Review: Harman Kardon Esquire Mini is the best iPhone speakerphone you can fit in your pocket

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini - Lifestyle (2)not me

I reviewed two portable Bluetooth speakerphone options earlier this year: The Philips WeCall ($145) vs. Logitech P710e ($125) . Both are square and have internal batteries and make conference calling easy. But for their ~$150 price tag, I wondered if you could get more portability and style without sacrificing sound quality.

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The answer to those questions is the Harman Kardon Esquire line of portable speakerphones. Below, I take a look at the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 and can be found as low as $145 at Amazon or $135 at World Wide StereoRead more

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and iPhone Engineer discuss battery technology [Video]

There’s no real hard news at this talk given by Elon Musk this week but it is certainly interesting to see the back and forth with the iPhone Engineer (Evan Wong? Didn’t quite get the name) and the CEO of Tesla. Apple is of course rumored to be an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory so that makes the conversation all that more interesting. Some notes:

  • The engineer manages a big part of the hardware development of the iPhone.
  • Apple is one of the biggest buyers of batteries along with Tesla and they’ve done a lot of thorough testing
  • Chemistry, material, packaging and process affect  battery life constant.
  • Tesla buys 18650 form factor batteries and is sticking to them.
  • When musk asks about the energy density, the engineer knows not to say anything (he says he doesn’t want to get sued by his employer – to many laughs from the audience).
  • Musk assumes the battery energy density is public domain because of teardowns
  • Musk says in high production they can get to 260Wh/KG at the lowest price per kW which might be good info for those looking at the Gigafactory specs.
  • Apple likely can’t use these cells in their products because they are 18mm thick, much thicker than many of Apple’s products – or so speculates Musk

More of the conversation here. Read more

iPad Air teardown: never mind the repairability, feel the tech

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iFixit has done its usual trick of hopping over to Australia to get its hands on an iPad Air in the first time-zone to open its doors for business to bring us a look at the innards of the new device. The device is now on sale in the U.S. too, with supplies expected to be good.

No surprise that the company found little prospect of success for DIY repair, reporting that even opening the casing was a challenge: when you pack that much technology into so small a space, there’s going to be a lot of glue involved.

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Some details of what the company found and more photos below the fold …  Read more

iPhone 5s battery capacity 10 percent up on iPhone 5, 5c up 5 percent

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AnandTech dug into the FCC filings for the new iPhones to reveal that the iPhone 5s battery offers approximately 10 percent more capacity than its predecessor, while the 5c battery offers a more modest 5 percent gain. That’s a different size battery (5.96Wh vs 5.92Wh) than we’d seen in supposed 5s prototypes …  Read more

Mophie joins colorful iPhone trend with Spectrum Collection battery-cases

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With a gold iPhone 5S and multi-colored iPhone 5C expected on September 10th, Mophie has responded by offering a choice of five different colors for the Juice Pack Helium external battery-case for the iPhone 5/5S which we reviewed back in March.

[We] today announced five distinctive new colors for the juice pack helium: blue, purple, pink, green and red. The new matte-finish, jewel-tone cases wrap serious protection and power in a burst of color, delivering 80 percent more battery life and edge-to-edge protection against the drops, bumps and scratches of everyday mobile device use.

The units are otherwise identical to the standard Juice Pack Helium, with a 1500mAh battery that we found delivered on Mophie’s claim of between 6-7 hours additional usage.

You can pick up Mophie Helium Juicepacks at Amazon starting at $68 or on Mophie.com for $79.99 retail price. Read more

Sharp announces first IGZO 7-inch tablet, claims battery life increased over 2X with new tech rumored for Apple’s mini iPad

We heard reports in the past that Apple passed on Sharp’s IGZO display tech for the third-generation iPad due to Sharp not having the tech ready in time. Going with Sharp’s IGZO tech would have allowed for a thinner display assembly, a brighter display with less LEDs, and the ability to use a smaller battery or extend battery life specs as a result. It could have also helped shave off some of the increased weight and depth of the new iPad. These are all things we witnessed first hand when we got up close and personal with a few IGZO demos at IFA this year.  Sharp is announcing today its first 7-inch tablet to use the display technology, claiming the 1,280-by-800 IGZO display allows for 2.5 times the battery life from the tablet’s 2,040mAh battery (via ComputerWorld).

With the iPad mini launch coming later this month, it is a possibility the tech is finally ready for Apple to take advantage. Sharp also has 10-inch and 13-inch variants of the IGZO displays, but the 7-inch would of course make a lot of sense for iPad mini given what we already know about the device. Apple’s ability to increase battery life, or simply have the ability to use a smaller battery (in a smaller form factor) while maintaining battery life specs, is just one benefit. Another big benefit for Apple would be narrow borders: rumor has it—which is something we also talked about a lot in the past—the iPad mini will have a much narrower border than previous-generation iPads. Sharp told us its IGZO LCDs can be built with a bezel under 2mm, and it was showing off a demo display with a 1.75mm border at IFA. That would definitely fit the bill for the narrow-border, one-handed experience we expect from iPad mini. Read more

Consumer Reports: Forget what we said before, new iPad is the best we’ve ever seen

Consumer Reports took a beating for measuring the new iPad’s heat and charging non-issues under intense loads. However, it still overwhelmingly recommended Apple’s new device.

The high-resolution screen of the new iPad establishes a new benchmark in excellence, providing the best rendering of detail and color accuracy we’ve ever seen on a tablet display. As a result, the iPad tops our new tablet Ratings, posted today.

