BeHere app uses iBeacons to identify which students are attending classroom sessions

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 28, 2014

iBeacons, Apple’s cool indoor positioning technology in iOS 7 based on power-sipping Bluetooth 4.0 networking, is seeing some strong adoption across a variety of industries.

Grocery stores are embracing the technology and retailers like Macy’s and Apple’s own retail stores have deployed tiny iBeacon transmitters to put useful information on users’ Lock screens as they move around the store.

Theme parks, music festivals and sports venues are increasingly using iBeacons and one use case even involves giving bar patrons free access to Newsstand magazines.

The latest iBeacon implementation has to do with the classroom: a new BeHere app by a Brazilian company called Beelieve (free download) automatically takes attendance as students enter the classroom, using iBeacon transmitters… Read More

 

Hidden AirPlay feature discovered in Apple TV 6.1

By Cody Lee on Mar 12, 2014

Apple released version 6.1 of its Apple TV software alongside iOS 7.1 on Monday. The update seemingly included little in the way of changes, outside of a new option that allows you to hide channel icons from the main menu.

But apparently there’s a hidden feature in the new firmware that hasn’t been talked about much, and it’s actually a fairly big deal. According to a new report, ATV 6.1 enables you to discover AirPlay connections via Bluetooth…

Read More

 

New in iOS 7.1: Maps navigation prompts through your car’s stereo over Bluetooth

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 11, 2014

Apple has delivered iOS 7.1 yesterday, its first major iOS update since the software’s launch nearly six months ago. We’ve already detailed some of the noteworthy enhancements like Touch ID reliability improvements, new Siri features, CarPlay support, a bunch of bug fixes – some of which have been credited to prominent iOS hackers like the evad3rs team - and more.

According to developer Mike Piontek, Maps in iOS 7.1 includes a poorly labeled new feature called HFP Prompts which allows the app to play navigation prompts over your car’s speakers, via Bluetooth, even when the iPhone is not selected as the audio source. It’s a great addition to Apple’s in-car initiative because no longer do you have to fiddle with audio settings as HFP Prompts automatically does the right thing for you.

Jump past the fold for the full breakdown… Read More

 

Moga teases new MFi Bluetooth controller for iOS 7 devices

By Cody Lee on Feb 28, 2014

Moga didn’t make a very good first impression in the iOS 7 controller space. Plagued by the typical new-category teething issues, the Ace Power launched to mostly negative reviews last fall despite its large built-in battery and dual analog joysticks.

But the mobile accessory-maker isn’t going to let a little bad press get it down. This week, Moga began sending out a teaser image (seen above) for a new MFi controller. It looks a lot like the Ace Power, but with one big difference: a Bluetooth button… Read More

 

Apple releases iBeacon specification

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 25, 2014

Apple’s iBeacons, an indoor positioning system that can detect nearby devices to optionally push promotional marketing messages, has been picking up considerable steam lately. For instance, such brands as Major League Baseball and Apple itself have implemented the system, as did various retailers, theme parksgrocery stores and even car accessory makers.

According to BEEKn.net, Apple has now released detailed specification for the iBeacon platform. Released through Apple’s ‘Made for iPhone’ (MFi) initiative, the documents are apparently separate from Apple’s main Bluetooth MFi specification.. Read More

 

‘Controllers for All’ updated with improved game detection and fixes for disconnect issues

By Jeff Benjamin on Feb 1, 2014

Good news for those of you who wish to use PS3 or PS4 controllers with games that include iOS 7 controller support: the Controllers for All tweak has been updated with lots of improvements and fixes.

As we told you via our two walkthroughs, Controllers for All is a jailbreak tweak that lets you use Sony’s popular controllers with any game that features iOS 7 support. It’s a great tweak, because most iOS 7 controllers are both too expensive and poorly designed. Most of the iOS 7 controllers that we’ve seen have received mediocre to bad reviews, so it’s a breath of fresh air when using Sony’s much-heralded hardware.

