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PureGear unveils PureCam Connected Car Security System 4G LTE Dual Lens Dash Cam

PureGear has announced the PureCam Connected Car Security System 4G LTE Dual Lens Dash Cam, a new in-car dashboard camera that leverages 4G/LTE technology to enable cloud recording and live streaming of activity in and around your car, providing complete video security for everything from accidents to attempted theft. A built-in GPS helps you quickly find your vehicle, whether it’s locating it in a crowded parking lot of after a theft, and two cameras record what’s happening both inside and outside the vehicle, with the ability to remotely view a live stream using the PureCam app on your iPhone or other mobile device. A built-in prominent LED light also adds security, flashing blue when in parking mode to help deter would-be thieves, while a built-in “G-Sensor” detects incidents such as accidents, break-ins, or hit-and-run incidents, sending notices to your iPhone and uploading emergency video to the cloud as a backup for the video which is also stored on the included 16GB microSD memory card. PureGear notes that PureCam is designed for a wide variety of applications, ranging from providing peace of mind for elderly drivers and parents of teen drivers, to use by carpooling parents to capture video of unruly children, and PureCam also incorporates a mobile hotspot to allow Wi-Fi devices to get online via the device’s 4G/LTE connection. The front-facing camera can record videos at 1080p, 720p, and VGA, while the interior-facing camera records in 720p and includes IR for night mode recording; the included 16GB microSD card can store up to 160 minutes of video at 1080p. PureCam is available now from PureGear’s website and Amazon for $250 and includes a 16 GB microSD memory card, OBD-II cable, adjustable mount, and other necessary installation manuals and hardware.

Mophie announces Juice Pack Access for iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max

Mophie has unveiled an updated version of its classic juice pack battery cases for Apple’s latest iPhone lineup. The new juice pack access cases are designed to protect and wirelessly charge Apple’s latest smartphones while providing extra power to help get heavy iPhone users through their day. The mophie juice pack access for the iPhone XS promises up to 25 hours of talk time, while the juice pack access for the iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max offer up to 31 hours of total talk time. More significantly, the switch to wireless charging means that the Lightning port is now left exposed so that users can connect wired headphones or other Lightning-based accessories. Juice pack access also features mophie’s Priority+ charging to pass both wireless and wired power to the iPhone before charging up the battery pack itself, and the juice pack access not only transmits charging power to the encased iPhone wirelessly, but also includes a wireless receiver so that it can be recharged from any Qi-enabled wireless charger, including of course mophie’s own charge stream family of products, although a built-in USB-C port is also included for faster wired charging, and users can also charge their encased iPhone directly via the standard Lightning port without needing to remove it from the case. The new juice pack access cases will be available in black, stone, gold, and dark red for the iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XS/X and black, blue, and red for the iPhone XR. They’re expected to be available in Q1 2019 for $120.

Scosche announces Full HD Dash Cam, powered by Nexar

Scosche has announced the newest addition to its Safetech family, an iPhone-integrated Full HD Dash Cam that will allow users to record their driving and important vehicular events. Powered by the Nexar app and cloud service, Full HD Dash Cam recordings automatically when you are driving your vehicle, and includes a capacitive-touch “event” button that can be used to mark significant events and footage. Data from the three-axis accelerometer in the camera is paired with the iPhone sensors to also allow the app to automatically detect and record accidents, and a detailed report can also be easily generated from the app and submitted directly to participating insurance companies. Events are also stored in the Nexar Cloud so that data is available even if the paired iPhone is damaged in an accident. The camera itself features a 140-degree wide angle lens and Sony low-light image sensor, and it’s designed for easy self-installation, with the package containing detailed instructions and all necessary mounting hardware, along with a cable and charger and 24/7 technical support. Scosche’s Full HD Dash Cam – Powered by Nexar, is expected to be available Spring 2019. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Withings announces Move and Move ECG fitness and health tracking devices

