Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

iXpand Flash Drive-‘iPhone for Life’ plan with USB and Lightning connectors

Sprint, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier, announced the iXpand Flash Drive, that allows users to transfer images, videos, and other data between an iOS device with a Lightning connector and a desktop or notebook with a normal USB port. iXpand Flash Drive is a similar ‘iPad for Life’ plan for the latest iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 and offers customers to have an iPad for $0 down and monthly payments over the course of a 24 month lease. Its monthly payments vary depending on the storage capacity.

The flash drive works with the iXpand sync app, which can be configured to automatically sync images and videos from the device’s camera roll to the flash drive. Full movies of such formats like AVI and WMV, can also be stored on the flash drive and played from it directly onto the iPhone or iPad.

The iXpand also provides users with an additional layer of security in cross-platform encryption. While in the iXpand sync app, all the data can be password protected while the flash drive is connected to an iPhone or iPad, then decrypted on a Mac or PC and vice versa.

The new flash drive can be ordered at SandDisk.com starting at $59.99 for the 16-gigabyte model, $79.99 for 32 gigabytes, and $119.99 for 64 gigabytes. Best Buy will also sell the 32-gigabyte model in stores starting this Sunday.

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It is compatible with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini running iOS 8 or iOS 7.

Accessories, iPhone, News/Rumors

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus accessories sales turned to be very profitable

The succesful start of iPhone 6/6 Plus sales affected not only Apple profit.

The succes of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus accessories sales is not less.

According to NPD Group information manufacturers of cases managed to earn $249 million.

In 2013 after iPhone 5S and iPhone 5С were released, sales of accessories were $195 million, what is only 17% higher than in 2012 (after iPhone 5 presentation).

iPhone 6 has made 43% jump in this market segment.

Such a dynamics can be explained easily by new design of the device.

One more reason for the increase in sales are constant leaks, preceding iPhone 6 release.

The manufacturers knew the approximate sizes of the smartphone. Those who had relied on rumors went great guns as a result.

Right after official start of sales they were ready to offer great amount of cases. So if the buyer didn’t like original Apple cases, he had a great choice to choose from.

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Nevertheless, many retailers weren’t in a hurry to buy Phone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases as previously when they had bought iPhone 5 cases before the official release, many of them didn’t fit.

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NPD Group also published the figures of sales in comparison with the lat year:

– cases +78%;
– protective films +120%;
– portable accumulators +5%;
– headset (ear-phones) +10%;
– Bluetooth speakers +5%.

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Accessories, News/Rumors

NFL fines 49ers quarterback $10,000 for wearing Beats headphones at press conference

The National Football League fined San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick $10,000 for wearing a pair of pink Beats by Dre headphones during a post-game press conference on Sunday.

The matter is the National Football League has recently signed an agreement with Bose that bans its players and staff from wearing any other brand of headphones while on camera.

Kaepernick, who like a lot of other NFL players has an endorsement deal with Beats, wore the pink Beats by Dre headphones during a press conference last Sunday. The player is sponsored by Apple’s Beats product and has been spotted in different ads promoting its wares.

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area announced, players are prohibited to wear headsets made by NFL sponsor Bose when participating in interviews. The rule is applied to 90 minutes following the end of a game.

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Kaepernick commented on the situation, posting to Instagram a screenshot of an article about the fine, saying “I support breast cancer awareness! My grandma is a survivor!……. *shrugs* some things are now important!”He likely wore the pink headphones in support of this month’s breast cancer awareness.

It is unclear if Apple’s Beats are going to pay the fine. The brand has several pro athlete promoters, including NBA star LeBron James, tennis player Serena Williams and Brazilian soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos, Jr, well known as Neymar Jr.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Logitech’s K480 keyboard connects to three devices

 Taking multitasking to new levels, Logitech announced a new keyboard, called Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480.

It is a unique Bluetooth keyboard that can connect to three devices simultaneously and gives you the ability to switch between them. The accessory combines a passive tablet and phone stand with a Bluetooth keyboard that can switch between different products. The Multi-Device Keyboard K480 also has a magical Bluetooth protocol to deliver a keyboard that will sync with.

The Logitech’s new product is made of plastic and has a layout and size similar to the Apple Wireless Keyboard. However, it offers a number of additional features. The K480 Primary is equipped with the dial on the left, giving users the ability to switch between three devices. All you need to do is select a device number (1, 2, or 3), and push either PC or “i” sync buttons depending upon which you’re using. The keyboard is compatible with a Windows PC, a Mac, an Android device, or an iPhone/iPad. What you must do then is type for the desired device.

