Review: Mophie’s Spacestation more than doubles smaller iPads’ storage and power, for a price

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Mophie’s Juice Packs are unqualified success stories. After debuting the first Juice Pack in late 2007, Mophie became synonymous with “iPhone battery cases,” and enjoyed years of popularity despite increasing competition. But the company’s USB battery packs aren’t as well-known. Ranging from minimalist to ruggedized, Mophie’s Powerstations range from 3,000mAh to 12,000mAh in capacity, and carry hefty $80 to $150 MSRPs. Regardless of whether they’re judged by features or battery performance for the dollar, they’re hard to pick over rivals, since you can now get a high-quality 25,600mAh battery for the same price as a 3,000mAh PowerStation.

Based upon last year’s iPhone 5/5s-specific Space Packs, the brand new Spacestation is Mophie’s shot at differentiating its USB batteries from the masses. Offered in 32GB ($150), 64GB ($200) and 128GB ($300) capacities, Spacestation combines an app-managed USB flash drive with a 6,000mAh battery, which promises “3X extra battery” life. Realistically, that’s enough power for a full recharge of the original iPad mini or three recharges of older iPhones. But since 6,000mAh batteries are getting cheaper every week, Spacestation’s appeal is mostly in its ability to at least double the number of videos, music, photos, and documents that can be accessed by your iOS device on the road…

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Samsung reportedly has new 200 employee team exclusively working on screens for Apple

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In a new report by Bloomberg, Samsung apparently has created an independent group of about 200 people that work solely on screens for Apple products. Bloomberg claims this is part of a plan to “strengthen business ties” between Apple and Samsung, which obviously have had a shaky history since the lawsuits over iPhone technology.

The patent disputes between Apple and Samsung were dropped in mid 2014, which led many to speculate that relations between the two companies may improve. This report by Bloomberg suggests exactly that.

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Survey: 11% of teens plan to purchase Apple Watch, iPhone & iPad still most popular smartphone & tablet

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According to the latest data from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, interest in the Apple Watch among teens remains low. An October 2014 survey showed that only 16 percent of teenagers planned to purchase an Apple Watch, and now, a more recent survey shows that interest has dropped to 11 percent among the age group.

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Review: Aukey’s 12,000mAh PB-N28 is the $25 battery that fully refills any current iPad

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Last month, budget charging accessory maker Aukey released PB-N30, the first external battery with a female Lightning recharging port. For only $15, PB-N30 seemed like a steal given its 3,600mAh capacity — just right for use with any iPhone — but wasn’t capacious enough for power-hungrier iPads. So Aukey has released PB-N28 ($25) as a solution for tablet users, remarkably equipping it with over three times the power for only $10 more.

PB-N30 is an upgraded sequel to the company’s older PB-18, which stuffed a 12,000mAh battery into an iPhone 5-shaped enclosure. While the new model’s capacity is the same, PB-N30’s USB ports jump from 2.1-Amp/1-Amp charging to 2.4-Amp/1-Amp support, and it has a more neutral design that neither sticks out nor knocks off an Apple product. Not surprisingly, it cuts a corner or two to achieve its super-low price…

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Apple’s open source ResearchKit framework for medical researchers is now available

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Apple announced today that its new ResearchKit platform is now available to medical researchers as an open source framework. Apple first unveiled ResearchKit on stage last month during the March event, promising that it would be available as an open source framework for developers and medical researchers this month. The framework enables the medical community to use the iPhone to distribute actual medical and health research through ResearchKit-enabled apps. Read more

WWDC 2015 announced for June 8-12 to unveil “the future of iOS and OS X”

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Apple has just officially announced its annual Worldwide Developers Conference for this year. The conference will take place in San Francisco as usual in early June. WWDC will officially kick off on June 8th and run through June 12th. Developers interested in attending the conference can apply for tickets starting today with applications open through Friday at 10 am PT/1 pm ET.

Like last year, available tickets will be distributed at random to a portion of applicants due to size constraints of the venue, Moscone West, although Apple says select sessions will actually be streamed live while most sessions will be available online after each day. Apple will announce ticket availability after the random selection process on Monday, April 20th, at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET.