In addition to today’s announcement of BPM Core, Withings has also released two new fitness and health trackers, Move and Move ECG. Withings Move ($70) is a fashionably-designed analog watch that follows in the trend first started by the company’s 2014 Activité, incorporating fitness tracking into a more typical watch design. Move brings the fitness features of Activité and Steel HR Sport into a more affordable device, with built-in advanced activity and sleep racking capabilities along with more design options to fit users’ own personal style, with a range of case, wristband, dial, handle, watch face colors, and material combinations. The traditional timepiece design features three dials, two of which display the time and one that visualizes the user’s activity progression based on goals set in the Withings Health mate app. Users can also connect to a wide range of more than 100 third-party fitness apps such as Apple’s HealthKit, Google Fit, or MyFitnessPal for automatically tracking normal daily activities such as walking, running, swimming, and cycling as well as starting on-demand workouts for specific sessions. Sleep monitoring features also allow users to get an analysis of their sleep patterns, including length, depth, and quality of sleep, along with a smart wakeup feature that uses vibration alarms to wake users at optimal times during the sleep cycle. Move ECG ($130) includes all of the activity and sleep tracking features of Move, while also adding a medical-grade electrocardiogram feature, allowing users to easily monitor their cardiovascular health at any time and detect heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation (AFib). Move is available for pre-order now from Withings’ web site in five different color options, with the company promising to expand the collection regularly with new design schemes. Move ECG is currently under review for FDA and CE clearance and is expected to be available in Q2 2019 in both the U.S. and Europe.

Withings unveils BPM Core Blood Pressure, ECG, and Digital Stethoscope Monitor

Withings has announced a new slate of health monitoring devices — the first new devices to come out in this category since before the company’s erstwhile and unfruitful sojourn in the hands of Nokia. After being repurchased by its original founder, Withings made its comeback last fall with new fitness trackers, and now this week at CES the company has unveiled a new collection of heart and blood pressure monitoring accessories. Withings’ new BPM Core dramatically expands on the concept behind the company’s classic Smart Blood Pressure Monitor, taking it beyond simple and clinically accurate blood pressure monitoring into a full in-home cardiovascular monitor that can also provide ECG monitoring to identify atrial fibrillation (AFib), as well as a digital stethoscope that can provide early detection of valvular heart disease. Multiple studies have found a correlation between high blood pressure, AFib, and valvuvar damage, but the latter conditions often go undiagnosed for longer periods of time because symptoms can be easily missed if they do not occur during an actual doctors visit. BPM Core communicates wirelessly with Withings’ Health Mate app and includes a rechargeable battery that can performs hundreds of measurements on a single charge. The app will capture the results from the three different measurements, providing a snapshot of current state as well as maintaining a historical record of cardiovascular health and offering an assessment of heart activity to identify potential problems. All data from BPM Core, including actual audio recordings of heart activity, can also be easily shared with medical professionals. Withings BPM Core is expected to be available in Q2 2019 for $249.95 in both the U.S. and European markets; it is currently under review for FDA and CE clearance.

Speck announces Case-E iPad case for kids

Speck has just unveiled Case-E, a new iPad case designed especially for kids. Building on the company’s popular and whimsical iGuy, Case-E offers Speck’s trademark protection while also being fun for children to use. Case-E features bright and engaging colors and is made from soft materials. Flexible and detachable arms provide some personality along with an easy way to hold the iPad, wrap it around a car seat for viewing on the go, or stand the iPad up. Speck’s proprietary shock barrier technology provides six-foot drop protection, while the external soft and BPA-free EVA foam layer makes it easy and safe for small hands to hold onto. Case-E is expected to begin shipping in Q1 2019 priced at $39.95, and will be available for the last five generations of 9.7 inch iPad devices.

Mophie announces fast-charging Powerstation PD battery packs

Mophie has announced two new additions to its popular powerstation product lineup designed to take charging performance to the next level. The new powerstation PD ($60) and powerstation PD XL ($80) sport 18-watt USB-C PD charging capabilities, allowing users of the latest iPhones to get their devices back up from dead to a 50% capacity in under 30 minutes, in the same way as using a USB-C PD wall charger. The standard powerstation PD features a 6,700 mAh battery, while the powerstation PD XL takes that up to 10,050 mAh. Both devices incorporate a single USB-C port that can be used for charging up the battery pack from an external power source and supplying power to a connected iPhone or other USB-C PD capable device. A USB-A port is also included to allow for simultaneous charging of a second device at standard USB speeds. Both of the new powerstation models have a textured finish for a comfortable feel and protection against scratches and scruffs.

