Review: Incipio’s new Clarion, Faraday & Tuxen folio cases offer three small twists on iPad Air 2 protection

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Having reviewed hundreds of different models over the years, I can say with some authority that iPad cases are rarely “exciting.” Early on, Apple established the folio — a lidded sleeve with the ability to stand upright for videos — as the de facto standard for iPad case design, and perhaps half of all the iPad cases since then have followed the same general theme, differing more in materials than functionality. Incipio’s latest designs for the iPad Air 2 are all small riffs on the same idea: fabric lids connected to plastic iPad holders, varying more in the particulars than the broad strokes.

We’re taking a quick look today at three cases: Clarion ($35), Faraday ($40), and Tuxen ($50). Despite their varied MSRPs, they can all be had for between $31 and $33 through Amazon, with some color options going for higher prices. Functionally, they’re very similar to one another: all three support both video and typing angles, protect most of the iPad against scratches and dings, and use magnets to automatically turn the iPad’s screen off or on when it’s closed or opened. Read on for what makes them different from one another…

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Apple threatens to ban iPhone, iPad accessory makers that design based on leaks

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Apple is working to step up the secrecy surrounding future iPhone and iPad models by targeting a frequent source of leaks: third-party accessory makers. 9to5Mac has learned that in fall 2014, just before the iPhone 6 launched, Apple demanded that a number of leading accessory makers sign agreements barring them from seeking out information about future Apple devices, according to four sources with first-hand knowledge of the matter.

On one hand, the agreement dangled the loss of “future business opportunities that Apple and/or its affiliates may present to you” as a potential consequence of violating or not signing the agreement. On the other hand, signing and following it could lead to months-long delays in making accessories like cases available, during the time of year when those cases were most needed and demanded by customers. Read more

Just Mobile shows super-thin Lightning LED cable, reversible USB car chargers, new Bakpak batteries

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Up until recently, Apple accessory makers were unable to make Lightning cables with plugs as thin as Apple’s — they were required to use thicker plugs that sometimes had problems connecting to cases. At the 2015 CES, Just Mobile showed AluCable LED ($25), which uses newer Apple connectors to create the thinnest metal-jacketed Lightning cable yet, removing case compatibility issues while adding metallic style. Markedly improved over the prior AluCable at the same price, the new gold version matches the latest iPhone and iPad colors, as well.

The USB plug notably has a MagSafe-style LED built in that shifts color to indicate charging status, just like Apple’s laptops. Photos of that feature, plus details on a new reversible USB car charger, a new iPhone battery pack, and a golden version of Just Mobile’s iconic Encore stand, are all below…

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The best iPhone cases & battery packs on show at CES 2015

There is a never ending supply of new iPhone cases at CES again this year, so we’ve decided to roundup the best of the best below. Some of the cases include backup batteries, others offer charging via built-in solar panels, and one includes a detachable Bluetooth speaker. One of the new cases even claims to “defend against the bend,” a jab at the iPhone 6 Plus bending controversy of last year. Head below for the run down on the growing list of iPhone cases launching at CES: Read more

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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9to5 Guide: The best iPad stands, docks, and cases with built-in stands

 

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iPads need stands. Whether you’re watching videos, long-form typing, or making FaceTime calls, it’s a chore to hold the iPad upright for extended blocks of time. To address that need, Apple launched the first iPad with regular and keyboard docks, but quickly gave up on them in favor of simpler folding lids called Smart Covers.

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If you’re looking for an iPad stand or dock, you can do better than that. We know because we’ve tested lots of options for Apple’s tablets. Following up on our guide to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus docks, we’re looking today at the very best of what’s out there for every iPad, covering four broad categories: simple portable stands, simple desktop stands, cases with integrated stands, and charging docks. Read more

Review: Twelve South’s BookBook is the best iPhone 6 / Plus flip case, while Tech21’s Classic Frame and Shells absorb shocks

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Personal preferences differ enough that there’s no single style of iPhone case that’s “right” for every person. Some people prefer “playthrough” cases that always expose the iPhone’s screen; others like flip-style cases with lids that open like books. Today, we’re looking at two cases of each type for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Twelve South’s latest BookBook and Tech21’s Classic Shell with Cover are flip-style designs, while Tech21’s Classic Frame and Classic Shell are playthrough cases.

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One of these is the best case of its type that we’ve ever seen, while the others are all good.

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LifeProof Fre case for iPhone 6 — Waterproof, strong, and thinner than ever

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LifeProof pioneered the waterproof, shockproof iPhone case in 2011 when the original LifeProof protected the iPhone 4/s from dropping it on the ground, smothering it in ketchup, mustard, and dirt only to successfully rinse it off in a fish tank. We were had then and watched as the company grew into an iPhone case powerhouse which drew copycats and eventually an acquisition by OtterBox last year.

I’ve had LifeProof’s new Fre iPhone 6 case since it debuted last month and have put it through all kinds of torture tests, most notably my three-year-old who likes to watch Ben and Holly in the bath tub and six-year-old who sees no problem sled riding and skiing with a smartphone (Read: GPS tracking device).

The bottom line?  It continues to protect from everything. Lots of drops, dirt, water, snow. Pretty much anything… Read more

Gift guide: The best leather cases & wallets for iPhone 6/6Plus

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I prefer leather, wallet-style iPhone cases, and if you’re reading this you’re likely on the hunt for one as well. I’ve had a lot of cases arriving for review this time of the year following the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch, so below I’ve put together my thoughts on the best leather wallet cases around (and in some cases vegan leather), to guide you through your purchase and show you some of my favorites after going hands-on.  Read more