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The Keyboard K480 has a slot across the back that will allow you to settle a tablet at landscape into it, or even a phone and a tablet at portrait orientation. The rubber feet on the underside prevent from slipping down.

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With a new keyboard, consumers will receive a USB cable and a bunch of instructions inside. Additionally, K480 has a little pull-off plastic tab on its bottom that activates two included AAA batteries it uses for power.  The company promises two years of battery life from those batteries, which is much longer than Apple’s Wireless Keyboard. You can also download PC/Mac/Android-specific driver software that will provide additional functionality on each, such as customizing the function keys and enabling on-screen notifications for the caps-lock.

The Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 retails for $49.99, and is available on Amazon. The keyboard is expected to come within this month in white or black. 

Accessories, News/Rumors

Apple and Disney upgrading iBeacons and NFC scanners

Ahead of Apple’s big reveal on Tuesday, the company and Disney stores in the United States have been upgrading versions of iBeacon sensors and NFC readers.

Apple reportedly plans to integrate new sensors, which have the new Gimbal Series 20 Proximity Beacons, and provide more accurate iBeacon location tracking in its own stores. The Gimbal Series 20 Proximity Beacons are made by chip maker Qualcomm and are said to include proprietary features to support its payment platform in a secure manner.

In addition to providing relevant information for the Apple Store app, iBeacons can be useful for new payment systems to support the NFC capabilities on the iPhone 6 and its highly-anticipated wearable device.  Both the iPhone 6 and iWatch are much rumored to be equipped with a Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip to support mobile payments. According to some reports this past week, Apple will cooperate with several other retailers for the service, including Walgreens, CVS, Nordstrom and more. 

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Disney’s retail stores are also said to be getting new credit card hardware that supports NFC, which will also likely integrate with Apple’s new mobile payment service. According to the sources at Disney, the entire chain of stores is being provided this week with new credit card machines. There are no confirmation on whether the Disney NFC installations are related to the upcoming iPhone 6 launch or not. Disney and Apple has a long relationships, with its CEO Bob Iger as a member of the Apple board and the Mickey Mouse house as the first major content owner, who has allowed to sell movies digitally through iTunes. In addition to Disney, major fast food chain McDonalds has started installing NFC-based credit card machines in many franchises.

Earlier this year, an FCC filing announced that Apple was working on its own first-party iBeacon hardware.  The iPhone maker has also established deals with big credit companies such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and credit card issuers to support its mobile payments service.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Elgato announces new Eve connected smart home accessories

Elgato has unveiled its new lineup of smart accessories at this year’s IFA 2014 trade event in Berlin.

“Eve” connected home sensors features full integration with Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform and enables users to monitor various home conditions, including  air quality, smoke, air pressure, energy, humidity and water consumption. To collect this information, Eve uses several sensors and then reports back to the iPhone or iPad via the Elgato Eve app.

There are no details on pricing and availability of the product, but the company says it will announce availability soon.

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In addition to Eve, Elgato has also announced its own $49.95 Avea smart lightbulb, that connects to your Apple device directly via Bluetooth and allows you to change color and set the lighting mood in any room. Plus, the new product offers an alarm feature that wakes you with the gentle light of a 7W LED bulb pumping out 430 lumens. The notable thing is Avea does not need a hub like the Philips’ line of Hue smart bulbs, and can utilize multiple bulbs to coordinate lighting patterns. 

Aside from its new Eve and Avea smart home accessories, Elgato has also introduced its upcoming Smart Power intelligent battery. The high-end Smart Power is a 6,000 mAh external power bank that features self-monitoring capabilities, integrated with the Elgato Smart Power app. It’s available now for $99.95.

Additionally, the company is planning to announce its offerings based on the HomeKit smart home platform, which is believed to be presented by Apple at its special media event on Tuesday, Sept. 9. 

Accessories, News/Rumors

August Smart Lock finally starts shipping to customers

Almost a year after the August smart lock system was originally announced, the new device finally started shipping out to preorder customers and a wider launch by October is also planned by the company.

First introduced in May of 2013, the August Smart Lock is a Bluetooth-based app-connected locking system created by Jason Johnson and designer Yves Béhar. The August is an unusual replacement for traditional keyed deadbolts that uses Bluetooth and a smartphone app to allow users to unlock their doors with their iPhones.

