The M.I.C. Store is now offering its Aluminum Keyboard Buddy case for the iPad 2. Sporting a design reminiscent of the MacBook Air, the Keyboard Buddy features an integrated Bluetooth 2.0 keyboard with a built-in 510mAh battery good for 90 hours of use and a micro USB port for charging, an aluminum housing, a built-in stand with two viewing angles supporting both portrait and landscape orientation, compatibility with the iPad 2’s magnetic sleep/wake feature, and a design that is designed to cover the device’s screen while not in use. M.I.C.‘s Aluminum Keyboard Buddy case for the iPad 2 is available now and sells for $50.
Soundfreaq has introduced its new Sound Step Recharge speaker for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. The Sound Step Recharge is a 2.1 channel system featuring dual two-inch drivers, one three-inch driver, a UQ3 spacial enhancement processor, Bluetooth for audio streaming from compatible devices, a front-mounted dock offering charging compatibility with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod, a separate USB charging port, a rechargeable lithium ion battery good for up to six hours of audio playback, composite video output, a 3.5mm line input, and an integrated FM tuner. Soundfreaq’s Sound Step Recharge speaker for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod is available now and sells for $160.
Griffin Technology has announced the immediate availability of its Crayola ColorStudio HD accessory and app combo. Announced at the 2011 CES and recipient of an iLounge Best of Show award, ColorStudio HD was developed in collaboration with Crayola, and consists of an iPad-friendly, AA battery-powered digital stylus called the iMarker, and the Crayola ColorStudio HD app for the iPad. Together, they allow young artists to color and interact with special “live” animated coloring book pages, while automatically differentiating between input from the iMarker and the child’s finger; printing is available from within the app to AirPrint-enabled printers, and favorite works can also be shared via e-mail or Facebook. Griffin’s Crayola ColorStudio HD is available now for $30; the ColorStudio HD app is available for free from the App Store. For more information, see our full review.
V-Moda has unveiled its new V-80 on-ear headphones with styling inspired by the HBO series True Blood. The V-80 is made from steel, aluminum, Kevlar, microfiber suede, and other high-end materials, and features 40mm dual-diaphragm drivers, detachable Kevlar-reinforced cables with 24k gold-plated plugs, interchangeable metal ear shields on either side of the ear cushions, one 3.5mm fabric cable with an inline, single-button remote and mic box, one standard 3.5mm fabric cable, and an included exoskeleton carrying case with blood vial zipper. V-Moda’s True Blood V-80 on-ear headphones are available now and sell for $230.
ThinkGeek has announced that its iCade gaming cabinet for the iPad and iPad 2 is now available. Initially announced as an April Fool’s Day joke in 2010, the iCade was built in partnership with ION Audio, and features a fully-functional gamepad with a retro-style arcade stick and buttons, a built-in cradle for the iPad, Bluetooth for connection to the device, and the ability to run off two AA batteries. Currently, the iCade is compatible with the free Atari’s Greatest Hits app, which offers access to 100 classic Atari titles; an API has also been released, allowing other third-party developers to add iCade compatibility to their titles. ThinkGeek’s iCade gaming cabinet for the iPad and iPad 2 is available now and sells for $100.
Go Tablet has introduced its Padded Ballistic Nylon Travel Case/Bag for the iPad and iPad 2. This hybrid case/bag features a unique design that with a zippered front flap that folds back to allow for use of the iPad without the need for removal, a zippered pocket with other small items such as a charger, phone, and wallet, foam insulation for shock absorption and a smooth nylon interior for scratch protection, an included shoulder strap, and stainless steel hardware. Go Tablet’s Padded Ballistic Nylon Travel Case/Bag for the iPad and iPad 2 is available now in black or olive green and sells for $40.
iLounge has learned that the costs involved with adding AirPlay functionality and Thunderbolt support to devices may be limiting the adoption of the Apple co-developed standards. Regarding AirPlay, sources have noted that the cost of adding AirPlay music streaming support to a set of speakers results in a retail price bump of around $100, making it unlikely that the standard will be widely adopted in lower-priced audio systems for the foreseeable future. Our sources have described the AirPlay technologies as considerably more expensive to incorporate than Apple’s standard docking Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad Dock Connectors, and noted that Apple is very heavily pushing developers to adopt the wireless technologies despite the costs involved.
We similarly have learned that the price of the components required to add a Thunderbolt port to an external hard drive is roughly equal to the cost of a low-end hard drive itself, a high cost that one developer has suggested will limit Thunderbolt’s near-term use to products aimed at the professional market. This high cost structure also makes it unlikely that Apple will integrate Thunderbolt ports in its iOS devices in the immediate future—a feature that many people have guessed would be available for iPads—and would partially explain Apple’s drive to push for Wi-Fi-based synchronization in iOS 5.
