Accessories, News/Rumors

Fin thumb ring converts your palm into a numeric keypad

Smartphones, smartwatches and even smart glasses continue to enrich the line of smart accessories. Smart rings are certainly less common but still pretty intriguing ideas. One of them is Fin, a thumb ring designed to turn your whole palm into a gesture interface. Fin wraps around your thumb and converts your palm into a numeric keypad.

The main goal of the device is to enable hand gesture control of smart devices, aims to not only provide better connectivity, but to alter the way you interact with your favorite gadgets.

How doest Fin work?  Fin is a Bluetooth enabled product that you can connect to three different digital devices, including Smartphones, Smart TVs, Automobiles, and Home automation devices providing multiple device compatibility. Fin has built-in sensors that allow it to track its movement in relation to your palm.  Gestures are then imported into commands for different devices that are transmitted via Bluetooth 4.0.20140110101734-Fin-Indiegogo-spec

Additionally, the ring is equipped with an LED indicator, and runs on a lithium-ion battery that requires a single charge for a whole month. It can then be recharged via a Micro-USB port. Among other advantages of the accessory is its waterproof feature with a rating of IP67. The developer also claims the ring is dust proof.

The device is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows phones.

Key features:

  • Fin should come with Water-proof: IP67.
  • Size/Fit: Flexible.
  • Battery: Li Po custom battery with micro-USB charging dock.
  • Sensors: Fin can track accurate movement of your thumb on the palm also detect each part of your finger where you are touching.
  • Communication: Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR and 4.0
  • Compatibility: Windows, MAC, iOS, Android, Windows Phones.

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With just a swipe motion, the ring allows you to control your smart TV, change the channels, control sounds, navigate your maps, receive calls and read messages, change music, and other car utilities. You can easily share your data with a tap of your finger.

The ring will come in white, orange, black, blue and green, with shipping estimated for September.

Fin is still in prototype phase, and a crowd-funding campaign has been launched via Indiegogo. To gain a ring for yourself you’ll have to pledge $130.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple releases ‘Made for iPhone’ specifications for iBeacons

In a push for wider iBeacon adoption, Apple has on Tuesday released the iBeacon specifications for members of the “Made for iPhone” program, Apple’s program for hardware partners.

iBeacons are known as Bluetooth low-energy transmitters that use Apple’s iBeacon API to send micro-location information to nearby apps and devices. This accessory is compatible with Apple’s iPhones and iPads, as well as other devices that use Bluetooth LE.  iBeacon is particularly interesting for retailers.

Apple is now implementing tighter control over who can use the ‘iBeacon’ branding. That means, that the company is now requiring manufacturers meet certain specifications before using ‘iBeacon’ on their products. According to Apple’s “Made for iPhone” program, manufacturers will have to ask for permission to use the iBeacon name on products. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any requirements that would limit the functionality of beacon products already on the market. The requirements are comparable to those for Bluetooth accessory makers under the MFi program. Using the term iBeacon requires manufacturers to meet specific criteria, which are only available after a non-disclosure agreement has been signed. ibeacon-131206

This new specification provides Apple more control over the iBeacon trademark, meaning no longer usage of the iBeacon brand without consent from Apple.

With introduction of iBeacon micro-location technology, users received a new great way to interact with their environment.

After a number of tests, Apple released the technology in December at its U.S. retail stores. Most recently, Major League Baseball announced successful iBeacon installations at stadiums that will send notifications that include info related to the game and stadium through the MLB At the Ballpark app. MLB also announced its plans to apply iBeacon tech in over 20 parks before the 2014 season’s stateside opener in March.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Resound Linx-the world’s first made for iPhone hearing aid

GN ReSound, a Danish hearing aid manufacturer, launched a new hearing aid, which connects directly to iPhones and other iOS devices. The accessory is designed to allow hearing impaired to talk on the phone or listen to music, without the need for an additional remote control.

There are more than 500 million people worldwide, who suffer from some degree of hearing loss and they are not only those at advanced age, but much younger as well. A hearing aid can help them regain their hearing so they can live the life they’re used to.

