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: Power Practical
Model: Practical Meter
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones, iPods
While we won't be running a full review, we did want to feature Power Practical's Practical Meter ($25), a USB power meter that lets you know how much energy your device is drawing from a power source. The stubby plastic accessory is made to sit in-between a USB port and plug; you insert its plug into the appropriate USB port, and then your cable into the output. Five lights glow to indicate the power being drawn, with each representing 1 Watt. Five bars represents 5W, or full-speed charging for iPhones and iPods. If the first light is blinking, it indicates "high power mode," showing up to 10W being drawn, which makes it useful for iPads as well. A USB cable with Dock Connector, mini-USB, and micro-USB heads is included.
It's nothing too fancy, but Skech's ArmBand for iPhone 5/5c/5s ($30) seems to be a fine enough option for strapping an iPhone to your arm. Available in black, with pink or grey accents, the soft material extends out into a band, that wraps back in and through a plastic clip, before using Velcro to attach to itself. The phone fits in a pocket with a clear plastic sheet over the front, and there's a headphone port cutout. There's also a slot for a key.
Compatible: All iPhones, iPods
Vorson calls its Bookmark "the world’s thinnest battery backup," and while we hear this kind of hyperbole on a daily basis, we're inclined to believe that even if this one isn't the very thinnest, it's darn close. The colorful plastic body tapers down from about a centimeter to only 4.7mm at the other end; it's just bit taller than an iPhone 5 or 5s, and a little bit wider. There's a 2500mAh cell inside, but the output is only 1A, so it's best suited for iPhones and iPods. The battery indicator lights next to the micro-USB and USB ports are touch activated, and a charging cable is included.
Model: Wired Keyboard for iPad
Compatible: iPad, iPad 2, iPad (3rd-Gen)
Following Macally, Logitech is one of the first accessory makers to introduce a wired keyboard for iPad. The company calls its version... you guessed it: Wired Keyboard for iPad ($60). Available in Dock Connector and Lightning versions, the plastic keyboard uses a cord to connect to your iPad. Instead of requiring its own batteries, it draws power directly from your tablet. No stand is included with this one, however, so you'll have to provide your own.
- Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)
- Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars
- Apple hires hint at improvements in encryption, health monitoring
- Hyundai adds CarPlay support to more vehicles
- Plaintiffs file new motion to keep ‘Error 53’ Touch ID lawsuit alive
- Report: Apple developing Siri home speaker to rival Amazon’s Echo; will release Siri SDK at WWDC
- iOS Spotlight search now offers relevant results for some emoji
- Cook discusses ambitious plan to beef up Apple Watch’s health monitoring
- New leak shows dual camera exclusive to ‘iPhone 7 Plus,’ but no Smart Connector
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)