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.
Incipio has announced its Dual Auto Charger ($35), a 3.4-Amp charger for Lightning. The charger is capable of simultaneously recharging a Retina iPad at full speed, along with another device.
The Dual Auto Charger features a coiled Lightning cable with a pass-through USB port. Incipio lists the charger as “coming soon.”
NUU has announced its MiniKey ($59) case for iPhone 5. Like the iPhone 4 version of the case, the new MiniKey is a slide-out Bluetooth keyboard case, though it boasts a thinner and lighter frame, in addition to other improvements. The backlit keyboard has 42 keys and includes multiple keyboard shortcuts.
MiniKey for iPhone 5 features a snap-in design and comes in black. It is available for pre-order now, and ships March 15.
iSkin has announced its Slims case ($35), an ultra thin case for the iPhone 5. Unlike many thin cases, which are just rear shells, iSkin’s Slims is a full case with rear and front protection, plus a clear screen shield. Only 0.4mm in width, Slims is formed from BPA-free polycarbonate, and the case resists scratches, as well.
Slims comes in camouflage, wood, and chevron designs. It is available now.
Gear4 has announced its new line of Lightning products, including an alarm dock, speaker, and assorted chargers. AlarmDock Halo 3 ($130) is a Lightning-compatible alarm clock dock for iPhone 5 and the fifth-generation iPod touch — it’s an updated version of the company’s AlarmDock Halo 2. The dock works in conjunction with a free app — an alarm set in the app automatically syncs to the Halo 3. Also, an in-app media player can use iTunes, Spotify, or other networked tracks as wake-up music.
StreetParty 5 ($80) is a speaker dock for iPhone 5 and fifth-gen iPod touch that can be powered by AA batteries, based on the earlier StreetParty 4. Gear4 also introduced its Lightning Dock for iPhone 5 and fifth-gen iPod touch ($40), MicroCharger for Lightning ($35) and InCar Charger for Lightning ($30), all said to be currently available.
Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter contains previously undiscovered video processing hardware, according to developer Panic, which performed a teardown of the accessory after noting video quality issues. In testing output from an application, Panic found that the video resolution was below 1080p, and noted that compression artifacts were showing up on screen. The company discovered an ARM processor inside the adapter, and suggested that Lightning iOS devices are using a protocol similar to AirPlay to encode video before sending it to the accessory for decoding. While the presence of the processor hints at the reason the Digital AV Adapter arrived at a surprisingly high $49 price, the video degradation was a disappointment, particularly considering the prior Dock Connector version’s output capabilities.
Notably, a comment posted by an anonymous Apple employee on Panic’s blog confirmed the findings above, and attempted to explain them. “We didn’t do this to screw the customer,” the commenter said. “We did this to specifically shift the complexity of the ‘adapter’ bit into the adapter itself, leaving the host hardware free of any concerns in regards to what was hanging off the other end of the Lightning cable.” The commenter also noted that the video quality limitations may only be temporary. “Certain people are aware that the quality could be better and others are working on it. For the time being, the quality was deemed to be suitably acceptable… updates **will** be made available as a part of future iOS updates. When this will happen I can’t say for anonymous reasons, but these concerns haven’t gone unnoticed.” [via Panic Blog]
Griffin has announced its MouthStick Stylus ($30), a stylus affixed to a mouthpiece that allows people with fine motor impairments to use digital devices. The MouthStick Stylus was designed in collaboration with physicians and people with physical disabilities. It works with touch screens, laptop keyboards, and Apple’s Magic Trackpad.
The mouthpiece holding the rubber-tipped aluminum stylus is made from food-grade stainless steel and comes with three sets of BPA- and latex-free silicone rubber mouthpiece sleeves. A gooseneck shaft allows the stylus to be used at any angle. Griffin’s MouthStick Stylus will be released in the second quarter of this year.
PowerSkin has announced its new battery case for the iPhone 5 — an accessory eponymously named PowerSkin ($80). A thin, one-piece silicone case, PowerSkin features a 1500 mAh battery, and claims to recharge the iPhone 5 up to 70 percent capacity. The case promises to deliver up to 6.5 hours of talk time, up to 8 hours of Wi-Fi, and up to 32 hours of audio playback.
PowerSkin comes in black with an earphone extender for 3.5 mm headphones. It’s available now, with free express shipping through March 7 on PowerSkin’s website.
Brother has announced its new HL-3000 series of digital color printers, including the AirPrint-compatible HL-3140CW ($250) and HL-3170CDW ($280). Thanks to the AirPrint functionality, users will be able to print wirelessly from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch without installing a printer driver. The HL-3140CW offers color and black printing up to 19 ppm, up to 600x2400 dpi resolution, and support of wireless 802.11 b/g/n and USB 2.0 interfaces, while the HL-3170CDW offers all the features of the 3140CW, as well as faster printing up to 23 ppm, dual-sided printing, an additional Ethernet interface, and other features. Both printers will be available in March.