Wicked Audio announces new lineup of true wireless headphones for active lifestyles

Wicked Audio will be expanding its iconic line of headphones with the announcement of four new products at CES 2019 next week that will be available this spring. Designed for users with active lifestyles, each of Wicked Audio’s new headphones boast serious sound and high-fidelity bass designed to appeal to rockers, skaters, and other adventurous on-the-go music fans.

The new lineup is being headlined by Cron ($100), a premium true wireless earbud that provides six hours of listening time on a single charge, along with a companion Powerbank charging case that will allow users to power up their earbuds alongside their other electronic devices. It also boasts an IPX5 waterproof rating, making it an ideal choice for all sorts of outdoor activities.

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2019

With a new year upon us, we’d like to welcome back all of our readers into 2019, which is already off to a raucous start as we prepare for a slew of new product announcements when CES kicks off next week. We’ve already seen some preliminary announcements from a few companies, so we’re expecting all sorts of new accessories that will help you make the most of your Apple devices, from the iPhone to the Mac and from your home to your car.

If you were fortunate enough to find a shiny new iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch under your tree, be sure to check out our library of reviews for some ideas on must-have accessories from cases and wireless chargers to speakers and headphones. We’ll also be rounding up a whole new collection of cases and other small accessories in our Gear section over the next few days, and if you haven’t seen it already, definitely be sure to check out our three-part Holiday Gift Guide (part 1 / part 2 / part 3) for some ideas for how to spend any gift cards or money you found under the tree.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your loyal readership over the years, and we’re looking forward to bringing you more exciting product news and reviews in 2019!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from iLounge

Happy holidays from iLounge! Our editorial staff is currently on Christmas break, and we will return Thursday, Dec. 27, with new updates. In the meantime, be sure to check out our series of Holiday Gift Guides, where we cover everything from headphones and speakers to stocking stuffers, and if you’re still looking for more, our full database of Reviews, Gear, and cool Mac accessories should help with all of your last-minute and post-holiday gift card shopping. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us here at iLounge!

Plex announces new Dashboard with user and bandwidth stats, enhanced Now Playing screen

Plex has announced that it’s rolling out a new server dashboard that will allow Plex Media Server owners to better monitor their server and library activity, especially when sharing their library with friends and family members. While third-party tools have been available to do this for a few years now, the integration into the Plex Media Server itself allows for real-time tracking and additional metrics. The new Dashboard will allow Plex Media Server administrators to monitor which users and devices are streaming, what shows they’re watching or tracks they’re listening to, as well as providing status on what’s most popular in your library. In addition to play history, the new Dashboard will show bandwidth consumption for both local and remote users, play history by date, and top content. The Dashboard feature has actually been in development for a few years now, and Plex notes that the server has already been storing the data, so admins will actually be able to use the new feature to see data as far back as three years in the media consumption graph. The “Now Playing” screen has also been enhanced to provide more information at a glance, such as which platforms are being used to stream media, and the video and audio formats being used. The new Dashboard is available with Plex Media Server v1.41.1 or newer and v3.81.1 of the web app, which is currently only available in the hosted version, and coming soon to the server-bundled version.

Tidal announces ‘My Mix’ alongside holiday offering of three months of premium service for $0.99

Tidal, the global high-fidelity music streaming platform, has announced My Mix, a new personalized song-curation feature that leverages Tidal’s human-curated playlists with a new advanced algorithm that analyzes data from users’ listening habits to create new tailored listening experiences for subscribers. The feature will automatically generate a series of up to six 50-song compilations that combine hit songs, new music, and classics based on the tracks that a user listens to most often, segmented based on artists and genres. Each mix will be dynamically updated on a regular basis, with very active members seeing new content appear as often as once a day, and users will be able to save their mixes and download them into the Tidal app for offline listening. Tidal has also improved the Radio feature to take advantage of the improved algorithms to feature the most popular songs and similar artists, and redesigned the interface slightly for more convenient access to commonly used features like Track and Artist Radio.

