Prong’s PWR case for iPhone 6 provides the easiest way to juice up (Video)

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There are a ton of power accessories on the market for iPhone that it’s almost difficult to tell them apart. They all fit a ton of battery power in a case, but they are all pretty much the same, except for one.

Prong has recently launched a new Indiegogo campaign for its new PWR case for iPhone 6. Not only does this case have a built-in battery pack, it also features a power supply as well. This means you could get away with never using a cable again to charge up your iPhone…

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Opinion: Should Apple improve iPhone battery life, or just battery cases?

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As this photo of the original Mophie Juice Pack and Tylt’s Energi for iPhone 6 shows, iPhone battery cases haven’t changed much over the years. They’ve existed for almost as long as iPhones, and remained ubiquitous due to Apple’s continued focus on thinness over longevity. That hasn’t been great for consumers: as 9to5’s Seth Weintraub put it, people are more impacted by their phones’ battery life than an extra 2mm of thinness.

It took until 2014 for Apple to offer one iPhone model — the iPhone 6 Plus — with all-day battery life, though you have to be willing to accept a much larger footprint to get that. By comparison, the smaller and reportedly more popular iPhone 6 improved only around 7% upon the iPhone 5s in run time, so the typical iPhone user isn’t seeing much of an improvement over prior models.

With a variety of alternatives at Apple’s disposal, including some major chip improvements that are just around the corner, we wanted to pose two questions to our readership. Should Apple take a break from slimming down iPhones to focus on improving battery life? Or should it instead focus its efforts on making battery cases better? Read on for our thoughts, and share yours in the comments section below…

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Review: Lenmar’s Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 streamlines a familiar design, offers 112% extra power

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Featured in our guide to the best Apple device batteries, the one-of-a-kind MacBook external battery pack ChugPlug demonstrated that Lenmar knows how to make unique accessories. By comparison, Lenmar’s new Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 ($100) isn’t quite as distinctive. It’s basically a softer-curved and more powerful version of the company’s iPhone 5/5s battery case Meridian, which makes it extremely similar to numerous rival iPhone 6 battery cases I’ve tested from other companies.

But with four color options, the ability to refuel itself at 2-Amp speeds, and better button openings than certain lower-priced competitors, the 3,000mAh Maven does have some merits. Here’s a more detailed look at what makes this case blend in and stand out…

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Virgin Mobile drops complete iPhone lineup from its online store

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Since the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last fall, we’ve noticed that Sprint subsidiary Virgin Mobile USA has offered limited-to-no stock on its iPhone lineup with “out of stock” messages on each of their iOS device and seemingly no plans to replenish inventory. Specifically, the pre-paid carrier went head first into the holiday season without any iPhone inventory for shoppers.

Virgin later confirmed that it had no specific plans to carry the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the time, and now the prepaid carrier has completely scrubbed the entire iPhone lineup from its online store. Read more

Apple said to be considering deal with Japan Display to help finance new factory

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A new report claims that Apple is in talks with Japan Display to help finance an LCD display factory in Ishikawa next year. The exact details of the agreement are still in flux, but Apple is said to be considering an investment of somewhere around 200 billion yen (or just under $1.7 billion).

The factory would churn out the same types of low-temperature polycrystalline silicon displays that are currently used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Japanese news sources also say the factory could eventually be repurposed to build OLED panels like those found in the Apple Watch—and possibly in future iPhones. The factory’s output wouldn’t be exclusive to Apple’s devices, however, as the deal currently allows JDI to sell its wares to competitors.

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Review: Speck’s CandyShell Grip + Inked offer ideal iPhone 6 Plus protection, funky looks

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I prefer to start iPhone case reviews with a photo showing the iPhone within a case, so you can immediately see how your device would look inside. For Speck’s new iPhone 6 Plus versions of the super-popular CandyShell, I’m doing something different, because the magic here is hidden inside the case. CandyShell’s one-piece, co-molded design — textured rubber inside with hard plastic outside — has been copied (and admired within the accessory industry) more than almost any case feature in the past five years. With military-grade drop protection and the ability to absorb scratches, CandyShells are the cases I’ve historically used to keep all of my personal iPhones in perfect shape, and I’ve loved them.

