Review: Hyper’s new Pearl is a compact, LED-lit mirror that can fully recharge the iPhone 6

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It’s not easy to create a legitimately novel accessory these days, and it’s even harder to sail smoothly through a crowdfunding campaign to bring one to market. Sanho — better-known as Hyper thanks to a popular line of battery products — spent much of 2014 preparing to release a female-friendly combination compact mirror and USB battery pack, using both Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns to raise funds for its production. After making a public splash at the 2015 CES alongside the new (and world’s smallest) laser pointer iPin, the mirror-battery Pearl ($40) is now shipping to customers.

The result — a 3.6″-diameter circular double mirror with a 3000mAh battery underneath — has been finished with silver, gold, or red glossy metallic exterior paint, and a white LED light ring inside. In short, it’s an elegant and welcome option for female iPhone users, delivering a combination of solid build quality and good value for the price.

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Opinion: Square Enix’s flip-flop on iOS 8 support spotlights App Store ambiguities, risks

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Square Enix’s The World Ends With You

 

Buying an app from the App Store is designed to be as easy as possible. A large button with a price tag sits as close to the app’s icon and name as possible, while additional details linger below. You’re not supposed to think or worry too much about each purchase — the transaction is impulse-driven when the price is low — and the implication is that the app will work when you get it, and keep working for a long time thereafter.

But what happens when an app — marketed as compatible with current iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches — is never updated for the latest version of iOS, and either stops working after an iOS upgrade, or never works at all on new devices? That’s the situation buyers of Square Enix’s $18 The World Ends with You: Solo Remix (and $20 iPad version) have found themselves in since iOS 8 was released. The game’s description claims that it “requires iOS 4.3 or later” and is compatible with devices that shipped with iOS 8, but it wasn’t actually iOS 8-compatible. Yesterday, Square Enix publicly flip-flopped on whether it would leave the game unplayable or fix it. Before changing its tune, the company told customers that they’d need to continue to keep using iOS 7 in order to play the game — an unrealistic alternative, though one that’s faced by users of numerous iOS apps that aren’t being updated by their developers.

By considering abandonment of the 69% of iOS users who are currently on iOS 8, Square Enix wasn’t just making a business choice; it was also spotlighting the risk App Store customers take every time they purchase an app. And it also revealed how long-unsolved App Store listing ambiguities are subjecting users, developers, and Apple itself to unnecessary problems.

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Review: Cellulon’s PicoPro is an iPhone 6 Plus-sized, battery-powered HD projector

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I grew up with a front-projector TV the size of a coffee table, later owned a rear-projection TV that was somewhat larger than an adult bicycle, and have since tested projectors shaped like DVD players, Mac minis, and iPhone cases. Pico projectors — generally small enough to fit in pockets — typically struggle the most to prove their practicality. Projectors generally need big, powerful lightbulbs to be seen in anything but the dimmest of rooms, and the smaller they are, the worse they tend to be, particularly as they move further from the surfaces they’re protecting on.

Korean developer Celluon — the company behind breakthrough laser keyboards that can create typing surfaces anywhere — is now trying its hand at pico projectors, and I have to admit that I’m far more impressed than I thought I’d be. PicoPro ($349-$399) packs a high-definition video projector, a battery pack, and wireless capabilities into a 0.55″ thick enclosure with the same footprint as an iPhone 6 Plus. Overall, it’s the best small projector I’ve tested: much easier to use, quiet, and capable of delivering a better complete viewing experience. But like competing pico projectors, it also has some noteworthy limitations that you’ll want to be aware of before jumping in.

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Opinion: Apple’s pricing and sales experience will make or break Apple Watch

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It has a date — sort of. And it has a price — mostly. But less than three months before its release, the Apple Watch is still enigmatic in ways that the similarly pre-announced iPhone and iPad were not. Apple still hasn’t said more than one thing (“starting at $349″) about how the 34 different Watch models will be priced, and despite hiring a new team of sales executives from the fashion and watch worlds, no major changes are obvious at the Apple Stores where the watches will be sold.

