CES 2014: Griffin unveils new iOS & Mac accessories- StudioConnect HD, PowerMate Bluetooth, & GuitarSidekick for iPhone

Ahead of the official International CES 2014 show taking place next week in Las Vegas, tonight Griffin, alongside a number of other companies, debuted new products at the official CES Unveiled press event. We told you earlier about the company’s new Square card reader case (the first of Square’s partners for a new program that will see similar products released in the future), but Griffin also had other Apple related products on show tonight including new audio accessories, a bluetooth controller for Mac, and more.

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Belkin debuts the Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater, an iPad case with integrated front-facing speakers

Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater 01

Belkin-Home-Theatre-CaseWe just looked at the latest range of audio accessories from Griffin, and now well-known accessory maker Belkin is showing off a new audio product for CES 2013: The Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater. Available starting this month on the Apple Store, the otherwise traditional-looking iPad case packs in front-facing ported speakers, thanks to a little help from Audifi, and doubles as a stand with various angles.

The case works as a dock, meaning Belkin will release two models to accommodate for both 30-pin and Lightning connectors. Belkin is also making a free companion app available that will allow users to customize sound profiles for different types of media. The Thunderstorm app isn’t available yet in the App Store, but it should début alongside the 30-pin version of the Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater case sometime this month. A lightning-compatible version of the dock will become available in the spring. Both models will sell for $199.99 from Amazon, the Apple Store, and additional retailers.

We’ll bring you full hands-on from the CES show floor shortly.

Update: We had a chance to listen to the product on a loud crowd floor. While the sound was definitely a significant improvement over the built-in iPad capability, it was a little tinny/thin and didn’t add as much base as we would have liked.  We’ll have more when we get some hands-on time later.

Updated Gallery below: Read more

Griffin unveils updated audio lineup with XLR to 3.5mm ‘MicConnect’, partners with Crayola and Nickelodeon for kids accessories

Griffin CES 2013 audio products

The 9to5Mac crew just touched down in Las Vegas for CES and to kick things off we have a slew of new products from Griffin, many of which we plan to get our hands on next week during the show.

First off, it’s introducing a new lineup of audio accessories including an updated Lightning version of the Studio Connect interface for iPad it launched last year (full review here). The new version will be available May 2013 for $149.99. We also get Griffin’s new Mic Stand Mount. It is a $39.99 iPad stand that works like a traditional microphone performance stand. Lastly for audio products, Griffin is launching an XLR to 3.5mm mic to bring studio-quality recording to iPads Griffin-PowerDock5-CES-2013and iPhones (it’s available June 2013, but we hope to bring you a full review of the MicConnect soon).

Pictured to the right is another new accessory Griffin has at CES. The $99.99 charging cradle is known as the Power Dock 5. The dock accommodates iOS devices with cases and holds up to five full-sized iPads. It also launched the new WoodTones headphones made from responsibly harvested Beech, Sapele, and Walnut woods (pictured at top)

Griffin Crayola CES 2013

Griffin isn’t stopping there, as it is also launching a ton of new iOS accessories aimed at children including a partnership with Crayola to bring a digital stylus shaped like a thick Crayola marker ($29.99 with a free companion app this spring). Other kids’ products include the Crayola Color & Play Workstation. Griffin described it as an “all-in-one iPad workstation that includes a built-in carrying handle and three storage cubbies for their crayons, markers and digital coloring tools like ColorStudio HD and DigiTools.”

The company is also teaming up with Nickelodeon to bring SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Dora the Explorer themed iOS accessories to market. Finally, it will show off its latest in the children’s KaZoo lineup with “new headphones, iPod touch cases, a charms lanyard kit and kid-friendly AUX cables themed after animals.” Read more

Holiday Shopping Guide: Every single great Lightning accessory we could find

With Apple’s latest MFi summit taking place earlier this month to school accessory makers on adopting Apple’s new smaller Lightning connector standard, many accessories from reputable companies are quickly starting to roll out. Unfortunately, the delay in getting the new standard out to third-party accessory manufacturers means many well-known companies might not get a product on the market in time for the holidays. Some that have released products are unable to keep up with demand and ship before the Dec 25.

For those of you looking for a Lightning dock, car chargers, adapter, or any other accessory before the holidays, we put together a guide to all the Lightning accessories currently available to order.

Many of the products below are also discounted for Black Friday and through the weekend: Read more

Review: Griffin StudioConnect audio/midi interface & dock for iPad

We first told you about Griffin’s StudioConnect audio interface when it unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. There are more than a few products on the market that make it easy to hook up your guitar, mic, or MIDI controller to the iPad for use with the many iOS apps that include built-in DAWs with CoreMIDI support (such as Apple’s own GarageBand). While it might not be the prettiest iPad dock we have seen, there are a few reasons why it beats the competition.

With StudioConnect, in terms of inputs and outputs, what you get is pretty basic: standard 5-pin MIDI in and out, one 1/4-inch mono input, and left and right RCA output. The large knob out front controls the 3.5mm headphone jack below it, while a separate volume wheel on the side is for your main output. It is more than enough to plug in supported mics, a guitar, or a MIDI controller, but it is clear that Griffin did not build the StudioConnect with professionals in mind. Most pros will not do anything too heavy-duty inside of an iOS app at this point. The inputs above will likely be sufficient for most musicians using the iPad as a mobile or writing setup.

While it does not offer some of the standard inputs and outputs that pros are familiar with, Griffin used its experience making iOS accessories to nail the design where the competition gets it wrong….

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iPad 3 prices and features matrix revealed


iPad 3 price matrix will be the same as iPad 2, above

One of the remaining mysteries ahead of the iPad 3 launch next week are the prices and configurations.  If you don’t like surprises we have good news.

There was a rumor last week that gained traction which indicated that the US prices would increase by $70-$80.  That doesn’t appear to be the case.

We’ve gotten word that iPad pricing is going to be the same across the board as the current iPad 2 models which should be no big surprise given Apple’s history – they rarely raise prices.  Even better, some countries with currencies doing better than the US dollar should expect to see marginal drops in prices.

While we’re squashing, the configurations appear to be the same as current 16/32/64GB.  One of the strange succession of posts from Digitimes this week said that Apple would move to 8GB/16GB/32GB.  That appears even less likely than before, if that is even possible.

Update: This has no bearing on LTE one way or another

As always, thanks to Mr. X!

iPad Model numbers are as follows: Read more