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Report: Apple on-track to begin selling AirPower in March

Japanese blog Mac Otakara has confirmed an earlier report from The Apple Post which reported that Apple’s new AirPower charging mat will be launching sometime next month in both Apple and Best Buy stores. The AirPower Qi charging mat, announced by Apple last fall, will provide the ability to charge the new iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus models, alongside an Apple Watch and specially-encased AirPods. Neither report offers a specific launch date nor any information on pricing.

Report: Apple planning upgraded AirPods for later this year

Apple is currently working on two significant upgrades to the AirPods, according to a new report from Bloomberg, suggesting that Apple intends to regularly release updates to the wireless headphones. According to people familiar with the matter, a new model of AirPods could be coming as early as later this year which would include an upgraded wireless chip and “Hey Siri” support for calling up Siri without the need to physically tap the headphones. Apple also already reportedly has a subsequent model in the design stages for 2019, which would add water resistance.

Leaked Nokia memo: No path forward for digital health business

After very public problems with regulators forced Nokia to disable key features of its Body Cardio scale, a leaked memo obtained by The Verge reveals that the company’s strategic review of its digital health business shows the division may be in big trouble. Nokia’s chief strategy officer Kathrin Buvac wrote that, “Rather than only falling in love with our technology, we must be honest with ourselves. Currently, we don’t see a path for [the digital health business] to become a meaningful part of a company as large as Nokia.” While the memo stops short of saying Nokia will shutter its digital health business — which began in 2016 when the company acquired French startup Withings for $190 million — Buvac said Nokia is now looking to become “a business-to-business and licensing company.”

Twelve South adds iPhone X version of its SurfacePad case in exclusive colors

Twelve South has released an iPhone X version of its popular SurfacePad case. Like other SurfacePad cases, this one sticks to the back of the device using the company’s SurfaceGrip adhesive and provides a thin layer of protection around the front and back of the device. The case includes automatic sleep/wake functionality when the case is open and closed. Like previous SurfacePad cases it folds into a stand to watch videos and includes slots to hold credit cards. The $50 case comes in the standard black and also cognac and teal colors specific to the iPhone X.

Just-funded Plux wireless charging pad will have room for iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods

With Apple’s AirPower charging pad still yet to be released, competitors have been popping up with their own offerings that provide more features at what could prove to be a lower cost. The recently funded Plux is one of them, offering a 10W fast charging Qi-compatible multi-device charging pad large enough for an iPhone, AirPods and an Apple Watch. The pad also comes with a stand converter that allows for the use of Face ID and Nightstand Mode. While The Apple Post has quoted unnamed Best Buy sources that claim Apple’s AirPower charging pad will debut in March, there’s been no talk about price, so it’s hard to say whether the eventual $89 price of the Plux will be more or less than Apple’s own offering (even though Plux’s promo materials estimates AirPower will cost $199). But it’s very likely the $39 early bird price (still available as of this writing) will be less — even undercutting $60 offerings currently available from Mophie and Belkin while providing a larger surface and a less platter-like appearance. The charger is available in white or black and also comes with an AirPods wireless receiver and AirPods holder.

Sennheiser releases Apple-exclusive version of Ambeo Smart Headset

Sennheiser has introduced a new all-back version of its Ambeo Smart Headset that will be sold exclusively in Apple Stores for $300. Unveiled last month at CES and designed expressly for iOS devices, the company’s new Ambeo headset connects via the Lightning port and features microphones on the outside of each earpice to provide 3D sound when recording audio or video, effectively creating what the company calls an “immersive life-like 3D sound.” The headset also leverages the external mics to employ noise-cancelling capabilities that let the user head outside sounds while listening to music. [via The Verge]

Tablo OTA DVR update adds advanced recording features

Nuvyyo has released a software update for its Tablo Over-The-Air DVR (iLounge rating: A-) bringing the more advanced and flexible scheduling and recording management tools that many users have been waiting for. The new features, which are rolling out as part of a firmware update to all Tablo DVR models, will allow users to adjust start and stop times for recordings, choose to keep only a specific number of episodes on a per-program basis, and choose which channel to record from when multiple channels are airing a given program. The new advanced recording features will be available to all customers with an active Tablo guide subscription once their devices have been updated to the latest firmware (2.2.18), which is being rolled out gradually over the next week, and can be accessed using most of Tablo’s apps, including the Apple TV and iOS apps, as well as the Safari-optimzied web app for Mac users. Full details can be found on the company’s blog.

