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.

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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.

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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.

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Bike2Power’s waterproof Smart Mount now available for iPhone 5s

Bike2Power has launched a brand new smart product to their line of  weather-sealed BikeConsole Smart Mounts for bicycles. The lineup already has a version for the 5 and 5c, but the new mount allows  users to attach an iPhone 5s handset to their bike’s handlebars and peddle with the power of iOS at their command. Additionally, 5s model brings access to the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Once the iPhone is placed in and the case snapped shut, the accessory can be set in either a landscape or portrait orientation. Bike2Power also added a silicone liner inside the case to complete protection for a handset. Smart Mount for iPhone 5s is both shockproof and waterproof, meaning your smartphone won’t suffer from rainclouds or bumps.

“The tough, engineered-plastic case encases your iPhone in fall-proof, shock-proof shell. The case is water-tight, and sealed again dust, dirt, rain, snow, and even your own sweat,” Bike2Power explains.

According to the makers, all the buttons and ports can be easily accessed as well as the camera.

The new Smart Mount features an anti-glare screen cover and its design provides the user and the microphone with the access through the top of the case, which Bike2Power says improves mic and sound performance.

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In addition to advanced levels of protection, Smart Mount for iPhone 5s also allows bikers to unlock their devices using Touch ID.

Smart Mount also comes with a limited one-year manufacturer’s protection warranty.

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Full list of features:

  •  Completely Waterproof and Shockproof
  •  Mountable to bar or stem
  •  Phone fully accessible and operatble inside the mount
  •  Light on your bike at less than 5 ounces installed
  •  Landscape/ portrait mode
  •  Heavy-duty universal mounting bracket
  •  Form-fitting interior silicon cushion
  •  Sound-boost Technology – sound routed to the top of the case for best sound experience

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Logitech announced ‘PowerShell’ iOS 7 game controller

Following the debut of the MOGA Ace Power earlier this week, Logitech officially announced its new PowerShell game controller compatible with the iPhone 5/5c/5s and the fifth-generation iPod touch. Similar to theMOGA Ace Power controller, Logitech also comes with a double battery pack with a built-in 1500mAh battery. It is a bit smaller, than Moga’s 1800 mAh.

The both devices are using Apple’s new MFi iOS 7 game controller program, which provides accessory designers and developers with standard framework, allowing to implement support for iOS compatible game controllers. Cupertino company offers two kinds of game controllers and two configurations equipped with pressure sensitive buttons and consistent layouts, including the form-fitting controller. The Moga and the new Logitech belong to this type of devices, allowing to have iOS device docked directly into the controller. The second type is standalone controllers, working via Bluetooth connection.

PowerShell game controller from Logitech is designed to plug into the Lightning port on a newer iOS device and offers console-style controls. The controller is equipped with a directional pad, shoulder bumpers, and face buttons. It also allows headphones to be connected through an included adapter.

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Logitech’s controller’s 1500 mAh battery can be charged simultaneously with an iOS device via the controller’s micro-USB port.

Games such as Dead Trigger 2, Asphalt 8: Airborne, and Bastion support the controller, with some developers pledging to bring controller support into their apps that the hardware is avaliable to consumers.

Logitech’s new PowerShell controller comes today to the Apple Online Store and BestBuy’s website and can be ordered for $99.99. The device will be available to purchase through other retailers next month. The weight of the controller reaches 120g with the following measures 200mm X 63mm X 21mm.

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First iOS 7 game controller from MOGA available

MOGA Ace Power, a controller exclusively for non-iPad iOS devices with Lightning ports, was launched today. MOGA officially announced its new product compatible with the iPhone 5/5c/5s and the fifth-generation iPod touch. The expandable controller is capable to plug into the Lightning port on Apple’s latest smartphones. MOGA is equipped with dual analog sticks, a d-pad, action buttons, a headphone jack, and L1/R1 L2/R2 buttons.

