Apple details HomeKit compatibility with competing home automation platforms, rules out rival Wi-Fi gear

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Apple will allow its upcoming Siri-controlled HomeKit platform to work with certain existing, non-HomeKit home automation products, including ones using competing protocols such as ZigBee or Z-Wave, but there are many limitations. According to sources briefed on the new specs, the latest Made for iPhone (MFi) licensing program specifications detail the types of home automation products other than HomeKit that Apple will permit to interact with its platform.

During the 2014 WWDC, Apple briefly mentioned the possibility of connecting rival home automation products to HomeKit using a hardware “bridge,” but only in recent weeks has clarified the types of accessories that will and will not be allowed. Read more

Details on Apple’s upcoming Lightning port specs for third-party accessories

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We previously told you that Apple will be licensing its female Lightning port to third-party accessoriesfollowing an announcement to Made for iPhone licensees late last year. Since then, the company has released specs for the Lightning port that details exactly what Apple hopes to achieve by opening it up to third-parties, including how it could improve accessories. Read more

Roundup: Find all of 9to5Mac’s CES 2015 coverage in one place

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If you’ve somehow missed the overflow of coverage from CES 2015 last week, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. During the show we took a look at the latest devices and accessories that are expected to be released throughout 2015. The show was packed with new smartphones, home automation tools, cases, and some unexpected surprises. If you didn’t catch all of the coverage from the show, check out the roundup below with links to everything that we found interesting…

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The best iPad, iPhone + Mac accessories at the 2015 CES

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There are thousands of new Apple accessories at the 2015 CES – so many that it’s hard sometimes to separate what’s truly cool from everything else. Starting with HomeKit-integrated accessories, here’s our running list of the best new iPad, iPhone, and Mac products 9to5Mac has seen at the show. We updated this article on January 9, 2015 – the final day of CES – to include our last batch of top picks.

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9to5 Guide: Hello, new iPad owner! Here are the best accessories to buy right away

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It’s Christmas Day, and if you were especially nice this year, you may have just found a new iPad under your tree. Apple’s tablets are able to do incredible things right out of the box, but they’re also easily damaged, and there are accessories that really help to expand their capabilities. If you want to make sure your iPad performs at its full potential, it’s a good idea to protect it and accessorize right away.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help new iPad owners choose the best accessories across a variety of different categories. Our top picks range from stands and cases to speakers, keyboards, game controllers, and much more. We also explain what’s near-mandatory, what’s optional, and what you can safely skip. Read on!

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9to5 Guide: Hello, new iPhone / iPod owner! Here are the best accessories to buy right away

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There are few things better than finding a new iPhone or iPod under your tree on Christmas Day. If you received an iPod, you’ll find enough in Apple’s box to start enjoying music, videos, and/or apps right away. iPhone users get all of those great features plus cellular telephone and Internet access. But these devices suffer from the same weaknesses: they’re fragile — the reason roughly 80% of iPhone owners use cases — and they depend upon external accessories for quite a few things. If you want to make the most of your Apple device, you’ll want to accessorize (and app-cessorize) it right away.

Our best iPhone accessory recommendations are similar across all current models. But they vary considerably from small to medium to big iPods. Read on for all of our top picks!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Health gadgets — get a healthy start for 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2When the new year rolls around, a lot of us have New Year’s resolutions to become a healthier person and plan to exercise more. Last year I set my New Year’s resolution to do just that. However, last year was the first year I really used technology and wearables to help me with my journey, and I successfully lost sixty pounds. These gadgets helped me with my weight loss journey. They can keep you focused, inspire you, motivate you, and carry your gear.

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Holiday gift guide: using iPhone and iPad in the car

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The iPhone has easily become the best jukebox in the car with your iTunes library, iTunes Radio, streaming services like Beats Music and Spotify, and great apps for keeping up with podcasts. With hands-free features powered by Siri, you can even stay in touch with phone calls and text messages all without ever taking your eyes off the road. If you’re a passenger, the iPad is a great screen for gaming, reading, watching movies, and more.

This holiday season is especially exciting with new features built-in to iOS like CarPlay and Hey Siri, which allows you to activate Siri while your iPhone or iPad is charging completely hands-free, and below are some of the best products to gift the iPhone or iPad-owning driver this year. Read more

Review: Pad and Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 is handmade perfection (Video)

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It’s always refreshing to see iOS accessory makers doing something different and Pad & Quill leads the pack in this area. With handmade cases crafted from linen, leather, and wood, it’s hard to go wrong with this simplistically elegant spin on cases.

Lately I’ve been using Pad & Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 and it’s changed my mind about “premium” cases. There’s something beautifully different about the craftsmanship and it’s created from materials that are designed to last, but not without a steep entry price for some…

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Apple will soon let third-party products use its Lightning port, opening up new possibilities for accessories

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Last week at Apple’s yearly briefing for accessory makers in its Made-for-iPhone/iPad (MFi) licensing program, the company unveiled new Lightning connectors and specs for Lightning receptacles that will soon be available for implementation in MFi accessories. The new Lightning receptacle, scheduled to start shipping next year, will allow accessory makers to build new types of accessories that include a port for Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector previously reserved for its own iOS devices (pictured above). Read more

Review: Logitech m320 wireless mouse, an ergonomic and affordable solution

Logitech m320Logitech introduced its m320 wireless mouse last month and I’ve been trying it out for the past few weeks. The Logitech m320 is a wireless mouse (included wireless receiver required) with an ergonomic design for your hand to comfortably rest upon during use. Aside from fitting to your hand with ease, the Logitech m320’s super lightweight build allows it to smoothly glide across a surface without friction. Check out my hands-on with Logitech’s affordable desktop mouse… Read more