Ultrathin gets lighter, more angles
Logitech today officially launched three new cases for the iPad Air and the iPad mini. Leading these is the Big Bang, which merges a compact folio design with shock-absorbing material; Logitech claims the case can survive drops from as high as 1.4m, or about 4.6 feet. The front and back are also covered with liquid-resistant materials. The Air version of the case costs $100, while the Mini edition is $80.
Folio tries to bridge paper and tablet worlds
Before we get rolling, I'll confess: I've never understood the purpose of cases like the Booqpad. If you've got a tablet, surely part of the point is being able to ditch paper entirely. In practice of course, there are times when a pen and paper are handy -- but can that justify building an entire case around the concept? I suppose we'll have to put the Booqpad to the test.
Rogers begins 700MHz LTE rollout in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver
Rogers is expanding the available spectrum for its LTE service in Canada, by turning on its 700MHz network. Engadget reports that areas of Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver will see the benefits of 700MHz at first, with subscribers and AT&T customers roaming in the region able to see Rogers LTE in indoor areas where the signal was previously inaccessible. While it does not offer specific timing, Rogers plans to roll out the extra spectrum bands across the country.
Lumia 2520 travel charger sold in United States also a risk
Nokia has stopped sales of the Lumia 2520 in Europe, over a faulty charger supplied with the tablet. The manufacturer has also issued a product advisory warning over the AC-300 charger, with owners in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom "strongly advised to suspend use of the charger until further notice."
Photographs automatically uploaded to Eyefi Cloud after being shot
Eyefi is expanding the usefulness of its Wi-Fi-equipped SD memory cards, by launching its own cloud storage service. The Mobi SD card, released last year, will now not only wirelessly transfer photographs taken by a digital camera to a mobile device, but it will also provide the option of automatically uploading it to the Eyefi Cloud.
Charming, surprising, intriguing finds now available or coming to market soon
Continuing our look at some of the more interesting devices and services we ran across at Macworld in San Francisco last month, MacNN and Electronista staffers will periodically write about items and vendors that caught our eye at the show that we thought our readers would like to know about. Today's focus is on two successfully-funded Kickstarter campaigns: The Roost stand for notebooks, and the iMacompanion USB port from Wiplabs.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut released for OS X
Feral Interactive has announced today that Deus Ex: Human Revolution -- Director's Cut has been released for OS X, available exclusively through Steam. A player performs as an ex-SWAT specialist who has been hired to oversee the security of an experimental biotechnology firm. Adam Jensen discovers there is more to the company than previously thought when a black ops team breaks in and kills scientists.
Google opening up Google Glass sale April 15 for one day
Confirming earlier rumors, Google is opening up wearable computing device Google Glass for purchase for one day in the US. Any US adult can join the Explorer program with any shade or frame for $1,500, plus applicable local sales tax. Available devices are limited. Purchase begins April 15 at 6AM PDT.
Leaks emerging from Apple suppliers?
A new photo shows what are alleged to be two of the first third-party cases produced for the iPhone 6. While there are no earlier iPhones or accessories in the image for comparison, the cases are said to fit 4.7- and 5.5/5.7-inch devices. One unusual aspect of their design is the presence of an extra cutout on one side, and what appears to be a relocated power button cutout on top. It's unclear what the additional cutout might be for.
Charming, surprising, intriguing finds coming to market soon
Now that we've had time to recover from the fury of meeting so many vendors at this year's Macworld, MacNN and Electronista have had a little time to reflect on some of the products and services we saw there. Many have yet to come to market -- a running joke was the number of projects crowdfunded last summer that will be arriving in stores soon -- some have won awards, and some are just little gems we were delighted, intrigued and wowed by. First up in this ongoing series is a successful Kickstarter startup, Glowdeck.
Capacities up to 8TB available in USB 3.0, Thunderbolt dual-interface case
Peripheral vendor Other World Computing today expanded its family of Thunderbolt interface storage products with the addition of the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual external high-performance drive with hardware RAID capabilities. The new design is available in capacities up to 8TB.
Alarm could be accidentally disabled by motion, now disabled in existing units
Ahead of any reported problems among existing users, Nest is voluntarily halting sales of its Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm due to potential issues with one of the features. In addition, the company will be remotely disabling the Nest Wave feature in existing units, which allowed users to turn off alarms by simply waving their hands at the unit. Internal company testing had shown that the feature could in some circumstances disable the alarms unintentionally, which might delay an alarm in the event of a real fire.
