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: Twelve South
Model: HiRise Deluxe
Compatible: iPhone 5/5s/5c, iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPad mini 1/2/3
The original HiRise for iPhone wasn't obviously in need of improvements -- Twelve South's substantially aluminum stand looked like something straight out of an Apple Store, leveraging a self-supplied Lightning cable to hold an iPhone 5/5c/5s, iPhone 6/6 Plus, or iPad mini on a recline at your desk. But now there's a better sequel in the form of HiRise Deluxe for iPhone + iPad ($60), which adds several new features at a $25 premium. First, you can pick from black, gold, or silver colors for the dock, which is now paired with color-matched, packed-in Lightning and micro-USB cables -- one for unassisted Apple devices, the other for devices with Mophie and other micro-USB-charging battery packs. A rear thumb dial has been added to adjust the rear support for various cases and devices, and you can also choose from three included inserts to position the Lightning plug, eliminating the need for manual adjustment. Last and least, the base has been more aggressively tapered than before. We'll have a full review of HiRise Deluxe soon.
Compatible: All iPad Airs, All iPad minis, All iPhones, All iPod touches
Made from solid steel and billed as "the world's smallest, pocket-size stand and tripod mount" for iOS devices, MOS's new Kick ($35) is a very low-profile option designed primarily for holding iPhones upright for photography purposes. Measuring around 2.8" long by 1.2" wide by 0.35" tall at its largest points, Kick includes a circular screw hole for attachment of a self-supplied tripod, plus a screw-tension adjustable groove that holds your iOS device. The groove is padded with three thin sheets of rubber, and can be tightened around the edge of your device if you want to hold it closer to 90 degrees than on a reclining angle. Kick also has a triangular keychain attachment point and a bottle opener on the sides, both a little on the sharp side for something you might toss into a pocket. While Kick can be used as a stand and does have enough weight and strength to hold a bare iPad Air 2, it's definitely on the fine edge of tablet compatibility, and best suited to smaller devices.
Billed as "the world's first non-case protection solution for iPhone 6," SwitchEasy's new AirMask for iPhone 6 Plus ($30) is a set of two thin plastic stickers that attach to the front and back of the iPhone 6 Plus, providing 0.3mm-thick anti-scratch coverage without anti-drop protection at the same price as a regular case. The front piece has clear screen protection in the center of a faux metallic version of the iPhone's normally white or black glass bezel, with holes for the front speaker, sensors, and Touch ID button. By comparison, the back piece is all faux metallic plastic with a hole for the rear iSight camera, flash, and microphone. They fit together, leaving the side controls and bottom holes exposed, though not sticking quite as well to the iPhone's curvy edges as might be hoped -- adhesive inside holds the front and back surfaces firmly to the iPhone, but the edges may be a little loose near port and control holes. Wet and dry wipes are included to clean off your iPhone before installation. A version for the smaller iPhone 6 will apparently be sold for $25, and three colors are planned.
iStabilizer's tabArm ($100) is an articulating arm mount system that can hold any iPad or iPad mini, including the newest iPad Air 2. The total tabArm package includes iStabilizer's tabMount, Clamp, a hot shoe adapter, and an 11" stainless steel articulating arm with a single point locking mechanism. Using the included clamp, the arm can be mounted on ledges or other fixtures. The tabMount expands enough to accommodate many iPad and iPad mini cases, as well. And though it's not specifically recommended, we found the mount can also hold an iPhone 6 Plus.
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