- November 15, 2012
- iPad Accessories
Belkin has announced its Portable Keyboard Case ($80) for iPad mini, a scaled-down version of its Keyboard Folio. The folio case connects its removable keyboard to the iPad mini using Bluetooth, and the keyboard can fold flat into the case when not in use.
Belkin claims 155 hours of active battery life for the keyboard, which can be recharged with its included USB-to-mini-USB cable. Available for pre-order now, the Portable Keyboard Case will be released later this month.
JBL has introduced the OnBeat Micro ($99) and OnBeat Venue LT ($199), the first Lightning-compatible speaker docks. OnBeat Micro is a portable, compact speaker with two full-range transducers that can dock the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch and seventh-generation iPod nano, but not the latest iPad or iPad mini. It offers five hours of playback with four AAA batteries, and includes an AC adapter for device charging, as well as a built-in USB connector for use with other devices.
JBL’s OnBeat Venue LT is an updated version of its OnBeat Venue, which we reviewed last month. A 30W wireless speaker that can stream from Bluetooth-enabled devices, the OnBeat Venue LT can dock the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad, as well as the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, and seventh-generation iPod nano. It features four transducers — two low-frequency and two high-frequency. A movie button on the top activates an “extra-wide sound field” for watching video, and an auxiliary input provides a means to connect older Apple devices. Both speakers are currently available for preorder.
Outdoor Tech has launched the ADAPT ($40), a clip-on Bluetooth receiver that allows iOS devices and the latest iPod nanos to wirelessly stream audio to any pair of headphones or speakers. The device has a standard 3.5mm audio port, and receives Bluetooth audio from distances of up to 30 feet away. ADAPT also comes with playback controls and a built-in mic for calls. ADAPT promises nine hours of talking and listening time from its rechargeable battery, which is refueled with an included Micro-USB charger. It is available now, in black, pink, and blue.
iLuv has introduced ReF, a new line of headphones ($130). The collapsible on-ear headphones feature an all-fabric exterior, in-line remote, and a built-in mic with hands-free capabilities, as well as ear cups made from “Korean protein leather.” ReF headphones promise “deep bass and precise treble.”
ReF headphones come in two variations, one generic, and the other specific to Apple devices. Both versions come in black, white, navy, and red, and will be available this month.
Scosche has announced nine new accessories compatible with the Lightning cable — all of them chargers, offered in less expensive 5-Watt and more expensive 12-Watt iterations. StrikeBASE ($30-$35) is a wall charger, StrikeBASE pro ($40-$50) is a wall charger with two ports and a Lightning/micro USB cable, and StrikeDRIVE ($25-$40) is a car charger.
In addition to the 5W/12W choices, StrikeDRIVE adds a third option, which includes an extra USB port and Lightning/micro USB cable; StrikeDRIVE pro ($50) adds a second USB port. Finally, StrikeLINE pro ($30) is a retractable charge and sync cable for Lightning/micro USB devices. All accessories are currently listed as “coming soon” on Scosche’s website.
Griffin has launched Twenty ($100), a digital audio amplifier that uses AirPlay to connect the AirPort Express — or any digital audio source — to speakers. First seen at this year’s CES, Twenty basically turns any set of speakers into an amplified AirPlay wireless system.
Featuring 2.1 channel sound, Twenty provides connections for left and right channel speakers along with an RCA connector for a powered subwoofer. Although specifically designed to dock the original Airport Express, Twenty works with any compatible digital audio source. It is currently available.
Squier by Fender has introduced the Strat Guitar ($200), a new Stratocaster guitar that features iOS and USB connectivity. A mini-USB to Dock Connector cable and mini-USB to USB cable are included for connecting to an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac/PC for playing and recording.
The Strat Guitar also comes with a stereo headphone jack with volume control and an analog output lets the guitar function as a traditional Stratocaster that can plug into any amp, as well. It is available now.