Case for the constant traveler
For professional use, the iPad is something of a strange beast. It's more work-friendly than a smartphone obviously, but still not as powerful as a laptop. The main advantage over a computer is portability -- it's thin and lightweight, and many airport checkpoints won't even make you take it out of your carry-on when you fly. STM's new Folio case for the iPad Air is intended to make things even more travel-friendly, thanks to loops and pockets for your essential gear. Does that actually make it a practical case, though?
iPods and Mac Accessories
This week Apple's online store has a wide selection of refurbished iPod models on sale. They start at $99 for the refurbished seventh-generation 16GB iPod nano which comes in blue, silver, pink, green or purple. Save $40 on the refurbished 16GB fifth-generation iPod touch in black; it was $229, but has been cut to $189.
New 2TB wireless hard drive offers portable storage for Apple devices
Seagate Technology has announced the upcoming availability of its newest capacity option of the LaCie brand hard drive Fuel. A wireless hard drive with a 2TB capacity, the LaCie Fuel is intended for users who would benefit from a large storage capacity, such as journalists, photographers and bloggers. Offering the same features as the 1TB model, the LaCie Fuel includes the ability to wirelessly stream content to up to five devices without an internet connection, wireless hotspot creation, Airplay compatibility, and a 10 hour battery life. The LaCie Fuel 2TB can be reordered through the LaCie online store for $250, and will be available worldwide through retailers in April, 2014.
Former media event lives on as accessory, app showcase
The Macworld Expo (now called Macworld/iWorld) certainly isn't the show it was five years ago, the last year Apple attended. Its a much smaller show -- maybe 25,000 attendees at best -- but with a more sustainable focus: a showcase for computer and mobile peripherals, accessories and gadgets, as well as a gathering of app developers. Because Apple doesn't make big announcements timed to the conference anymore -- and the one company that did, Microsoft, chose not to have its Office for iPad event there -- the Macworld/iWorld show doesn't make the news as often as it used to.
Successful crowd-funded projects a fresh source of innovation
Macworld/iWorld 2014, currently going on at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, handed out its Best of Show awards on Friday, including a mix of hardware devices and software apps, many of which started life as successful Kickstarter or similar crowd-funded ideas, both from established companies and novice entrepreneurs. Winners included a portable RAID drive, a thermal camera for the iPhone, an app to get kids to do their chores, and new Thunderbolt adapters, among other useful apps and gadgets.
Tech-specialized wood desks offer much more than hiding cords
Accessories maker iSkelter -- best known for their all-wood Slate portable notebook lapdesk with pre-cut grooves to act as stands and holders for tablets, smartphones and even coffee mugs -- is accepting pre-orders for its next project, the SlatePro. The full-sized desk, originally funded through Kickstarter, is again a wood-based productivity center, available in up to eight different configurations with pre-cut slots and cut-outs specifically aimed at serious computer users. The company expects to begin shipping the units in July.
Drive features integrated Thunderbolt cable
Drive manufacturer WD today introduced My Passport Pro, the first portable and Thunderbolt-powered dual-drive. The peripheral is available in 2TB and 4TB capacities, and sports a Thunderbolt cable built into the case itself, which also powers the drive. A user-selectable RAID function lets users choose data striping (RAID 0) for high performance or mirroring (RAID 1) for data redundancy.
Twitter for iOS and Android updated, adds photo tagging of up to ten people
Twitter announced an update to its mobile apps today, adding the ability to now tag up to ten people in a photo. Available for both iOS and Android app, tagging does not affect character count in a tweet. Up to four photos can be shared in a single tweet, and a full image in a group can be viewed by tapping on a preview. The new photo features rolled out today on iPhone, and are due soon for Android and its web version.
Booq launches multi-fold folio and snap case for iPad Air
Tech-related accessories company Booq has announced its release of its latest multi-fold folio and snap case, the Booqpad for iPad Air. A combination of a folio and case, the Booqpad facilitates protecting one's iPad Air while accommodating viewing and typing. Its multi-fold cover folio magnetically attaches to the polycarbonate snap case, opening to reveal a 50-sheet notepad for traditional note-taking.
