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Apogee intros JAM 96k guitar interface, MiC 96k

Apogee Electronics has introduced the JAM 96k ($129) guitar interface and MiC 96k ($229) microphone. Both iOS-compatible products are new, upgraded versions of previous accessories — the Jam and MiC. As the names of the new products note, both accessories offer up to 96kHZ recording — an upgrade from their previous iterations.

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Apogee’s JAM 96k guitar interface comes with a nickel-plated finish and includes a Lightning cable. MiC 96k, a studio quality microphone, includes a Lightning cable and a microphone stand adapter. Both accessories also come with an iOS Dock Connector cable and USB cable. JAM 96k and MiC 96k are available now.

Harman/Kardon shows Blu-Ray, Bluetooth + AirPlay systems

Harman/Kardon recently announced its BDS 3D Blu-Ray systems, the BDS 580 ($1,099) and BDS 280 ($510). The iOS-compatible Wi-Fi Blu-Ray players have built-in AirPlay and Bluetooth functionality, enabling iPads, iPhones, and iPods to stream content directly to the receiver. Dolby Volume is included, which balances the volume between loud and quiet scenes without user involvement.

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The BDS 580 is a 5.1-channel, 325-watt system, while the BDS 280 is a 2.1 channel, 130-watt system. Release dates are unknown at this point, as both Blu-Ray systems are only listed on Harman/Kardon’s European website.

iLounge’s 2014 CES Best of Show Awards announced

iLounge has announced our 2014 International CES Best of Show Award winners and finalists. We’ve picked the absolute best products we’ve seen at CES — a very select list of Best of Show winners and Best of Show Finalist winners. ZeroChroma took home the Best Overall Product award for its Folio Slide for iPad mini with Flux-Stand. Incipio/Braven also netted four awards — two Best in Show awards and two Finalist awards. For all the award winners and the best products, click here.

NYNE intros floating Aqua Bluetooth speaker

NYNE has introduced Aqua ($130), a unique-looking, floating Bluetooth speaker. Aqua is IPX7-tested and waterproof, with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. It can be fully submerged in one meter of water for 30 minutes. The speaker has “close to 10 watts of power,” according to NYNE.

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Aqua features a 2200mAh rechargeable battery and has a built-in waterproof microphone and auxiliary input. The speaker will come in gray or blue, and is planned for launch in the “early second quarter” of 2014.

Lightning developer leaves Apple, redesigns Square Reader

Former Apple accessories head Jesse Dorogusker left the company and joined Square to design the new Square Reader, Wired reports. According to the report, Dorogusker previously led development on Apple’s Lightning connector, and spent eight years heading up the accessories division for Apple before leaving. Wired notes with Square’s new Reader, Dorogusker “had the chance to take a crack at a flagship product.”

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Much of the article focuses on the technical details of developing the new Square Reader, which is 45 percent thinner than Square’s old credit card reader, and no longer requires an internal battery for power. The Reader also improves the tactile feel of card swiping despite its smaller size.

Apple patent reveals ‘smart dock’ for Siri use

A just-published Apple patent has revealed plans for a “smart dock” that would allow users to interact with a docked iOS device through voice recognition. The dock would actively listen for audio cues in order to communicate with the docked device — the device’s voice recognition mode would then be activated.

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Therefore, Siri could be used without physically interacting with the docked iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Some embodiments of the dock include a device with storage media, a GPS receiver, and/or environmental sensors. An in-car implementation would make a lot of sense, as well. [via Apple Insider]

Mophie debuts Powerstation XL battery pack

Mophie has introduced the Powerstation XL ($130), a 12,000 mAh USB battery pack. The Powerstation XL can charge two iPads at the same time, as its dual USB ports each offer 2.1 amps of power. A micro USB port is also included, along with a cable to refuel the battery.

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The Powerstation XL includes built-in short circuit protection and a LED battery status indicator. Mophie’s Powerstation XL is available now.

Kicker intros Amphitheater K3 Speaker, Vapor headphones

Kicker has introduced its Amphitheater K3 Speaker System with Bluetooth ($200) and Vapor Headphones ($220). The Amphitheater K3 uses aptX audio coding and delivers sound using 3-inch drivers, mid-bass woofers, a tuned-port enclosure, and a 2x10-watt amp. Devices can connect to the Amphitheater K3 using NFC or Bluetooth.

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Kicker’s Vapor Headphones come equipped with a pair of 35mm dual-diaphragm transducers and sealing, leather ear pads. The headphones come with a detachable flat cable with three-button remote and microphone. Both products will be shown at CES in January, and released in the first quarter of 2014.

Acoustic Research debuts AR for Her speakers

Acoustic Research has introduced a new line called “AR for Her.” The line will feature a Bluetooth speaker, made to look like a clutch handbag, that streams music from up to 30 feet away. A built-in microphone and rechargeable battery are also featured in the speaker.

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The speaker will come in black, white, white with pink polka dots, and leopard print. Acoustic Research plans on updating the look each season while introducing more accessories. The speaker collection will be available in spring 2014.

Apple offers Smart Case for Retina iPad mini cellular delays

Apple is currently offering free Smart Cases to customers who are still awaiting shipments of their Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad mini with Retina display. Via telephone at 1-800-692-7753, Apple customer service representatives are offering either the free case or a free Smart Cover to customers who have been waiting for a new cellular Retina iPad mini, and call to inquire about the delay/status of the shipment.

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Following forum reports, iLounge has confirmed that Apple representatives are offering the Smart Case to customers. Most iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular pre-orders placed on the first day of availability appear not to have shipped, however, many Wi-Fi-only units have shipped in varying capacities and colors.

