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:
Compatible: iPad mini, iPad 2, iPad (3rd/4th-Gen)
Kensington has released two distinct products under the same family name: SafeGrip Rugged Case & Stand for iPad mini ($50) and SafeGrip Security Case & Lock for iPad ($90). The latter model supports second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPads. Although it's not identical, the iPad mini holder reminds us of i-Blason's ArmorBox Kido Series. The foam case has a hinged-handle that can also act as a stand. This one includes a stylus, which can fit into a groove on the back, as well as screen film and an applicator. It only comes in green. SafeGrip Security Case & Lock has a similar outer piece, but the iPad first fits inside a hard plastic case with a locking mechanism. Included with the pack is a ClickSafe lock. This one comes in bright orange, and looks pretty monstrous -- gigantic, and without a particularly good match between the inner and outer layers. The last photo below shows how awkwardly the parts come together.
Compatible: All iPhones, iPods
The i4+ Universal Charging Station ($80) is IDAPT's latest multi-device charging base. The black plastic unit has three charging stations on top, and includes five interchangeable tips: one Lightning, one Dock Connector, two micro-USB, and one mini-USB. You simply plug in the ones you need, connect your accessories, and let them charge. Additional tips can be purchased separately. There's also a USB port on the side, which allows you to charge a fourth device, with your own cable. A wall adapter is included. Updated October 17, 2013: We've opted not to fully review i4+ for the time being, for reasons detailed below.
Model: CableDrop Mini
Compatible: Apple Cables
A sequel to larger cable clips launched several years ago, Bluelounge has released CableDrop Mini ($10). Coming in packs of nine, in white or black plastic, these clips are designed to hold small cords, such as Lightning cables, in place. Each is 0.8" in diameter, and has adhesive on the back for mounting.
Company: Heckler Design
Compatible: iPad mini
Likely more useful for business than individuals, Heckler Design's HighSign for iPad mini ($59) is still a neat accessory. It's designed to be mounted on a wall, with the tablet semi-permanently housed inside. The iPad rests inside a backplate, with a metal frame screwing on over the top, but leaving access to the Home button and front-facing camera. Those screws are tamper resistant, and come with a special assembly key. To mount it, you must screw a square installation plate into the wall.
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