Fitness tracker lawsuit seeks refunds in California
Fitbit has been targeted by a lawsuit over medical issues claimed to be caused by one of its wearable fitness trackers. Gomez Law from San Diego has filed the suit, claiming Fitbit has "misled" its customers and caused nearly two percent of its customers to develop skin irritations from wearing the Fitbit Force, and demanding the company refunds purchasers of the device.
Is bamboo worth the premium?
It's hard to say where it comes from exactly, except perhaps the speaker industry, but there seems to be a strange fetish for wood in modern electronics. If you're buying a Moto X, you can even pay a $25 upfront premium to add a wood back. Few companies though have gone to the same extremes as Grove, which -- apart from a few leather notebooks -- only produces wooden iOS and Mac accessories. We were recently given a sample of their Bamboo case for the iPad Air, which we put through the wringer.
SmartSound Software announces new soundtrack creation plug-in for Final Cut Pro X
SmartSound Software has announced a new plug-in for Final Cut Pro X, offering custom music creation like soundtracks. Designed to take advantage of Final Cut Pro X's new Generator technology, Sonicfire Pro 5's new direct access to the Final Cut timeline, providing an efficient workflow. Users can drag a SmartSound Music Placeholder from the Generators section onto the FCPX timeline where music needs to be added, and extend it to the desired length.
Pair of Bluetooth streamers bring portability, bass to mobile device audio
Bluetooth speakers come in enough configurations that anyone should be able to find one to suit their needs. Be it a speaker to fill an entire room with sound that never moves from its spot on a shelf, or a small speaker clipped on a bag pumping out music on the go, there are tons of different units on the market to match an individual's tastes. Boomphones and id America each offer a speaker that may fit a niche for customers looking at small form factors with unique features. Which speaker will do the trick in our showdown -- Boomphones Pocket Speaker or the id America Touchtone?
LaCie's new portable external hard drive released
Seagate Technology's premium brand, LaCie, has released its new LaCie Little Big Disk, featuring Thunderbolt 2. Offering speeds up to 1.38GB per second, the drive's Thunderbolt 2 connectivity allows for effective manipulation of 4K video. The LaCie Little Big Disk is capable of daisy-chaining with its dual Thunderbolt 2 ports, and its two heat-dissipating aluminum plates with a thermoregulated fan quietly cool its SSD drives. Priced at $1,300, the LaCie Little Big Disk is available in a 1TB SSD capacity.
Twelvesouth's new BookBook Rutledge Edition case protector for MacBook now available
Accessory maker Twelvesouth has released a new version of its BookBook case for MacBook, the Rutledge Edition. Available for MacBook Air and MacBook Retina, the Rutledge is tailored from premium-grade leather, and features two hardback covers with a rigid spine, much like an old hardcover book. The case protects one's laptop with a soft padded interior, and includes dual zippers that keep BookBook closed. Pricing starts at $100, with all size versions of the Rutledge BookBook case available for purchase through Twelvesouth.
Manufacturers could be forced to use single connector for charging in EU by 2017
The European Parliament has voted to proceed with proposals to require smartphones and mobile devices to use a single common charger. The new draft law was approved by 550 votes to 12 on Thursday, with 8 abstentions by European parliament members (MEPs), with the vote itself bringing the new regulation closer to being implemented in European Union member states in the future.
New accessories for entry-level Samsung smartphone to help with accessibility
Samsung has revealed a set of accessories for the Galaxy Core Advance, aimed at helping people with disabilities. A stand for the visually impaired and NFC-based TecTiles for voice notes are offered, along with a cover for the smartphone, which allows the user to detect obstacles, objects, or people nearby via the use of ultrasonic waves.
Dodocase's new Multi-Angle case iPad Air and iPad mini now available
Accessory designer Dodocase has released a new case for iPad Air and iPad mini, the Multi-Angle Dodocases. The back cover is equipped with three pre-set angles (45-60 degrees), and the case has leather grip tabs that accommodate a variety of adjustable angles between 25-90 degrees. Possessing a strength-tested bamboo tray, the Multi-Angle Dodocases are suitable for typing, reading, watching videos, and more. Available in black ($65 for iPad Air, $40 for iPad mini) or red/grey, blue/grey, and grey/grey ($75 for iPad Air, $50 for iPad mini), the cases can be purchased online.