The LiNX can be used to talk on the phone and listen to music, with a custom app. Once launched, the app allows to adjust volume levels, change device settings and switch between preset environments for the hearing aid, allowing the accessory to optimize to the user’s environment. Hearing aids feature a number of modes, allowing to automatically change sound profiles based on the location of the user, changing for work, home, or a favorite restaurant. Additionally, the app includes a “Find My Hearing Aid” function to help wearers find their device if it’s lost.

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The developers use a unique 2.4GHz protocol used by the LiNX and designed specifically for communication between iPhones and hearing aids.

The hearing aid itself can also function as a high-quality headset, providing users with the ability to answer calls, listen to turn-by-turn directions, and much more on their iOS device.ReSound-LiNX-image-001

“We saw an opportunity to create the world’s best hearing aid by combining the capability of GN ReSound’s life-changing technologies with the compatibility and global prevalence of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch,” said GN ReSound CEO Lars Viksmoen. “We are committed to improving people’s lives through use of innovative technology and look forward to more people correcting their hearing with this new technology – a triumph in accessibility for the hearing impaired.”

Previously, hearing aid wearers had to carry a wireless device to make changes to settings on a tiny hearing aid. But the new accessory allows to make those changes directly on the iPhone.

The price of the device is unclear.

Accessories, News/Rumors

MAD CATZ announced a wireless game controller for iOS 7

Gaming peripheral company Mad Catz has announced its C.T.R.L.i iOS 7 gaming controller at Mobile World Congress 2014. The company, which is best known for its range of console and PC gaming accessories, presented its first controller to feature native support for iOS 7.

The C.T.R.L.i can connect to any iOS 7 device through Bluetooth instead of using a Lightning port, and includes a spring-loaded mount that can be used with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5c. The accessory itself is based on Mad Catz’s popular MLG Pro Circuit Controller for the Xbox 360, and features standard console-style controls such as a two thumb sticks, a d-pad, media buttons and triggers on the shoulder.

You will be impressed with how stable the controller remains while playing. To protect iPhone from damages, the controller is equipped with a special clip, fixed with a tiny screw. A device with a bigger display is also available to place in the controller, meaning, that the company is ready to the next generation of iPhone with a larger display.madcatz_ctrli_1-800x502

Additionally, the C.T.R.L.i’s Bluetooth capabilities also provide connectivity for up to four controllers.

C.T.R.L.i is not the first iOS 7 gaming controller, both Logitech and MOGA were first introduced to public, but priced pretty high and of poor build quality. So, the controller from Mad Catz, known for its good quality, will be able to make a good competition to the existing models.

According to the maker, the Bluetooth-enabled gamepad will go on sale in early spring. It’ll be available in black, white, blue, red, orange and priced at $80.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Scentee offers smelly smartphone notifications

There is a wide range of accessories, developed specially for iPhone: covers, docks, equipments for high quality capturing and others. At last, there’s a smartphone accessory that will notify you of new texts using smells.

The Scentee, created by Japanese firm ChatPerf, plugs into the iPhone’s docking connector and can connect with apps to emit scents on command. It is tasked to transform ordinary text alerts and make them mouth-watering. The company-maker has also offered an app that allows for scented text message alerts. When the app receives a notification, the Scentee lights up and spurts out a smell. You can choose from rose, mint, cinnamon roll, coffee, curry, lavender, apple, strawberry or even corn syrup. The new “Hana Yakiniku” scents, which literally means “nose grilled meat”, comes in three scents: Short Ribs, Beef Tongue, and Buttered Potato.  The company plans on adding more scents and adaptability, letting users customize their scent experience.

The Scentee itself is a small accessory that will plug into the headphone jack on your iPhone or Android. A scent release can also be added to games and social networks.

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Scentee’s website notes, “Apps include scented notifications for emails and Facebook “Likes.” Even “Timer” scents that work with your phone clock alarm to ease you into the day with a favorite aroma.” The fragrances come in disposable cartridges ad Scentee says they are updating the available aromas. Each cartridge has about 100 uses and costs 525 Yen, approximately $5.32.