Despite these facts, a number of companies are actively readying AirPlay- or Thunderbolt-ready products for introduction in the coming months, and we’ve seen at least one speaker system—Philips’ Fidelio AD7000W—that was priced as low as $230, setting a new price floor for AirPlay audio systems. It remains to be seen when or if costs will come down further to promote more widespread adoption of the accessories.
Philips has debuted a number of new AirPlay-enabled speaker systems at CE Week 2011. Based on the company’s previously-revealed Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W system—which will launch in the U.S. this month for $799—the Fidelio SoundSphere DS6800W system features a handcrafted enclosure made from real wood, a silver and black color scheme, “floating” speakers, an auxiliary input for connection of other audio sources, and built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay music streaming support. It wil be available this holiday season and will sell for $500.
The Fidelio DS8800W is a desktop-style, one-piece system offering 2x15W RMS total output power, neodymium drivers, bass pipes for enhanced bass reproduction, an included remote control, and built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay music streaming support. It will sell for $400 and is expected to ship this July. The circular Fidelio DS3881W features 16W RMS of total output, a 360-degree surround sound effect, a compact design, a rechargeable battery, an auxiliary input, and built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay music streaming support. It will be available this holiday season for $329. Finally, the Fidelio AD7000W is a compact, desktop-style system featuring an aluminum and fabric finish, 10W RMS of total output, auxiliary and USB inputs, the latter of which can charge and play a connected iPod, iPhone, or iPad, and built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay music streaming support. It will also be available this holiday season, and will sell for $229.
AViiQ has announced that its Smart Case for iPad 2 is now available. The Smart Case mixes a hard plastic shell with a solid anodized aluminum plate for added rigidity, and features open access to all ports, controls, cameras, and the speaker, and a design that allows it to work with Apple’s iPad Smart Covers. AViiQ’s Smart Case for iPad 2 comes in black, silver, blue, green, orange, pink, or red, and sells for $50; for more information, see our full review.
Incase has announced its upcoming line of headphones, which it is calling Incase Audio. The new lineup, which is all black with lime green accents, consists of four models: the Sonic Over Ear, Reflex On Ear, Pivot On Ear, and Capsule In Ear. According to the company, each model features custom-tuned drivers, designs made to match the natural shape of the ear and head, and an integrated microphone and remote for use with Apple devices. Incase’s new line of Incase Audio headphones will be available this Fall; pricing has yet to be announced.
G-Technology, well-known for its storage solutions, has introduced its new G-Connect wireless storage solution for the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and other mobile devices. Sporting a 500GB hard drive, the G-Connect creates an 802.11n wireless network, allowing it to share content with up to five devices simultaneously, and, when connected to the Internet via the built-in Ethernet port, can also serve as a Wi-Fi access point. Other features include a USB 2.0 port for fast transfer of media from a computer, automatic discovery and organization of files into photos, videos, music, and documents categories, app-based access from iOS devices, password protection, a personal “private” folder, and AirPlay support. G-Technology’s G-Connect wireless storage solution for iOS will be available in July and will sell for $200.
iSkin is now shipping its Vu and solo Smart cases for the iPad 2. The Vu, which debuted in our iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide, is a hybrid case made from TPU and polycarbonate, featuring embedded Microban antibacterial protection, an integrated multi-position stand, protection for the home and volume buttons, integrated covers for the dock connector and headphone ports, open access to both cameras, and a two-tone design with a clear rear center area. It is available in one of three color combinations and sells for $60.
The solo Smart is a clear, high-gloss soft cover for the iPad 2 designed to work in concert with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover. Features include integrated covers for the headphone and dock connector ports, push-through protection for the volume and sleep/wake buttons, open access to the speaker and rear camera, embedded Microban antibacterial technology, and a feature called CoverLock that features integrated brackets meant to make the connection between the iPad 2 and the Smart Cover more secure. The solo Smart is available now and is priced at $50.
Marshall has updated its Major Over-Ear Headphones with a new in-line remote and microphone module. The single-button, Apple-friendly remote can be used to play, pause, and skip tracks, and can also be used to answer and end phone calls. Other features include 40mm dynamic drivers, soft ear cushions, an included 6.3mm adapter for use with amplifiers and larger stereos, a collapsible design, and styling reminiscent of the company’s on-stage amplifiers and audio gear. Marshall’s Major Over-Ear Headphones are available now and sell for $119.
