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: IK Multimedia
Model: iRig Mic Field
Compatible: All Lightning iPads, iPhones + iPod touches
IK Multimedia's new iRig Mic Field ($100) is a stereo audio/video field microphone that plugs directly into the Lightning port of an iOS device. Though it looks a lot like IK's previous iRig Mic Cast, that accessory was designed specifically for voice recordings. iRig Mic Field can handle stereo-quality audio or video recordings, including field and music recordings. The pocket-sized microphone can rotate 90 degrees for easy recording in portrait or landscape mode. We'll have a full review in the near future.
JBL's Horizon ($100) is a new Bluetooth clock radio, a rarity from the company. Horizon is mostly circular with a flat base, featuring a mirrored center that digitally displays the time and date, with the speaker surrounding it. On top are the audio controls and alarm functions — two separate alarms can be set on Horizon. JBL is playing up the clock radio's ambient light feature, which gradually brightens to wake you gently as your alarm time draws closer. Also included on the speaker are two 1-Amp USB outputs for charging devices, and an FM antenna can be plugged in for radio listening. Horizon comes in black and white, and should be released in January; we'll have a full review in the near future.
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.
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