Former Apple accessories head Jesse Dorogusker left the company and joined Square to design the new Square Reader, Wired reports. According to the report, Dorogusker previously led development on Apple’s Lightning connector, and spent eight years heading up the accessories division for Apple before leaving. Wired notes with Square’s new Reader, Dorogusker “had the chance to take a crack at a flagship product.”
Much of the article focuses on the technical details of developing the new Square Reader, which is 45 percent thinner than Square’s old credit card reader, and no longer requires an internal battery for power. The Reader also improves the tactile feel of card swiping despite its smaller size.
A just-published Apple patent has revealed plans for a “smart dock” that would allow users to interact with a docked iOS device through voice recognition. The dock would actively listen for audio cues in order to communicate with the docked device — the device’s voice recognition mode would then be activated.
Therefore, Siri could be used without physically interacting with the docked iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Some embodiments of the dock include a device with storage media, a GPS receiver, and/or environmental sensors. An in-car implementation would make a lot of sense, as well. [via Apple Insider]
Mophie has introduced the Powerstation XL ($130), a 12,000 mAh USB battery pack. The Powerstation XL can charge two iPads at the same time, as its dual USB ports each offer 2.1 amps of power. A micro USB port is also included, along with a cable to refuel the battery.
The Powerstation XL includes built-in short circuit protection and a LED battery status indicator. Mophie’s Powerstation XL is available now.
Kicker has introduced its Amphitheater K3 Speaker System with Bluetooth ($200) and Vapor Headphones ($220). The Amphitheater K3 uses aptX audio coding and delivers sound using 3-inch drivers, mid-bass woofers, a tuned-port enclosure, and a 2x10-watt amp. Devices can connect to the Amphitheater K3 using NFC or Bluetooth.
Kicker’s Vapor Headphones come equipped with a pair of 35mm dual-diaphragm transducers and sealing, leather ear pads. The headphones come with a detachable flat cable with three-button remote and microphone. Both products will be shown at CES in January, and released in the first quarter of 2014.
Acoustic Research has introduced a new line called “AR for Her.” The line will feature a Bluetooth speaker, made to look like a clutch handbag, that streams music from up to 30 feet away. A built-in microphone and rechargeable battery are also featured in the speaker.
The speaker will come in black, white, white with pink polka dots, and leopard print. Acoustic Research plans on updating the look each season while introducing more accessories. The speaker collection will be available in spring 2014.
Apple is currently offering free Smart Cases to customers who are still awaiting shipments of their Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad mini with Retina display. Via telephone at 1-800-692-7753, Apple customer service representatives are offering either the free case or a free Smart Cover to customers who have been waiting for a new cellular Retina iPad mini, and call to inquire about the delay/status of the shipment.
Following forum reports, iLounge has confirmed that Apple representatives are offering the Smart Case to customers. Most iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular pre-orders placed on the first day of availability appear not to have shipped, however, many Wi-Fi-only units have shipped in varying capacities and colors.
Netatmo has introduced its wireless Netatmo Thermostat, designed by Philippe Starck. An app can control the iOS-compatible thermostat and let users view their heating habits. The thermostat works with most oil, gas, and wood furnaces.
Following Nest’s strategy of updating the common thermostat with a more beautiful and elegant housing, Netatmo’s thermostat makes temperature control particularly easy, and comes with five interchangeable color frames to match the room where it’s installed. It will be released in Europe this month for 179 Euros ($241), with a US release date and price to be announced in January at CES.
Scosche has released its reVOLT ($25), a car charger with two USB 12W ports. While it’s exceptionally similar to earlier reVOLT models, both ports now charge at 2.4A, allowing for full simultaneous iPad charging regardless of the iPad model.
Scosche notes that charging circuitry in reVOLT is designed for iOS — though the charger will work with most non-iOS smartphones and tablets, those devices may not charge at the fastest rates. Notably, Apple appears to have ended 2.4A/12W regarding speeds with the release of the iPad Air; only prior-generation full-sized iPads benefitted from the faster standard. The new reVOLT is available now.
Pebble has announced today that its smart watch “is now fully integrated with iOS 7 and works seamlessly with Notification Center.” All enabled notifications will now be pushed to the Pebble — meaning app notifications beyond calls, emails, and texts. A new iOS app will enable the functionality. Pebble claims the app is currently “under review” by Apple, and will be available in the iTunes Store “soon.”
Twelve South has introduced its newest BookBook — the BookBook Travel Journal ($100) for iPad Air and iPad mini. The vintage leather case is compatible with all iPad models.
The BookBook Travel Journal holds more than just an iPad — it has space for a number of accessories, with more than a dozen pockets able to store headphones, adapters, chargers, batteries, and cables. It is available now.
NOCS has announced its NS900 ($250) on-ear headphones, billed as a “professional DJ headphone.” The NS900 comes with 40mm titanium drivers and interchangeable ear cushions. A stainless steel headband is bolstered by an internal headband with steel hex screws.
NS900 uses a lock to keep the audio cable secure. Three exchangeable cables come with the headphones, including a cable with a three-button remote and mic. NOCS’ NS900 is available for pre-order and ships Dec. 20.
Apple’s online store now lists the iPad Smart Case and iPad Smart Cover as discontinued for the iPad 2 and iPad (3rd/4th-Gen). The site now only shows a dark gray Smart Case and Cover, but both are unavailable for purchase online. Limited inventory may be available in some retail stores.
