Gear4, the U.K.-based brand behind Apple accessories such as AlarmDock Halo 2 and Renew SleepClock, has gone bankrupt and cut most of its U.K. workforce, but has effectively been re-formed as a new entity in Hong Kong. Disruptive Hong Kong bought the rights of all designs, brands, and intellectual property from Disruptive Ltd — the company behind the Gear4 branding — and the company is relocating its headquarters. Disruptive founder and CEO Tom Dudderidge said the economic climate forced the company to review its operations, including “product development, business model and location.” According to the company, all U.K. customer warranties will be honored, and the company will retain a small number of sales and marketing workers in the U.K. [via The Channel]
Logitech has introduced the FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad ($150), a folio with a thin, fabric, Bluetooth keyboard that resembles the Microsoft Surface keyboard. The folio case also includes a view stand for the iPad, and a magnetic clasp to keep the case closed. Keys are full-sized and feature a liquid repellant coating.
Logitech claims the battery will last up to three months on a full charge, based on two hours of typing per day. A USB cable is included for recharging. FabricSkin Keyboard Folio comes in six different colors, including black and blue in leather, blue and yellow in cotton, and gray and orange in fabric. The keyboard case is now available for pre-order.
Avid has announced the launch of Fast Track Solo ($179) and Fast Track Duo ($299), two new portable audio interfaces compatible with iPad. Both interfaces feature a metal chassis, a Bus-powered USB port, and the ability to capture two sources simultaneously at 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution.
Fast Track Solo includes one mic preamp and one instrument input; Fast Track Duo includes two mic preamps/instrument inputs and two line inputs. Pro Tools Express software is included with both interfaces. Both Fast Track Solo and Duo are available now at Avid resellers and will be “available soon” at Avid’s website.
Stepping beyond the physical protection offered with traditional waterproof cases, both Incipio and LifeProof have recently announced peace-of-mind augmentations in the form of waterproof warranty coverage. Notably, the companies are taking different approaches to offering waterproof warranties. LifeProof has introduced an optional Total Water Protection Program that will cover any of its iPhone or iPad cases, offering one year of protection for a registration fee of $10 for iPhone, or $20 for iPad. If the device is damaged by water while in the case, LifeProof will repair or replace it for $50 if it’s an iPhone, $75 if it’s an iPad.
Incipio, however, is selling its new Atlas iPhone 5 case with an included one-year, nontransferable water damage warranty at no extra charge. In cases of accidental water damage to a device, Incipio will repair or replace the device. Users can optionally extend their warranty coverage to two years for an additional fee. Atlas is available for pre-order and is estimated to ship in three to four weeks. For now, both programs are only available in the United States.
Soundfreaq has announced Boom Freaq ($350), a special edition of its Sound Stack speaker. Boom Freaq is a Bluetooth wireless speaker that can dock either Dock Connector or Lightning devices — a 30-pin dock is built-in, and a Lightning adapter is now also included. Like other iterations of Sound Stack, the speaker features two full-range drivers and two active subwoofers. A USB port is included for universal charging.
Boom Freaq’s look is inspired by classic boomboxes, and is the newest addition to the company’s Novogratz Collection. Boom Freaq is available now for pre-order and will ship in 4 to 5 weeks.
Griffin has announced the SeeSaw Tabletop Stand ($35) for iPad. Compatible with the iPad 2 and third/fourth-generation iPads, the SeeSaw Tabletop Stand is a lightweight case with a built-in handle. Made of nonporous material, the stand can easily be moved from portrait to landscape orientation.
The stand also features a stylus holder in the back, though a stylus is notably not included. Griffin also announced its No. 2 Pencil Stylus ($20), which fits in the SeeSaw Tabletop Stand. Both products are available now.
Bowers & Wilkins has announced the Z2 ($400) Airplay Lightning speaker dock and an updated Lightning version of its Zeppelin Air ($600) AirPlay speaker dock. Z2 is a redesigned version of the company’s Zeppelin Mini, capable of docking an iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, or seventh-generation iPod nano within a newly recessed top hole. The speaker features two 3.5” full range drivers with 40 watts of total amplifier output, and comes in black or white.