The product is made of anodized aluminum with a 3.25-inch diameter and reminds a standard home lock. The August is equipped with a few various faceplates and deadbolt adapters to fit the majority of locks on the market, running on four AA batteries. Installation is promised not to be too complicated: the whole thing will fit over the inside portion of your existing single-cylinder deadbolt hole.

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Through the iOS application, owners have the ability to add and remove authorized users, who are allowed to unlock the door with their device. That means, that users can share virtual keys with family and friends from an iPhone and when the homeowner or a guest comes to the door, August auto-unlocks and welcomes you into the home hands-free. You also have the power to set the length of their access from just a few hours to 24-7. The app notifies you when someone enters or leaves your home, so you can easily learn how long they stay. 

Users who pre-ordered the August lock will see their new product within the next few months. The August Smart Lock can now be ordered for $249.99 on the company’s website. Orders placed now are said to be fulfilled in late October. 

Accessories, News/Rumors

Om/One-first levitating Bluetooth speaker

Audio developer OM Audio has introduced its new product:the world’s first levitating speaker.  If you really want an impressive-looking Bluetooth speaker, you will enjoy the Om/One, a gravity-defying gadget.

The new device available for $179 includes a base and a round speaker that levitates above it. Thanks to magnetic levitation, the speaker floats about an inch off its base, allowing to achieve the spinning, levitating effect, all while the user is listening to the audio. The OM/ONE relies on its 75mm audio driver to provide its owner with clear, balanced mids, highs and lows.

Users has the ability to connect their phones or devices via bluetooth 4.0 to stream wireless music, and for pairing two OM/ONEs together for stereo sound.

The Bluetooth speaker can connect to most devices including smartphones, notebooks and tablets via Bluetooth 4.0, which are located at the distance of 33 feet.

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The round speaker can be used with or without its magnetic base, which needs an AC adapter, and features an integrated battery with up to 15 hours of non-stop play. It is also equipped with a microphone, meaning you can use the OM/One as a speakerphone.

The spherical speaker is 6.3 inches x diameter x 1.6 inches height, while a magnetic base is 2.1 pounds, 1.6 x 1.2 inches.

Om/One is offered in three colors: black, white or “disco ball”. The developers say it will be shipped in December. 

Accessories, iPhone, News/Rumors

Make your videos look professional with StayblCam!

Everyone knows how it’s difficult to make a video avoiding shaking in the picture. StayblCam is ready to help you to solve this problem!

The StayblCam is a little less than a foot long and a touch under two inches in diameter. Its weight is about a pound, so StabylCam can be easily put it in your bag as well as take it to the trip.

There’s a slot for a smartphone in the packaging of the item. But StaybylCam can be also used along with GoPro.

The user should insert iPhone into the slot and then regulate the length of the sections for it to be balanced.

If you wish, you can use the StayblCam upside-down.

The surface of the mobile adapter will be ameliorated with a new rubber compound providing StayblCam with stronger prehension of the iPhone.

The hole for wriststrap is also included. So you wouldn’t worry that you drop it.

The StayblCam will be presented in a different colours.

In the future the support of tripod, an iPad mount and a clip-on iPhone holder for use as a wifi viewfinder for a GoPro/Garmin Virb camcorder will be also added.

The StaybylCam offers better movement when keeping the phone in your hand.

The price is $75, and people who are fond of shooting are sure to like this accessory. You can buy the item on the StayblCam website.

Accessories, News/Rumors

AIRTYPE: invisible keyboard to change the way you type

Airtype, a start-up based in Austin, Texas developed a prototype for a truly revolutionary keyboard, that is invisible. While we used to have keyboards either as physical device or touch screen interface, AirType is a “keyboardless keyboard,” that will change the way you type, especially when it comes to your tablet.

AirType is a set of cuffs you wear on your hands that become an invisible keyboard.  The sensors will track your finger movements and translate them into words on the screen. It’s no different than typing on a keyboard. The device connects your smartphone via Bluetooth.

According to the developers, the keyboard can adapt to your own specific typing style. They say “there’s no need to learn AirType, It will learn you,” similar to Siri, which can learn your accent. The product also has dynamic text prediction and corrections similar to your iPhone. It prevents you from making mistakes and promotes faster typing.

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The item usage will be difficult for those who are either not fluent with typing or forgetful enough to remember the letter placements on keyboard.

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Airtype is small and simply clips on your tablet for easy transportation, so you can bring them everyhere. The device is still in development, but you can sign up for their mailing list and learn more here.