Lantronix has announced xPrintServer - Office Edition ($200), a new addition to its xPrintServer family, following up on its prior xPrintServer Home Edition. xPrintServer is a hardware solution that lets users print directly from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod to nearly any network-connected or USB printer via AirPrint.
The new Office Edition expands on the original network edition, offering new security and enterprise management features, including remote authentication, proxy server support, and the ability to network-enable USB printers. It is currently available for pre-order and ships Nov. 21.
Case maker Otterbox announced the acquisition of Wrapsol, noted maker of protective films. “Wrapsol is a promising company with similar values and similar culture whose product aligns with the OtterBox mission of complete, premium device protection,” OtterBox President and CEO Brian Thomas said in a press release. “Adding Wrapsol to the OtterBox portfolio of world-class protection significantly enhances our ability to provide our customers and consumers an expanded variety of high-quality products.” Otterbox is based in Fort Collins, Colo.; Wrapsol is a Boston-based company.
Soundfreaq announced Sound Kick Chromatics ($99), limited color editions of its award-winning portable Sound Kick speaker. The Chromatics Collection includes Sound Kick Sunset, a mix of yellow, orange and pink; Ocean, a blue and yellow blend; Twilight, a blue and purple mix; and GHOST, an all-white edition.
A Bluetooth speaker, the original Sound Kick won iLounge’s Overall Best of Show Award at 2012 CES. Chromatics are available for pre-order now, and the speakers will ship “in time for the holidays.”
Blue Microphones released Spark Digital ($200), an iOS-compatible digital studio microphone that can also connect via USB or Lightning adapter, with an emphasis on iPad use. Spark Digital features Focus Control, which allows for low frequency sensitivity or a focus on greater clarity and detail in recording. The microphone’s components allow for high-fidelity recording of vocals, drums, piano, speech, location recording, and more. A headphone jack is also present on the mic to allow for zero-latency signal monitoring.
Marshall has announced the Major 50 FX ($170), a new set of special edition headphones to commemorate the company’s 50th anniversary. The on-ear headphones feature 40mm moving coil dynamic speakers and are adorned with gold accents and the same fret detailing found in Marshall’s 50th anniversary line of amplifiers. An inscription of the company’s founding year and location is found on the headband, which is constructed from the same vinyl used for Marshall amps. The Major 50 FX also includes an in-line Apple-certified mic and remote with volume control and a canvas carrying case. Major 50 FX Headphones are now available.
iHealth Labs has announced three new iOS-compatible devices — a new scale and two new blood pressure monitors. The Wireless Body Analysis Scale ($110) is an updated version of the company’s iHealth Scale, which can now track weight, body fat, lean mass, muscle mass, bone mass, body water, visceral fat rating, and daily calorie intake, while automatically detecting which user is standing on the scale. Results are shown through the new, free iHealth MyVitals app or on the scale itself.
iHealth’s Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor ($100) tests, tracks, and shares blood pressure information using a Bluetooth-connected upper-arm cuff. It’s an updated wireless version of the company’s previous blood pressure monitor. The Wireless Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor ($80) is similar, but fits around the wrist instead of the upper arm. Both devices also use the IHealth MyVitals app.
- November 5, 2012
- iPad Accessories
Griffin and Ballistic both announced lines of iPad mini cases, with Griffin releasing six cases for the device: The rugged Survivor ($60) comes with a clip-on stand, while IntelliCase ($35-40) offers a flexible front cover, and CinemaSeat ($40) includes an adjustable strap to fit around a car seat headrest. Three folio-style cases — Folio ($40-45), Slim Folio ($40), and Passport ($35) — round out the group.
Ballistic introduced two cases for the iPad mini. Tough Jacket ($60) offers three layers of protection and a kickstand. It comes in black, black/hot pink, and black/white color combinations. Smooth ($40) comes in black, charcoal, hot pink, and purple and features interchangeable corners.
