Phorm case for iPad promises tactile typing w/ the on-screen keyboard through a unique approach

Phorm iPad
Tactus Technology is introducing a unique, new keyboard case today called Phorm that promises to bring tactile feedback to the typing experience while still using the on-screen touch keyboard. Phorm uses microfluids to raise a segments of a screen protector kept on with a frame and protective case to apply “physical” keys that appear and disappear at the swipe of switch. The goal is to improve typing speed and accuracy when typing with the iPad without requiring a keyboard you have to charge or pair with your tablet. Check out the video below to see Phorm in action. Read more

ESPN app overhauled w/ new look, iPhone 6/6+ & iPad support, more

ESPN is out with a brand new version of its iPhone app today adding native resolution support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ while also debuting on the iPad for the first time. The new app not only sports a new look right down to its icon, but ESPN says it “pulled a Puff Daddy and changed the name.” Previously, the app was branded as ESPN SportsCenter, but now it’s simply “ESPN”. Read more

Apple provides ‘sneak peek’ of its new campus as construction continues

Image via KQED

Image via KQED

Apple has continued to make steady progress on its new headquarters, and this week provided KQED News with a special “sneak peek” at the construction site. The news outlet has released several photos of some of the major structures on the upcoming campus, and has promised additional photos from the tour will be published later this month.

Last week we got an drone’s-eye view of the progress, which gave us our first look at some of these buildings. The new photos provide another point of view, showing the structures from the ground. This is the first time we’ve seen photos like this for the “spaceship” campus.

Keep reading for more photos…

Apple bars suppliers from employing debt-bonded labor tactics

File photo of employees working inside a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua

Apple’s SVP of Operations Jeff Williams said today that the Cupertino company made changes to its requirements for supplier factories with regard to bonded labor practices in October. The practice in question centers on suppliers charging workers recruitment fees in exchange for a job on the assembly line.

Apple now says that these fees should be paid by employers, and employees should not pay anything at all.

As Bloomberg notes, Apple has previously stated that its supplier partners should not charge laborers “excessive fees” equal to a month’s pay or more, but with the recent shift has banned what Williams referred to as “bonded servitude” entirely.

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Happy Hour Podcast 001 | New iOS 9 details, Apple Watch launch, and Apple’s new Beats-based streaming service

happy-hour

Happy Hour is back and better than ever. Join us as we kick off the first episode and discuss everything you need to know about Apple’s master plan for iOS 9, a new music streaming service in the works, Apple Watch launch details, and more. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

Click here to subscribe on iTunes or listen to the first episode embedded above.

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Starbucks iPhone app updated w/ Apple Pay, enhanced menu, more

Apple announced Starbucks as an Apple Pay partner when it unveiled the mobile payment system last fall, and today the coffee chain is beginning to roll out support for Apple Pay through the latest version of its iPhone app.

While Starbucks does not yet accept Apple Pay in its brick-and-mortar stores, customers have long been able to pay with the iPhone app in stores using a digital Starbucks Card barcode scanned by a barista. Starting today, customers can load credit to a Starbucks Card within the app using Apple Pay as a payment method. Read more

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

pearl-2

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 ($39) is now shipping to customers through Indiegogo’s InDemand service.

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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Review: iBattz’ Refuel Invictus battery case lets you swap 3200mAh cells for 127% iPhone 6 charges

refuelinvictus-3

Like most things, the title of “best iPhone 6 battery case” is subject to change whenever something new and great shows up to challenge existing options, and as the iPhone 6 is still young, we’re expecting a lot of jockeying for position over the next few months. The latest real contender comes from iBattz, maker of some of the best iPhone battery cases I’ve tested. Refuel Invictus for iPhone 6 ($100, aka Mojo Refuel Invictus) is the first iPhone 6 case to include a great feature from some earlier iPhone 4/4S and 5/5s cases: removable, replaceable batteries.

Using solely the items in its own box, Refuel Invictus delivered the largest recharge I’ve seen yet for the iPhone 6: 127%, or a full recharge plus an additional 27%. That might be enough to justify the asking price for some people. But you can also add a second battery and external USB charger for $25-$30 more. If you’ve been hunting for a slim battery case that can keep your iPhone running endlessly, this might be the most cost-effective way to do it.

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Activation Lock has reduced iPhone theft by 25% in NY, 40% in SF, 50% in London

activation-lock-02

Officials in three major cities have reported dramatic reductions in iPhone thefts since Apple introduced Activation Lock as part of iOS 7, preventing devices being re-activated without the original owner’s iCloud login. Reuters reports that the number of reported iPhone thefts has fallen year-on-year by 25% in New York, 40% in San Francisco and 50% in London …  Read more