The device is available only in white, and can be charged with the included micro USB cable. The Scentee accessory itself can be purchased for about $37. The device can be used on any iPhone, starting with the iPhone 4s, iPad mini, iPad 2 and iPad 3.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Zoom iQ5:Lightning-connected professional stereo microphone for iPhone, iPad

It looks like the time for a revolution in stereo microphones has come. Finally, your iPhone videos will sound as great as they look thanks to a new accessory, Zoom’s iQ5 Professional Stereo Microphone with Lightning Connector. It is expected to turn your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad into a high-quality stereo recorder.

According to the official website’s description, “The Zoom iQ5 is a high-quality mid-side stereo condenser mic, perfect for recording music and compact enough to be slipped into your pocket. Simply connect it to the Lightning connector of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and get ready to do some serious stereo recording any time, any place.”

The new device features an adjustable mic element with both vertical and horizontal positioning, allowing you to capture amazing sound in any location. All you need is adjust the circular attachment on the top of the accessory to ensure audio is being recorded, with left and right channels clearly labeled. The rotating mic element is designed for both audio and video applications. Audio can be captured in 90- or 120-degree fields, adjustable with a switch on the device. You can then use Zoom’s Handy Recorder iOS app, which allows you to collapse the signal into phase-coherent mono, which is great for any type of voice recordings. Zoom’s free Handy Recorder app is specially designed for use with the iQ5.

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The accessory can be used with most iOS apps that support audio input from an external microphone, including Apple’s native Camera application, GarageBand and others.

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The Lightning accessory also offers three auto-gain levels, built-in timing, automatic recording, and a dedicated headphone jack. Additionally, you can record for hours, the iQ5 charges your iOS devices during use with its mini USB connector.

The iQ5 is available in both black and white colors, to match Apple devices.

Specifications:

  • Suggested Retail Price: US$99.99
  • Dimensions: 58.6 x 62.45 x 38.5 mm
  • Weight: 30.5 grams
  • Audio quality: 44.1 kHz/16 bit
  • Connectors: Lightning connector, USB Mini-B connector (for recharging your iOS device), stereo mini jack for combined headphone/line level output
  • Microphone: Mid-side (M-S) stereo mic (90°/120°/M-S)

The Zoom iQ5 is great for anyone who is looking for something to create high-quality digital stereo recording. This compact and lightweight mic can be carried in a pocket.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Incipio’s Cashwrap Case turns iPhone into NFC-enabled device

AT&T is reportedly getting ready to launch an iPhone accessory that will turn the smartphone into an Isis-ready, NFC-enabled device. The Incipio Cashwrap case was designed for  the iPhone 5/5s and is expected to enable secure mobile payments via a micro-NFC chip and a mobile app.

The new accessory will be available from AT&T with three different color combinations for $69.99 each.

Along with the case, users interested in Isis-based mobile payments will also be required to have to install a free application, the Isis Mobile Wallet. A companion app to the case and payment service has yet to appear in the App Store, but it looks like it will arrive soon after the case goes officially on sale.

Once the Isis mobile app is installed, credit card information can be stored and used for contactless payments where Isis is supported. According to the Cashwrap product page, transit passes and loyalty cards will be supported.

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Isis is a wireless payment service backed up by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S., although it’s not clear whether these iPhone cases will also be available from the other two carriers.

The Cashwrap from Southern California based designer and manufacturer of award winning mobile device accessories, was officially introduced at CES 2014, with Incipio announcing only iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 cases at the time. While, the Cashwrap cases should launch in March, there are rumors, that the accessory is already listed in AT&T’s inventory.

Accessories, Mac, News/Rumors

Apple begins selling black Thunderbolt cables

The release of new black Mac Pro provoked the appearance of a number of blacked-out products, including Apple’s Thunderbolt cables. The company has begun to sell black versions of its Thunderbolt cables on its online store.

Apple’s cords were first introduced back in 2011 and have been available only in white. The new black Thunderbolt cable goes along with Apple’s new 2013 Mac Pro, which went on sale Thursday morning.  The new black color is available in both the 2 meter configuration and the 0.5 meter configuration, and offers the same functionality as the white version of the cable. The longer version is available for $39 per cable and the shorter is priced at $29.

The new cords offer Thunderbolt ports on either side, and they work great for transferring data between Macs, connecting to hard drives, and connecting to various other Thunderbolt 1.0 or 2.0 peripherals.

