CE Week 2013 is quickly approaching, and iLounge is proud to bring the excitement of the Apple accessory industry to New York City. iLounge NYC offers media and trade professionals an opportunity to see the summer lineups of new Apple-related products from a number of top-tier companies.
Today, we’re inviting members of the media to a special VIP lunch on the first day of the CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits, June 26, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. Registered attendees will be provided with a special lunch menu, a wine and beer bar and desserts, with an opportunity to see new Apple accessories within the iLounge NYC area.
Qualified media who haven’t already registered for CE Week 2013 can do so by visiting CE Week’s registration site, which will include access to the special lunch. The iLounge NYC exhibition will run June 26-27 at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street.
Apple’s largest manufacturing partner Foxconn may be planning to sell its own line of iPhone, iPad, and iPod accessories, according to the Wall Street Journal. According to executives with the company who declined to be named, Foxconn has been looking for ways to diversify beyond contract manufacturing, with investments in media content and software and is now apparently reviewing plans for its own brand of electronics accessories to include data transmission cables, headphones, and keyboards under the Foxconn brand. It also plans to license Apple’s technology to produce accessories compatible with the iPhone and iPad.
Foxconn is also expanding into the software and content market with the aim to directly supply content for all of the devices it assembles. The company has reportedly begun hiring software engineers for a research and development centre in southern Taiwan to focus on developing mobile applications, cloud computing technology, and smart watch apps.
Following a quiet announcement at CES, Griffin has released its Survivor + Catalyst Waterproof Case for iPhone 5 ($70). Submersible down to three meters of water, the Survivor + Catalyst is a polycarbonate hard shell case that uses a silicone gasket to keep water sealed out, with shock-absorbing bumpers and an integrated screen cover inside.
Survivor + Catalyst also protects from dust and dirt, and the case is shockproof for a drop up to six feet. It is available now.
OtterBox announced today that it has acquired fellow case maker LifeProof, one of its main competitors in the protective case market. “This is a big strategic move for us,” OtterBox CEO Brian Thomas said. He said the LifeProof name will remain part of the brand. Thomas cited the move as a way for OtterBox to get further into the waterproof case market — the company decided to integrate rather than compete with LifeProof. Interestingly, LifeProof just announced a new protective case — Frē for iPad mini.
Moshi has released its USB Cable with Lightning Connector ($20). While it’s not terribly different in price or size from Apple’s official Lightning to USB Cable, this one-meter Lightning cable uses fancy aluminum plug jackets rather than the plastic ones favored by Apple.
Moshi’s USB Cable with Lightning Connector comes in black or white. Teased by the company at CES earlier this year, it is available now.
Following an announcement earlier this year, iLuv has released Aud 5 ($150), a Lightning speaker dock for iPhone 5. Aud 5 features both full-range speakers and a passive radiator for bass. An iPhone 5 can be charged while docked in the center of the speaker on a pivoting Lightning connector.
iLuv’s Aud 5 also features a 3.5mm auxiliary input for backward compatibility. It’s available now.
Swedish headphone maker Jays has announced its new a-Jays Five ($100) earphones. The in-ear earphones feature a custom driver and flat, tangle-free cables. A redesigned three-button remote is thinner than previous Jays remotes, and the microphone with built-in echo cancellation won’t degrade over time, according to the company.
Offered in black or white, a-Jays Five will come with five different sizes of silicone tips, a cable clip, and a carrying case. No current release date is listed, but the earphones are “coming soon,” according to Jays’ website.
Mophie has released Juice Pack Plus ($120) for iPhone 5, the company’s third battery case for iPhone 5, following Juice Pack Helium and Air. While falling behind top rivals in capacity, Juice Pack Plus has become the family’s most powerful battery case, featuring a 2100mAh battery that claims to offer 120 percent of extra battery life. According to Mophie, Plus will deliver up to 10 additional hours of 3G talk time, up to 12 additional hours of Internet use on Wi-Fi and 10 hours on 3G, up to 50 additional hours of audio playback, and 12 hours of video playback.
