iLounge - First Looks

First Looks

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:

NRNot Rated

Company: Apple

Model: iPad Air 2

Price: $499-$829

Apple iPad Air 2

The Wi-Fi version of the new iPad Air 2 ($499-$829) officially arrived in stores today, and as expected, it has simultaneously reduced the thickness and increased the power of Apple's full-sized iconic tablet. An 18% reduction in thickness was achieved by bonding the new Air's screen directly to its now anti-reflective front glass, as well as by shrinking the battery inside -- enough to drop the run time from last year's model. Apple has updated both the front and rear cameras, the former only to increase light sensitivity and the latter to an 8-Megapixel module that's roughly comparable to the iPhone 5s in performance. Touch ID has been added to the device, along with improved 802.11ac and faster, broader LTE support (in cellular versions), though unlike the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, there's no NFC hardware inside the Air 2. For the first time, the new tablet comes in gold with a white face, as well as silver with white and a light space gray with black. It continues be sold in Wi-Fi ($499-$699) and Wi-Fi + Cellular ($629-$829) versions, in your choice of 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB capacities. Look for our comprehensive review in the near future. With photos by Phil Dzikiy.

Apple iPad Air 2

NRNot Rated

Company: Incipio

Models: Performance Armband

Price: $30

Compatible: iPhone 6

Incipio Performance Armband for iPhone 6

Incipio has brought its Performance Armband ($30) — last seen for iPhone 5 — to iPhone 6, with a reduced price. It's the first athletic accessory we've seen made specifically for either of Apple's new iPhones. Like the last version of the armband, Performance for iPhone 6 uses water-resistant materials and includes a small slot for holding a house key. An opening at the bottom of the iPhone compartment allows access to the phone's headphone port. The armband fits snugly around the iPhone 6, leaving no room for a case. While the touchscreen will work through the plastic window, Touch ID won't. Keep in mind that due to the increased size of the iPhone 6, some users may find the latest Performance Armband more awkward to wear; this will especially be true for smaller users.

Incipio Performance Armband for iPhone 6

NRNot Rated

Company: Incipio

Website: www.Myincipio.com

Model: Incipio Stowaway Advance for iPhone 6 Plus

Based upon earlier cases for the iPhone 4 and 5, Incipio's new Stowaway Advance for iPhone 6 Plus ($35) combines a curvy, co-molded rubber and plastic case with a small rear compartment designed to hold credit cards or cash. Film is included to protect the iPhone's metal back from getting scratched, and the compartment has a kickstand in the center which can flip out to position the iPhone 6 Plus for video viewing without compromising the cards held inside. However, despite promising enough space to hold three credit cards or an ID card with two other cards, Stowaway Advance's rear compartment comfortably held only two credit cards in our early testing.

Incipio Stowaway Advance for iPhone 6 Plus

NRNot Rated

Company: Alpine

Model: Headphones

Price: $300

Compatible: All iPods*, iPhones, iPads

Alpine Headphones

Best known for its in-car audio systems and high-end iPod/iPhone integration units, Alpine has entered the iPhone/iPod headphone market with a new pair of headphones named... Headphones ($300). The industrial design is obviously Beats-influenced, with a mostly plastic frame and glossy metallic accents atop heavily padded, diamond-shaped earcups. What's extremely unique about Headphones is the role Bluetooth plays here: rather than using the wireless standard for streaming audio, Alpine instead pairs Headphones with a free Level Play app that lets you adjust the bass, mids, and treble of the twin 40mm audio drivers, as well as analyzing your music library to play songs in intensity-based groups. While the app's grouping functionality isn't ultra-compelling from our standpoint, the ability to tune the headphones' sound output is definitely interesting, and the result of including a 24-bit DAC and amplifiers inside the headset. Alpine includes a fabric-coated three-button remote and mic cable for the audio connection, as well as a matching USB cable to charge Headphones' battery; a carrying bag was supposed to be in the package, but was MIA on our review unit. We'll have more to say in our full review soon.

Alpine Headphones

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