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.
Accessory maker Targus is acquiring Sena Cases, a long-time iPod, iPhone, and iPad case maker best known for high-end leather products. Sena will continue to operate under its own brand, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Targus; both are based in Southern California. Sena’s new leather iPad mini cases were noted in a recent iPad mini case roundup. [via OCBJ]
Philips announced that Hue, its web-enabled LED smart lighting system, will be exclusively available in Apple Stores Tuesday, Oct. 30. Hue allows a new generation of color-shifting, Wi-Fi-enabled lightbulbs to be controlled wirelessly using an app. An expensive $199 starter pack includes three 50W bulbs that fit in existing light fixtures, plus a bridge for a Wi-Fi router. Each additional individual bulb sells for a staggering $59. Users can set timers, change shades and colors, and save settings so certain “light scenes” can be recalled at any time; the app also enables users to sample colors from their favorite images, and watch as the bulbs match those colors. The bulbs can switch between various white tones and colors — Hue’s website claims the bulbs can “recreate any color in the spectrum.”
Philips claims Hue is “upgradeable and future-proof” and more features could be available for download in the future. These features could come from other developers; Philips has created an open source platform for the system, available on the Hue website.
Apple has officially started pre-orders for the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad announced earlier this week, with prices starting at $329 and $499, respectively. Wi-Fi-only versions of both devices will be available starting on November 2, and cellular versions will begin to ship in “mid November,” according to the Apple Store.
It’s noteworthy that the Apple Store web site is offering the company’s older 5W USB Power Adapter as an optional additional $19 accessory for the iPad mini, rather than the newly-introduced 12W USB Power Adapter, which sells for the same price and apparently offers faster-speed recharging for some iPads. Apple’s web site notes only that the iPad mini includes a “USB Power Adapter,” but doesn’t specify which version comes in the box; an earlier report suggested that both new iPads would include the more powerful 12W Adapter. Charging times for the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad have oddly been left ambiguous by the company, which generally has offered estimates of time required for refueling—a practice that quietly changed when the third-generation iPad’s recharging time became considerably slower.
The company also began to sell Lightning to USB Camera Adapters and Lightning to SD Card Camera Readers, which were not previously available for sale following their announcement. It is currently offering iPad mini Smart Covers in a variety of colors, and continuing to sell Lightning to Digital AV and Lightning to VGA Adapters, which became available to order immediately after the announcement.
- October 25, 2012
- iPad Accessories
Companies have continued to roll out cases for the iPad mini, and today brings a new collection of cases from Belkin, Waterfield and Sena. Belkin introduced five new cases: the Chambray Tab Cover with Stand ($30), Quilted Cover with Stand ($40), Striped Cover with Stand ($40), Dot Cover with Stand ($40), and Classic Tab Cover with Stand ($30). As their names suggest, all five cases feature a front cover and stand, remaining closed with a magnetic tab closure.
WaterField Designs is featuring iPad mini versions of nearly all of its iPad cases, including the Travel Express ($59-$69), Slip Case ($27), Ultimate SleeveCase ($59-$65), EXO SleeveCase ($53-$59), Smart Case ($57), Wallet ($69), Outback Sleeve ($39), and Suede Jacket ($15-$36). Also, Sena announced four leather cases for the mini, including the Envy ($107), Jornal ($80), Florence ($70), and Folio ($70). See roundups from Tuesday and Wednesday for more iPad mini cases.