Nokia pulls Pulse Wave Velocity feature from Body Cardio over regulatory issues

Nokia has been forced to disable the Pulse Wave velocity feature that allowed its Body Cardio scale to measure arterial stiffness and high blood pressure, according to an updated FAQ from the company. The scale used the speed at which heartbeat-generated vibrations spread out along arterial walls and the time it takes for blood to flow from the heart to the feet to go well beyond the measurements a normal bathroom scale can make. But In the company’s updated support document, Nokia said it has learned the PWV measurements “may require a different level of regulatory approval. In light of this, the decision was made to turn off the pulse wave velocity feature.”

Roland announces new app for creating split screen music videos

Venerable musical instrument maker Roland has released 4XCAMERA, a new video capture app for iOS devices. Although it’s a slight departure from the company’s usual offerings, 4XCAMERA is still targeted at musicians, with the goal of helping to create music videos that can combine up to four performances on a split screen. Users start by capturing a single video using the app, and can then use that initial video to record up to three more performances, adding new parts on each pass. Users can then apply one of 10 split-screen patterns and adjust volumes for each of the videos separately for the perfect sound mix before rendering a final video file that can be shared directly on YouTube or other social media sites.

Scosche unveils new BoomBottle, Rhythm24, and wireless charging solutions at CES 2018

Scosche has announced its 2018 product lineup, including an update to the company’s BoomBottle rugged portable speaker and Rhythm heart monitor and a new lineup of wireless charging and mounting solutions. BoomBottle MM is the company’s latest rugged waterproof speaker, building off the 2015 BoomBottle+, and features two six-watt speakers and two 40 millimeter passive radiators and is IP67 rated for dust and water protection. Additional new features include an auto-sensing indoor/outdoor equalizer and support for Scosche’s built-in MagicMOUNT technology so users can keep their iPhone magnetically secured to the speaker (although wireless charging is not included). A magnet on the bottom of the speaker allows it to be easily attached to a metal surface at virtually any angle, and it also includes a built-in bottle opener.

Zagg debuts InvisibleShield tempered glass front and back protection for iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus

For those torn between protecting their glass-backed iPhones and showing them off, Zagg’s InvisibleShield Glass+ Luxe 360 offers something in between. The two-piece protector covers the front and back of the iPhone X, 8 or 8 Plus and is made from “the toughest tempered glass on the market” with reinforced edges to prevent chips and cracks. The cases come in matching black, gold and silver colors for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and in black and silver for the iPhone X. The glass provides scratch protection and even resists the oil on your finger to lessen the smudges left by fingerprints. The case costs $70 and has a limited lifetime warranty for the life of the device.

JVC reveals affordable wireless earbud, headphone options

JVC is releasing a new slate of wireless earbud and headphone options this March, appealing to those who want the benefits of wireless listening without the hefty price tag. The JVC Flats Wireless series ($40) are simple on-ear headphones that provide around 11 hours of listening on a full charge and fold away flat for easy storage on the go. The company’s Noise Canceling Bluetooth Folding Headphones ($100) provide the same 11 hours of wireless listening with the added benefit of noise canceling (or longer listening if you want to turn the noise canceling off or plug the headphones in rather than use Bluetooth).

Belkin rolls out new BoostUp wireless charging pads, stand, car mount

Belkin has rolled out a full slate of wireless charging options under the BoostUp umbrella, expanding the lineup that began with its Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad last fall. The new products include both single and dual-charging pads, a stand, and a car mount. All of the accessories boast the ability to charge at 10W “through most cases up to 3mm thick.” Both the Bold Wireless Charging Pad and Wireless Charging Stand come in pink, blue, white or black, while the Dual Wireless Charging Pad only comes in white and the Wireless Charging Car Universal Mount only comes in black.

Satechi announces Smart Dual Charging Station

Satechi has announced the new Smart Dual Charging Station for the iPhone and Apple Watch. The stand comes with two customizable docks that provide a total of 15W in power. The company says the stand can also charge other Apple accessories — like the Apple Pencil and Siri Remote — but it’s clearly designed to hold an iPhone/Apple Watch combo, with storage below to contain the charging cables. The stand will be available sometime this spring and comes in silver or space gray brushed aluminum for $65.

