Welcome to our new, continuously-updated First Looks - a collection of previews showing brand new iPod, iPhone and iPad accessories that we’re currently in the process of testing. Here’s what’s hot right now:
Company: Western Digital
Model: My Passport Wireless
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones + iPod touches
Western Digital's My Passport portable hard drives have all been appealingly small and ready to take pretty much anywhere -- except that they've depended on a computer for connectivity and power. Made entirely from plastic, My Passport Wireless ($180-$220) preserves the same compact design but is capable of fully wireless operation. A six-hour rechargeable battery and 802.11n MIMO Wi-Fi enable the 1TB or 2TB hard disk to stream media content to up to eight devices, using the company's My Cloud iOS app to browse content. One USB 3.0 cable and a wall adapter are included for times when you're able to connect to a data and/or power source. The neat twist here is an integrated SD card slot, which can be used to instantly share content over the same Wi-Fi connection; you can also use My Passport Wireless as a Wi-Fi hub, or get it to join your existing wireless network. We'll have a full review of My Passport Wireless soon.
Compatible: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
Released alongside the new iPhones, Apple's iPhone 6 Silicone Case ($35) and iPhone 6 Plus Silicone Case ($39) are slightly less expensive versions of its Leather Cases, available in a wider and generally brighter array of six colors, but otherwise featuring the exact same design. Each case is a wraparound shell with full top and right side coverage, substantial back and left side coverage, then a completely open bottom and front. On the outside is a thin layer of silicone rubber, while the inside has an embossed microfiber lining; the rear camera is ringed by a thin layer of black plastic in each version. Button protection is included, but the bottom of each iPhone 6/6 Plus is left fully open, a boon for accessory connection but less than ideal for protection of the bottom speaker, microphone, and accessory ports.
Compatible: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
A few more iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases are showing up before the devices have even been released. Incipio's DualPro Shine ($35) for iPhone 6 is a dual-layer rubber and plastic case with an aluminum finish on the back of the plastic shell. Edge ($30), also for iPhone 6, is a hard plastic shell slider case with a matte finish. Though it's a slider, Edge still retains the same standard port openings at the bottom of the case as seen in the DualPro Shine. NGP ($20) is a soft shell, flexible plastic case for iPhone 6 Plus. It comes in a number of colors, all translucent.
Models: WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set
Compatible: iPhone 3GS to 6 Plus, iPod touch 4G/5G, iPad 2 to Air, All iPad minis
The WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set ($100) is the newest entry in Belkin's lineup of home automation products that began two years ago with its WeMo Switch and WeMo Switch + Motion, and has been more recently expanding into everything from crock pots to humidifiers. With this latest entry, Belkin goes back to WeMo's roots with a lighting solution that is both functional and easy to install. The LED Lighting Starter Set includes two Smart LED bulbs that can be screwed into any standard light fixture along with a new "WeMo Link" bridge that plugs into a standard wall receptacle, providing connectivity between the bulbs and the Wi-Fi network. Additional bulbs sell for $30 each, and the system provides support for up to 50 bulbs on a single WeMo Link. The bulbs can be controlled individually or in groups using the free WeMo iOS app.
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