Zeppelin Air, an AirPlay dock reviewed by iLounge two years ago, has also been updated with a Lightning connector for the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, and seventh-generation iPod nano. Z2 will be available in April; the updated Zeppelin Air hits the market in May.
iLounge today announced the creation of iLounge NYC, a curated special event and exhibition area at CE Week 2013. Working with CE Week and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), iLounge will bring the Apple accessory world to Manhattan, beginning with a special event for trade and media members on June 25, and a curated exhibition space on June 26 and 27. iLounge NYC will be the back-to-school/holiday-focused version of the incredibly successful winter iLounge Pavilion at CES in Las Vegas, which now occupies over 120,000 square feet of floor space — the largest unified exhibition area at the show.
“Apple accessory makers know that the iLounge Pavilion is the best place to debut their winter and spring lineups,” said Jeremy Horwitz, iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief. “We’re thrilled to curate a new iLounge NYC event to preview the year’s biggest back-to-school and holiday releases—at a great venue, within a city known for its love of Apple products.”
The full press release follows. Companies interested in additional details on iLounge NYC and the iLounge Pavilion should contact Jeremy Horwitz today.
UK-based Lego site The Daily Brick is now offering free instructions on how to design a Lightning-compatible dock for the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini. Using 79 parts, the dock supports the iPad and has rubber bumpers for the back of the iPad, as well. The iPad cable clips into place on the Lego clips within the dock.
If you wish to order all the correct parts in black, the site offers a kit for £20 (about $30). The Daily Brick previously offered similar instructions on how to build your own iPhone 5 dock.
CalypsoCrystal has announced its new CalypsoTab case collection for both iPad and iPad mini. Sold in four different varieties — pebble red, natural grain white, smooth black, and pebble black — CalypsoTab sleeves each feature an Italian leather exterior and microfiber interior.
Each handcrafted case is $169. The CalypsoTab collection will be available to ship in one to two weeks.
Incipio has announced its Dual Auto Charger ($35), a 3.4-Amp charger for Lightning. The charger is capable of simultaneously recharging a Retina iPad at full speed, along with another device.
The Dual Auto Charger features a coiled Lightning cable with a pass-through USB port. Incipio lists the charger as “coming soon.”
Thought Out has released the PED4 Planet IPM50 stand ($70) for iPad mini. A steel ball pivoting stand highly similar to the company’s PED4 Planet BH50 stand for iPhone 5, this stand can be used on an iPad mini with or without a case, due to its configurable sliding fingers.
The PED4 Planet IPM50 also screws off at the base to mount onto any photography tripod, should you want to use your iPad mini for photo or video purposes. Thought Out’s iPad mini stand is available now.
Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter contains previously undiscovered video processing hardware, according to developer Panic, which performed a teardown of the accessory after noting video quality issues. In testing output from an application, Panic found that the video resolution was below 1080p, and noted that compression artifacts were showing up on screen. The company discovered an ARM processor inside the adapter, and suggested that Lightning iOS devices are using a protocol similar to AirPlay to encode video before sending it to the accessory for decoding. While the presence of the processor hints at the reason the Digital AV Adapter arrived at a surprisingly high $49 price, the video degradation was a disappointment, particularly considering the prior Dock Connector version’s output capabilities.
Notably, a comment posted by an anonymous Apple employee on Panic’s blog confirmed the findings above, and attempted to explain them. “We didn’t do this to screw the customer,” the commenter said. “We did this to specifically shift the complexity of the ‘adapter’ bit into the adapter itself, leaving the host hardware free of any concerns in regards to what was hanging off the other end of the Lightning cable.” The commenter also noted that the video quality limitations may only be temporary. “Certain people are aware that the quality could be better and others are working on it. For the time being, the quality was deemed to be suitably acceptable… updates **will** be made available as a part of future iOS updates. When this will happen I can’t say for anonymous reasons, but these concerns haven’t gone unnoticed.” [via Panic Blog]
Griffin has announced its MouthStick Stylus ($30), a stylus affixed to a mouthpiece that allows people with fine motor impairments to use digital devices. The MouthStick Stylus was designed in collaboration with physicians and people with physical disabilities. It works with touch screens, laptop keyboards, and Apple’s Magic Trackpad.
