The world’s thinnest touch surface from CSR could make iPad keyboard cases paper-thin by next year (Video)

Companies like Logitech, Zagg and others have been making their iPad keyboard cases thinner and thinner with each generation, but a year from now we might be seeing accessory makers take advantage of a new technology from CSR– The world’s thinnest wireless touch surface that could make your iPad keyboard case paper-thin. The company develops a number of silicon, software, and wireless solutions for OEMs in the consumer electronics space, and tonight it showed off its new printable, flexible 0.5 mm thick touch surface for the first time during ShowStoppers, the official media showcase for the IFA consumer electronics show taking place here in Berlin.

CSR partnered with Atmel and Conductive Inkjet Technology (CIT) to develop the ultra-thin wireless touch surface. The device uses Atmel’s touch silicon to sense multiple contact points on a surface, and can offer a full touch surface or power optimised key detection. The flexible membrane is enabled by CIT printed conductors. CIT’s reel-to-reel printing process enables copper and other conductors to be applied to the surface of the ultra-thin and flexible membrane, and can be printed to fit a range of tablet shapes and sizes.

Not only is it the thinnest touch surface ever made, it’s also wireless thanks to built-in Bluetooth 4.0, which CSR tells us helped the prototype achieve “market leading battery life” in the thin form factor. It also has touch latency of about 12mS, which means no noticeable lag while typing, but also possibilities for gaming and other applications. It’s not just for iPad keyboards, however. Tablet keyboard cases might be the ideal form factor– and CSR agrees– but it can also create table-sized touch surfaces and even customizable layouts that can be easily and inexpensively added to the keyboard.  The tech is capable of picking up handwriting and stylus input as well, so typing and keyboards are certainly not the only implementation that we could see in the near future.

While it’s still a prototype, the company tells us its in discussions with many OEMs that are interested in the technology and that we could see consumer products implementing the paper thin touch surfaces as early as the holiday season next year. Head past the break for our first look at the prototype from tonight’s ShowStoppers show at IFA in Berlin. Read more

Logitech announces Ultrathin, water-repellant Keyboard Folio & Protective Case for iPad mini

Logitech, the company behind some our favorite cases and keyboards for iPad, today announced the newest member of its iPad keyboard case family with the addition of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for the iPad mini priced at $89. It is currently available for pre-order with an expected release later this month in the US, Europe, and some locations in Asia.

Logitech appears to be making the case itself a little larger than the iPad mini in order to achieve a more comfortable keyboard size, but its solution for holding the iPad mini in snug seems to be a little more elegant than some of the other solutions we’ve seen. The company tells us the case utilizes a “SecureLock system” to hold the iPad in securely, and it’s using new materials that are “ultra-thin and ultra-light” in addition to being water-repellant.

It’s also making a version without a keyboard called the Logitech Folio Protective Case for iPad mini at $49 (pictured below). Logitech will be making the cases available in a selection of colors including grey, purple, and pink, but didn’t offer any specific details on availability. We’ll have a review as soon as they become available. Read more

Belkin launches 2000 mAh ‘Grip Power Battery Case’ for iPhone 5

While it certainly has some competition in this arena, major Apple accessory maker Belkin today announced a new ‘Grip Power Battery Case’ for iPhone 5. Similar to popular offerings from some of Belkin’s competitors including Mophie and Otterbox, the case builds in a 2000 mAh battery that claims to double the battery life of the device.

Belkin says the Grip Power case includes a shock-resistant bumper with secure-hold TPU grip, an anti-glare camera ring, and four color combinations including Civic Blue/Stone and Purple Lightning/Fountain Blue, Blacktop/Gravel and Whiteout/Blacktop.

