Reviews December 10, 2015

AAPL: 116.17

0.55
Stock Chart

After Mophie and several other companies created the “iPhone battery case” category, Apple’s Made for iPhone accessory team quietly began to limit what the cases could do. For instance, developers were told that they couldn’t charge both the iPhone and the case at the same time; instead they had to charge the iPhone first, then the case. And although some early battery cases used Apple connectors to recharge, that convenience was nixed by Apple, too. I covered the inception and growth of the battery case market, and heard numerous stories of last-minute scrambles to meet Apple demands, none of which appeared to be making the cases better for end users. Today, the best iPhone 6/6s battery cases are incredibly similar to one another, distinguished more by pricing and capacity than differences in features.

Years later, some of the advantages Apple denied to third-party developers have appeared in the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case ($99), Apple’s first battery case for iPhones. Roundly mocked for its rear “hump” and unfavorably compared to best-selling $40 alternatives on raw battery power, Apple’s latest design clearly isn’t for everyone. But despite the criticism, Apple isn’t stupid, and even if it isn’t winning beauty or capacity awards, the Smart Battery Case’s few special features give it a leg up on certain competitors…

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The UK entered glove-wearing weather in the last week or two, leaving the annual problem of how to use touchscreen devices when out and about. If you’ve ever used cheap touchscreen gloves, you’ve probably been disappointed. Most aren’t good at either job: they aren’t very warm, and their touchscreen performance is poor.

Jordan was impressed when he tried out a couple of pairs of Mujjo’s touchscreen gloves almost two years ago, and as I still use the company’s Leather Wallet Case as the daily driver for my iPhone 6s, I thought I’d put the latest gloves to the test …

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Reviews December 9, 2015

AAPL: 115.62

-2.61
Stock Chart

It’s no secret that I love the designs of Apple products. The anodized aluminum look and feel are perhaps my favorite things about my iPhone, iPad Pro, and MacBook, especially when so many other companies on the market tend to lean towards lower-end materials that just don’t look as sleek. For this reason I’ve never been a huge fan of putting cases on my devices, often sacrificing the long-term condition of them in favor of using the design that Apple intended everyone to use when it designed the products.

With my latest trio of Apple products, however, I’ve decided to take a new approach in protecting them. I’ve been keeping my iPhone 6s Plus, 12-inch MacBook, and iPad Pro in handmade leather sleeves from Joli. Based in Holland, Joli Originals is an independent company that imports leather from Italy and performs the entire production process from start to finish. Sleeves for each device are available in a trio of waxed leather colors with the wool on the inside available in additional colors, as well. How good of a job do they do at protecting your devices? Read on…

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9to5toys 

Reviews December 7, 2015

AAPL: 118.28

-0.75
Stock Chart

Twelve South is probably best known for its extremely cute BookBook cases for MacBooks, for iPads and even for iPhones. But it offers a range of other products, including the ParcSlope MacBook stand released earlier this year. Designed for those who don’t want a full desktop docking system but want to raise both keyboard and screen to a more comfortable angle, the device is now seeing a new application: as a stand for the iPad Pro …

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Reviews December 5, 2015

AAPL: 119.03

3.83
Stock Chart

Reviews December 4, 2015

AAPL: 119.03

3.83
Stock Chart

At the start of the week we saw Apple officially pull the plug on Beats Music after using it as the foundation for Apple Music which includes a streaming radio station dubbed Beats 1 as a salute. On the hardware front, Apple is totally marching forward with the headphone and speaker business it acquired after buying Beats for $3 billion a year and a half ago. The first totally new product to come from Apple under the Beats brand is the recently announced Beats Pill+ ($195, reg. $229), a portable Bluetooth speaker that recharges over Lightning like iPhones and iPads.

The Pill+ marks Apple’s first real step back into the speaker business since briefly entering it in with the iPod Hi-Fi from 2006 to 2007; aside from color variations and wireless models, all other Beats hardware has been designed before the Apple move. Still, Apple’s new portable speaker resembles previous versions of Beats hardware more than you might expect from the iPhone maker in 2015. There’s even a companion Pill+ app for both iOS and Android. And even though this is clearly a Beats-branded product and not purely Apple, there’s something for fans of both to like, but is it the best speaker in its class?

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