My first post for 9to5Mac is on a topic near and dear to my heart: best-of-breed Apple products and accessories. Why should you trust me? I’ve been a professional product reviewer for 23 years and an Apple user for 28 years. Last week, I finished an 11-year stint running the editorial side of iLounge, the leading Apple product review site, where I tested literally thousands of Apple accessories from every major company on the planet. Readers have praised my reviews as accurate and insightful, and I always put my readers’ needs first when testing new products.
A ton of great deals on accessories for iPhone, iPad and Macs have gone live today for Cyber Monday in addition to the many Black Friday deals still running from the weekend. Today is your last chance to get in on most of these discounts and in some cases might be your last chance to get your hands on these products before the holidays.
Head below for our roundup of the best deals available today on cases and accessories for your Apple device. Read more
Now that Apple’s new iPad Air 2 is officially up for preorder today through Apple’s online store, AT&T and others, you’re going to need a new case to accommodate the 18% thinner design. Not only will case makers have to make tweaks for the thinner design, removed side switch and other design tweaks, they will also have to make sure the home button is exposed for the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Below we’ve put together a list of cases that are already available to order and we’ll be updating as more cases get announced ahead of the new iPad Air 2 shipping to customers next week. Read more
With iPhone 6 and 6 Plus officially going on sale today through Apple retail and partners, a lot of you on the hunt for a new case. We’ve been keeping track of announcements from the notable case makers and below put together our updated list of the nicest cases we’ve seen yet.
As we always do, we’ve stuck to the case manufacturers we know and trust (like Apple, Griffin, Otterbox, Grovemade, & Cygnett) and also included a wide selection of different products from hard to soft, plastic to aluminum, and wallets to gun-style holster cases. We’ll add more to the list below as we find more iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases.
Head below for the full list:
As we always do, we’ve compiled a list of the best iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases already available to order. With preorders for the device kicking off this Friday through most carriers and major retailers in launch countries, a number of great case makers have already started selling accessories. We’ve stuck to reputable case makers and cases that you can order today. A few might not ship until the end of the month or early next, but Apple isn’t expected to ship the iPhone 6 & 6 Plus until September 19th. We’ll add more to the list as we find them. Read more
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.
We 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
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 and 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 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
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
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….
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
We brought you some of the hottest accessories launched at CES 2012 yesterday, such as the vertical MacBook Air Dock from Henge and a new lineup of cloud products from D-link. That list also included one audio product, Griffin’s Twenty amp enabling Airplay playback on non-powered speakers, but today we bring you the rest of the most intriguing audio accessories and peripherals launched at the show.
Among them: A new audio interface for iPad from Griffin, new iRig accessories from IK Multimedia, and controllers from Line 6 and ION.