Juice Pack Plus enables Lightning pass-through charging through the included micro-USB cable, and comes in black, white, and red versions. The black case is available now, with both the white and red versions shipping by the end of May.
Geneva has announced its Model S Wireless ($300), an updated version of the company’s Model S speaker. The new Model S Wireless removes the 30-pin dock from the top of the speaker, replacing the Apple-specific connector with more broadly compatible Bluetooth streaming capability. It features two full-range 3” drivers, a digital FM radio and digital clock.
Geneva’s Sound System Model S Wireless comes in white, black, or red, each including a metal table stand. It is available now, and the prior Model S has dropped in price, apparently on its way to discontinuation.
After a long absence from the bleeding edge of the high-end earphone market, Shure has just debuted a four-driver canalphone model: the SE846 Quad Driver Earphones ($1000). Using 10 laser-cut, laser-welded stainless steel plates, Shure boasts that the SE846 earphones offer a true subwoofer experience through a revolutionary low-pass filter. The earphones feature two low-frequency drivers, one mid-frequency driver, and one high-frequency driver. Users will be able to choose between three sound signatures — warm, balanced, or bright — while listening.
The SE846 Quad Driver Earphones feature removable cables and offer a transparent look. Shure claims the earphones will isolate up to 37 decibels of ambient noise. The earphones are available for pre-order at Earphone Solutions, and are estimated to ship in June.
Having been less conspicuous in the Apple speaker market for the last few years, Klipsch has just released its KMC 3 Wireless Music System ($400), a new Bluetooth speaker. KMC 3 is a 2.1-channel wireless music system with a 5.25” subwoofer and two 2” full range drivers. A USB input is included for charging devices, and the speaker can run on 8 D batteries when unplugged.
Klipsch’s KMC 3 Wireless Music System comes in black or white. According to Klipsch’s website, it is available now in black in “limited quantities,” with a “spring” release planned for the white version.
Scosche has released its RH1060 Bluetooth stereo headphones ($200), which were featured in a First Look in January, though the original pricing was announced at a higher price of $250. One of our Best of Show finalists at CES 2013, the RH1060 headphones feature 40mm drivers and playback controls on the exterior of the right ear cup.
Scosche’s RH1060 headphones use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to iOS devices, with a range of 33 feet. A rechargeable lithium ion battery allows for up to 8 hours of continuous playback, and a micro USB cable can fully recharge the headphones in less than three hours. The RH1060 headphones are available now.
Thanks in part to Apple’s switch to more expensive Lightning connectors, as well as the ascendance of Bluetooth wireless connectivity, Apple’s grip on accessory makers is starting to slip, according to a New York Times report. While many retail stores and hotel rooms previously featured Dock Connector accessories, the market has expanded and broadened, reducing Apple’s presence. A number of accessory makers expressed frustration with the Lightning connector transition, as companies were not notified of the change in advance, and fees for both licensing and manufacturing have gone up. Consequently, accessory makers opted to leave Apple docks out of their products; Logitech, Voxx, and Geneva Lab told the Times that they’ve dropped physical Apple connectors from most or all of their products.
For its part, Apple says it doesn’t mind accessories continuing in a more wireless direction. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said, “Apple provides users with the best wired and wireless connectivity options to work with the broadest range of accessories.” Still, sales of speakers with docks dropped 16% in 2012, while sales of wireless streaming speakers jumped 175%, according to an NPD Group report.
Gear4, the U.K.-based brand behind Apple accessories such as AlarmDock Halo 2 and Renew SleepClock, has gone bankrupt and cut most of its U.K. workforce, but has effectively been re-formed as a new entity in Hong Kong. Disruptive Hong Kong bought the rights of all designs, brands, and intellectual property from Disruptive Ltd — the company behind the Gear4 branding — and the company is relocating its headquarters. Disruptive founder and CEO Tom Dudderidge said the economic climate forced the company to review its operations, including “product development, business model and location.” According to the company, all U.K. customer warranties will be honored, and the company will retain a small number of sales and marketing workers in the U.K. [via The Channel]
The cases feature an interior rubber layer and exterior hard shell. A self-adhesive screen protector and bubble squeegee are included. Otterbox’s Commuter Series 3D Case is available now.
