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

iHealth’s nine iPhone-connected healthcare accessories now work with iOS 8’s Health app

iHealth, maker of various iPhone connected healthcare accessories, today announced that its iOS apps are being updated with HealthKit integration. That means that the users of the company’s Wireless Blood Pressure Monitors, Blood Glucose Meters, Wireless Scale, and other health tracking accessories will be able to sync data with the new iOS 8 Health app. Read more

Review: Blue’s Mikey Digital now has Lightning support, but is it worth the money? (Video)

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Blue Microphones is known for its high-end studio mics and, in recent years, iOS recording accessories. Not too long ago, I had a chance to check out Blue’s Spark Digital which is a USB/Lightning/30-pin microphone compatible with a wide range of devices. Today we’re looking at something a bit more portable.

Blue’s Mikey Digital is a stereo condenser microphone. It’s now available with a Lightning connection and will provide on-the-go high quality audio for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. So what makes Mikey Digital so special? Well, let’s find out…

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Review: Gravitas from Henge Docks is a premium dock that ‘stays put’…almost (Video)

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I don’t understand why Apple doesn’t sell a premium dock for iOS devices. There’s such an attention to detail when it comes to product design at Apple, yet they continue to sell a dinky plastic dock for select devices. I’ve never been a fan of these plastic docks and have been in search of something with a little more class for a while now.

Recently, I came across Gravitas from Henge Docks. This is a weighted dock crafted from zinc alloy that has interchangeable inserts for all of my iOS devices. It’s also advertised as having the ability to “stay put” when undocking your device thanks to the hefty 2.5lbs of weight it’s packing. This is definitely one of the best docks I’ve used, but it does have a few shortcomings…

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Alleged iPhone 6 cases reflect rumored design changes, repositioned power button

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We’re still months away from Apple’s expected announcement of the iPhone 6, but ambitious manufactures are already designing accessories based on current rumors. Additional silicon cases rumored to fit the iPhone 6 were recently published on NoWhereElse and provide a closer look at some of the device’s possible design changes.

The case pictured above has slightly rounded edges, similar to the 5th generation iPod touch or iPhone 5c, and are consistent with previous rumors. As we’ve seen in recent accessory leaks, the case also features a repositioned power button and thin oblong volume buttons similar to an iPod touch. It has also been rumored that Apple’s iPhone 6 will feature a larger 4.7-inch display.

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