- October 24, 2012
- iPad Accessories
In the wake of Apple’s unveiling yesterday of the iPad mini, more companies are announcing cases for the 7.9” tablet, including Incipio, Cygnett, iFrogz, and Booq. Incipio has introduced four cases: the hard shell Lexington ($40), the thin snap-on Feather ($35), the NGP ($35), and the hard shell LGND ($35). All cases are either available for pre-order or listed as coming soon. Cygnett introduced five cases: the flexible folding Enigma ($40), the extra-protective Armour ($40), and the soft-feel FlexiGel ($20) are all said to be in stock now, with the shock-absorbing Workmate ($40) and impact-resistant Vector ($20) planned for availability on Oct. 31.
Proporta has introduced iPad mini five cases: the Swivel 360 ($34) with its rotating stand, the Leather Style Folio ($34), the Leather Style with Aluminum Lining ($40), and the Back Shell ($27), all shipping Nov. 5, along with the now-available Quiksilver Neoprene Blue Checks ($20). iFrogz has also announced two cases, the textured Breeze ($30) and the folding Merge ($50). For more iPad mini cases, see Tuesday’s case roundup.
- October 23, 2012
- iPad Accessories
Today’s official iPad mini unveiling was followed by the announcement of early iPad mini cases, as STM, X-Doria, Hard Candy, and iLuv have all announced accessories for the new tablet. STM has announced the sleek Skinny Mini ($35), the Grip Mini ($40) with kickstand, and the leather Marquee ($80). All three cases have a front cover, and the Skinny and Grip are equipped with hard shell backs.
X-Doria has announced five cases for the iPad mini, including the puff-printed wraparound SmartStyle ($40), the patterned SmartJacket ($35), the SleeveStand ($30), the leather-like Dash Folio ($40), and the Engage ($20) back cover, which works in conjunction with Apple’s iPad mini Smart Cover. Hard Candy has introduced its ShockDrop Case ($50) for the mini, a rugged hard shell case that comes in black or red and ships Oct. 25. iLuv has also announced a number of accessories for the mini, including five cases: the customizable Pulse, the portfolio-style CEO Folio, the ultra-thin Epicarp, the Snoopy Folio, and the padded Belgique. Prices for the iLuv accessories will range from $20 to $80.
Alongside the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad, Apple today introduced a handful of new accessories and cables including a new polyurethane iPad mini Smart Cover, Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, Lightning to Digital AV Adapter, and Lightning to VGA Adapter.
For the iPad mini, a shrunken version of the iPad Smart Cover was announced. iPad mini Smart Cover functions in the same way as Apple’s previous magnetic lid but forgoes the metal spine. It comes in dark gray, light gray, pink, green, blue, and (PRODUCT) RED variations.
Its iPad Camera Connection Kit, formerly coming with two adapters inside, has been split into two separate adapters: the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter and Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader. They work with both new iPad models.
The HDMI port-equipped Apple Digital AV Adapter and Apple VGA Adapter have also been updated with support for Lightning connectors. They’ve been renamed as the Lightning to Digital AV Adapter and Lightning to VGA Adapter, respectively, and cost $49 each. This represents a price increase of $10 for the Digital AV model and $20 for the VGA cable.
To support the revised third-generation iPad’s increased charging requirements, Apple also released a 12W USB Power Adapter ($19). The adapter is packaged alone without a Lightning to USB Cable or any other cable, much like the company’s 5W USB Power Adapter. It allows the iPad to charge at a faster rate than the iPad 10W USB Power Adapter that’s been in use since the first-generation model of the tablet, and because it omits the additional cable, it sells for a lower price.
Soundfreaq has teamed up with notable husband-and-wife design team Robert and Cortney Novogratz for a special upcoming line of wireless Bluetooth speakers, which it’s calling The Novogratz Collection. The collection features six new designs for three existing speakers: The Sound Stack features the “Chiq Freaq” and “Flower Freaq” designs (both $450), the compact Sound Step features “Freaq of Nature” and “Freaq’n Fabulous” ($150), and the bedroom alarm clock Sound Rise gets “Freaq in the Bed” and “Novo Freaq” ($125) designs. All of the new speakers use interesting patterns and textures, replacing the one-color looks of Soundfreaq’s original designs.
All of the speakers will be available in time for the holiday season.
