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Another report suggests 2018 iPhones will ship with faster charging adapters, includes renders

A new report from ChargerLab backs up rumours from earlier this month that Apple plans to include USB-C Fast Charge power adapters with at least some of this year’s iPhone models. Citing sources from “inside production lines,” the report confirms that it will be an 18-watt USB-C to Lightning plug, and includes renders of a European version of the adapter. The new design also appears to be in line with the earlier Weibo report that the charger would see a change from the traditional square shape used since the iPhone 3G, making it more convenient and portable. The iPhone has supported at least 2.1-amp charging since 2014, but despite this, Apple has continued to bundle only the original anemic one-amp adapter in every box, up to and including last year’s fast-charge-capable iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models.

Mercedes unveils lineup of branded iPhone accessories

Mercedes has launched a new line of branded iPhone accessories, including a number of cases and even a Lightning cable. CarScoops reports on the new lineup, which features cases for the iPhone 7/8, iPhone 7/8 Plus, and iPhone X made from materials such as liquid silicone, genuine leather, and carbon fibre variations. Silicon cases include a microfiber inner liner and are available in navy blue, black, red, or beige, while the leather versions use a perforated design in walnut brown, Marrakech, black, red, crystal grey or white. Other variations include carbon fiber and aluminum and carbon fiber and smooth leather versions. A dual-headed Lightning/Micro-USB to USB cable is also available sporting the Mercedes-Benz name on the Lightning end and the logo on the USB end. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: 2018 iPhones may ship with USB-C Fast Charging adapters

Apple may finally be deciding to bundle faster charging adapters with this year’s iPhones, according to a new post on Weibo, reported by MacRumors. The report suggests that Apple would be planning to “upgrade to USB-C support” for all of its devices by shipping them with a redesigned 18-watt power adapter and USB-C to Lightning cable. Notably, however, it doesn’t appear that Apple is switching to a USB-C interface, but rather merely bundling a USB-C capable adapter, essentially a lower-powered version of its current 29W USB-C power adapter, and the company’s standard USB-C to Lighting Cable. Currently, Apple only includes a basic five-watt power adapter with current iPhones, relegating even the most recent iPhones — to the slowest possible charging speeds. The Weibo report also suggests that the charger will see a new design, replacing the traditional square shape used since the iPhone 3G era. The report also adds that Apple will continue to restrict MFi partners from making USB-C to Lightning cables until at least 2019.

IK Multimedia unveils UNO Synth

IK Multimedia has broken new ground, releasing its first hardware synthesizer in the form of UNO Synth, a new monophonic synth that provides a wide analog sound palette, easy programmability, and on-the-go portability. UNO Synth is the culmination of IK’s own decades of experience in software and hardware audio development and a collaboration with Italian boutique synthesizer maker Soundmachines and IK’s synth guru Erik Norlander, taking the types of features and capabilities that IK has been known for in its software apps and bringing them to a powerful hardware synth that can deliver a range of sounds from the classic to the modern. While the new synth packs a lot of power, IK has also taken steps to make it accessible to first-time synth users, with 100 presets and an easy-to-play keyboard, but it’s also designed with the experience professional in mind, providing a true-analog audio path, powerful synth engine, and more.

Olloclip unveils Mobile Photography Box Set for iPhone X

Olloclip has designed a new mobile lens system specifically for the iPhone X, allowing users of Apple’s flagship iPhone model to benefit from the same lens enhancements that other iPhone users have long been enjoying. Featuring premium multi-element glass optics, the lens kit includes the Fisheye + Macro 15x and Super-Wide lenses — Olloclip’s Core Lens Set — along with a new Connect X mounting system that provides several new features unique to the iPhone X. An expanding lens mount opens easily to accommodate screen protectors and easily align with both front and rear cameras, and users can flip the individual Connect lenses to use the iPhone X Telephoto lens instead of the main lens. Additional lenses are also available for the iPhone X system, including an ultra-wide lens with a 155-degree action camera field of view, a 2x telephoto lens to provide optical zoom, and Macro 14x/7x and Macro 21x lenses for better closeups of small objects. As with Olloclip’s other lens systems, the Connect X mount requires a careless iPhone, although Olloclip is also releasing a new slim case for iPhone X users this month that will be compatible with the lenses. The entire Connect X lens system lineup for iPhone X is available now on olloclip.com; the Mobile Photography Box Set for iPhone X is available now at olloclip.com, Amazon, and will be available in June at Apple locations worldwide for $99.99.