Swivel Screen Portfolio Case features detachable Bluetooth keyboard
Favi has announced its release of the Swivel Screen Portfolio case for iPad Air, featuring a detachable Bluetooth keyboard. Aiming to fill the gap between tablet and laptop usage, the portfolio case positions an iPad Air in a similar manner to a Macbook setup. Its Bluetooth keyboard holds an 80-hour charge if used continually, and includes scissor-switch keys, which allow for quiet and stable typing. Fully adjustable, the stand can rotate for comfortable viewing. Available in black, silver and gold, the Favi Swivel Screen Portfolio with keyboard is priced at $40.
Microsoft starts pre-orders for Surface Power Cover, ships March 19th
Microsoft has opened up pre-orders for its Surface Power Cover, with shipments set to start on March 19th in the United States. Spotted by ZDNet in the Microsoft Store for $200, the Power Cover adds up to 70-percent more battery life to the Surface Pro, Surface 2, and Surface Pro 2 tablets, and retains the same keyboard and touchpad as other Surface covers, though it adds 9.75mm (0.38 inches) and just over half a pound in weight to each tablet.
Offerings available at first for 2015 A3, will be added to other vehicles
Audi of America and AT&T have announced 4G LTE data plans for the 2015 A3 Sedan, which debuts this month, and will enable the first-ever in-vehicle 4G LTE data connection in North America. Additionally, Audi has revealed that an accompanying mobile app will allow advanced functionality between the in-car system and smartphones, reducing the need for Audi motorists to handle devices when accessing some smartphone-based features.
Mujjo releases Understated, Low Key sleeve collections for iPhone 5s and iPad
Tech accessory producer, Mujjo, has announced the release of its two new sleeve collections -- Low-key and Understated -- for iPhone 5s, iPad mini and iPad Air. Composed of vegetable-tanned leather, the Low-key collection features a matte black finish, and the Understated collection a tan color. The sleeves' leather is treated with aniline oil for color enrichment, and the vegetable tanning process creates a dense and compact product. Both collections feature a combination of leather and felt, each with an angle-cut exterior pocket for additional items.
Ubisoft's 'hack everything' game to be released May 2014
Ubisoft's open world, cyber-espionage title Watch_Dogs now has official release dates of May 27 for North America and May 29 for the rest of the world on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC. The game was pushed in back in October 2013 from its original release window, which coincided with Ubisoft's fiscal year-end of March. Watch_Dogs was originally pinned to be a launch title for the newest generation of consoles, but had been delayed to this spring in order to allow more time for its development. Gamers holding out for the Wii U version will have longer to wait, as a release date for Nintendo's console has yet to be confirmed.
Suggests higher prices may not equal quality
When Logitech's Ultrathin Keyboard Cover first came out, it caused something of a minor stir in the iPad world. It was the very first keyboard cover, solving a problem many people probably didn't realize they had: finding a Bluetooth keyboard that's more convenient than a separate unit, but less bulky than a full-on keyboard case. The one major issue -- apart from having to find your own protection for an iPad's rear shell -- was price. Even now, the Ultrathin is $100, which isn't far off from the cost of a keyboard folio. Anker's TC930 attempts to duplicate much of the Ultrathin for a cheaper price, while simultaneously putting its own spin on things.
Wello smartphone case tracks blood pressure, ECG, heart rate
Azoi has entered the health tracker market, by announcing a fitness-tracking smartphone cover that works with both iOS and Android devices. Wello contains a number of sensors on the side and back that take a snapshot of the user's vital signs after a few seconds of being held, with the results transferred wirelessly over Bluetooth 4.0 LE and recorded in a companion app.
Fitness tracker filing suggests another Samsung wearable device on the way
Samsung could be preparing to launch a pared-down fitness tracker, following its launch of the Gear Fit last month. A filing on the FCC website for a device called the "S-Circle" comes months after the discovery of a similar filing at the Bluetooth SIG, and suggests the activity tracker could be similar to the S Band heart rate monitor that launched alongside the Galaxy S4.
New Thunderbolt accessory provides eSATA, USB3
Akitio has expanded its line of Thunderbolt accessories with its new Thunder dock. With eSATA, FireWire 800, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt pass-through, the new accessory aims to provide a sensible set of additional ports for most MacBooks manufactured in the past three years. Check out our full review to see if the Thunder is a must-have desk accessory.
Secure a new Mac Pro with the $49 Switchd MacPro Lock
A new security solution for the latest Mac Pro has been announced from a company called Identified Media, which is taking pre-orders now for a new locking alteration referred to as the Switchd Mac Pro Lock. The lock is expected to ship next month, using a replacement part for the existing case lock switch on the 2013 Mac Pro that creates an opening for a standard cable lock. The pre-order price is $49, and emails are being accepted for notification about when the product debuts.
