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AirPower to run stripped down version of iOS, now expected to arrive in September

Apple’s AirPower has gotten another more specific release date, this time from a slightly more reliable source, with Bloomberg reporting that the wireless charging mat is now on track for a September release. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also provides some insight into why the release has taken longer than expected — although Apple only said “2018” when AirPower was announced last year, many anticipated the device would be available earlier in 2018, with some reports suggesting March. Gurman notes that although Apple has been quiet about AIrPower, saying basically nothing since the initial announcement, the company has been actively working on the accessory behind the scenes, dealing with challenges such as making sure the charger doesn’t overheat and addressing the complexity of the circuitry. Unlike traditional Qi chargers, the AirPower is designed to charge up to three devices simultaneously, support the Apple Watch, and allow users to place any of their devices anywhere on the charging mat rather than having to aim for a specific spot.

Sonos announces new Beam sound bar featuring AirPlay 2 and Siri

Sonos has announced Beam, a new compact sound bar speaker that will feature support for AirPlay 2, Siri voice control, and Amazon Alexa, making it the first speaker to support more than one voice assistant. Designed to sit in front of your TV, Beam measures 25.6 inches in length, and is designed for streaming music, TV, movies, and game sound, with voice-activated volume control as well to allow for hands-free sound adjustment. Beam can be used as a standalone soundbar or integrated with other Sonos speakers to create a surround sound system and add a subwoofer. Support for HDMI ARC allows for simplified connection to a home theatre system, and an optical audio adapter is included for systems that don’t have ARC support over HDMI. Beam is available for pre-order today for $399 and expected to ship late next month. In addition, Sonos also announced that it will be the promised AirPlay 2 support for its existing speaker lineup beginning next month as well. [via MacRumors]

Apple unveils new silicone iPhone case colors, Apple Watch bands

While this week’s WWDC Keynote was all about software, Apple has snuck in a few minor accessory updates in the form of new silicon iPhone case colors and Apple Watch bands, as spotted by AppleInsider. The new options, which are part of Apple’s normal seasonal color updates, include three new colors for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X silicon cases — peach, marine green, and sky blue — along with matching Apple Watch Sport Band options. The colors reflect Apple’s previous summer releases that focus more on light pastels that serve as a contrast to the darker tones that come with the fall iPhone releases. The pricing for the new colors remains the same as for all of the other cases, with the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus versions selling for $39, iPhone 8 versions for $35, and Apple Watch Sport bands for $49.

Withings to return after buying back digital health business from Nokia

Withings co-founded Eric Carreel has announced plans to resurrect his brand after buying the digital health business back from Nokia earlier this month. Engadget reports that the re-acquisition has been gone through, although terms were not disclosed, and Withings will be selling the existing staple of Nokia-branded health products for now — most of which were originally Withings products in the first place that were simply rebranded by Nokia — but plans to relaunch the Withings brand by the end of the year and continue developing new connected health products as well.

Scosche releases Rhythm24 Heart Rate Monitor

Scosche has released its new Rhythm24 waterproof armband heart rate monitor, the latest in its line of health and fitness accessories. Originally unveiled at CES in January, Rhythm24 builds on the company’s earlier Rhythm+ released back in 2014, with an expanded set of features and support for variable activity modes. Rhythm24 also provides 24 hours of battery life on a single charge, and is rated IP68 so it can be used during strenuous workouts without worrying about sweat, or even when swimming. Users can configure up to five standard training modes, and there’s also support for two multi-modes designed for biathletes and triathletes. Rhythm24 can also be used without any accompanying smartphone thanks to on-board data recording, which captures not only standard heart rate data but also heart rate variability (HRV), so it can help with recovery tracking as well as simply recording calories burned.

Cinemood adds support for Amazon Prime video

Cinemood has added support for watching Amazon Prime videos to its portable projector, allowing users to not only view Amazon Prime video directly over the projector’s built-in Wi-Fi connection, but also download videos from Amazon Prime to local storage so that they can be viewed offline even where Wi-Fi isn’t available. Amazon Prime joins Cinemood’s existing support for Youtube and Netflix, the latter of which also provides offline viewing support and can be controlled from the corresponding iOS apps.

Scosche announces availability of BoomBottle MM rugged speaker

Scosche has announced the availability of its new BoomBottle MM rugged waterproof wireless speaker. Originally announced at CES 2018 in January, BoomBottle MM is a sequel to Scosche’s 2015 BoomBottle+, featuring two six-watt speakers and two 40 millimeter passive radiators. Like its predecessor, BoomBottle MM is IP67 rated for both dust and water protection, but the new model also features Scosche’s MagicMOUNT technology to allow users to keep their iPhone magnetically secured to the speaker, along with a magnet on the bottom of the speaker that lets it be attached to just about any metal surface at just about angle, and there’s even a built-in bottle opener. An auto-sensing indoor/outdoor equalizer also automatically adjusts sound quality appropriate to where you’re using the speaker, and two BoomBottle MM speakers can be paired for better stereo separation. The black BoomBottle MM is available now at Costco.com and select Costco retail locations, and the full color range will be available directly from Scosche and other retailers starting in June for $129.99.

Belkin unveils 3.5mm audio cable with Lightning connector

Belkin has released a new option for users of modern iPhones who need to connect to traditional audio jacks. The 3.5 mm Audio Cable With Lightning Connector builds on last year’s 3.5mm Audio + Charge RockStar by providing a single-wire solution that terminates in a male 3.5mm audio connector suitable for plugging into a home or car stereo system. The MFi-certified cable is available in both three-foot and six-foot versions, priced at $29.99 and $34.99, respectively.

Apple drops price on USB-C to Lightning Cable

In a somewhat unusual move, Apple has quietly lowered the price on its standard one-meter USB-C to Lightning Cable, lowering it from its original $25 asking price down to $19, putting it at the same price as its standard Lightning to USB Cable, further fuelling recent rumors that this year’s iPhone models will be shipping with USB-C chargers.

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.

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