This is a somewhat curious move, considering Apple has kept the iPad 2 in its lineup. However, Apple is still selling a number of third-party cases that are compatible with the iPad 2, as well as new iPad Air and iPad mini Smart Cases and Smart Covers.
Update: Apple is now selling dark gray versions of the iPad Smart Case and Smart Cover in its online store again.
Bad Elf has introduced its GPS for Lightning Connector ($130), a portable GPS device that connects to a Lightning connector to add instant GPS and GLONASS location support. Latitude, longitude, altitude, speed and tracking are provided, and the company claims accuracy to within 9 feet and support for altitudes up to 60,000 feet and speeds up to 1,000 mph.
Bad Elf’s GPS requires no Internet connection or monthly subscription, and enables Wi-Fi only devices to use full GPS-based location services, even in areas without Wi-Fi. The GPS is powered from the attached iOS device, and a micro-USB cable is included for passthrough charging. The GPS for Lightning Connector is expected to ship sometime in November.
Geneva Lab has introduced three new wireless sound systems: the Geneva Sound System Model M Wireless ($599), the Geneva Sound System Model L Wireless ($1,199), and the Geneva Sound System Model XL Wireless ($2,299). The Model M uses Bluetooth A2DP for wireless audio streaming and includes an FM radio, digital clock with alarm, LED display, and touch-sensitive controls. Four amplifiers in the wooden cabinet produce a combined 60 watts of output power.
The Model L Wireless is larger than the Model M and uses Bluetooth aptX streaming and adds a slot-loading CD player. The system’s four amplifiers produce 180 watts of output. The Model XL is the largest model; also boasting Bluetooth aptX and a CD player, XL uses six amplifiers for 346 watts of power. The new models are all dockless versions of the company’s prior iPod/iPhone sounds systems—a response to Apple’s Lightning and AirPlay restrictions. All three sound systems will be available in November in black, white, red, or walnut finishes.
iHealth has announced its Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System ($80). A portable, Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose monitor, the Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System automatically displays blood glucose measurements on an iOS device with the free iHealth Gluco-Smart App. Users can set up reminders to take medications, track trends, and track test strip expiration dates.
The monitor also lets users remotely view and track measurements online. iHealth’s Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System is available now.
Sol Republic and Motorola have announced the new Tracks AIR Wireless Headphones ($200). The Bluetooth headphones claim to deliver solid bass, clean mids and vocals, and extended highs from their A2 sound engines. Tracks AIR boasts a 150-foot wireless range, and battery life exceeding 15 hours; the headphones can also be used with cables for wired use.
Tracks AIR Wireless Headphones feature multi-device Bluetooth connectivity, a dual-microphone for phone calls, and interchangeability with PowerTracks headbands for a customized look. The headphones will be released in “early November.”
Livescribe has introduced the Livescribe 3 Smartpen ($150-200) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The pen uses Bluetooth and an Infrared camera to transfer handwritten notes from a piece of paper onto an iPad screen in real-time using the Livescribe+ app. It comes packed with flash memory and an ARM processor. Unusually, Livescribe 3 uses proprietary Livescribe Dot Paper for note taking, and requires you to buy additional paper after you’ve used up the included 50 pieces.
Livescribe claims its new smart pen offers more than 14 hours of continuous writing on one lithium ion battery charge. The Livescribe 3 costs $150, or $200 for a Pro Edition, which adds a Livescribe Journal, Leather Smartpen Portfolio, and a one year subscription to Evernote Premium. Livescribe 3 is available now.
Logitech has announced four new covers and cases for the iPad Air, three of which include a keyboard. FabricSkin Keyboard Folio ($150) is a thin, light water-repellent folio case with a rechargeable Bluetooth fabric keyboard. Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Cover ($100) is an aluminum screen cover with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard.
Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Folio ($100) is similar to the keyboard cover, but in a full folio case. All three keyboards can be charged through micro-USB and are said to last up to three months on one charge. The Folio Protective Case ($50) offers folio protection without a keyboard. All of the new Logitech iPad Air products are available for pre-order in various colors, with no release dates announced yet.
JBL has announced Pulse ($200), a wireless speaker featuring a customized LED light show. The Pulse delivers sound from two 40mm drivers and a built-in bass port, using Bluetooth stereo streaming with NFC. Pulse’s LED lights feature five pre-programmed patterns, but users can also program their own light shows by changing the patterns, brightness, and colors.
JBL claims Pulse’s rechargeable Li-ion battery offers up to 10 hours of music in one charge, or five hours of music with a light show. Pulse is available for pre-order, and JBL lists the expected shipping date as Nov. 13.
A number of companies have already introduced cases for the iPad Air. While many of these cases are merely remakes for the new device, there are some brand new cases, as well. Belkin has introduced a number of new products, including three keyboard cases: Qode Ultimate Keyboard Case ($129), Qode Thin Type Keyboard Case ($100), and Qode Slim Style Keyboard Case ($80). The company also introduced two new folio stand cases, the FreeStyle Cover ($60) and LapStand Cover ($60). All cases are listed as coming soon.
Grove has introduced its Wood Smart Case ($99) for iPad Air, a lightweight bamboo and maple folio case that also acts as a stand. The case ships in four to six weeks. Speck has debuted a redesigned StyleFolio ($40) case for iPad Air. The new StyleFolio features 14 different designs and is coming soon.