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Apple is still offering the white cords, allowing users to choose between white or black using a special selector button in their Web browsers.

Thunderbolt is not an ordinary cable equipped with connectors, like SATA or USB. When the cable was examined, it appeared to have full-fledged processors running microcode.

Black Thunderbolt cables are available to order on Apple’s online store.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Jawbone UP24 sport bracelet comes with wireless Bluetooth syncing

Jawbone is a pioneer at the market of sport bracelets, or so-called physical activity trackers. However, the first attempt of the company was so lumpy, that disappointed all the buyers. This year, Jawbone faced a main task: regaining consumers’ trust after widespread reports of brickage on the original Up fitness tracker.  The result is  Jawbone UP24.

The Jawbone UP24 is the culmination of those efforts, now toting Bluetooth LE for real-time exercise and sleep updates on your iOS device.

Jawbone UP24′s design is similar to the original UP one. The new accessory features crosshatching that swirls into a curve across the broader underside and is equipped with a new, softer-edged multifunction button, which simplifies the process of scratching yourself on the UP’s sharp-sized key. It also has a smaller, 2.5mm plug for charging with the included short USB dongle.

According to the company, the change in size was to make clear that Bluetooth LE is used for transferring data. Unlike the original UP, the new one doesn’t require to be plugged into the headphone socket of your phone or tablet. However, it also means you can’t use the original UP charger dongle to recharge the UP24.

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The main improvement the Jawbone Up24 has over the original Up is wireless Bluetooth syncing. This feature also puts the Up24 on par with all of today’s compelling fitness gadgets such as Fitbit’s lineup, the Nike FuelBand SE, and the Basis B1 Band.

Using UP24 is pretty simple. The flexible rubber band snaps around your wrist and is convenient to wear at night, too. The bracelet allows to track your sleep. It is also possible to switch between active and sleep modes. UP24 is available in three sizes: small, medium, and large to suit different wrists. Additionally, it’s water-resistant and can be worn in the shower or while washing up. The 2013 version got a $20 price increase to $150. Jawbone claims that you can expect seven days of use on a single charge.

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In addition to Bluetooth LE in the UP24, Jawbone offers a new UP 3.0 app, bringing the new features. The app is compatible with both generation of band. UP 3.0 is tasked to provide with more personalized data and better recommendations to improve your results. The app works on the basis of iOS’s notifications system to send prompts and triggers to the lockscreen. It also uses a new “Try This” system that offers to set a goal based on your past behaviors. For example, UP 3.0 might issue you with the challenge to go to bed earlier, tracking how well you do at that along the way.Moreover, UP supports sharing between teams of wearers and social networks.

Accessories, News/Rumors

New card reader from Square offers better performance and thinner design

Square on Monday introduced a new version of its mobile credit card reader Square Reader, which is 45 % thinner than the previous model and provides with more accurate results at reading credit and debit cards.

According to the company, the updated device is almost half as thin as the previous one and should result in fewer swiping errors, while becoming compatible with more devices.

The new Square Reader is provided with custom-designed parts for “better performance, easier use and an elegant, thinner design.” The device is the thinnest mobile card reader on the market.

“We engineered purpose-built components to create both excellent performance and beautiful design, without compromise,” Jesse Dorogusker, head of hardware at Square explained. By the way, Jesse Dorogusker was Apple’s Director of Engineering for iPhone, iPod, and iPad Accessories up until 2011, when he left to take a new position in Square. While working in Apple, Dorogusker headed the development of Apple’s Lightning connector, the two-way plug that replaced the 30-pin connector in Apple devices beginning with the iPhone 5.

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The new product is powered by the phone into which it is plugged, eliminating the need for a bulky battery. Additionally, the reader is also compatible with more devices than ever before.

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The new Square Reader can be ordered on the company’s website. For those who have already subscribed a Square account, it is available for free. It will also be accessible in the 30,000 retail stores worldwide that carry the Square Reader in the New Year.

The new version is expected to come less than a week after Square presented its acquisition of Viewfinder, a mobile photo-sharing app. The move seems to be an aqui-hire, collecting new members to work on “seller initiatives” and help expand Square’s NYC presence.