Catalyst launches new Special Edition Waterproof Case for AirPods

Catalyst has just announced is new Special Edition Waterproof Case for AirPods, a design evolution of its award-winning waterproof AirPods case. The new Special Edition cases, available in three exclusive colors, have been created, developed and packaged with high quality and durable materials, and feature an IP67 waterproof rating to protect your AirPods at depths of up to 3.3 feet, as well as offering drop protection to four feet. The case is made from soft and durable silicone and also includes a premium lightweight carabiner in a matte finish to allow it to be easily hooked onto just about anything from belt loops to backpacks. A bottom seal over the Lightning port allows the AirPods to be charged without removing them from the case. The new Special Edition cases sell for $29.95 and are available exclusively from Apple, both online and at select retail stores, as well as from Catalyst’s own website.

Alexa integration coming to Vector on Dec. 17 along with more interactive features

Anki has announced that Amazon Alexa support will officially be coming to Vector on Monday, Dec. 17, just in time for the holidays. While the company announced the upcoming Alexa support last month, no release date was given at that time. The Alexa integration will be opt-in, so users who want to use this feature will have to specifically link Vector up with Alexa, but after doing so they will be able to issue commands to Vector using the standard “Alexa” prefix, allowing the little robot to provide access to the expanding collection of Alexa skills, which coincidentally will also include Apple Music starting on the same day that Vector joins the Alexa family. Anki has also published a video demonstrating the new Alexa support in action.

PhoneSoap unveils PhoneSoap Go, portable UV phone sanitizer for travellers

PhoneSoap has announced PhoneSoap Go, a new portable version of its PhoneSoap 3 UV sanitizer, designed for travellers and other users on the go. Powered by a 7,000 mAh battery, PhoneSoap Go provides the same ten-minute UV-C sanitization as its plug-in counterpart, but with the benefit of allowing it to be used anywhere. The built-in battery provides up to 45 disinfections on a single charge, and can also be used to recharge your iPhone at the same time. As with the PhoneSoap 3, PhoneSoap Go promises to kill off 99.99% of the germs and bacteria that contaminate the surface of most smartphones, and can also be used to sanitize anything else that can be placed inside the unit, such as keys, money, and credit cards. PhoneSoap Go is available now for $99.95 and also includes a carrying case and power adapter for recharging the unit between trips.

Apple looking to TV-MA content in talks to adapt gritty Israeli drama for U.S. audience

Apple may be taking its first steps to move away from the family friendly content that it was originally reported to be focusing on, with a new report from CNBC indicating that the company is now in a bidding war to acquire the violent Israeli drama “Nevelot” (“Bastards”). The show would become Apple’s “Breaking Bad,” a gritty drama about two disgruntled military veterans who don’t believe that modern kids understand the sacrifices of their generation and go on a youth-focused killing spree as a result. Sources with knowledge of the deal report that Apple is in advanced talks to purchase the rights to the show for a U.S. adaptation, against competitors that include Showtime, FX, and Amazon. While the deal is not yet finalized, Richard Gere is in talks to star in the series, which would be co-produced with 21st Century Fox after previously being under development at HBO. Howard Gordon, known for his work on of “24” and “Homeland” and Warren Leight, who worked on “Law and Order: SVU” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent”, are lined up as show-runners who would oversee reformatting it for the American market. While a violent show like this runs in opposition to Apple’s usually conservative standards, and even recent reports have continued to emphasize that Apple doesn’t want shows that include “violence, politics or rude language,” multiple people who have spoken to Apple’s execs in recent months have said that this is simply not the case, and Apple does in fact consider TV-MA content fair game.