The mouthpiece holding the rubber-tipped aluminum stylus is made from food-grade stainless steel and comes with three sets of BPA- and latex-free silicone rubber mouthpiece sleeves. A gooseneck shaft allows the stylus to be used at any angle. Griffin’s MouthStick Stylus will be released in the second quarter of this year.
Brother has announced its new HL-3000 series of digital color printers, including the AirPrint-compatible HL-3140CW ($250) and HL-3170CDW ($280). Thanks to the AirPrint functionality, users will be able to print wirelessly from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch without installing a printer driver. The HL-3140CW offers color and black printing up to 19 ppm, up to 600x2400 dpi resolution, and support of wireless 802.11 b/g/n and USB 2.0 interfaces, while the HL-3170CDW offers all the features of the 3140CW, as well as faster printing up to 23 ppm, dual-sided printing, an additional Ethernet interface, and other features. Both printers will be available in March.
New photos of a case for the fifth-generation iPad show a smaller, narrower overall footprint than past generations of the full-sized iPad, corroborating our early reports on the upcoming device. While case makers sometimes make guesses on the design of a new device, it’s notable that this case matches leaked housing photos from an earlier part leak.
The fifth-generation iPad case is quite clearly smaller than a fourth-generation iPad case, as seen in the comparison photos, matching our report that the next iPad will have a form factor closer to the iPad mini. Additional case comparisons are included below. [via 9to5Mac]
Known for its bargain-priced cables, Monoprice has started to offer Apple-certified Lightning wall chargers for $13 a piece—substantially below the prices of versions from other vendors. The charger features a “captured” or non-detachable Lightning cable and a generic design, promising 1-Amp charging speeds. This is sufficient for iPhones and iPods, but below the peak recharging capabilities of iPads.
Monoprice is also offering a similar deal in $12 Lightning car chargers. Like the Lightning wall charger, the car charger offers only 1-Amp power, appropriate for full-speed iPhone and iPod charging. The car chargers are available now, while the wall chargers are listed as “coming soon.”
Apple has quietly released a 0.5m version of its Lightning to USB Cable ($19). Although half the size of the “standard” cables it has been selling, it retains the same price; its release suggests that Apple may shift to packing shorter Lightning cables in with future products.
Apple also tweaked its In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic — the remote now is a bit more rounded, matching the redesigned remote on EarPods. The rest of the design and the $79 price haven’t changed. [via MacRumors]
Urbanears has introduced Slussen ($15), a stylish-looking portable DJ adapter with a free companion app. Slussen plugs into an iOS device, using two 3.5mm jacks to connect headphones and a sound system. Upon launching the app, users can hear one song through headphones while another is playing through the speaker. The app allows music to be controlled in a number of ways, by adjusting BPM, syncing tracks, and EQ effects; a scratch function, crossfaders, and equalizer are also included.
Slussen comes ready for keychain attachment. Available now, it comes in four colors — grape, pumpkin, petrol, and tomato — with the tomato version priced at $20.
Belkin has released the FastFit Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard Case for iPad Mini ($80). Billed as the thinnest keyboard case currently available for the iPad mini, the keyboard features spaced TruType keys with tactile feedback as well as dedicated function keys for copy and paste, volume, and music control.
The case also includes a built-in stand that works in both portrait and landscape orientation, magnets for auto wake/sleep support of the iPad mini, and promises battery life of up to three months on standby or 155 hours of active use. The case will be available for pre-order via Belkin’s web site.