Review: Aukey’s 12,000mAh PB-N28 is the $25 battery that fully refills any current iPad

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Last month, budget charging accessory maker Aukey released PB-N30, the first external battery with a female Lightning recharging port. For only $15, PB-N30 seemed like a steal given its 3,600mAh capacity — just right for use with any iPhone — but wasn’t capacious enough for power-hungrier iPads. So Aukey has released PB-N28 ($25) as a solution for tablet users, remarkably equipping it with over three times the power for only $10 more.

PB-N30 is an upgraded sequel to the company’s older PB-18, which stuffed a 12,000mAh battery into an iPhone 5-shaped enclosure. While the new model’s capacity is the same, PB-N30’s USB ports jump from 2.1-Amp/1-Amp charging to 2.4-Amp/1-Amp support, and it has a more neutral design that neither sticks out nor knocks off an Apple product. Not surprisingly, it cuts a corner or two to achieve its super-low price…

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Mophie announces Space Packs for iPad mini, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, universal SpaceStation

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Continuing its line of combination battery cases and external storage solutions for iOS devices, Mophie today announced a collection of new accessories in the Space family: Space Pack for iPad mini ($200-$400), Space Pack for iPhone 6 ($150-$300), Space Pack for iPhone 6 Plus ($150-$300), and SpaceStation ($150-$300). The three Space Packs combine iPad or iPhone-recharging battery cases with 32, 64, or 128GB of storage capacity, while SpaceStation offers the same three storage capacity choices with a standalone, device-agnostic USB battery pack. A free Space app lets you access movies, music, photos, and data that have been separately stored in the Space accessories by your computer, using an included USB cable.

Mophie’s batteries differ considerably between the devices. The iPhone 6 Space Pack has a 3,300mAh battery, which is said to provide a 100% recharge of the device, while the iPhone 6 Plus version has a smaller 2,600mAh battery that Mophie says will deliver a 50% recharge. An 8,000mAh battery in the more expensive iPad mini case promises a 100% recharge, and a 6,000mAh battery in SpaceStation is claimed to offer “3X extra battery” for unspecified devices — certainly smaller phones, rather than the iPhones and iPads supported by the other models.

All of the new Space Pack batteries are available for preorder now from Mophie’s web site, and will ship in May. The SpaceStation and lower-priced Space Packs for the iPhone 5/5s (16GB / 32GB / 64GB) are in stock now. Read more

New photos purportedly show 4th-generation iPad mini casing with iPad Air 2-like design

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A new batch of photos published by French site NowhereElse may give us an idea of what the next generation of the iPad mini will look like. The images are said to be of the casing for the unannounced tablet upgrade, and seem to feature some design elements inspired by the most recent version of the larger iPad model.

While the third-generation iPad mini was simply a Touch ID-equipped version of the previous model, many Apple fans are hoping to see a redesign much like this with the next refresh.

Aside from the obvious similarities in the shape and materials, the photos and a video of the shell (which can be seen below) reveal a redesigned speaker grille that mirrors the iPad Air 2’s move away from two rows of speaker holes to just one. The new shell also indicates that the iPad mini 4 may be thinner than its predecessor, though it doesn’t seem like a big stretch to predict that.

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How-To: Choose the best stand or desktop mount for Apple’s iPads and Macs

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Apple currently sells more “laptop” than “desktop” Macs, but in reality, most Macs will be used substantially on flat surfaces — desks, tables, and sometimes nightstands. iPads are more lap-friendly, but also tend to get used upright, particularly for watching videos and access in the kitchen. Since I’ve spent a lot of time testing Apple device stands and mounts, I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you, so you can choose the solution that best suits your Mac, iPad, or both at the same time.

Below, I’ve hand-picked options for different types of users, starting with passive MacBook stands such as Twelve South’s BookArc for MacBook Pro ($50). Made from Mac-matching aluminum with gray rubber inserts, BookArc is designed to safely hold a MacBook Pro upright so that its ports and SD card reader are easily accessible. Twelve South also sells a smaller version of BookArc for the MacBook Air, a bigger BookArc for the Mac Pro, and an earthy version called BookArc mod for fans of wood. That’s a rarity, as most Mac and iPad stands are designed to match Apple’s products, as you’ll see inside…

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Phorm case for iPad promises tactile typing w/ the on-screen keyboard through a unique approach

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Tactus Technology is introducing a unique, new keyboard case today called Phorm that promises to bring tactile feedback to the typing experience while still using the on-screen touch keyboard. Phorm uses microfluids to raise a segments of a screen protector kept on with a frame and protective case to apply “physical” keys that appear and disappear at the swipe of switch. The goal is to improve typing speed and accuracy when typing with the iPad without requiring a keyboard you have to charge or pair with your tablet. Check out the video below to see Phorm in action. Read more

Apple’s Back to School sale returns to Australia and New Zealand w/ gift card promo

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Apple’s annual Back to School sale in Australia and New Zealand has gone live with a promotion for qualifying students to receive Apple Store credit with the purchase of a Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Similar to last year, the Back to School sale includes the usual education pricing on Macs and iPads, but this year Apple is including Apple Store gift cards rather than App Store gift cards like last year. Read more

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

Roundup: The best iPad, iPhone, Mac, iTunes, Beats, and other tech Black Friday deals

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Black Friday can be absolutely overwhelming. Every retailer is vying for your attention and money. That’s why we’ve vetted each and every major Black Friday ad to find only the very best deals.

Remember, this master list was curated from pre-announced deals. We fully expect many retailers to hit us with surprise deals throughout the next week. That’s why it’s important you follow 9to5Toys on Twitter/Facebook, and sign-up for our email newsletter. The 9to5Toys team is going to be working around the clock to bring you the Black Friday deals you can’t afford to miss.

Continue on for the definitive Black Friday 2014 ‘Best Of’ list… Read more

Apple Store goes down to get ready for pre-orders of the new iPads

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The online Apple Store is down as Apple readies the site to take pre-orders of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.

The iPad Air 2 is 18% thinner than the original Air, adds Touch ID, M8 motion-sensing chip and an AX8 processor that Apple says is 40% faster than the previous model. It also has camera and wifi improvements, and is available in gold …  Read more

What to expect (and not to expect) at Apple’s iPad/Mac event tomorrow

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It looks like Apple’s event tomorrow will focus on new iPad models as rumored, but there are bound to be a lot of announcements beyond just the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. Below we’ve put together some of our expectations for other possibilities at the event, including likely announcements for new Macs, software updates and a couple of possible surprises you might not be expecting. Read more