Expanding its earlier line of WeMo-branded home automation products, Belkin has announced WeMo Baby ($90), a product that turns any iOS device into a baby monitor. WeMo Baby uses 3G/4G or Wi-Fi to stream interference-free audio from a baby’s room to a mobile device without an additional receiver, via the free WeMo Baby app. The monitor works with multiple devices, enabling up to six people to listen simultaneously. As odd as this may sound, users can also upgrade to the Evoz premium service to receive advanced monitoring, cry notifications via text or email, cry history information, and analysis of baby’s crying and sleep patterns, for $10/month or $60/year. WeMo Baby will be available in early November.
Beats Electronics has announced two new products, the Pill speaker ($200), and Executive headphones ($300). Pill is a portable, wireless Bluetooth speaker with four speakers inside, as well as a microphone for speakerphone functionality, and a rechargeable battery that offers seven hours of continuous play. It comes in three colors — black, white, and red — and is designed as another peer-priced competitor to Jawbone’s Jambox.
Beats Executive over-ear headphones are made from aluminum alloy, stainless steel and leather. The silver, noise-canceling Executive headphones come with an iOS-compatible microphone cable and offer full phone functionality, relying on batteries to keep their active noise-canceling hardware running. They’re a significant aesthetic evolution from earlier Beats Studio and Pro headphones, and will be available this month along with Pill.
UK speaker company AQ Audio is making its US debut with the AQ SmartSpeaker ($179), a portable, wireless, AirPlay-compatible speaker. The AQ SmartSpeaker features one-touch AirPlay setup and—like other recent “PlayDirect” speakers—can also stream directly from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod by creating its own Wi-Fi network. As a standalone speaker, the AQ SmartSpeaker offers stereo sound from its two drivers. Additionally, two SmartSpeakers can be paired for left and right channel separation, and speakers can be placed around the house for multi-room audio.
More than 10 hours of AirPlay playback are possible with the integrated rechargeable battery. AQ SmartSpeaker is available now.
Grace Digital Audio’s ECOXGEAR label has introduced the ECOXBT ($130) Bluetooth speaker, compatible with iPads, iPhones, and Bluetooth-capable iPods. The ECOXBT is a portable, ruggedized, 100 percent waterproof speaker that floats, uniquely equipped with handles for easy in-pool use. Somewhat amazingly, it also includes a built-in waterproof mic so iPhone users can answer calls using its speakerphone function.
Weighing 1.5 lbs., the ECOXBT promises up to 10 hours of continuous battery life with a rechargeable lithium battery. The speaker comes in orange, red, and black. It is available now.
British audio company RHA is making its first foray into the American market with its budget-priced MA450i and SA950i headphones. Sold in black or white, the noise-isolating in-ear MA450i earphones ($50) are equipped with 10mm drivers and an in-line remote, made from aluminum, and packaged with seven sets of ear tips. They’ll be available here in mid-October.
By comparison, the larger on-ear SA950 headphones ($60) feature 40mm titanium-coated drivers and an in-line remote. Made primarily from glossy black plastic with metal accents, they will be available here at the end of October.
Swedish headphone company NOCS has released its NS600 Crush earphones ($150). The NS600 Crush features two drivers per earphone, creating a tweeter-woofer setup with full-range sound. Noise-isolating silicone sleeves fit on the earphones’ aluminum housings, which are combined with a tangle-free Kevlar cable.
A remote and mic, carrying case, extra sleeves, and airplane adapter are included with the earphones. Notably, the NS600 Crush appears to be an update of the NS600, which was slated for significant retooling after it debuted nearly two years ago. The NS600 Crush earphones are available now.
To aid customers whose new iPhones and iPods won’t work with its numerous Dock Connector-based speaker systems, Geneva Lab is introducing the Wireless Dock Adapter, a Bluetooth receiver that allows audio to be transmitted wirelessly from an iPhone, iPod, or iPad to a Geneva Sound System. Update: Although the Wireless Dock Adapter was originally announced as a Dock Connector accessory, Geneva now says that it will be offering an aux-in-based Bluetooth receiver instead.
Geneva is offering the Wireless Dock Adapter for free to customers who purchased a Geneva Model S, M, L or XL Sound System after Sept. 14. Customers must register their warranty at GenevaLab.com, including proof of purchase. Existing customers can also purchase the adapter for the discounted price of $40.
