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:
Model: BackBeat Fit
Compatibility: All Bluetooth-Capable iPads, iPhones + iPods
Plantronics, the makers of our favorite Bluetooth earbuds to date, are back with BackBeat Fit ($130), a pair of wireless sport headphones. Coming in black with either bright green or blue accents, the headphones are outfitted with a band that wraps around the back of the head. Each rubber earbud is designed to funnel audio into the ear canal properly, and includes a stabilizing inner ear ring. Controls on either side let you answer calls or play/pause music, and the headphones are protected from sweat and moisture. Listening time is claimed at eight hours, with 14 days of standby time, and a power saving hibernation mode that allows them to stay charged for up to six months when not paired. An included neoprene carrying case reverses to double as a workout armband.
How confident is Spigen in the size, shape, and dimensions of Apple's as-yet-unannounced iPhone 6 / iPhone Air? Enough to debut Thin Fit and Thin Fit A ($15), new form-fitting shells made to protect the sides and backs of Apple's next-generation 4.7"-screened iPhone. The basic Thin Fit versions come in clear and opaque versions, including one non-slip black version, slightly pearlescent white, and light blue. Each has holes for the side-mounted controls and rear camera, plus complete coverage gaps for the iPhone's top, bottom, and front. Thin Fit A adds a circular cut-out for the Apple logo, albeit with clear protection to keep the logo from being scratched; it comes in flat black and gunmetal versions. As the photos show, each case's rounded sides, noticeably greater height, and slightly larger width suggest that the next iPhone's 4.7" screen will be markedly larger than the 4" iPhone 5/5c/5s displays. They'll be available for purchase in late September.
Not the first company to release a modular case and accessory collection for Apple's tablets, OtterBox is perhaps the most well-known developer to tackle the concept. Its new Agility Tablet System for iPad Air is made up of a number of components, all of which are based around the Shell ($40), a large plastic case. Shell serves as the core for optional accessories, many of which lock into the clip on the back, such as Folio ($50) and Portfolio ($70). The former adds a lid that can be positioned for viewing and typing angles, while the latter does the same, but offers more coverage around the back. Wall Mount ($30) is just what it sounds like, with two pieces of 3M adhesive used to semi-permanently attach it to the wall. A stand and a powered dock are also coming soon.
Compatibility: iPad (2nd/3rd/4th-Gen), iPad Air, iPad mini, iPhone 4/4S/5/5c/5s, iPod touch 4G/5G
Zivix's new PUC ($130) takes a new twist on connecting your iOS and MIDI devices; rather than providing a Lightning interface, it instead acts as a Wi-Fi MIDI bridge, effectively turning your keyboards, DJ controllers and more into Wi-Fi-enabled MIDI devices. The unit can be powered for up to 15 hours of continuous use from two included AA batteries or plugged into a Micro-USB power source. A single standard MIDI DIN port allows for connection of a single MIDI device or hub, and the PUC can be switched to function as either a MIDI input or output interface. A free companion iOS app provides the interface between the PUC Wi-Fi connection and iOS, which should allow compatibility with any CoreMIDI compliant iOS app.
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