Known for its bargain-priced cables, Monoprice has started to offer Apple-certified Lightning wall chargers for $13 a piece—substantially below the prices of versions from other vendors. The charger features a “captured” or non-detachable Lightning cable and a generic design, promising 1-Amp charging speeds. This is sufficient for iPhones and iPods, but below the peak recharging capabilities of iPads.
Monoprice is also offering a similar deal in $12 Lightning car chargers. Like the Lightning wall charger, the car charger offers only 1-Amp power, appropriate for full-speed iPhone and iPod charging. The car chargers are available now, while the wall chargers are listed as “coming soon.”
Mophie has announced Juice Pack Air ($100), a new battery case for iPhone 5. Juice Pack Air comes with modestly more battery capacity than Mophie’s recently-released Helium, packing a 1700 mAh battery compared to Helium’s 1500 mAh. It purports to double the iPhone 5’s battery power, though testing results of its predecessor and competing models suggest that this is highly optimistic.
An included micro-USB cable can charge both the iPhone 5 and Juice Pack Air together. Juice Pack Air comes in black — ready to ship in 7-10 days — or red and white, both of which ship on March 22.
Incase has announced its series of SYSTM cases, all of which use the lightweight impact protection material Poron XRD previously featured in G-Form cases. Vise ($50) is billed as the toughest SYSTM case, and features an internal shock-absorbing rubber cover with Poron XRD edges and corners, encapsulated by a two-piece outer hardshell. It snaps into place with a slide-lock and features a detachable rotating belt clip.
Chisel ($35) is a flexible case with a Poron XRD-lined interior and external hardshell. Hammer ($30) is a streamlined, rubber case with Poron XRD protective corners. All Incase SYSTM cases are available now.
iSkin has announced its Revo 360 ($40) and Fuze 360 ($50) cases for the iPhone 5. Both cases notably include iSkin’s new ProTouch Titan screen film, which was unveiled at CES this year, promising to increase the screen’s impact resistance enough to withstand a strike by a hammer. Revo 360 is a form-fitting silicone case with a removable belt clip/media stand, promising shock absorption as well as antimicrobial protection from odor and stain-causing bacteria.
Fuze 360 features a soft inner layer and impact-resistant hard shell for extra protection; metallic accents mix with an anti-slip rubber-coated finish. Both cases are available at iSkin’s website and at retailers “in the coming weeks.”
Apple has quietly released a 0.5m version of its Lightning to USB Cable ($19). Although half the size of the “standard” cables it has been selling, it retains the same price; its release suggests that Apple may shift to packing shorter Lightning cables in with future products.
Apple also tweaked its In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic — the remote now is a bit more rounded, matching the redesigned remote on EarPods. The rest of the design and the $79 price haven’t changed. [via MacRumors]
Urbanears has introduced Slussen ($15), a stylish-looking portable DJ adapter with a free companion app. Slussen plugs into an iOS device, using two 3.5mm jacks to connect headphones and a sound system. Upon launching the app, users can hear one song through headphones while another is playing through the speaker. The app allows music to be controlled in a number of ways, by adjusting BPM, syncing tracks, and EQ effects; a scratch function, crossfaders, and equalizer are also included.
Slussen comes ready for keychain attachment. Available now, it comes in four colors — grape, pumpkin, petrol, and tomato — with the tomato version priced at $20.
Powerskin has introduced Pop’n ($80), an external 2000 mAh battery charger that affixes to the back of an iPhone 5, using a dangling Lightning plug for connectivity. Pop’n can adhere to iPhones and some existing iPhone cases by using small, flexible suction cups; the size of the Lightning connector will determine whether it works with a given case.
As one of the first Apple-approved external battery chargers for iPhone 5, Pop’n uses an LED light strip to indicate how much battery charge remains in the case. It extends power by up to 70 percent, and is available now in black and white, with red and pink versions to come.
Belkin has announced a multi-year licensing partnership with toymaker LEGO to create accessories for mobile devices, initially focusing on iOS devices including the iPhone and iPod touch. While images were not yet available at press time, Belkin plans to start with the release of smartphone cases with LEGO bricks for a “buildable” case experience, starting this spring. The cases will be “based on iconic LEGO toys,” Belkin said.
Swedish audio company NOCS has begun shipping its new AirPlay speakers, the NS2 Air Monitors ($450). First announced last year at a slightly lower price of $400, the Air Monitors are a pair of bookshelf speakers that incorporate AirPlay technology to allow users to stream audio from a computer or iOS device. While the speakers were supposed to be available early in 2012, they actually became available in limited quantities only in mid-December, with additional stock appearing online more recently.
NOCS advertises the NS2 Air Monitors in six colors—black, white, orange, grey, red, and yellow—however only the first three colors are available at this time, with more stock said to be coming in all colors later this month. The speakers are relatively small and coated in soft touch rubber.