Incase has introduced Meta Slider ($35) and Shock Slider ($50) cases for iPhone 5. The Slider has long been a mainstay of Incase’s lineup — the most recent Slider case was released for iPhone 5 last year. Meta Slider and Shock Slider are notable for expanding the design of the Slider case.
Meta Slider, available in white/gray or black/slate, is a two piece design with a microsuede cradle. It has a hardshell with a molded rubberized frame and a raised bezel. Shock Slider, which comes in black or white/magenta, features a rubberized inner cover with PORON XRD lining that can be used as a standalone case. It can be paired with a hardshell outer case. Both Meta Slider and Shock Slider are now available.
Stepping beyond the physical protection offered with traditional waterproof cases, both Incipio and LifeProof have recently announced peace-of-mind augmentations in the form of waterproof warranty coverage. Notably, the companies are taking different approaches to offering waterproof warranties. LifeProof has introduced an optional Total Water Protection Program that will cover any of its iPhone or iPad cases, offering one year of protection for a registration fee of $10 for iPhone, or $20 for iPad. If the device is damaged by water while in the case, LifeProof will repair or replace it for $50 if it’s an iPhone, $75 if it’s an iPad.
Incipio, however, is selling its new Atlas iPhone 5 case with an included one-year, nontransferable water damage warranty at no extra charge. In cases of accidental water damage to a device, Incipio will repair or replace the device. Users can optionally extend their warranty coverage to two years for an additional fee. Atlas is available for pre-order and is estimated to ship in three to four weeks. For now, both programs are only available in the United States.
Soundfreaq has announced Boom Freaq ($350), a special edition of its Sound Stack speaker. Boom Freaq is a Bluetooth wireless speaker that can dock either Dock Connector or Lightning devices — a 30-pin dock is built-in, and a Lightning adapter is now also included. Like other iterations of Sound Stack, the speaker features two full-range drivers and two active subwoofers. A USB port is included for universal charging.
Boom Freaq’s look is inspired by classic boomboxes, and is the newest addition to the company’s Novogratz Collection. Boom Freaq is available now for pre-order and will ship in 4 to 5 weeks.
Bowers & Wilkins has announced the Z2 ($400) Airplay Lightning speaker dock and an updated Lightning version of its Zeppelin Air ($600) AirPlay speaker dock. Z2 is a redesigned version of the company’s Zeppelin Mini, capable of docking an iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, or seventh-generation iPod nano within a newly recessed top hole. The speaker features two 3.5” full range drivers with 40 watts of total amplifier output, and comes in black or white.
Zeppelin Air, an AirPlay dock reviewed by iLounge two years ago, has also been updated with a Lightning connector for the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, and seventh-generation iPod nano. Z2 will be available in April; the updated Zeppelin Air hits the market in May.
iLounge today announced the creation of iLounge NYC, a curated special event and exhibition area at CE Week 2013. Working with CE Week and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), iLounge will bring the Apple accessory world to Manhattan, beginning with a special event for trade and media members on June 25, and a curated exhibition space on June 26 and 27. iLounge NYC will be the back-to-school/holiday-focused version of the incredibly successful winter iLounge Pavilion at CES in Las Vegas, which now occupies over 120,000 square feet of floor space — the largest unified exhibition area at the show.
“Apple accessory makers know that the iLounge Pavilion is the best place to debut their winter and spring lineups,” said Jeremy Horwitz, iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief. “We’re thrilled to curate a new iLounge NYC event to preview the year’s biggest back-to-school and holiday releases—at a great venue, within a city known for its love of Apple products.”
The full press release follows. Companies interested in additional details on iLounge NYC and the iLounge Pavilion should contact Jeremy Horwitz today.