Netatmo debuts Starck-designed wireless Thermostat

Netatmo has introduced its wireless Netatmo Thermostat, designed by Philippe Starck. An app can control the iOS-compatible thermostat and let users view their heating habits. The thermostat works with most oil, gas, and wood furnaces.

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Following Nest’s strategy of updating the common thermostat with a more beautiful and elegant housing, Netatmo’s thermostat makes temperature control particularly easy, and comes with five interchangeable color frames to match the room where it’s installed. It will be released in Europe this month for 179 Euros ($241), with a US release date and price to be announced in January at CES.

Scosche debuts reVOLT dual-12W car charger

Scosche has released its reVOLT ($25), a car charger with two USB 12W ports. While it’s exceptionally similar to earlier reVOLT models, both ports now charge at 2.4A, allowing for full simultaneous iPad charging regardless of the iPad model.

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Scosche notes that charging circuitry in reVOLT is designed for iOS — though the charger will work with most non-iOS smartphones and tablets, those devices may not charge at the fastest rates. Notably, Apple appears to have ended 2.4A/12W regarding speeds with the release of the iPad Air; only prior-generation full-sized iPads benefitted from the faster standard. The new reVOLT is available now.

Pebble watch receives full iOS 7 notifications

Pebble has announced today that its smart watch “is now fully integrated with iOS 7 and works seamlessly with Notification Center.” All enabled notifications will now be pushed to the Pebble — meaning app notifications beyond calls, emails, and texts. A new iOS app will enable the functionality. Pebble claims the app is currently “under review” by Apple, and will be available in the iTunes Store “soon.”

Twelve South intros BookBook Travel Journal for iPad

Twelve South has introduced its newest BookBook — the BookBook Travel Journal ($100) for iPad Air and iPad mini. The vintage leather case is compatible with all iPad models.

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The BookBook Travel Journal holds more than just an iPad — it has space for a number of accessories, with more than a dozen pockets able to store headphones, adapters, chargers, batteries, and cables. It is available now.

NOCS intros NS900 DJ-style headphones

NOCS has announced its NS900 ($250) on-ear headphones, billed as a “professional DJ headphone.” The NS900 comes with 40mm titanium drivers and interchangeable ear cushions. A stainless steel headband is bolstered by an internal headband with steel hex screws.

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NS900 uses a lock to keep the audio cable secure. Three exchangeable cables come with the headphones, including a cable with a three-button remote and mic. NOCS’ NS900 is available for pre-order and ships Dec. 20.

Apple discontinues iPad Smart Cover, Case

Apple’s online store now lists the iPad Smart Case and iPad Smart Cover as discontinued for the iPad 2 and iPad (3rd/4th-Gen). The site now only shows a dark gray Smart Case and Cover, but both are unavailable for purchase online. Limited inventory may be available in some retail stores.

This is a somewhat curious move, considering Apple has kept the iPad 2 in its lineup. However, Apple is still selling a number of third-party cases that are compatible with the iPad 2, as well as new iPad Air and iPad mini Smart Cases and Smart Covers.

Update: Apple is now selling dark gray versions of the iPad Smart Case and Smart Cover in its online store again.

Bad Elf debuts GPS for Lightning Connector

Bad Elf has introduced its GPS for Lightning Connector ($130), a portable GPS device that connects to a Lightning connector to add instant GPS and GLONASS location support. Latitude, longitude, altitude, speed and tracking are provided, and the company claims accuracy to within 9 feet and support for altitudes up to 60,000 feet and speeds up to 1,000 mph.

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Bad Elf’s GPS requires no Internet connection or monthly subscription, and enables Wi-Fi only devices to use full GPS-based location services, even in areas without Wi-Fi. The GPS is powered from the attached iOS device, and a micro-USB cable is included for passthrough charging. The GPS for Lightning Connector is expected to ship sometime in November.

Geneva debuts Model M, L, XL wireless sound systems

Geneva Lab has introduced three new wireless sound systems: the Geneva Sound System Model M Wireless ($599), the Geneva Sound System Model L Wireless ($1,199), and the Geneva Sound System Model XL Wireless ($2,299). The Model M uses Bluetooth A2DP for wireless audio streaming and includes an FM radio, digital clock with alarm, LED display, and touch-sensitive controls. Four amplifiers in the wooden cabinet produce a combined 60 watts of output power.

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The Model L Wireless is larger than the Model M and uses Bluetooth aptX streaming and adds a slot-loading CD player. The system’s four amplifiers produce 180 watts of output. The Model XL is the largest model; also boasting Bluetooth aptX and a CD player, XL uses six amplifiers for 346 watts of power. The new models are all dockless versions of the company’s prior iPod/iPhone sounds systems—a response to Apple’s Lightning and AirPlay restrictions. All three sound systems will be available in November in black, white, red, or walnut finishes.

iHealth announces Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System

iHealth has announced its Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System ($80). A portable, Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose monitor, the Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System automatically displays blood glucose measurements on an iOS device with the free iHealth Gluco-Smart App. Users can set up reminders to take medications, track trends, and track test strip expiration dates.

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The monitor also lets users remotely view and track measurements online. iHealth’s Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System is available now.

Sol Republic + Motorola debut Tracks AIR headphones

Sol Republic and Motorola have announced the new Tracks AIR Wireless Headphones ($200). The Bluetooth headphones claim to deliver solid bass, clean mids and vocals, and extended highs from their A2 sound engines. Tracks AIR boasts a 150-foot wireless range, and battery life exceeding 15 hours; the headphones can also be used with cables for wired use.

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Tracks AIR Wireless Headphones feature multi-device Bluetooth connectivity, a dual-microphone for phone calls, and interchangeability with PowerTracks headbands for a customized look. The headphones will be released in “early November.”

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