The controller is just a little bit smaller than Xbox or Playstation controller. To start using it, you are required to stretch the left part a little farther to lock the top of your iPhone or iPod touch in place. You don’t need to have any configurations or other screwing thanks to its Lightning support.

Your iOS device is charged via MOGA Boost, while being plugged into MOGA’s controller. It is also provided with an LED battery life indicator, letting you control a decent battery level. These allows you to balance the battery between the two devices.

MOGA’s controller was firstly rumored after WWDC, where the controller API debuted. By the way, MOGA is not the first, who promised to reveal a new controller. Logitech is also rumored to be working on iOS game controllers with similar features.

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The most interesting thing is probably that nearly all of the buttons are analog, including all of the triggers, the face buttons, even the D-Pad. The pause button is the only non-analog gaming control on the whole device.

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The MOGA Ace Power is equipped with the standard button layout that is expected to appear in all future iOS 7 controllers. The controller is planning to work with everything moving forward.

The MOGA Ace Power controller will be available to order for $99 on the MOGA website, the Online Apple Store and Apple retail stores.

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Misfit Shine. Aluminum alternative to sport accessories from Jawbone, Fitbit and Nike

Boom in sport accessories, which are compatible with the iPhone and capable to track physical activity, is continuing. These devices are often silicone or rubber bracelets, which are mostly not water-resistant for swimming and showering.

The Shine is the latest device in a line of activity trackers. Made of aerospace grade aluminum, it looks like a small coin. Thanks to its 1,560 laser-drilled holes, light shines through while keeping water out.

To monitor physical activity, owners of Misfit Shine use the accelerometer. To connect with the iPhone, the device is provided with Bluetooth and an original application called Shine. The tracker is required to be placed on the screen while syncing. But it is more convenient, than connecting to the 3.5mm port, like in the Jawbone Up 2.0.

An interesting fact is that all the accessory is waterproof.

The most significant feature is probably its ability to track activity while riding the bike or swimming in the pool. Moreover, it can monitor phases of sleep and traditional activities, such as walking and running. Misfit Shine can also show the current time and the progress of physical activity with built-in LEDs. The device is powered by the button-type battery, which is enough for four months.

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The accessory can be worn whatever you like: hang it on the neck or fix it to clothes with clips on silicone or leather wrist strap.

Shine Client for iOS allows you to set goals, track your progress, see how many calories are burned off per day, and more. The device is priced at  $119.95.

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Livescribe 3 smartpen turns your notes into pixels

There are a lot of iDevice-compatible devices on the market, but none feel as natural as using nice old fashioned pen and paper.  Livescribe 3 brings a Bluetooth-enabled smartpen, designed to work with a compatible mobile device running iOS.

The Livescribe 3 is tasked to take notes in special notebooks, and digitizes everything you write or draw.

While developing  Livescribe 3, the company worked with a pen designer. The result of such cooperation is a beautiful chrome device feeling like a writing tool. The smartpen is provided with a simple capacitive stylus on one end, and with an ink tip on the other.

Turning the pen on and off is a pretty simple process. A short “beep” will let you know that Livescribe 3 is ready to work. The smart pen has an LED on the top, which changes color depending on the smart pen’s status: green, for instance, says that the pen is ready to be used, while a blue light means that a Bluetooth connection has been established.

Livescribe 3 includes a unique “smart pen,” Livescribe’s own “dot paper,” and a companion iOS app called Livescribe+ and compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Once paired via Bluetooth LE, notes written in a Livescribe notebook will automatically appear on the accompanying Livescribe+ app.

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The application can let you know when you start a new page, which also can be shared via AirDrop, Messages, or Mail, and copied or printed with help of AirPrint. In a “Feed” section of the app. It recognizes everything you write  and converts it to written text, and this, in turn, can be shared using the aforementioned iOS apps. Write a phone number, and add it to your phone book with just one tap. Write an address, sync it, tap it, and view it in Maps. The app allows to choose snippets or pages and save them quickly to other apps.