Just released today, Controllers for All version 1.1.2 features quite a few new fixes and improvements. Have a look inside for the full change-log. Read More

 

How to unlock your Mac with Touch ID

By Jeff Benjamin on Jan 31, 2014

UnlockID is a super-cool new jailbreak tweak that does exactly what the headline says—it allows you to unlock your Mac using the Touch ID sensor found on the iPhone 5s. Using Bluetooth Low Energy, the tweak features a Mac component that allows your iPhone 5s to communicate with your OS X installation.

Although the tweak’s practicality may be up for debate, there’s no debating the fact that this is one of the most innovate and coolest looking Touch ID tweaks we’ve seen thus far. We’ve taken UnlockID for a thorough walkthrough. Check out our hands-on video after the break. Read More

 

Good deal: 37% off this Bluetooth-enabled tracking device

By Cody Lee on Jan 21, 2014

Have you ever left your wallet at home or say, at the table of a restaurant or the counter of a store? I know I have, and it’s not really a big deal unless it’s not there when you go back. Then you have to cancel credit cards and replace IDs and other cards—it’s a mess.

Luckily, thanks to modern technology, there are a number of devices available that can prevent this from happening using Bluetooth and a mobile app. And perhaps even more luckily, Stack Social is running a deal on one right now called the Find’Em Tracking Card… Read More

 

Jawbone soups up Era headset with HD Voice, Siri and Google Now integration and more

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 16, 2014

If you thought Bluetooth headsets were dead, think again. Jawbone makes some of the finest portable audio devices and wireless headsets and was among the first to release a Bluetooth headset for Apple’s iPhone. On Thursday, the San Francisco-based company has streamlined its headset offering by announcing a second-generation Era.

It’s 42 percent smaller, comes with its own charging case and looks good enough to be worn in public while offering interesting new voice features aimed at Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now voice assistants. Read on for more info and some nice press shots… Read More

 

CES 2014: Kolibree unveils world’s first app-enabled wireless toothbrush

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 6, 2014

Last year’s CES brought us the Hapifork smart fork from Hapilabs and this time around the French startup Kolibree is bringing what appears to be the world’s first app-connected sonic electric toothbrush. Yup, you read that right.

The eyebrow-raising announcement aims for better dental care by game-fying your daily tooth-brushing habits with scores, leaderboards and more.

Designed to “outsmart your dentist,” co-founder Loic Cessot promises his company’s product will “reinvent oral care”. Read on for additional tidbits and a video… Read More

 

CES 2014: Griffin unveils wireless PowerMate, new KaZoo gadgets, StudioConnect HD and more

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 6, 2014

Our coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 continues with a slew of new product announcements by the accessory maker Griffin. The company has shown off a wireless variant of its iconic PowerMate knob, the first-ever iPhone protective case with storage for Square’s credit card reader, a multitrack version of the StudioConnect iPad music box and a brand new line of iPad protective cases, including a Papernomad iPad Air case, to name a few.

The Nashville, Tennessee based company has expanded its Kazoo-branded lineup with a matching iPad mini case, a stylus and a wall charger featuring fun animal graphics. There are also new app-controlled car and helicopter toys to check out, along with a range of iDevice cases in a variety of bold prints and colors to accent any style.

The monster breakdown is right below the fold… Read More

 

Argus picks up support for Fitbit imports, Bluetooth heart rate monitor for activities and more

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 9, 2013

Azumio’s Argus fitness software was the first App Store app to gain low-power motion tracking via support for the dedicated M7 motion coprocessor inside the iPhone 5s.

Today, the developer has refreshed the app with a bunch of fixes and a couple new features, including the new Close Friends social capability, the ability to import Fitbit data, support for Bluetooth heart rate monitor for activities and other goodies.