Belkin is selling the case for $99, slightly less than Mophie and Otterbox, through its website and BestBuy.com. Full list of features below: Read more

Review: Belkin Thunderstorm iPad case brings home theater quality sound to the iPad

Belkin-Thunderstorm-Review-04

With its Retina display, unmatched ecosystem of HD video content, and AirPlay streaming capabilities, the iPad is undeniably one of the best experiences for watching video on a mobile device. The one glaring omission from Apple’s recipe for the perfect mobile video experience, however, is the absence of quality, front-facing speakers. The result is a sound experience that doesn’t quite live up to HD content on the iPad’s best in class Retina display. With several newer devices (see: Galaxy Tab 2, HTC One) adding front-facing, stereo speakers, audio performance is clearly one area Apple is falling behind, and its competitors have certainly taken note.

At CES we first got a look at Belkin’s solution to the problem: A $199 iPad case with integrated front-facing ported speakers that aims to offer a home theatre-like experience right in your hands. Belkin is about to release a new Lightning version of the ‘Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater’, so we thought the time was right to give you the full run down on how the product performs… Read more

Turn your iPad (*gasp*) into a waterproof Microsoft Surface with new Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Logitech makes some pretty amazing iPad keyboards and now they can pretty much say the cover the spectrum of what’s out there. Today the company announced new $149 Logitech FabricSkin Keyboards that look and act like the keyboard case that comes with the Microsoft Surface. Even better? These guys are waterproof so you can just wipe away the coffee that you just spit out.

“We’ve combined design cues from the world of high fashion with the unbeatable typing experience you expect from Logitech to bring a new level of self-expression to iPad protection,” said Mike Culver, vice president of brand development for tablet accessories at Logitech. “TheLogitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio and Logitech Folio give you more than just a protective case for your iPad, they add a distinctive accent to your iPad that reflects your personal style.”

Logitech worked with world-class designers to identify chic fabrics and a bold color palette and combined them with a clean design. As a result, both the Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio and Logitech Folio are offered in a range of colors from Electric Blue and Sunflower Yellow to Mars Red Orange, and in an array of on-trend fabrics from matte leather to finely woven cotton.

“By developing color and material options that evoke our senses and speak to our individuality, Logitech has made owning an iPad unique again,” said Beatrice Santiccioli, world-renowned color expert and designer. “I brought my knowledge in color and design to Logitech to help inspire the selection of materials and develop a color palette that builds a strong emotional connection to people’s lifestyles.”

Don’t want the keyboard but still want the case? Have an iPad mini? The Logitech Folio is keyboardless, fits both iPads, and costs $70.

They are available for pre-order at Logitech and will start shipping next month.

Full-sized image gallery, another video and press release follows: Read more

Review: TwelveSouth’s BookBook case for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro

We’ve reviewed and enjoyed a number of TwelveSouth products over the years. We were intrigued by the hollowed out book idea with the company’s original BookBook case for the MacBook Air and since it has brought out similar hand distressed leather BookBook cases for other Apple devices, like the iPhone and iPad mini. While maybe not the ideal option for Apple’s anti-skeuomorphic cheerleaders, I found the stark contrast to Apple’s sometimes cold industrial design a nice juxtaposition.

I tend to not use any skins, covers or cases when using my MacBook on a day to day basis. I slide my MacBook into a laptop pouch built-into my backpack or use a standard laptop case when on the go, and rarely do I actually leave the MacBook in the case when in use. A case was necessary for protection when traveling, but for me the average soft or hard plastic laptop case never quite does the pricey, Jony Ive designed Apple hardware inside justice. BookBook is different… Read more

Hide your kids, here’s the Swiss Army knife of iPhone cases

Going up for sale as a Kickstarter campaign later this week, ex-Apple engineer Addison Shelton is launching the Swiss Army knife of iPhone cases with a new product called “TaskOne.” Made of sturdy aircraft aluminum and polycarbonate, the TaskOne’s enclosure houses 16 tools including a 2.5″ knife, saw, screwdrivers, and 11 other tools such as a bottle opener, kickstand, pliers, wire cutters, wire strippers, 6 allen wrenches, and a ruler.

