth noting that Elgato's new Light Switch represents the first completely standalone HomeKit light switch solution — it connects directly to HomeKit via Bluetooth and no additional hub or bridge is required.
iHome's iPLWBT5 ($130) is an alarm clock radio with a built-in Lightning dock, and a built-in Apple Watch charger, allowing users to charge a Lightning-based iPhone and Apple Watch simultaneously with no cables. iPLWBT5 has typical alarm clock functions, while also letting users wake up to audio from a docked device or Bluetooth — yes, the speaker is also Bluetooth compatible. An extra USB charging port can be found on the back of the clock radio, so users can even charge a third device, if they so desire. The alarm clock's display has an auto dimming feature to adjust to nearby light. Other features include dual alarms, speakerphone functionality, and auto sync for the time — iHome's clock radio will immediately sync with a docked iOS device to display the time accurately.
In advance of Nintendo’s Dec. 15 iOS release of Super Mario Run, Apple is now offering playable demos of the game on display iPhone and iPad units in Apple retail stores. Nintendo has also been promoting the title, with an appearance by Nintendo U.S. head Reggie Fils-Aimé on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, who led a TV demo and allowed Fallon to run through a level of the game.
In our iLounge Deal for today, we’re offering the SKEYE Nano 2 FPV Drone for only $99 — that’s 23% off the regular price. This shockingly agile and tiny flying machine allows you to perform cool airborne stunts like figure eights, banking turns, flips, and more, both indoors and out, and the HD, Wi-Fi controlled camera lets you record incredible real-time first-person video. Further, the on-board Wi-Fi means you can use your iPhone or iPad instead of the included controller if you’d prefer.
Brydge's Brydge 12.9 ($189) is, as you might expect, a keyboard for the 12.9" iPad Pro. Made out of aluminum, the Bluetooth keyboard has hinges which attach to the iPad, giving it a laptop look when in use. Keys are backlit, with three levels of lighting. The top row of keys is devoted to iOS functions, such as screen brightness, playback, and volume. Brydge claims the Brydge 12.9 lasts for three months before its battery needs recharged via micro-USB (a cable is included). Brydge 12.9 comes in space gray, gold, and silver.
Apple is attempting to negotiate with Hollywood studios to offer access to movie rentals — possibly as early as two weeks after they open in theaters — according to a new report by Bloomberg. The move appears to have been initiated by several of the big studios, including 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures, which have confirmed that they are looking for ways to offer “high-priced” video rentals of new movies shortly after they open in theaters. People familiar with the matter have said that the studios are considering a deal with iTunes as a possible option, although Apple is not necessarily the only company that the studios have been in talks with. Sources have suggested that one of the main concerns regarding whether iTunes will be a suitable choice centers on the security of the platform to avoid jeopardizing box office sales from pictures that are still in theaters. Despite Apple’s tight FairPlay DRM security on existing iTunes rentals, studio executives are concerned that users could still use a camera to record a movie playing on a TV screen; by comparison at least one competing startup named in the report has implemented watermarking technology that would in theory allow the source of a leak to be tracked to a specific end user, thereby discouraging piracy.
Only two days after a sixth iOS 10.2 beta was released to developers, Apple has now released a seventh beta for the upcoming iOS version today. The latest beta, with a build number of 14C92, actually comes in as a 1.98GB OTA update, unlike prior beta updates that were generally under 100MB; the larger size points to the possibility that this latest beta may be a final “GM” release leading to an impending general release of iOS 10.2 to the public. We’ll update with any notable findings.
Apple has revealed its “Best of 2016” picks for the apps, movies, TV shows and books sold in its App Stores and iTunes. The company chose the photo editing app Prisma as its iPhone App of the Year (as did we), calling the app’s ability to turn photos into works of art “almost too cool for words.” MSQRD, with its live photo and video filters, took the runner-up spot. Clash Royale was named iPhone Game of the Year, followed by runner-up Reigns, with Pokémon GO getting a special distinction as the Breakout Hit of 2016.
Apple has quietly made a change to its Apple Music Membership FAQ, explaining that Apple Music members no longer need to subscribe separately to iTunes Match. The FAQ appears to have been updated within the last three to four weeks, and unequivocally states that users who subscribe to Apple Music do not need to also subscribe to iTunes Match, as “Apple Music includes all the benefits of iTunes Match to make all of your music available on all of your devices.”
Apple Music has passed the 20 million subscriber mark a year and a half after its launch, Billboard reports. Apple SVP of Internet Software and Products Eddy Cue said 60 percent of those subscribers haven’t bought music from iTunes in the last year, signaling a new era where streaming is becoming the new normal. Cue said offering exclusives is a big part of that, with the company giving a particular push to hip-hop acts that he felt were “underrepresented both in iTunes and in the streaming chart.” “We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists’] passions and drive them all the way to No. 1,” Cue said “Chance the Rapper, who we put on Apple Music exclusively, hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts [based on streams alone], and I can’t recall that being done before.”