Belkin announced the first official third-party Lightning accessories to hit the market, the Car Charger ($30) and Charge + Sync Dock ($30). The Car Charger is a 10W charger that fits any car power outlet, while the Charge + Sync Dock uses a Lightning cable to charge a docked iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, or seventh-generation iPod nano. An extra auxiliary port is also included on the Charge + Sync Dock for audio purposes.
Both products are currently available for pre-order and ship Nov. 15.
JBL announced a new line of headphones — the J Series — and a new bedside speaker, the OnBeat aWake. Eight new headphones are featured in the J Series, and all “i” editions in the J Series include a three-button remote and microphone. The on-ear J55 ($80) and J55i ($100) feature 1 5/8” drivers, leather ear cushions, and a locking mechanism for the detachable cable. Both come in black, white, or orange and white. Over-ear headphones, the J88 ($130) and J88i ($150), feature 2” drivers and come in the same colors as the on-ear headphones. Four in-ear headphones — the J22 ($40), J22i ($60), J33 ($60), and J331 ($80) — ship with three sizes of silicone sleeves, and the J33 and J33i include Comply foam tips, in addition to featuring nickel-plated drivers and a strain-relief grip to reduce cable wear. All in-ear headphones come in black and white.
JBL’s OnBeat aWake ($139) is a tabletop wireless Bluetooth speaker that includes a dock for Dock Connector devices. The aWake was designed to fit a pre-Lightning iPad in its dock, in addition to other iOS devices. Two full-range drivers are included in the speaker, which up to eight users can connect to at once using Bluetooth. Its alarm function can use music from an iTunes library, and an auxiliary input allows other devices to use the aWake as a speaker. JBL’s free downloadable app, AmpUp, features customized music settings for waking or falling asleep, on-screen calendar access, AccuWeather weather reports, more than 20 wallpaper styles with clock settings, analog or digital clock styles, and a nighttime mode.
Apple has released its Lightning to Micro USB Adapter (seen in our First Look here) in North America. Priced at $19, the adapter was originally available only in Europe due to a European Union directive requiring Micro USB compatibility for smartphone charging. The new Adapter allows users to connect a Lightning connector-equipped iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to a computer or power source using a standard Micro USB connection, however it is worth noting that the adapter sells for the same price as Apple’s Lightning to USB Cable, making it a practical option only for those with a specific need to use a Micro USB connection.
Macally has introduced a new line of cases for the iPad mini and fifth-generation iPod touch. For the iPad mini, the company announced four relatively plain-named cases: the Leather Case & Stand, Slim Folio Stand Case, Reversible Cover and Hardshell Case with Stand, and Rotating Folio Case with Stand. All of these iPad mini cases have lids, and sell for $50.
Two new cases have also been introduced for the fifth-generation iPod touch: the Flexible Protective Case ($10), a very inexpensive TPU plastic case that comes in white or black, and the Protective Flexible Case with Stand ($25), a more complex mix of hard and soft plastics that comes in green/lime and blue/yellow color combos, adding a flip-out stand to the back.
- November 1, 2012
- iPad Accessories
Exogear has announced the Exoshift convertible sleeve ($40) for the iPad mini. The faux leather sleeve — which holds an iPad mini and folds into a stand, offering multiple viewing angles — appears to be a smaller, rebranded version of Taylor Technologies’ Smart Stand Sleeve.
The Exoshift comes in black, red, or brown, and is currently available to pre-order. It ships Nov. 27.
JBL introduced the SoundFly Air ($199), a plug-in speaker that streams music via Apple AirPlay using any iOS device and a Wi-Fi connection. The compact 20 watt speaker is white with a black grille, and it plugs directly into any AC wall outlet. It uses a free downloadable app to connect to your music library, browse cover art, adjust volume and tone, and customize the speaker’s digital signal processing.
Up to four SoundFly Air speakers can be synced together to listen to iTunes anywhere in your home. The SoundFly Air is currently available for pre-order.