Paper by FiftyThree’s essential tools now free for all iPad users

Paper by FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree, the popular illustrating app for iPad, is making a significant change to its app price today. While Paper for iPad has been free to download and use since its debut, the app has also had tools for drawing and illustrating available for unlocking through in-app purchases as well.

Starting today, FiftyThree is making the all tools offered in Paper free for everyone to use. FiftyThree is now including the Draw, Sketch, Outline, Write, and Color tools for every Paper user. Previously, the essential tools were $3.99 to unlock as a package while individual tools could be have for $0.99 each. Read more

Review: Libratone’s second-generation Loop brings Bluetooth to the AirPlay-only Danish speaker family

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AirPlay isn’t dead as a wireless speaker standard, but it’s not exactly healthy: many models have been discontinued, and new releases have all but stopped. Having previously gone all-in with AirPlay, Danish designer speaker maker Libratone is now rolling out updated versions of its circular Loop, tube-shaped Zipp, and triangular Live systems that augment AirPlay rather than ditching it. The new Libratone Loop ($500) modestly tweaks the prior version to add Bluetooth 4.0 support — a feature that radically increases Loop’s compatibility. Though its high price tag will continue to keep this model out of reach for most consumers, long-awaited and substantial discounts on the prior-generation models (Loop here, Zipp here, Live here) may bolster their appeal.

Having tested the new Loop, my personal feelings are mixed: I applaud Libratone for consistently releasing speakers that look distinctive, working both as design objects and audio systems, but the MSRPs remain somewhat hard to justify given the sonic performance…

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Apple hires Burberry’s VP of Digital Retail initiatives ahead of Watch launch

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Apple has made yet another key hire from the fashion industry: Chester Chipperfield, the Vice President of Digital and Interactive Design at Burberry. Chipperfield was “responsible for User Experience and Digital Design for all channels” and was “highly involved in digital retail initiatives” at Burberry, according to his LinkedIn profile. He confirmed the move to Apple on his profile as well as on Twitter

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Apple targets for Apple Watch battery life revealed, A5-caliber CPU inside

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Although Apple has said that the Apple Watch will need to be charged nightly, the company has not disclosed any details on how long the wearable’s battery will last. For the first time, people with knowledge of the Apple Watch’s development have provided us with the specific performance targets Apple wants to achieve for the Apple Watch battery, but the actual numbers may fall short of those targets.

According to our sources, Apple opted to use a relatively powerful processor and high-quality screen for the Apple Watch, both of which contribute to significant power drain. Running a stripped-down version of iOS codenamed SkiHill, the Apple S1 chip inside the Apple Watch is surprisingly close in performance to the version of Apple’s A5 processor found inside the current-generation iPod touch, while the Retina-class color display is capable of updating at a fluid 60 frames per second.

Apple initially wanted the Apple Watch battery to provide roughly one full day of usage, mixing a comparatively small amount of active use with a larger amount of passive use. As of 2014, Apple wanted the Watch to provide roughly 2.5 to 4 hours of active application use versus 19 hours of combined active/passive use, 3 days of pure standby time, or 4 days if left in a sleeping mode. Sources, however, say that Apple will only likely achieve approximately 2-3 days in either the standby or low-power modes…

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Being separated from our iPhones creates anxiety and makes us dumber, says university study

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A study by the University of Missouri demonstrated that separating people from their iPhones not only causes anxiety, but also reduces cognitive performance.

The study hooked up participants to a wireless blood pressure monitor and then asked them to solve word-search puzzles. Once base readings of blood pressure and puzzle-solving performance had been measured, the researchers claimed that the participant’s iPhones were causing Bluetooth interference with the wireless monitor, and the phones needed to be moved further away within the room. New blood pressure and puzzle-solving readings were then obtained to measure the effect of being separated from their phones …  Read more

CES 2015: Noke is a Bluetooth padlock that can be unlocked with your iPhone

Noke Padlock

It is the second day of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and we’re back on the show floor to discover the diamonds in the rough. Noke, the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled padlock, is one of those hidden gems. Noke replaces the nuisances of losing your keys or needing to remember random combinations with convenient unlocking over Bluetooth technology when your iPhone is within close range. Read more

August unveils $49 Connect accessory enabling Internet access to its Smart Lock

Smart lock maker August announced its latest device today at CES 2015 simply dubbed ‘Connect’. The August Connect is an WiFi-connected device that plugs into a power outlet in your home to provide the Bluetooth-connected August Smart Lock with a constant Internet connection. August says its latest accessory enables several new features for owners of its smart lock product… Read more

Braven announces $99 Fuse wireless audio mixer that pairs with your Bluetooth devices & speakers

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There are a lot of audio mixers and DJ controllers on the market specifically for iPad and iPhone users, but so far most require you to run cables or dock your device in a rather large unit. The latest option that we got a chance to try during CES today is Braven’s new Fuse Bluetooth audio mixer, a lightweight wireless option that lets you connect two audio sources and your output all through Bluetooth: Read more

CES 2015: Avi-on shows sub-$60, next-gen smart home lighting solutions

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How often is merely showing up with a working lightbulb enough to attract a crowd? At a dimly-lit event held tonight by the Bluetooth SIG ahead of the 2015 CES, Avi-on demonstrated such modest magic using an early implementation of Bluetooth mesh wireless connectivity.

The company’s upcoming Bluetooth light switches ($30-$35), light dimmers ($40), and lightbulbs ($20) will be the backbone of an upcoming home lighting system with General Electric branding, and promise to eliminate the need for in-wall light switch wiring.

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Zagg announces iPhone 6 Speaker Case w/ detachable Bluetooth speaker & backup battery, more

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Zagg, the company behind many of our favorite Bluetooth keyboards and cases, today announced its latest creation, the ZAGG Speaker Case for iPhone 6 with detachable Bluetooth speaker. Not only that, but the case also packs in an 1800mAh backup battery, which the company says will get you approximately “8 hours of additional talk time, and can be shared with a friend.” Read more

Fugoo Bluetooth speaker differentiates with 40hr battery, incredible waterproofing and robust ecosystem

IMG_20141229_133347Note, I originally was going to review this in early 2015, but Amazon is having a pretty insane 1-day deal on it and I love it sooo…

Fugoo is the best Bluetooth speaker you’ve probably never heard of. I got mine after a few readers (and PR folk) rightfully noted its omission from our Best Bluetooth Speaker of 2014 list. I have been listening to it ever since and yep, it should be among the top and for $135, it is a no-brainer… Read more

Review: iHome’s iBN10 sheds the dock and alarms for a minimalist new four-speaker design

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I’ve reviewed a lot of iHome clock radios over the past nine years. They weren’t all formulaic, but there was a very clear evolutionary line from the original 2005-vintage, iPod-only iH5 to the iPad-ready iDL95 released last year: take two speakers, stick a clock in the middle, center a dock on the top, then make the enclosure sort of flat but pleasantly curvy. iHome had a winning general concept and look, which it updated annually with small feature, color, and shape tweaks. But its new $120 model iBN10 breaks the mold in several ways.

The dock’s gone, the clock has been glammed up and shifted to the right, and there are four speakers inside, rather than the standard two. iBN10 is also atypically handsome, built and billed as an “executive music system” by discarding the faux metals that iHome’s midrange speakers have become known for, and adding speakerphone functionality. This isn’t iHome’s first Kleenex box-sized speaker, but it’s definitely the most sophisticated.

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