Apple releases watchOS 5.1.2 with ECG feature, restricted to U.S.-purchased devices only

Apple released watchOS 5.1.2 earlier today, providing the promised ECG app for the Apple Watch Series 4, along with new Infograph watch face complications for Apple’s stock apps, and a control center toggle for turning Walkie-Talkie on and off. Notably, however, it appears that Apple has taken additional measures beyond the usual regional software settings to restrict the new ECG app to only working on Apple Watch Series 4 units that were actually purchased in the U.S., according to a tweet by iOS developer and 9to5Mac contributor Guilherme Rambo. This means that unlike accessing other regional features such as Apple News, simply setting your Apple Watch and iPhone region to another country, such as Canada, will not be enough to make the ECG app show up.

While it’s not clear exactly how Apple is going about this, since most devices already include the necessary heart monitoring hardware, it’s possible that the display of the ECG app is simply being controlled by some time of device ID or serial number, in a similar manner to how FaceTime has been blocked on iPhones sold in some countries. Rambo also originally noted that the paired iPhone also has to have been purchased in the U.S., although he later deleted that tweet, staying that it only needs to be running the iOS 12.1.1 release, although there have been some reports that users are still having problems activating the ECG app with a U.S.-purchased Apple Watch and an iPhone that was purchased outside of the U.S. Either way, it seems clear that Apple is taking extra steps to avoid sullying its relationship with government regulators outside of the U.S. while it works to get the feature approved in other countries.

Plex begins rolling out Enhanced Video Player in Apple TV and iOS apps

Plex has begun rolling out a preview of its new and improved video player in its Apple TV and iOS apps, replacing Apple’s own built-in AVPlayer that was previously used in the Plex app with the mpv video player framework that it’s already been using in Plex Media Player. By implementing the new player, Plex will be able to improve the user experience by offering support for many more video formats without requiring that they be transcoding into an Apple-compatible format by the Plex Media Server. This will allow users of lower-end Plex servers, such as those embedded in NAS devices, to actually be able to use the Apple TV and iOS Plex apps with a much wider variety of video source material. The new player should also provide sharper video output for most formats, and promises to improve subtitle support, since it will now be able to read and play subtitles directly as well rather than requiring them to burned in at the Plex Media Server. The new player also offers a new UI that provides Plex users with direct access to proper audio track and subtitle switching from the pull down menu that’s presented during playback. The new player was released to Plex beta testers last month, and is now being made available to Plex Pass users as an opt-in “experimental” feature, so users can choose whether they want to take advantage of the new player experience or retain the existing AVPlayer for now.

ConnectSense launches Smart Outlet²

ConnectSense has unveiled the Smart Outlet², an upgraded version of its 2015 ConnectSense Smart Outlet that now includes HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant support for controlling and monitoring pretty much anything that you can plug into a power outlet. The new version also expands to include support for Android devices, as well as remote access through ConnectSense’s own app. As with the previous version, Smart Outlet² connects directly to your network over Wi-Fi, eliminating the need for additional hubs or gateways, and continues to provide two independently controlled outlets and a 2.4-amp USB charging port, along with detailed power monitoring through its own iOS app that can track how much energy has been consumed and how long devices can be turned on. ConnectSense also notes that energy monitoring can be incorporated into automation rules, so you can trigger other actions when a higher power draw is detected, such as dimming the lights when the TV is turned on, and each of the two sockets can be controlled and monitored individually. The new Smart Outlet² is available now from ConnectSense.com and Amazon.com for a suggested retail price of $59. Be sure to check back for our review of the new smart outlet in the next few days.

Apple releases iOS 12.1.1

Apple has released iOS 12.1.1, delivering an unusually large number of new features for a 0.0.1 update. Out in beta for the past month, iOS 12.1.1 expands dual SIM support with eSIM to additional carriers on the 2018 iPhone models, makes several improvements to the UI for FaceTime, including bringing back Live Photo capture during FaceTime calls, allows iPhone XR users to preview notifications using haptic touch, adds RTT support for Wi-Fi calling on iPad and iPod touch devices, and fixes a number of bugs regarding VoiceOver, Face ID, visual voicemail, Chinese and Japanese keyboards, and time zones. The release also adds support for the HomePod in Mainland China and Hong Kong and will now illuminate LEDs on the HomePod during Group FaceTime calls.

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