That changed with the iPhone 6 Plus. Until now, Speck didn’t have a plain old version of CandyShell available, so I switched over to Incipio’s thicker, steel-pinned Trestle. But Speck has just released CandyShell Inked for iPhone 6 Plus ($45, available for $37 and up based on color), joining the earlier CandyShell Grip for iPhone 6 Plus ($33 to $40, also color-dependent). Unlike the standard CandyShell, which still hasn’t been released for the iPhone 6 Plus, both of these cases are visually intense: Inked is offered in a handful of multi-colored versions, while the two-toned Grip adds extra rubber ridges to the back. If you’re looking for a super-protective and distinctive-looking case, one of these CandyShells should be at the top of your list.

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Apple Pay China expansion reportedly stalled by ChinaUnion, regulators

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We learned last fall that Apple plans to bring Apple Pay to China by partnering with UnionPay. Code found within iOS pointed to Apple preparing its mobile payment service for China while MarketWatch reported Apple was working on a deal with the institution. Several months later, however, MarketWatch now reports that Apple is “struggling with its relationship with UnionPay,” adding that Apple has not yet established an agreement it hoped to reach by March. Read more

Opinion: Apple Pay is easier than swiping a card … until it’s not

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Apple unveiled its mobile payment service Apple Pay last September alongside the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch later rolling it out to new iPhone users in October through the free iOS 8.1 software update. Dozens of banks and credit unions have flipped the switch on Apple Pay since then as more merchants have announced support or plans to accept the new payment method.

Apple Pay, which allows users to securely pay in stores using the latest models of the iPhone simply by placing the smartphone near a special terminal, uses your existing credit or debit card without revealing personal information like your name or card number to merchants.

In practice, Apple Pay is a real delight to use as a payment method as it feels a bit like you’re skipping the payment process altogether; I imagine moving from cash and checks to debit and credit cards years ago felt similar. There’s still a social oddity about paying with your phone in many parts of the United States in 2015, though, which I’m not sure happened with the transition to using cards. Read more

The New Yorker profiles Jony Ive: details meeting Jobs, iPhone 6, Apple Watch, cars and more

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The New Yorker has published an extensive profile on Jony Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design. Many newspapers have written up articles on Ive in recent years, but this latest account by Ian Parker is by far the most detailed and (arguably) the most interesting, revealing new anecdotes and tidbits on Apple’s latest products in the process.

The story tracks how Jony arrived at Apple back in the late 90’s, how his relationship with Jobs developed over that period, and how he is adapting to ‘leading’ design in post-Jobs Apple. The piece includes some new details about how the Watch project and the newest iPhones formed, as well as incorporating quotes from Tim Cook, Bob Mansfield, and others.

Read on for some select excerpts from The New Yorker’s story.

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ESPN app overhauled w/ new look, iPhone 6/6+ & iPad support, more

ESPN is out with a brand new version of its iPhone app today adding native resolution support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ while also debuting on the iPad for the first time. The new app not only sports a new look right down to its icon, but ESPN says it “pulled a Puff Daddy and changed the name.” Previously, the app was branded as ESPN SportsCenter, but now it’s simply “ESPN”. Read more

Starbucks iPhone app updated w/ Apple Pay, enhanced menu, more

Apple announced Starbucks as an Apple Pay partner when it unveiled the mobile payment system last fall, and today the coffee chain is beginning to roll out support for Apple Pay through the latest version of its iPhone app.

While Starbucks does not yet accept Apple Pay in its brick-and-mortar stores, customers have long been able to pay with the iPhone app in stores using a digital Starbucks Card barcode scanned by a barista. Starting today, customers can load credit to a Starbucks Card within the app using Apple Pay as a payment method. Read more

Review: iBattz’ Refuel Invictus battery case lets you swap 3200mAh cells for 127% iPhone 6 charges

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Like most things, the title of “best iPhone 6 battery case” is subject to change whenever something new and great shows up to challenge existing options, and as the iPhone 6 is still young, we’re expecting a lot of jockeying for position over the next few months. The latest real contender comes from iBattz, maker of some of the best iPhone battery cases I’ve tested. Refuel Invictus for iPhone 6 ($100, aka Mojo Refuel Invictus) is the first iPhone 6 case to include a great feature from some earlier iPhone 4/4S and 5/5s cases: removable, replaceable batteries.

Using solely the items in its own box, Refuel Invictus delivered the largest recharge I’ve seen yet for the iPhone 6: 127%, or a full recharge plus an additional 27%. That might be enough to justify the asking price for some people. But you can also add a second battery and external USB charger for $25-$30 more. If you’ve been hunting for a slim battery case that can keep your iPhone running endlessly, this might be the most cost-effective way to do it.

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