iLoveHandles launches ‘Trunk’, a flexible Lightning cable that holds your iPhone vertically

iLoveHandles, a company that makes unique iOS device accessories (Facet and Pinhead come to mind), today announced availability of its latest one of a kind offering for iPhone.

TRUNK-coffeeDubbed the “Trunk,” the company has created a short, flexible Lightning cable that is strong enough to hold up an iPhone vertically when charging in the wall or elsewhere. We’ve seen similar dock solutions before that are married with wall adapters, but Trunk makes it easy to prop up your iPhone no matter where you are.

iLoveHandles, which is currently selling the cable for $19.95 through its website, shows in the images above a couple of the situations Trunk might come in handy. This is definitely a product we can see using in the car while using a maps app to navigate, and we hope to bring a full hands-on review of Trunk soon. Read more

Logitech announces wired iPad keyboard for the classroom in Lightning and 30-pin variants

Logitech-Wired-Keyboard-for-iPad

We know that Bluetooth keyboards are usually the go to solution for a bringing a traditional typing experience on the iPad. We’ve reviewed plenty from Logitech in the past that we highly recommend, but today the company launched what it says is a better solution for iPad keyboards in the classroom. Logitech says having to connect multiple iPads to Bluetooth keyboards in classrooms is a big hassle for teachers, and to combat that it is introducing a plug-and-play, wired keyboard in both Lightning and 30-pin variants:

“Schools are increasingly purchasing iPads for use in the classroom,” said Mike Culver, vice president and general manager of mobility at Logitech. “While tablets are enabling new ways of teaching and testing, there’s a challenge when a teacher needs to simultaneously pair multiple iPads with multiple wireless Bluetooth keyboards. We developed the Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad to specifically solve this problem, so students can now simply plug it in and start typing.”

The full-sized keyboard has the usual iOS hotkeys, a durable, spill resistant exterior, and the low profile keys you might be used to from other Logitech keyboards.  Read more

Apple *could* upgrade the little computer in the Lightning HDMI adapter to do better 1080p

Digital-A-V-connector-Lighting-take-apartWe reported over the weekend that there was some confusion over exactly how Apple’s new Lightning digital AV adapter works and why it lacks the ability to carry a native 1080p signal. One theory is that Apple was using an AirPlay wireless streaming protocol, but we’ve since learned that is not the case. According to a post  that purports to be from an anonymous Apple engineer explaining how the cables function, Apple does not use Airplay protocol. It instead uses the same H.264 encoding technology as AirPlay to encode the output into the ARM SoC. From there, the data is decoded and sent over HDMI:

It’s vastly the same thing with the HDMI adapter. Lightning doesn’t have anything to do with HDMI at all. Again, it’s just a high speed serial interface. Airplay uses a bunch of hardware h264 encoding technology that we’ve already got access to, so what happens here is that we use the same hardware to encode an output stream on the fly and fire it down the Lightning cable straight into the ARM SoC the guys at Panic discovered. Airplay itself (the network protocol) is NOT involved in this process. The encoded data is transferred as packetized data across the Lightning bus, where it is decoded by the ARM SoC and pushed out over HDMI.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Apple could improve the quality with future software updates since the firmware is stored in RAM as opposed to ROM. The poster noted that Apple deemed the quality “suitably acceptable” but *will* make improvements with future iOS updates: Read more

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

Holiday Shopping Guide: Mods, cases, cables, & docks available now for your iPhone 5

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 7.24.19 PM

We have already brought you roundups of the best Lightning products and iPad mini accessories we could find, but there are still a lot of iPhone 5 specific accessories, mods, and attachements that didn’t make our past gift guides. We didn’t want to include any products that you wouldn’t be able to get your hands on before Christmas, so we’re only including products promising to ship in December. Below you’ll find our roundup of the best mods, cases, cables & docks available now and specifically designed for the iPhone 5: Read more

Philips releases four beautiful new Lightning speaker docks

Philips today announced four new Lightning-based speaker docks for Apple’s latest iPhone 5, iPad Mini, new iPods, and fourth-generation iPads. We had a chance to look at and listen to these at a special briefing yesterday, and we can confirm they sound every bit as good as they look:

  • Philips Lifestyle Music System (DCM2067) – an elegant and slim design that looks good in any modern interior. As well as charging and playing music from Lightning enabled devices through its retractable Lightning dock; the system also includes a CD player and FM radio. Even with its slender footprint, the system delivers 20W RMS power to provide a great sound performance.
  • Philips Portable Docking Speaker (DS7580) – slim and compact enough to fit in your bag, it features Philips’ wOOx technology that provides a rich and deep bass. Precise tuning between the speaker drivers ensures a smooth transition between low- to mid- and high-frequencies. With a built-in battery that lasts for approximately eight hours you can enjoy your music anywhere.
  • Philips Bedroom Docking Speaker (DS1155) – has a 360-degree design, providing rich omnidirectional sound to fill your bedroom. The clock display of the docking speaker automatically synchronizes with the clock of your Apple device, and the speaker also includes a USB port at the back of the speaker allowing users to easily charge a second mobile device.

It also looks like they slipped another upcoming Lightning dock into their Flickr account, but that one might be for our EU readers only for now.

The press release follows: Read more