Holiday Shopping Guide: Every single great Lightning accessory we could find

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

Fender launches new $199 Squier USB Stratocaster for iOS devices exclusively at the Apple Store

While there are a quite a few USB guitar solutions on the market already, Fender is bringing a USB version of its popular Squire Stratocaster series exclusively to the Apple Store. Priced at $199.95 on Apple’s online store, the guitar features a traditional 1/4-inch output, Type Mini-B USB connector, and two included cables for connecting via USB or directly to iOS devices. Unfortunately, Fender is including a 30-pin cable for iOS devices, so users of newer iOS devices will have to grab a Lightning to 30-pin adapter.

The NEW Squier Strat Guitar with USB & iOS Connectivity gives you a huge range of tones and all the features you expect from Fender—plus the convenience of direct connection to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.

Also included is a 3.5mm headphone jack and “a high-quality headphone amp so that you can monitor the processed guitar signal right from the guitar itself.” It’s clear Fender is aiming this product directly at the GarageBand iOS users, but you’ll have no problem hooking up to your Mac or PC with an included USB cable or using it as a traditional guitar with the 1/4-inch output.

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Zorro Macsk Review: Instantly add touchscreen gestures to your iMac with infrared sensors (Video)

For a few years now PC manufacturers have been attempting to pack a touchscreen into their all-in-one iMac competitors. It’s a feature Steve Jobs made clear back in 2010 that Apple had spent significant time testing on Macs before determining touch was “ergonomically terrible”  on a vertical display. Steve noted “you start to fatigue and after an extended period of time, your arm wants to fall off.”  While that does not mean Apple will never do it (see iPad mini), for now Apple has made its bet on hand gestures staying horizontal on Macs– trackpads in its notebooks, and multi-touch gestures with Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad for desktops.

Third-party touchscreen solutions for Mac do exist: Troll Touch will install a resistive touch panel on your Mac for no less than $800 and up. However, with that price on top of the cost of the iMac itself… for obvious reasons it has not been an extremely popular solution. We’ve been playing with what appears to be the only affordable product on the market bringing touchscreen like gestures to iMac, the $199 Zorro Macsk from Shenzhen based TMDtouch.

Early reviews of the Zorro Macsk should perhaps be updated, as we’ve been playing with the product following an update at the end of October that the company said vastly improved performance and fixed many of the issues reviewers were experiencing.  Read more

Apple confirms that 12W adapter will charge iPads quicker than older 10W adapters

The morning of Apple’s iPad mini event earlier this week, we told you there was a handful of new accessories coming including four new Lightning adapters and a 12W USB power adapter. We didn’t hear much about them during the event, but the new cables and adapters have hit Apple’s online store now, including a Lightning Digital AV adapter and Lightning to VGA adapter, with most shipping in “2-3 weeks”.

On the product page for the new 12W USB charger, Apple confirmed it would indeed ship with Retina iPads. With the new fourth-gen replacing the third-gen iPad—that would essentially cover just the iPad 4. It is, however, selling the adapter by itself for $19 online and listing compatibility with iPad 2, iPhone 4S, and iPod touch fifth-gen and up. Many readers have wondered whether the adapter would allow for faster charging with the iPad 3 and fourth-gen iPad. A big complaint among third-gen iPad users is that the device took up several more hours to charge than previous generations due to its larger battery. Also, on Apple’s discussion forums, some users asked if a software update would be required for the iPad 3 to draw additional power.

When we asked Apple about the 12W adapters, we were told the following:

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More 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro pictures surface: 2 Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, 2560×1600 resolution


15″ Retina MacBook Pro above, 13″ Retina MacBook Pro below (note no speaker and port/keyboard alignment):

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Another visit to WeiPhone.com forum thread [Google translation] (via MacRumors) from last week yields some additional new pictures of the upcoming 13-inch MacBook Pro. You can see different placement of the side jacks as they relate to the keyboard and lack of speaker.

There’s nothing unexpected but it does seem to confirm a few things:

  • 2 Thunderbolt ports like 15-inch Retina and unlike 13-inch Pros
  • The Windows screens seem to confirm the 2560×1600 pixel display
  • HDMI port like Retina 15, unlike Pro 13.

We expect to see the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro at the October 23rd event with a base price in the $1599-1699 area. More pictures below:

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ZAGG launches super-thin backlit Bluetooth keyboard for iPad, ships Sept. for $130

ZAGG, perhaps best known for its invisibleShield screen protector, is adding two new additions to its also popular lineup of keyboards and cases tonight with the unveiling of two super-thin Bluetooth keyboards designed specifically for iPad.  The keyboards, ZAGGKeys PRO for $99 and PRO Plus for $129, feature the usual iOS specific functions such as media playback and volume controls, copy and paste keys, as well as keys for the Home button, search, etc.

Think the backlighting might drain the battery? HA! If you use the keyboard for eight hours a day, you will get up to three weeks of normal use…and remember that is the backlit model! The keyboard will come in English, French, and German models at launch.

We got our hands on the new keyboards tonight at the ShowStoppers IFA press event and were quiet impressed with the overall build quality. They do not feel cheap (the opposite), which is not too surprising given ZAGG’s reputation of building military grade screen protectors and other quality protective accessories.

The two models are identical to one another, including a magnetic closure that allows it to act as a screen protector when not in use. However, an extra $20 will upgrade you to the Pro Plus model with a backlit keyboard, which is a feature that has noticeably been missing from the go-to iPad keyboards currently on the market.

Will Zagg leapfrog our current favorite ultrathin iPad keyboard from Logitech?

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