Performance on the new iPad ($500 to $830) was superb in virtually every other way as well. The 5-megapixel camera took very good photos. Verizon’s 4G network yielded very fast, dependable connectivity to a 4G-compatible version of the iPad in our informal tests. And despite the energy-intensive display and graphics, the iPad still has longer battery life than all other tablets.

Responding to consumer comments on the new device, and to coverage from other reviewers, we also carried out further tests that confirmed the new iPad is warmer in its hottest spots than the iPad 2. But we didn’t find those temperatures to be cause for concern. In addition, further tests of observations we made that the new iPad was not recharging when playing a demanding, intense video game, showed that the problem was limited to times when the device was playing a demanding game with the screen fully bright. Our high overall judgment of the new iPad was not affected by the results of either battery of tests.

The biggest downfall? Read more

What DON’T we know about the next iPad (besides its name)?

The next iPad will have the name “iPad 3,” according to the consensus of rumors, and it features a faster processor/GPU while remaining the same size as the current iPad 2. Its unveiling is in a month (March 7th is the first Wednesday) and will be available (in Wi-Fi certainly) almost immediately after.

The big differentiator this year is the “Retina Display” with a staggering 2048-by-1536 pixel screen, likely made by Sharp/Samsung/LG. An Apple employee told The New York Times that the display was “truly amazing” and it must be with a pixel count that lies between the 21- and 27-inch iMacs squeezed into a 9.7-inch display. Consider: You can watch a Blu-ray movie at native resolution with over 100 pixels on the side and nearly 500 pixels below to “play with.”

Oh, by the way: How many megapixels is 2048-by-1536? Just over 3.

That screen sounds like it might take more juice to power, but Apple will add some extra battery capacity, which might make the iPad 3 slightly thicker. The battery life will likely continue with 10 hours as the baseline (why make the case slightly bigger or smaller otherwise?).

One of the unanswered questions is whether the Samsung S5L8945X inside will be a dual or quad core processor. While this is mostly a “speeds and feeds” type of question and will not relate too much to real-world performance, it would seem that the overwhelming evidence points to quad-core. Apple’s iPad 2 was one of the first dual core tablets and with NVIDIA getting set to announce a group of quad core phones, Apple’s once a year upgrade would suggest a quad. As the S5L8945X name implies above, there will be some extra horsepower on the GPU side as well.

LTE capability is also a big question. The radios for LTE will add some weight and cost, while also acting as a harder hit on the battery. However, with Apple’s once a year release cycle and the overwhelming amount of evidence that has tied Apple to LTE, it would seem that Apple will have a LTE iPad—but perhaps one not available at the launch. Next generation lower power LTE chips are just coming off the assembly lines at Qualcomm.

More, including Bluetooth, Camera, NFC, Gig Wifi, and Thunderbolt is available below:

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Review: Powerbag by ful is a device-charging backpack that looks too good for a geek

Over the past month, I’ve been carrying around a Powerbag backpack from ful.  The idea is pretty straight-forward.  They put a 3000 mA battery inside a backpack complete with adapters for just about any device you’d ever want to charge.  On heavy usage days, I have a mobile charge with me at all times. Instead of taking out all of my devices when I get home, I just plug in the bag.

Read on for the full review…

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iOS 5.0.1 causing new issues for some users, along with mixed results on battery life

iOS 5.0.1 was released last week with promises to fix the issue of battery life that has been plaguing many users and some security issues like the Smart Cover hack.

As we originally reported, the update even left some of those without battery issues with quicker battery drains. Over the weekend, even more issues within iOS 5.0.1 have arisen including Wi-Fi signal loss, microphone failures, and cellular network issues.

If you head on over to the Apple Support Forum you’ll find a very long list of issues people are having. The most prominent complaint is still the battery life.  “The recent iOS software update addressed many of the battery issues that some customers experienced on their iOS 5 devices,” Apple said in a statement to All Things Digital. “We continue to investigate a few remaining issues.”

Among the Wi-Fi, microphone, and cellular issues, the other big bug in iOS 5.0.1 has to do with Contacts.app (via CNet). All of the names and numbers associate together inside of Contacts.app, but when making a phone call or sending a text through iMessage, 5.0.1 can’t seem to associate the name with the number as usual.

How’s the upgrade going for you?

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Users still seeing their battery life drain quickly after this morning’s 5.0.1 update

Looking at the Apple support forums this afternoon, Apple’s iOS 5.0.1 update that was released today isn’t offering promised fixes of battery life (seen in the release notes) to everyone. Many users are still complaining, seeing battery life on their 4S’s dropping just as quickly as before. Here’s a few, out of many:

New update is no help at all. I opened Safari and lost  2 % just by opening it.

Upgraded to 5.0.1 this morning.  Still draining at the exact same rate.  Unplugged with a full charge 2 1/2 hours ago, and already down to 80% with light usage.  Just lost 2% during a 15 minute shower.  I see no difference at all.

Same here.  Updated about 1.5 hours ago, battery has drained 20% since then with no usage!  This is awful!

Roughly the same numbers here.

Apple did get something right however. Overall, majority of users are saying that the over the air update to get iOS 5.0.1 worked fantastic. We did see a few frustrated readers who weren’t able to receive the OTA update because their battery was below 50%.

As of now we can’t confirm this, but certainly some users seem to still have issues. What are you experiencing? Is battery life still draining, and how did the OTA update go?

Update: “The recent iOS software update addressed many of the battery issues that some customers experienced on their iOS 5 devices,” Apple said in a statement given to AllThingsD. “We continue to investigate a few remaining issues.” Read more