Logitech releases Keys-to-Go in three fun new colors

Logitech has expanded the color palette for its Keys-To-Go ultra-portable Bluetooth keyboard, adding Stone, Blush, and Smokey Blue to the line-up for those who prefer something more whimsical than basic black. Designed to be a keyboard that you can take anywhere, whether for an iPad, iPad mini, or iPhone, Keys-To-Go comes with an iPhone stand and is compatible with just about any Bluetooth device, including not only iOS devices and the Apple TV, but also Macs, and Android and Windows devices. Keys-To-Go continues to be ultra-slim, ultra-light, and therefore portable enough to tuck into a messenger bag or purse, and provides a smooth surface that’s easy and comfortable to type on while being safe from spills and easy to clean. Keys-To-Go is available in the new colors today for $69.99 from Logitech.com.

Report: 2018 iPhones may exclude headphone adapter

A new research note obtained by MacRumors suggests that Apple may be planning to unbundle the Lighting to 3.5mm Headphone Jack adapter from this year’s iPhone models. In the research note, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates state “We currently model no dongle this year,” and Barclays has lowered its quarterly and yearly revenue guidance for Cirrus Logic — the supplier of audio component in the adapter — by up to five percent as a result. It appears, however, that the Barclays analysts are merely guessing at this point, and have mentioned in prior research notes that it may take until May or June before they know for certain. That said, however, Barclays analysts did accurate predict last year that Apple would continue to include the adapter in the 2017 iPhone models, based on visits with Apple’s supply chain partners in Asia.

RHA releases MA650 Wireless in white

RHA has released the MA650 Wireless in a new white aesthetic, the latest design in RHA’s MA range, and the company’s third wireless headphone. Featuring a minimalist design and a solid, premium build, the MA650 includes a noise-isolating form and a 12-hour battery life, and is targeted specifically at those with active lifestyles. Tap-and-go NFC pairing allows quick connections with multiple supported devices, and a universal remote works for switching between music, calls, and voice assistant activation at the touch of a button. The silicone neckband also provides haptic vibrations of incoming calls and notifications. The MA650 Wireless is priced at $99.95 and is available now on Amazon and RHA’s website.

OtterBox releases new case designs for Solo: A Star Wars Story

OtterBox has announced a new series of special edition cases for “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” in advance of the film. The new designs are part of the company’s Symmetry Series, featuring the same level of protection against dumps and drops with graphics that pay tribute to Han Solo and his loyal sidekick. The “Millennium Falcon” case features the legendary ship that made the kessel run in less than 12 parsecs, while “Chewbacca” is a great option for fans of the wookie and “All or Nothing” displays symbols representative of a galaxy far, far away. The new case are available now from the OtterBox website for $44.95 for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 versions, and $54.95 for the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X versions.

Apple unveils (PRODUCT)RED Edition iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Folio for iPhone X

Apple has once again released new (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition versions of its current iPhone models — in this case the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The new colours are similar to last year’s (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, although they of course feature the new glass back design and more interestingly this year Apple has also chosen to go with a black front bezel versus the white bezel used in last year’s models. The new versions are otherwise identical to the standard iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models, essentially just adding a new color option to help bolster mid-season sales and continue Apple’s tradition of supporting the (RED) Global Fund in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Mophie announces Charge Stream Pad+

Mophie has announced the Charge Stream Pad+, a universal wireless charging pad that provided a universal charging experience for both Apple’s new iPhones and Samsung Qi-enabled smartphones. Following in the footsteps of the company’s Wireless Charging Base released specifically for iPhone users last fall, the new Charge Stream Pad+ includes ten-watt charging support for Samsung devices, as well as compatibility with all of Mophie’s Charge Force Juice Pack battery cases, while still maintaining 7.5-watt compatibility the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Unlike the Wireless Charging Base, which used a standard power adapter, Mophie will be including a QC 2.0 wall adapter and USB-A to micro-USB cable to power Charge Stream Pad+, which otherwise appears very similar visually to the earlier charging pad. Charge Stream Pad+ will retail for $60 and is available now in Verizon stores, at Verizon.com, and mophie.com, and is expected to arrive in Best Buy and AT&T stores in the near future.

Case-Mate releases Power Pad wireless charger

Case-Mate has entered the wireless charging market with today’s announcement of its new Power Pad that combines a fast wireless charger with a stand to keep your iPhone in an upright position. Featuring 7.5-watt Qi-enabled charging capabilities for iPhone, a removal “iPhone-shaped” charging pad allows users to lay their device flat for charging separately from the stand. Devices can also be charged in landscape or portrait orientations, and an LED indicator confirms that your device is properly charging. A slip resistant ridge helps guide your iPhone for proper placement, and base grips also prevent the pad from sliding around on smooth surfaces. Power Pad sells for $60 and is available from Amazon in either black or white and features a minimalist design that makes it appropriate for just about any setting.

