Accessories

Belkin presents 3.5mm Audio + Charge RockStar

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Belkin presents 3.5mm Audio + Charge RockStar

The Belkin 3.5mm Audio + Charge RockStar is a fairly self-explanatory accessory-- it is means to add a headphone jack to Lightning-only devices, while providing a source of data or power.

The MFi-certified product is compatible with any 3.5mm audio source, and handles remote and mic control via headphones. It also supports 12W passthrough charging, meaning the iPhone juices up at maximum speeds. As such it is ideal for use with the latest iPhones lacking a 3.5mm headphone jack, namely the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and upcoming iPhone X.

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Pi to Wirelessly Charge from a Distance

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Pi to Wirelessly Charge from a Distance

Wireless charging is set to truly hit the mainstream with the iPhone 8, but a startup named Pi wants to further extend the reach of the technology-- specifically by 30cm, through the imaginatively named Pi Charger.

As debuted at the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield event, the Pi Charger is a conical device able to charge multiple devices within around 30cm in any direction. It is not a full-room wireless charging offering, the the maker promises it actually works, and does so without need to put devices on a charging pad.

The technology behind the Pi Charger is resonant induction, the same used by the Qi standard found in the new iPhones. It is paired with a special beam forming algorithm allowing Pi to shape and direct the magnetic fields around the device. This allows users to charge a smartphone by putting it next to the charger, as opposed to directly on it.

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iPhone 8, X Get Official Accessories

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iPhone 8, X Get Official Accessories

The Apple September event not only involved the launch of the iPhone 8 and X-- the company also took the time to present a selection of cases, as well as wireless charging accessories.

The iPhone X gets a specially designed Leather Folio Case, with a front cover complete with soft microfibre lining to protect the display. It is made out of "specially tanned and finished European leather," has space to hold bills, small notes and cards, and can be kept on during wireless charging.

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How to Charge and Back Up the iPhone

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How to Charge and Back Up the iPhone

Western Digital presents an interesting 2-in-1 SanDisk solution-- the iXpand Base, a device providing customers means to charge the iPhone while backing up its photos, videos and contacts.

The iXpand Base has a Lightning cable on one side and a power cord on the other. According to WD, it is designed for charging the iPhone on a nightly basis, and while the smartphone is charging it backs up all critical files via iXpand Base app, thus providing automatic nightly backups.

Internal storage totals up to 256GB, and it can be used to offload photos and other files to save iPhone space. The backup feature also allows one to easily transfer contents to a new phone, since it simply involves installing the companion app and plugging it in.

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An iPhone Case to Charge the AirPods

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An iPhone Case to Charge the AirPods

Pebble creator Eric Migicovsky takes to Kickstarter to launch the PodCase-- an iPhone case designed to make the life of AirPods user a little bit easier via integrated charger.

Migicovsky describes the PodCase as a "slim case for carrying and charging your iPhone and AirPods." It features a 2500mAh battery (allowing for either 40 AirPod charges or one iPhone charge) together with a USB-C port for the charging of other devices, such as a MacBook. Grooves on the back allow one to slot the AirPods in place when not in use.

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Logitech Brings Trackball Back

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Logitech Brings Trackball Back

Logitech makes a surprise announcement with the MX Ergo-- the company's first trackball mouse since the M750, a trackball released way back in 2010.

The MX Ergo combines the trackball features of the M750 with the industrial design of the MX Master S2. It includes customisable back/forwards buttons, support for the multi-PC Flow feature and connectivity via either Bluetooth or Logitech Unifying receiver. Charging comes through included micro USB cable.

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OtterBox Opens uniVERSE Case System

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OtterBox Opens uniVERSE Case System

Accessory maker OtterBox releases the CAD for the uniVERSE Case System-- allowing anyone to design and 3D print accessories, even if they don't actually own a 3D printer.

The uniVERSE Case System involves an OtterBox iPhone and iPad case with a modular rail mount on the back. It allows users to attach a variety of accessories from a number of 3rd parties, including mophie power packs, Nite Ize auto and bike mounts, SanDisk memory expansion, Brydge keyboards and olloclip camera lenses, all with OtterBox protection.

Now the accessory mount CAD allows users to create and print own ideas using a 3D printer. Access to such a device is not an issue-- OtterBox has a partnership with 3D Hubs, a global network of over 6500 printers offering "competitive pricing, quick turnaround from local vendors and myriad materials."

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How to Turn the iPad into a 2nd MacBook Display

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How to Turn the iPad into a 2nd MacBook Display

AstroHQ presents a hardware means to turn the iPad into a full-on second Mac display-- the Luna Display, a tiny dongle allowing users to connect the tablet to their PC or notebook, wire-free.

The Luna Display plugs into the Mini DisplayPort or USB-C port found in modern Macs and MacBooks. It works together with a companion app on both Mac and iPad, using wifi to transfer data between the two.

According to AstroHQ, the hardware dongle taps into Macs' full graphics capabilities, including Metal GPU support. As such, it promises very high image quality with full Retina resolution and reliability across all visual media. One can also use the iPad touchscreen, with pinch to zoom, scrolling and even Apple Pencil support.

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Twelve South Brings Curve Stand Back

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Twelve South Brings Curve Stand Back

Accessory maker Twelve South announces the Curve-- a comeback of the iCurve stand, feauturing an "elegant" design promising to elevate an Apple notebook to an ideal angle.

Launched back in 2003, the original iCurve was the first stand designed by Twelve South co-founder Andrew Green. The Curve is a similar offering, built out of aluminium with a matte black finish to match the new Space Grey MacBooks. It elevates the notebook by 16.5cm and keeps 70% of the base exposed through an open bottom, allowing for better cooling.

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Tile Bluetooth Trackers Go Pro

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Tile Bluetooth Trackers Go Pro

Tile presents the Pro series-- an update of the company's Bluetooth tracker product offering an increased Bluetooth range, twice the volume and more water resistance.

The Pro series consists of two devices, the Tile Sport and Tile Style. Both feature Bluetooth range reaching 60m, louder ring tone and water resistance for up to 1 hour in 1.5m of water. They are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing users to search for lose items through speech.

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Why the Smart Connector is Underused

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Why the Smart Connector is Underused

Why don't more products take advantage of the Smart Connector, the magnetic snap-in port found in the iPad Pro? Fast Company spoke to a number of accessory makers, and discovered the reason is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple itself.

So far only four accessories support the Smart Connector. One is the Apple Smart Keyboard, the first and only iPad Pro keyboard cover. Then there are two keyboards and a docking station, all made by Logitech. Logitech managed to bring its Smart Connector-enabled products to market thanks to a close partnership with Apple, meaning other companies having to compete with both.

As Incipio tells Fast Company, “with an iPad Pro keyboard on the market already, we are evaluating the market’s appetite for another iPad Pro keyboard and identifying if there are any gaps that we can fill... [W]e are developing with having a point of difference in mind rather than developing to be quick to market.”

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