By diligently sticking to his design goals of combining the best features of a multi-tool with the protection and slim fit of a well-designed case, Task One bridges the gap between an iPhone case and a multi-tool. “I utilized advanced materials and manufacturing to create a slim multi-tool case that can stand up to heavy use, keep your phone safe and be so slim it adds little more bulk than other common cases,” says Shelton.  It can be used in any situation requiring a multi-tool, from a camping trip to a home repair – the tools are robust and always stored in the phone case for near instant access.  Sliders on the back of the phone make for easy access to the tools, and integrated spring and detents assemblies lock the tools in place both when in use and during storage.

There are a few products for iPhone that build in some of these tools, but by all accounts this looks to be the ultimate multi-tool actually made and tested for real world use. Shelton explained the product in a video posted to the company’s Facebook page.

The Kickstarter project for TaskOne will officially go live at noon on Wednesday and we’ll update this post with links when it does.

Update: It’s live on Indiegogo and close to meeting its funding goal.

Apple’s $39 iPad Mini Smart Covers already being delivered

Ahead of the iPad mini landing this Friday in the hands of those who pre-ordered, the Smart Cover for the iPad mini has been delivered to a number of customers already. Apple made the covers available to customers last Friday for $39—available in red, dark gray, light gray, pink, green, and blue.

The Smart Cover attaches magnetically to the side of the iPad and folds over to cover the front. It can be folded three times for different viewing angles. Check out our review of the 10-inch version.

For those who pre-ordered, the iPad mini is currently on track to be delivered this Friday. What a tease…

Thanks, MN_Kid!

Read more

ZAGG introduces two new cases for iPad mini featuring Bluetooth keyboard, starting at $89

Well-known accessory maker ZAGG has unveiled its lineup of cases for the new iPad Mini that ships Nov. 2, including two new keyboard cases for those looking for a mix of protection and easier typing with a keyboard.

The first is the ZAGGkeys Mini 7 priced at $89.99 for those looking for a folio case design and a Bluetooth keyboard. ZAGG said the case has an “intuitive built-in stand to hold the tablet an ideal viewing angle” that makes typing easier. Additionally, ZAGG announced the ZAGGkeys Mini 9 priced at $89.99. It features the same casing as the Mini 7, but it has an upgraded keyboard that offers more space. There are “dedicated function keys” and “island-style keys engineered to provide 90% of the space of a traditional keyboard” for people who have larger hands.

Ships in weeks.

Check out another screenshot:

Review: Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio for iPad

We recently reviewed one of our favorite keyboard solutions for the iPad, Logitech’s Ultrathin iPad Keyboard Cover. However, we have seen a few new competitors since then. Most notably: ZAGG’s new KeysPRO line, which we were able to get our hands on at IFA last month. The ZAGGKeys PRO caught our eye with its backlit keys, rugged build quality and battery life of up to three weeks at eight hours a day. It has potential to become the go-to iPad keyboard when it goes on sale at the end of the month (full review on the way), but one keyboard recently released already has it beat, at the very least, on battery life…

Logitech’s new Solar Keyboard Folio for iPad 2 and 3 comes with one impressive claim: the ability to type for two hours a day for two years on a full charge…even in the dark. That claim combined with a solid Logitech keyboard similar to what we’re used to from the company’s past iPad products, we essentially get solar power and a folio-style case added to the Ultrathin Keyboard cover for an extra $30.

I have had long enough since its release to put it to the test and have a couple of thoughts:

Read more

More supposed iPhone 5 cases turn up in AT&T’s inventory system

Adding to TiPb’s AT&T store inventory report from earlier this week (above), BGR has posted an image (below) of Case-Mate’s apparent iPhone 5 cases listed in AT&T’s inventory system. The leak comes before Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 5 and/or iPhone 4S Tuesday.

MacRumors mentions three different iPhone 5 case designs listed in AT&T’s inventory system, the Barely There, Pop!, and Tough cases, so an iPhone 5 could make sense. Next Tuesday is sure to be a big event, but in the meantime read what we know about Apple’s newest iPhone.

Read more