Duo Games and Gameloft have announced the new Duo Gamer Controller ($80), a Bluetooth-enabled wireless game controller for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Equipped with dual analog controls, six buttons and a d-pad, the controller is apparently the first Apple-certified wireless joypad, however, it only works with select Gameloft titles.
A holding stand for iOS devices is also included within the package. Duo Gamer is available for purchase now.
Yantouch has debuted its Black Diamond 3 wireless speaker — a significant change from its former iterations as an iPhone dock and passive lamp. The redesigned BD3 is a now an iOS-compatible Bluetooth speaker, though it retains and enhances its color-changing lamp functionality, now featuring 16 million colors.
Two speaker drivers power the device, which can be controlled via remote. USB or wall power can be used for both the color-shifting light and speakers. No price or release date has been announced yet. For additional pictures and details, check out our First Look here.
CableJive has announced the DockBoss+ ($30), an adapter that connects Apple’s Lightning to USB Cable to existing 30-pin docking stations. Although the solution’s a somewhat complicated workaround with plenty of extra wiring, the iPhone 5, new iPod touch and new iPod nano all become compatible with older existing accessories when using the DockBoss+.
DockBoss+ promises to let you charge and listen to audio at the same time from a Lightning-enabled device; an extra audio-out port is also included for analog audio systems. It’s available now.
Libratone has announced Zipp ($399), a portable speaker that can use AirPlay with or without an existing Wi-Fi network. The Zipp can connect directly to AirPlay devices using PlayDirect technology, establishing its own wireless connection when necessary. It also sports a cylindrical design, so it can be placed in the center of a room without facing away from listeners.
The Zipp gets up to eight hours of playback time when used in a wired mode, and up to four hours when accessed in wireless mode. It comes in eight different interchangeable colors, and is due for an October release.
Evouni has announced a new line of cases for the iPhone 5. One standout design is the Leather Arc Cover, which is made from Italian calfskin leather and comes in three colors: claret, black, and blue. It folds into a viewing stand when needed, and uses a magnetic closure to cover the phone’s screen.
Separately, there’s the Leather Arc Wallet case, which is similar to the Arc Cover, adding an inner pocket for cards and cash. No pricing information or release dates have yet been announced.
IK Multimedia has released the iRig PRE ($40), a universal XLR microphone interface for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Users can plug any microphone with an XLR connector into the device. The iRig PRE comes with an adjustable gain control, 48-volt phantom power, and an audio output jack.
Two free apps for the iRig PRE are available for download: iRig Recorder, for voice and field recording/editing, and VocaLive, a multi-effects processing/recording app. Power is supplied by a 9V battery, which offers 30 hours of battery life when used with dynamic microphones, and 10 hours with phantom-powered condenser studio microphones. The iRig PRE is available now.
Bowers & Wilkins has unveiled two new dedicated AirPlay speakers, the A7 and A5. The A7 ($800) comes equipped with a six-inch dedicated bass driver alongside two sets of 1” tweeters and 3” mid-range drivers, while the A5 ($500) is a smaller version of the same all-in-one design, using twin 1” tweeters and 4” full-range drivers. Both new wireless speakers feature a design similar to the company’s MM-1 speakers, though more elongated, and without separated satellites.
As with all AirPlay speakers, a Wi-Fi network and either an iOS device or a computer running iTunes are the only things needed to use the speakers. Both models will be available in October.
Leading camera filter maker Schneider-Kreuznach of Germany has announced the B+W Smart-Pro Filter, a circular polarizing filter made for iPhones, other smartphones, cameras or tablets with a maximum lens diameter of 8mm. The polarizing filter is held in place by a self-adhesive magnetic ring, and can reduce reflections on non-metallic surfaces, improving the clarity of water and glass, as well as enhancing the saturation of blue skies and other colors. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.
Scosche has announced Rhythm ($100), a new pulse monitor and app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Rhythm’s neoprene arm strap fits over the forearm, allowing a user to manage, track, and analyze workouts. Two alternating LEDs with a photo sensor measure pulse, while a built-in accelerometer helps to provide estimates of calories burned, speed, pace, route, and distance. Wireless remote control over iOS music playback is also included on the armband, which boasts up to six hours of continuous battery life.
Interestingly, data from Rhythm’s personalized workouts can be stored in the cloud at Scosche’s Rhythm Dashboard website. The Rhythm monitor and app are available now.