Audio-Technica has announced that it will show its new line of Solid Bass Headphones at CE Week 2011. The new line will include the ATH-CKS50BK In-Ear Headphones, featuring 12.5mm direct diaphragm drivers, an elastomer sheath cable, two sound chambers for improved bass response, and an included carrying pouch and ear tips. They will sell for $70. The ATH-CKS70 In-Ear Headphones also offer 12.5mm direct diaphragm drivers and dual sound chambers, but also feature a two-position post for better fit and sound isolation, titanium construction, an included carry pouch and ear tips, and an L-type plug. They will sell for $120.
The lineup will also include two pairs of Over-Ear Headphones. The ATH-WS50BK will feature 40mm drivers, an adjustable headband, acoustically-sealed oval ear pads for reduced sound leakage, double air chambers for improved bass, and a foldable design, and will sell for $100. The ATH-WS70 Over-Ear Headphones will also feature dual chambers, an adjustable headband, foldable design, and 40mm drivers, but add a machined aluminum housing for increased rigidity and vibration reduction, as well as soft insulating ear pads. They will sell for $150; release dates for the new lineup have yet to be announced.
iHome, Philips, and RCA have all debuted new iPad-ready docking speaker systems. Shown by the company at the 2011 CES, the iHome iD85 is a dual-alarm clock radio for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod, featuring a top-mounted dock, one-button sync of the iD85’s clock to the device’s an AM/FM radio, EQ controls, Reson8 sound technology, an auxiliary input, and support for the company’s iHome+Sleep and iHome+Radio apps. It is available now and sells for $140.
Philips’ Rise and Shine DC291/37 is an aluminum clock radio for iPad, iPhone, and iPod, featuring a top-mounted dock, automatic clock synchronization, 10W RMS of total power, a digital FM tuner, a front-facing LCD display, a 3.5mm input, weekday/weekend alarm settings, and neodymium drivers. It sells for $120; a dual-dock version, the DC390/37, has yet to be released.
Finally, RCA has introduced its Ri173 Sound System for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, featuring a slim design, a top-mounted dock, a digital FM tuner, stereo speakers, digital volume control, and an included remote control. It is available now and sells for $100.
Withings has announced that it is now shipping its Blood Pressure Monitor for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch in the U.S. Shown during the 2011 CES in Las Vegas, the Blood Pressure Monitor is a compact blood pressure cuff with integrated motor and battery pack that connects to an iOS device via a 30-pin cable and works with the company’s free app to display results and track them over time with graphs that can be shared via email with a physician. Withings’ Blood Pressure Monitor for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is available now and sells for $130.
Nedrelow has unveiled its new Tote bag for the iPad. Handmade from thick 3mm German-made wool, the Tote bag features built-in shoulder strap/handles, a built-in sleeve made to fit the iPad, iPad 2, or iPad 2 with Smart Cover, and a spacious main compartment. Nedrelow’ Tote bag for the iPad is available now and sells for $89; it is also available in a version for the 11.6” MacBook Air.
Griffin Technology has announced its new DJ Cable, with works with the djay app from Algoriddim to enable new functionality in the iOS app. Unlike standard splitter cables, the DJ Cable is specifically wired for djay’s Split Output mode, which sends the master speaker output to the left channel and the cue output to the right channel, letting the user cue songs through their headphones independently of the live mix that is sent to the speakers. The cable offers a male end for connection to the headphone port of an iOS device, as well as two female ports for connection to headphones and a set of speakers or amp. Griffin’s new DJ Cable is available now and sells for $20.
Griffin Technology has announced that it is now shipping its Beacon Universal Remote Control System for iOS devices. Winner of an iLounge Best of Show 2011 Finalist award, the Beacon connects to iOS devices over Bluetooth, allowing for remote control—via Dijit’s free Universal Remote app—of TVs, cable boxes, and other home entertainment components. Other features include a low-profile design, a constantly updated device code library with learning functionality, a built-in program guide, and battery life of up to eight weeks under heavy usage from four AA batteries. Griffin’s Beacon Universal Remote Control System is available now and sells for $80.
Cocoon Innovations has rolled out its new GRID-IT Wrap case for iPad. The GRID-IT is a sleeve-style case featuring a dedicated pocket for the iPad or iPad 2, the GRID-IT organization system for holding items such as chargers, an iPhone, pens, pencils, and other accessories, and a neoprene cover that folds closed to cover the iPad pocket and any items held in place by the organization system. Cocoon’s new GRID-IT Wrap case for iPad is available now in black, grey, or red, and sells for $30.