For the past few weeks, we have been testing two battery backup accessories for iOS devices: Mophie’s Juice Pack Plus case for the iPhone 5 and Just Mobile’s Gum Max Duo accessory for iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches. You can find our full reviews of both battery accessories below:
ZAGG, an accessory maker that first received a lot of attention for its super-tough invisibleShield screen protector, these days also happens to be making some of the best iPad keyboards around. While ZAGG has big competition from the likes of Logitech and Belkin, its earlier folio and keyboard cover designs have been among our most recommended keyboards for iPad. ZAGG’s latest creations are not only its first dedicated to Apple’s smaller iPad mini, it’s also a new design for the company that helps set it aside from much of the competition.
The first thing that makes ZAGG’s iPad mini keyboards stand out is the company’s decision to sell two models: the ZAGGkeys Mini 7, and a slightly larger keyboard dubbed the Mini 9. ZAGG’s giving you the ability to get a keyboard only 10 percent smaller than a traditional Apple keyboard and built into a solid, good-looking iPad mini case, which something most of the other guys aren’t providing.
Unlike Logitech, Belkin, and others that have gone with the Microsoft Surface-style, magnetic, clip-on keyboard covers, the new Mini 7 and 9 go with a more traditional, folio case design.
First, a few things that are the same about the Mini 7 and Mini 9: Read more
Update: Our own Mark Gurman seems to have put the kibosh on this one.
French language website MacBidouille claims to have some bad news from its retail sources. While they were expecting to see iMacs arrive Nov. 27 (we also heard a similar time frame—with availability beginning around Black Friday) for the 21.5-inchers and later in December for the 27-inchers, both may now miss the all-important holiday shopping season.
The source blames a welding process for the delays, which would push the iMacs into 2013. The new iMacs also have a redesigned display that features a new thinner lamination process.
We first noted the delays in new iMac production in October and questioned whether the devices would be announced at the iPad mini event. Interestingly, we also heard that Apple might introduce an updated Thunderbolt Display in the not-so distant future that may be tied to the launch of the 27-inch iMac. Stay tuned for more information on that soon.
Well-known accessory maker ZAGG has unveiled its lineup of cases for the new iPad Mini that ships Nov. 2, including two new keyboard cases for those looking for a mix of protection and easier typing with a keyboard.
The first is the ZAGGkeys Mini 7 priced at $89.99 for those looking for a folio case design and a Bluetooth keyboard. ZAGG said the case has an “intuitive built-in stand to hold the tablet an ideal viewing angle” that makes typing easier. Additionally, ZAGG announced the ZAGGkeys Mini 9 priced at $89.99. It features the same casing as the Mini 7, but it has an upgraded keyboard that offers more space. There are “dedicated function keys” and “island-style keys engineered to provide 90% of the space of a traditional keyboard” for people who have larger hands.
Ships in weeks.
Staples has 2x$25 iTunes gift cards for $40 with free shipping. At 20% off, that matches the lowest price we’ve seen. The promo lasts until Feb. 25th. iTunes gift cards can be used on Music, Videos, iBooks, iOS Apps and Mac Apps (including Mountain Lion).
Also, remember we’re partnering with MacMall until the end of the month to bring you the lowest prices on new Mac desktops including Minis starting at $551.88 and iMacs starting at $1086.82
All discounts, including higher end models listed below:
Macworld decided to put a decked out Mac Mini Mid-2011 against a current baseline iMac 2.5GHz to see what kind of performance could be gotten from Apple’s diminutive little machine when an SSD is added.
When we say “decked out”, we’re referring to the $100 2.5->2.7GHz CPU improvement + $600 SSD upgrade which almost doubles the price of the $799 ($769) high end Mini and pushes it above the price of the base model iMac. Minis start out at around $568.
The results are pretty apparent: when running simple tests, especially ones that rely only on CPU and disk access, the Mini beat the iMac handily (above). That’s almost entirely due to the added speed of the SSD compared with the iMac’s 3.5-inch HDD. When doing more graphics intensive tests (below), the iMac and its more powerful GPU took over.
The takeaway on this however is that a HDD to SSD upgrade can make a heck of a lot of difference in performance. For those handy out there, adding an SSD to a Mac Mini doesn’t have to be a $600 proposition either. Reasonable SSDs can start out at $100 and can be added to the new Minis’ hard drive configuration (not swapped) with a simple kit.
Another important tweak not detailled in these tests is adding 8GB of RAM to the Mini which will run you somewhere south of $40. Added RAM really improves performance when lots of windows or applications are open at the same time.
We noted before the release of the new Apple products that it often pays to wait a week before buying Apple’s new products. Not only don’t you get “the first ones off the line”, but prices drop significantly over the first week.
A number of Apple Authorized Retailers/affiliates are new selling Apple’s new MacBook Airs and Minis at prices up to $100 lower than Apple. MacMall and Amazon appear to be the lowest.
Update: The MacMall deals are over.
For RAM upgrades, you aren’t going to do better than this 8GB for $45
We’ve been getting word from some international Apple retailers that not only are MacBook Airs, Minis and White MacBooks getting updated soon, but those Macs are also going to see modest-significant price drops in some countries we’ve polled. While we can’t get into the specifics of where and how much, we can tell you some models are being reduced more than the equivalent of $100.
A few things to consider: One, the US Dollar has dropped significantly against Pacific currencies like the Japanese Yen and Korean Won (below) in the past year. Apple has in the past adjusted its products against currency fluctuations.
Also, Apple has been streamlining operations across the globe over the past few years and has been able to bring its prices more in line with US prices.
While these price drops are great news for our friends overseas, it doesn’t necessarily correlate to price drops in the US.
For those of us who still use a Mac Mini (or other Mac) as a MediaCenter connected to our TVs, today’s hack from Erica Sadun is a blessing. She created a Mac Application that can catch Airplay from iOS devices and output the video on the screen. For all intents, AirPlayer lets your Mac do what an AppleTV does naturally.
You can download the Macintosh Application, called AirPlayer.app here.
The interesting question is: Does Apple want us doing this? They make much more money selling Minis (and other Macs) than they do on AppleTV units. However, it would seem easy enough for Apple to include this type of Application with Mac OSX. So why does Sadun have to build it instead? Are we in for another cat and mouse chase?
(update: it is a .01 release and we did have some trouble getting it to work with a YouTube video over wifi) Read more