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The pen’s battery is rated to last 14 hours, though even when it’s over it’s still a pen; your data syncs when you connect it next. The pen has a capacitive nub on the top, which can be used as a stylus for your touch screen device. Take the nub off and you’ll find the microUSB port.

Thanks to a built-in microphone, Livescribe 3 users can also record content to iPhone or iPad whi just hitting the record button either on the paper or the app. This is probably the most impressive feature.

The smart pen requires special dot paper. Livescribe offers a notebook with the smart pen itself. Dot paper is available for $8.95 in the Livescribe online store. And  Livescribe 3 itself starts at just under $150.

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Nike+ FuelBand SE now available in Apple Online Store

Nike’s second-generation wearable activity tracker  FuelBand SE announced in mid-October,  has gone on sale through Apple’s Online Store and is available from a number retail locations beginning today according to Apple’s Personal Pickup options.

The FuelBand SE design is similar to the original Nike FuelBand, but offers colored accents in yellow, pink, and red. The device also has Bluetooth LE (4.0), which significantly cuts down on power usage when used with the iPhone 4s or later. The FuelBand SE adds some new features over the first version, including hourly goals, sessions, and the ability to track your wrist movements more precisely. A new clock mode shows the time with the tap of a button. The Nike+ FuelBand app was also recently updated with new customization options, Nike+ Sessions, Nike+ Groups, and new trophies to earn.

Enhancements to both the FuelBand SE and Nike’s NikeFuel points system let users to track more activities than ever before.

Nike also introduced its Nike+ Move app this week, which is created to take advantage of the M7 motion coprocessor in the iPhone 5s.

The FuelBand SE is also tasked to track movement and activity.  The price hasn’t also been changed, making it available for $149.95 on its 6 November launch date.

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“NikeFuel is a single, universal way to measure all kinds of activities – from your morning workout to your big night out. This uniquely designed metric applies to whole-body movement no matter your age, weight or gender.”

Apple and Nike have been partners for quite some time, but this relationship seems to be useful for the both companies.

The new FuelBand comes in four black-based tones (pink, black, red, and green) and in three sizes (small, medium/large, and extra large) and is available from Apple’s website.

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iGRILlmini, bluetooth meat thermometer available for pre-order

iDevices has announced a high performance version to its popular iGrill meat thermometer, the iGrillmini Bluetooth Smart. The iGrill was first presented in 2011 and offered the ability to connect a probe to the iPhone via Bluetooth, offering the remote monitoring of preparing food.

Like the original iGrill, the second-generation model operates the similar way, measuring and monitoring your meats and relaying that information to an app on your iPhone or iPad. But the exterior has been overhauled and the device itself features a variety of improvements.

Now the product is much smaller, that makes it easier to handle and offers a battery life of 150 hours along with a 150 foot Bluetooth range.

The iGrillmini is provided with Bluetooth 4.0 and can work with the iPhone 4s and later, the iPad 3 and later, the iPad mini, and the fifth-generation iPod touch.

It has an onboard temperature LED indicator, that changes color based on the temperature of the food and a magnetic mount for your grill or oven, set alarms and more.

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“We took everything you love about the iGrill, added a ton of cool new features and packed them into a rugged, pocket-sized design. The iGrillmini connects using Bluetooth Smart technology and features a Smart LED, proximity sensor, extended battery life of 150 hours and magnetic mounting. We have also developed a brand new app to connect to your iGrillmini, the iDevices Connected app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.”

iGrillmini Key Features:

    • Seamless Connectivity.
    • Magnetic Mounting.
    • Bluetooth Smart Technology.
    • Ultra Compac.
    • Track Your Cooking.
    • Proximity Sensor.
    • Unbeatable Battery Life.
    • Social Community.
    • Around The World.
    • Low-cost.
    • Small Dimensions.

The iGrillmini is available for $39.99 and can be pre-ordered from the iDevices website. Customers will be informed about the date of shipment. The app, that is included into the iGrillmini will be available beginning on November 20.