Apple’s WWDC opening keynote serves as the unveiling stage for the next versions of iOS and OS X. Apple’s press release for the conference (below) teases the announcement of “the future of iOS and OS X” as we would expect. Read more

Apple’s iOS 8.3 update blocks access to apps from desktop file managers like iExplorer

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Apple has seemingly moved to block desktop apps that allow users to manage files on their iOS devices in its recent iOS 8.3 update, as noted by MacRumors. Many popular file transfer apps, such as iFunBox, iTools, iExplorer, iBackupBot and PhoneView, have experienced the issue that prevents users from accessing file directories for apps on iOS devices. The apps were previously a popular way for users to install software on iOS devices that Apple does not allow in the App Store, like game emulators. Read more

Sprint begins roll-out of home/office iPhone setup service, co-brands RadioShack stores

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If you want to upgrade your iPhone without the hassle of going to a store, Sprint will soon bring the phone to you and set up the phone there. The company’s free Direct 2 You service has launched in Sprint’s hometown of Kansas, comes to Miami and Chicago next week and will be rolling out to other cities later, with a total of 5,000 cars expected to be in service by the end of the year.

When our customers are ready for a new phone, we’ll come to them. Virtually, wherever they want. At their home, at their office, in a coffee shop or even a park. And this is about much more than delivering a phone. We are sending a Sprint expert who will make the entire experience convenient and easy.

Sprint says that qualified customers will be offered the service via text or email when they are due an upgrade, and will then be able to call the number given to arrange an appointment. The representative will help with setup and assistance during the visit, offering the same service you’d get in-store …  Read more

Report estimates almost 1 million Apple Watch preorders on the first day in the US

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A study by Slice Intelligence estimates that Apple recorded 957,000 Apple Watch preorders on Friday in the US, the first day the device was available to order. On average, customers bought 1.3 watches which means that many customers ordered two or more units. The Sport model was the most popular choice, making up 62% of orders. As the Watch debuted in nine countries, it is possible that total orders were much greater than the 1 million number which only totals US orders. Significant supply constraints may have dampened initial orders however.

The most popular model purchased was the Space Grey Sport, followed by the normal stainless steel Apple Watch, then the Silver Sport. The Space Black Apple Watch model captured just 3% of orders although it was in limited supply (4 – 6 weeks) from the beginning of preorders and is also the most expensive model of Apple Watch. The report ignores sales data for the Apple Watch Edition in its calculations.

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Review: Mophie’s Juice Packs for iPhone 6 + 6 Plus are polished battery cases at premium prices

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Unless you pick the matte black versions, which look like most of the other iPhone 6 and 6 Plus battery cases I’ve tested, you’ll quickly be wowed by how premium Mophie’s newest Juice Packs feel in your hand. Glossy white plastic Apple accessories may have become passe years ago, but Mophie somehow got the look and feel just right — better, even, than the “unapologetically plastic” iPhone 5c.

The reason for that luxe feel? Mophie needs it, as the new Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 6 ($120) and Juice Pack for iPhone 6 Plus ($100) are currently the most expensive battery cases currently available for their respective iPhones. Though the company has never been shy about charging more for top quality cases, this year’s Juice Packs are hitting shelves well after numerous solid and aggressively priced competitors.

Below, I’ll discuss how Mophie’s price to performance equations actually play out for these Juice Packs, and whether they’re worth buying in light of other options…

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Tim Cook says Apple Watch “orders are great” in visit to Palo Alto Apple Store, wears custom watch with red crown

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Tim Cook visited the Palo Alto Apple Store today to check out the Apple Watch buzz, as people around the world attend try-on appointments and (failed to) pre-order Apple Watch online. In an interview with CNBC, Cook said that customer response has been extraordinary and “orders are great”.

The interviewer asks Cook what he wears day-to-day. Cook says he swaps out bands depending on the occasion but likes the Apple Watch stainless steel with the white rubber Sport band. Weirdly, Cook’s watch features a custom red crown that is usually only found on certain Apple Watch Edition models. Photo below …

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Review: Brookstone’s Perfect Drink 3 helps you craft cocktails with whatever’s on hand

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Craft cocktails are in the midst of a renaissance, buoyed by rediscovered classic recipes, higher-quality ingredients, and increasingly talented bartenders. Pre-made mixes and artificially-flavored spirits are declining in popularity, as freshly-assembled natural flavors are ascending. But once you’ve had a truly great cocktail at a restaurant or bar, making one by yourself at home may seem challenging. The latest version of Perfect Drink ($40), Brookstone’s (and developer Pure Imagination’s) “app-controlled smart bartending” solution for iOS users, is here to help.

Perfect Drink has been through a few hardware and software revisions, but the latest-generation accessory and just-released version 3.0 app elevate it to greatness. The core of the product is a precise digital scale — recently upgraded from the original hardware — that works in tandem with your iPad or iPhone to eliminate the need for measuring cups. You call up a recipe in the Perfect Drink app and just add liquids until the scale and app tell you to stop, dynamically adjusting the recipe if you overpour. A just-released update enables the app to store a list of all the spirits, fruit, and mixers you have on hand, helping you quickly choose from recipes you’re capable of making…

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