Apple partner Foxconn acquires accessory and peripheral maker Belkin

Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has acquired accessory and peripheral maker Belkin for $866 million, TechCrunch reports. The sale brings a lot of recognizable brands owned by Belkin under Foxconn’s umbrella, including Linksys, Wemo and Phyn in addition to Belkin’s own name. Belkin’s CEO and founder Chet Pipkin will stay on and operate the company “as a wholly owned subsidiary,” possibly also joining Foxconn Interconnect Technology’s management team at a later date.

Marshall releases company’s first active noise cancelling headphones

Marshall’s new Mid A.N.C. marks the company’s first venture into active noise cancelling headphones, using four microphones to continuously measure and pinpoint ambient noise and block it out. The headphones boast “up to 20 hours” of wireless playback when active noise cancelling is engaged or more than 30 hours of wireless playtime without A.N.C. The headphones feature 3D metal hinges that rotate to provide a snug fit and a collapsible vinyl case with a red velvet lining. The Mid A.N.C. costs $269 and is available at Marshall’s website.

Report: Cheaper iPad expected to launch soon may work with Apple Pencil

Well-respected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple will double its shipments of the Apple Pencil this year, possibly by making a new, cheaper iPad expected to launch this week compatible with the accessory, 9to5Mac reports. Until now the Apple pencil has only worked with the much more expensive iPad Pro line, so it’s been a boon to artists and designers, but not a big seller for the tablets that tend to make their way into the hands of children. That could change during tomorrow’s education event at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago, if Apple CEO Tim Cook reveals a low-price iPad that’s Apple Pencil-ready. Kuo also said it’s possible the iPhone will eventually support the Apple Pencil as well, but didn’t firmly commit to that coming in the near future.

Ultimate Ears debut new waterproof Wonderboom portable speakers

Ultimate Ears has added the new waterproof Wonderboom speaker ($100) to its lineup. The round speaker provides 360-degree sound and can be immersed in water up to one meter for up to 30 minutes, so it can withstand the rigors of a sudden rain storm or outdoor pool party. It also floats, has a hanging loop (to make it easier to fish out of a pool if it’s knocked in) and is drop-proof to five feet. The company claims the speaker can last up to 10 hours on its battery and has a 100-foot wireless Bluetooth range, and two of the devices can even be paired together to provide a more robust listening experience.

Apple updates MFi program with with specs for new Lightning audio cable, USB-C port

Apple has added specifications for USB-C ports and a Lightning to 3.5mm output cable to its Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod licensing program, 9to5Mac reports. The update will allow third-party accessory makers to include USB-C charging receptacles in certified iOS and Mac accessories. Accessory makers can also now create a Lightning to 3.5mm connector to allow iOS devices to be plugged directly into an auxiliary port. Previously users would be forced to use the Lightning to 3.5mm female adapter included with their device in conjunction with a male-to-male 3.5mm to connect, so this new cable spec should make things simpler for users looking to go that route for audio. Apple also announced a change to its MFi program logos, killing off the old device icons in favor of a simpler look with just the Apple logo.

Pair of patents provide look at waterproof Lightning connector, crumb-proof keyboard

A pair of patents show Apple’s interest in improving the seals on its devices, starting with a Lightning connector that creates a water-tight seal when inserted. Discovered by Patently Apple, one version of the Lightning connector features a tapered shape made of a “deformable material” that molds itself to the Lightning port to lock moisture out and keep the internal connections free from moisture.

Barclays claims AirPods with improved noise canceling features coming next year

Speculation has been ramping up around when we’ll see the next generation of AirPods, with some reports claiming we’ll see a new model with an upgraded wireless chip and “Hey Siri” support for calling up Siri without the need to physically tap the headphones as early as this year. But 9to5Mac reports Barclays thinks Apple could wait until 2019 to reveal new AirPods with improved noise-canceling features. The analysts claim we’ll see “design changes and improvements” over current AirPods, but earbuds using physical analog methods will have a tough time competing with electronic active noise cancellation now common in over-the-ear headphones. The previous report from Bloomberg speculated that Apple could be adding waterproofing to the AirPods by 2019, so it’s possible that the noise reduction claim is a happy coincidence created by the better seal.

August begins offering free 24-hour video recording plan for Doorbell Cam

August has announced that it will begin offering a free basic tier to the video recording service for its August Doorbell Cam, allowing all users to access the past 24 hours of videos recorded by the camera without the need to pay a subscription fee. For users who want to store all their camera videos for longer, August’s paid subscription plan remains available for $5/month or $50/year, and stores 30 days of video history, however the free plan allows recorded videos to be downloaded and shared, so users can choose to save important videos indefinitely without any additional subscription fees.

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