Sennheiser rolls out new wireless, over-the-ear headphones, previews 3D Soundbar

Sennheiser is touting the latest additions to its lineup at CES, revealing the closed-back HD 820 headphones, CX 6.00BT wireless earbuds and 3D Soundbar. The HD 820 has a “unique glass transducer cover that minimizes resonance,” which Sennheiser claims “ensures an incredibly realistic and natural sound field.” The Bluetooth 4.2 CX 6.00BT are in-ear earbuds connected by a cable around the neck, complete with volume and audio controls. The company is also showing off a prototype of its 3D Soundbar and its flagship Ambeo smart headset, which features microphones on the outside of each earpice to provide 3D sound when the phone records audio or video. The HD 820 is available for pre-order now for those willing to pay the $3,500 price tag, and the CX 6.00BT can be had for $130 for those who aren’t.

Hyper reveals Kickstarter preview for HyperDrive hub with built-in wireless iPhone charging stand

After raising more than $3 million for the HyperDrive USB-C Hub for MacBook Pro, Hyper is kicking off another Kickstarter campaign next week to fund its new HyperDrive 8-in-1 USB-C Hub with 7.5W Qi Wireless Charger iPhone Stand. The hub features eight ports, with USB-C power delivery, three USB-A 3.1 slots and inputs for 4K HDMI, ethernet, microSD and SD. The top of the hub now serves as a 7.5W wireless charging stand for the iPhone (and up to 15W on Android devices as it supports all four Qi wireless charging standards). Hyper claims the charging pad outperforms models from Belkin and Mophie by providing a full charge in just under three hours, but we haven’t seen that claim verified yet. The pad itself can be laid flat or inclined to provide a better view for those who use their phone alongside a laptop. The Kickstarter doesn’t go live until January 15, and Hyper is offering an early bird special.

Speck reveals Presidio Mount case that works with Scosche magnetic mounts

Speck has revealed its new Presidio Mount case, designed to work with Scosche’s MagicMount system. While most magnetic mount assemblies require a user to stick a metal plate to their phone or case, the Presidio Mount comes already equipped with the necessary plates embedded in the case, leaving users with a normal-looking case while providing the ease of using a magnetic mount while on the go. The Presidio Mount will be available in February for $45 for the iPhone X and 8 and $50 for the iPhone 8 Plus.

Mophie launches Powerstation AC external battery pack

Mophie has announced the powerstation AC, its newest external power pack, incorporating a high-capacity 22,000 mAh battery with AC power and USB-PD outputs which provide fast charging for the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPad Pro, along with the ability to power the USB-C based MacBooks. The AC output port provides 100W of power for charging and powering electronic devices that normally require a wall outlet, while the USB-C port provides 30W of charging power under the USB Power Distribution (USB-PD) spec. Mophie promises up to 15 hours of extra battery life for the standard MacBook. A “Priority+ Charging” feature prioritizes delivering power to devices connected to the USB-A ports over charging the internal battery, and a premium fabric wrap provides a comfortable feel and scratch protection. The mophie powerstation AC is available now at mophie.com for $199.95.

Report: Apple expected to update AirPods next year

A new research note from well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo obtained by MacRumors indicates that Apple is planning on releasing a second-generation version of the AirPods mid to late next year. Kuo noted that the new AirPods will incorporate a “smaller quartz component,” but didn’t provide any other details on what might be expected in the next-generation wireless earbuds. These predicted second-generation AirPods are distinct from the new inductive AirPods charging case that Apple is expected to begin including with the current model, which is also expected to be released in time for Apple’s new AirPower charging mat which will debut next year.

Fishball 360 lens for iPhone fully funds on Indiegogo

The Fishball 360 lens has just fully funded on Indiegogo, so the clip-on attachment is likely to see production. The lens simply snaps over the iPhone’s camera with no batteries or cables required and captures 360-degree images using the iPhone’s existing camera in tandem with the attachment’s lenses. The makers call the lens “futureproof” and promise it will remain compatible with future iPhones, saying it is currently compatible with the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and X. Images taken with the lens can be posted to any platform that supports 360-degree photos, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo. The lens is expected to ship by June 2018 and is still available on the Indiegogo page for $49.

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