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: Heckler Design
Model: Headphone Stand
Compatible: Over-the-Ear Headphones
It's a rare category of accessories, but headphone holders do indeed exist. One year ago, Just Mobile debuted HeadStand, and now Heckler Design has an alternative called Headphone Stand ($29-$49). Made entirely from scraps left over from producing its Windfall Stand, Headphone Stand is a piece of metal with round segments sticking up on either side. They're sized to hold the earcups using only tension, at about the width of a head. Five colors are available at the lower price point, with a polished stainless steel version coming in at a premium.
Models: Lightning Sync and Charge Cable
Compatible: All Lightning-Equipped iPads, iPhones, iPods
Lightning cables are all pretty much the same, but once in a while, designs will stand out and may, for some people, justify spending a few more dollars. Candywirez' Lightning Sync and Charge Cable ($26) may just be that for certain users. Coming in five bright colors, the 1.5 meter cable works has chrome-clad housings around the large Lightning and USB plugs. It's not, however, a flat cable, as the company's website says.
Company: Pear Sports
Model: Training Intelligence
Compatible: iPhone 4S/5/5c/5s, iPod touch 5G
While the bundle looks an awful lot like a rebranded Wahoo sensor with a pair of sports earphones, Pear Sports' new Training Intelligence ($100) is designed as a turnkey workout solution for iOS users. In addition to a chest-mounted Bluetooth 4 heart rate monitor and a pair of sports earphones with a microphone, one-button remote, and ear stabilizers, the Training Intelligence set includes a Pear Training app that provides real-time coaching for weight loss, strength, running, biking, and other activities, using the heart rate information to guide users through the hundreds of integrated workouts it includes. Three sets of ear stabilizers and a carrying case for all of the parts are included in the bundle.
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.
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