Unlock your Mac by knocking on your iPhone with the new ‘Knock’ app

Knock uses a combination of an iPhone app (currently offered at an introductory price of $3.99)  and a Mac app (available for free at Knock’s website) to enable unlocking of your Mac, wirelessly, by just knocking the back of your iPhone.

It’s a surreal experience. After a couple of minutes of initial setup, you lock your Mac and rap the back of your paired iPhone twice. Your Mac unlocks. The app doesn’t even have to be forefront on your phone, although it does have to be ‘open’ in the multitasking tray. In fact, your phone doesn’t even have to be unlocked. When it senses the Mac is near, a notification appears on the lock screen instructing you to knock. There are some nice UI touches too. For instance, echoes of the ‘sound wave’ appear on OS X’s lock screen in real time as you knock. It’s a subtle visual indicator that the system is actually working.

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$40 Elgato Smart Key lets your iPhone track your keys, baggage and car via Bluetooth LE

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Low-energy Bluetooth is really starting to take-off in a big way, with seemingly every other product on the main crowdsourced-funding sites using it. One product that actually exists, though, is the Elgato Smart Key – which appears good value at just $40.

If you can’t remember where you last saw your keys, the Elgato Smart Key iPhone app will tell you the GPS location of where the two devices were last in contact. Through the app you’ll also be able to make the Smart Key play a sound to help you find your keys when they are down the back of the sofa. Not only that, but attach them to your keys and your iPhone will alert you when you walk off and leave them somewhere. Leave one in the glove compartment of your car, and the app will show you were you parked a if you need reminding …  Read more

Former Apple employee: Apple worked on Surface-style keyboard cover for iPad, could announce at ‘haven’t covered everything’ event

Apple has published multiple patent applications for keyboard covers for its iPad that sort of resemble what Microsoft did in its keyboard cover for Surface. Until now, however, Apple has relied on third-party vendors like Logitech, Zagg (who has already announced a new iPad 5 keyboard case) and Belkin to provide these covers. Logitech and Zagg have had keyboard covers for the iPad since before both the patent application above and Microsoft’s Surface announcement.

But today, Jamie Ryan, who lists Apple Developer Relations as a recent job, says that Apple has been working on a prototype of such a device and could release it at tomorrow’s event. He thinks it could be Bluetooth 4.0 to save power and was ‘told other cover like accessories are also being looked at.’

The patent shown above also includes other innovations such as solar power, big media control buttonsmulti-touch, wireless charging and even a second displayRead more

Durable/wearable Bluetooth speakers: The Boombot Rex and the Divoom Bean

We’ve had a lot of experience reviewing the best portable Bluetooth speakers on the market but what haven’t yet covered speakers so small, you can actually wear them, put them on your bike, or listen to them in the shower. We have two for you today.

The first of these is the $30 Divoom Bean, a small, durable little Bluetooth speaker that looks a little like a ‘smurf lock’ and is the size of a large egg with a carabiner attached (blue above).  It weighs almost nothing and it charges via a micro-USB port on the bottom. It only has 2 buttons on it, a power button and ‘phone’ button. You’ll need to change volume from your phone or other A2DP Bluetooth device and this device seems to automatically switch off after a few minutes of inactivity. It also functions as a speakerphone.

How did it fare in our tests? Read more

Logitech & ClamCase tease new MFi iOS game controllers


Above and below we might be getting a look at teasers for the first gaming controllers that will take advantage of Apple’s new MFi game controller frameworks. The first, above, comes to us from ClamCase. The company posted the teaser above for what appears to be a new controller, dubbed “GameCase”, that would attach to both an iPhone and an iPad (an iPad mini, at least). We spoke with the company who told us that the new controller would indeed follow Apple’s new MFi standards for game controllers.

The second teaser comes to us from Logitech (below). While we don’t actually see the controller in Logitech’s teaser, it appears to hinting at the controller that the company first showed off to developers during WWDC. Read more

Review: The Bose SoundLink Mini is the best-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker…ever

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We’ve had a look at just about all of the best portable Bluetooth speakers on the market but Bose, a company known for high (prices and) quality speakers, has never made our ‘best of‘ lists. Its regular Soundlink and Soundlink II products at $300-$349 have sound and features that lower-priced competitors, especially Logitech UE JBL Charge and even the Beats Pill were able to handily beat.

All of that ended the moment I got the $199 Bose Soundlink Mini, a product that shows that Bose is willing to think outside of its “hyper-premium price” box without sacrificing the quality of its product…
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Bose introduces new SoundLink Mini portable Bluetooth Speaker & QuietComfort noise-canceling headphones

Update: You can now pick up the SoundLink at Amazon

Bose had a little event today at Grand Central Station just footsteps away from the Apple Store to announce and demonstrate their new portable products.

We’ve rated the Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers on the market (TL;DR: Overall winnerBest ValueBest soundBest Portable/SoundApps/Updatesmore) but clearly there is some room for the $199 Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker at the top end. Bose gave us a listen and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after hearing such rich sound out of a small device (which weighs about as much as an original iPad and can be stowed away in a coat pocket). It certainly gives the much larger Logitech Boombox a run for its money in volume and edges it in clarity. The downsides are that it is bigger/heavier than the Beats Pill or the Logitech Mini Boombox, it charges via a proprietary AC adapter and it isn’t Bluetooth 4.0.  The sound quality will make those little things melt away, I promise.

The Soundlink speaker will be released on July 11th but pre-orders begin today at Bose retailers.

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.03.12 PM

Bose also introduced a new level of noise canceling headphones called the QuietComfort 20 and 20i. We got to put some on and hear aircraft level noise disappear while noise canceling features were activated. Bose also has a mid-level noise cancellation mode that can be activated with a switch on the cord and still allows you to hear voices and other important noises you might want to be alerted to. Music is amazing as you’d expect and the buds fit incredibly comfortably in my ears.

The QuietComfort 20 and 20i headphones will be available starting in the summer of 2013 for $299.95.

Both products are highly recommended. Details in the Press release that follows…

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Logitech announces ‘UE BOOM’ Bluetooth speaker, first with 360-degree sound & 15-hour battery

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Logitech’s UE brand is often at the top of our list when it comes to the best bluetooth speakers around, so we’re excited that today the company introduced its latest product with the announcement of the ‘UE BOOM’. Logitech is calling this “the world’s first social music player,” and that’s due to the fact that it’s the first to offer 360-degree sound and a 15-hour rechargeable battery. That’s a nice step up from the 5-8 hours you’ll get with most Bluetooth speakers.

Logitech is also following a trend that many Bluetooth speaker manufacturers have been lately: With UE BOOM you’ll be able to wirelessly connect two UE BOOMs via a free companion app to allow for traditional right/left stereo sound and other sound settings. It’s also water and stain proof: Read more