What’s going to happen between now and April? 9to5Mac’s editorial team has been actively discussing the possibilities, and we’re ready to share our thinking with you today. Read on…

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The Best iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus Battery Cases

It’s a great time to buy an iPhone 6 battery case. Last year, there were zero Apple-certified options, but today, there are a handful of good to great choices at various price points. They may look similar to each other in the picture above, but the sea of black shells masks some important differences in iPhone protection, battery recharging capabilities, and pricing. One stands out as a particularly excellent combination for the iPhone 6, and we also have a good pick for the iPhone 6 Plus.

Which iPhone 6 battery case should you buy? The most recent update to this piece on March 13, 2015 added new options! Read on for all the details…

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Review: OtterBox’s Resurgence Power Case ruggedizes and doubles the iPhone 6’s battery

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The OtterBox name is synonymous with ruggedized iPhone cases, but not with battery cases — something the company worked to change with the iPhone 4/4S Defender iON Series, and the iPhone 5/5s Resurgence Power Case. iON aimed to thoroughly protect an iPhone while automating the recharge process, while Resurgence reduced the automation and protection to make daily use easier. At CES this month, OtterBox launched a new version called the Resurgence Power Case for iPhone 6 ($100), and it’s been redesigned with a collection of small but welcome tweaks.

Whether you’ll prefer Resurgence to Incipio’s excellent offGRID Express (review) depends on what you’re looking for — ruggedization or raw power for the dollar. Like many companies, OtterBox is promising to double the iPhone 6’s battery, but it also has some currently unique benefits to offer. Read on for what makes OtterBox’s latest battery case special.

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Review: Libratone’s second-generation Loop brings Bluetooth to the AirPlay-only Danish speaker family

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AirPlay isn’t dead as a wireless speaker standard, but it’s not exactly healthy: many models have been discontinued, and new releases have all but stopped. Having previously gone all-in with AirPlay, Danish designer speaker maker Libratone is now rolling out updated versions of its circular Loop, tube-shaped Zipp, and triangular Live systems that augment AirPlay rather than ditching it. The new Libratone Loop ($500) modestly tweaks the prior version to add Bluetooth 4.0 support — a feature that radically increases Loop’s compatibility. Though its high price tag will continue to keep this model out of reach for most consumers, long-awaited and substantial discounts on the prior-generation models (Loop here, Zipp here, Live here) may bolster their appeal.

Having tested the new Loop, my personal feelings are mixed: I applaud Libratone for consistently releasing speakers that look distinctive, working both as design objects and audio systems, but the MSRPs remain somewhat hard to justify given the sonic performance…

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Review: RAVPower’s Savior delivers 9000mAh of Apple-certified Lightning battery power at a great price

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RAVPower has done a great job of changing the traditional price-to-performance equation for Apple device chargers. Its two-, four-, and six-port wall chargers (reviewed here) are the best options I’ve seen at their price points, so it’s no shock that its Savior 9000mAh External Battery Pack (MSRP $100, street price $50) delivers great value, as well.

Equipped with wall blades for easy recharging, Savior combines a high-capacity 9000mAh battery with an Apple-certified Lightning cable, competing with similar accessories such as myCharge’s Hub 9000 — but for half the street price. Read on for why Savior is so easy to recommend, as well as details on the compromises it makes to keep its size and price down.

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Review: uNu’s DX-6 battery case more than doubles the iPhone 6’s power, with Apple certification (Video)

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I’m always up for reconsidering the “best accessory” in a given category when something new arrives, and after every year’s CES, the “best iPhone battery case” tends to change thanks to new arrivals. But even though many new options were shown at CES this month, none impressed us enough to take the crown away from Incipio’s $80 offGRID Express (review).

uNu’s new DX-6 ($80 MSRP, street price $70) is the latest to arrive for testing, and despite the company’s strength with multi-device USB battery packs, its iPhone 6 battery case doesn’t stand out in any way except pricing. The pitch is simple: if you want an inexpensive, Apple-certified 3000mAh battery case, DX-6 is your option. But you’ll give up some frills to get it …

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Apple Watch iPhone ‘Companion’ app revealed w/ new Watch features, monograms

Yesterday, we reported that the latest iOS 8.2 beta reveals that an Apple Watch application for the iPhone is in the works. Now, we have some more details. Within Apple, the application is currently called the Apple Watch “Companion” app for iPhone. This application manages settings for Apple Watch applications, as well as settings for iPhone/Watch interactivity. The Companion app’s settings reveal some novel new functions that are coming to the Apple Watch. Below, we highlight some of the most interesting new features and settings.

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