Tonewood Products introduces iPhone cases made from premium wood
Tonewood Products has introduced a new line of iPhone cases. Built from guitar tonewoods such as maple, mahogany and rosewood, the company's wood-grain holders protect the phone while recreating the aesthetic of an acoustic guitar. Available for iPhone 4, 4s, 5 and 5s, the cases feature wooden volume and power buttons. Tonewood's phone case pricing begins at $80.
Compatible with Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, 2.5K other devices
Accessories maker Logitech has extended its line of Harmony remote controls to include a new "Harmony Smart Keyboard" that the company is aiming for the growing number of non-computer "smart devices" around the home -- particularly "living room" devices like Apple TVs, video game consoles, audio systems and digital video recorders, among others. Logitech says the keyboard is compatible with 225,000 home-entertainment devices covering 5,000 brands.
Dell multi-touch monitor cut to $400 and more
Right now, the Microsoft Store is offering a price cut of $249 on the Dell 23-inch multi-touch monitor. It was $649, but has been reduced to $400. That makes this nearly $90 less than the lowest price found anywhere else. This monitor features 1080p resolution, 10-point multi-touch capabilities, built-in five-watt speakers, a contrast ratio of 1000:1, dynamic contrast ratio of 8 million to 1, and a USB 3.0 port.
Intel's new SSD 730 Series available for pre-order
Intel has made its new Solid-State Drive 730 Series available for pre-order. A powerful hard drive intended for gaming and heavy work use, the SSD 730 Series offers low latency and a high throughput, allowing for quick response times. Able to complete up to 70GB of writes per day as opposed to the industry typical 20GB, the drive is capable of delivering consistent performance across data types. Interested buyers can now pre-order the SSD 730, with its official release being March 18.
Kickstarter funded device shipping a year after estimated date
The successfully-funded Instacube, tagged as "as living canvas" that pulls photos from a user's Instagram feed in the campaign, will finally start shipping units in April to backers -- more than a year after the estimated shipping date. The product, which pulled $621,000 from backers on Kickstarter, was funded in September 2012.
Device aims to instruct on form, efficiency and help avoid injury
A new fitness device that acts more like a fitness coach and less like a tracker is looking to change how a workout is approached by offering more than just numbers. The Moov, created by a team that boasts a former Apple engineer and a pair of Microsoft researchers, uses a smartphone connection to instruct users on how to improve their workout rather than merely quantifying it.
Apple TV promotion may foreshadow hardware update
(Updated with official confirmation) Apple retail workers are being told that as of today, anyone who buys an Apple TV from an Apple Store will get a free $25 iTunes gift card, according to sources. The promotion is expected to end March 5th. While the offer may simply be a means of boosting Apple TV sales, it's strongly speculated that Apple is trying to clear inventory ahead of a rumored hardware refresh which could take place as soon as April, if not earlier. Third-party vendors have been cutting their own prices in recent weeks.
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD only $180 and more
This week, Other World Computing has a great deal on the Elgato 120GB Thunderbolt solid state drive, which is currently priced at $179, $120 off the list price of $299. That beats the next lowest price by $65. Free delivery is included. The Elgato Thunderbolt SSD offers 120GB of storage with 270MB/s access times. Included is a three-year warranty on parts and labor from Elgato.
Fitness tracker combines wrist-worn device with Bluetooth earpiece
Huawei has entered the wearable devices market with an accessory that provides users more options beyond just fitness tracking. The TalkBand B1 is a wearable fitness tracker that incorporates a detachable Bluetooth earpiece as part of the design, allowing the wearer to make and receive phone calls when not monitoring fitness. Electronista took a closer look at the device at the company's Mobile World Congress display.
Grovemade introduces walnut and maple cases for iPhone and iPad, iPhone docks
Accessories designer Grovemade has introduced new walnut and maple wood cases for iPhone and iPad today, as well as wooden iPhone docks. Each wooden iPhone case is milled from a solid block, and features a reinforced interior for durability. Cases for iPad Air and Mini feature three standing positions for reading, typing and viewing content, and Grovemade's iPhone Dock combines a wooden top with a solid three pound steel base for sturdy, one-handed operating. Walnut and maple cases and docks retail at $100.