The updated item is now live in the App Store and free for everyone who’ve previously purchased the program… Read More

 

iPad Air keyboards: 12 models to consider

By Jim Gresham on Dec 7, 2013

As iPad becomes more of a portable workhorse, the need for professional grade accessories drastically increases. Our own Jeff Benjamin swears by his iPad to muscle common tasks for his daily blogging needs. Of the most important professional additions, the keyboard rates at number one.

A virtual keyboard is perfect for portability. Software keyboards only take up screen space, but do not take up space in a travel bag or add weight. They are equally as noticeable when trying to actually accomplish some real work. The Bluetooth keyboard is the answer for users looking to get extra mileage from their iPad Air. Inside, we give a short spotlight to some of the best iPad Air keyboards… Read More

 

Bluetooth SIG introduces Bluetooth 4.1 with new features, improved usability

By Cody Lee on Dec 5, 2013

It seems like it wasn’t too long ago that Bluetooth only existed to connect tacky headsets to cell phones. But these days, the wireless technology is used for connecting peripherals, data transfers, and nearly everything in between.

This week, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced the latest update to the Bluetooth specification, bringing it to version 4.1. The update features a number of enhancements, like improved data transfers and more… Read More

 

iPhone 5c accessory grab bag giveaway

By Jim Gresham on Nov 18, 2013

The iPhone 5c originally received a lot of attention due to the new form factor, lower price, and colorful addition to the otherwise black and white iPhone line up. Now, it seems the 5s is getting most of the attention as the new flagship handheld device.

Even iDB focuses primarily on the high end hardware, but today we recenter. Thanks to a few contacts in the right places, we are excited to announce an iPhone 5c specific giveaway to our readers. Take a look past the fold for the grab bag goodies going to one winner and enter for your chance to win… Read More

 

A look at Belkin’s Keyboard Cases for the iPad Air

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 17, 2013

A few days ago, two of Belkin’s flagship iPad accessories arrived at my office — the soft touch QODE Slim Style Keyboard Case, and the anodized aluminum coated QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case.

Both cases provide iPad owners with a physical Bluetooth enabled keyboard, which is handy for serious typists. While many are able to get by with tap typing on iOS’ software keyboard, there’s simply no arguing against the fact that a physical keyboard is superior in virtually every way.

So, which one is right for you? Read More

 

Apple implementing iBeacon tech in retail stores to assist with sales and services

By Cody Lee on Nov 17, 2013

Apple is working to implement its new iBeacon technology into its retail stores, according to a new report from 9to5Mac. The tech, which is new to iOS 7, can pinpoint a device’s location within a few feet using low energy Bluetooth.

The iBeacon system will initially help Apple with sales, offering up pricing and information on products simply by a user walking up to them. And later it will be used to assist with services such as workshops and Genius appointments… Read More

 

ZAGG’s Origin wireless speaker combo [review and giveaway]

By Jim Gresham on Nov 12, 2013

The Bluetooth speaker is making its way as a universal speaker for all mobile devices. As I mentioned in a previous Bluetooth speaker round up just last week, it appears more companies are entering the Bluetooth speaker marketplace. Also, it seems fewer companies are producing dock based speakers. After Apple turned the iPhone dedicated aftermarket upside down by eliminating the 30 pin cable, fewer companies want to continue chancing a Lightning pin specific option. With the universal Bluetooth standard, not only does the company future proof their design, but all mobile devices will work effortlessly, thus preventing costly dedicated iPhone models.

ZAGG (you know them as one of the original iPhone skin companies) is also branching into the mobile media scene. No longer just the InvisibleShield company, ZAGG and their new subsidiary iFrogz are getting their hands dirty in a cross platform way. From skins to cases to audio, there is certainly a diversification for the company. I was able to review a new pair of their Bluetooth headphones a few weeks back and today, a closer look at the ZAGG Bluetooth speaker, should leave everyone begging for more.

The ZAGG Origin, which made its first splash at CES 2013, had escaped my radar until recently. With a streamlined design and hard hitting sound, I was excited to receive a review unit. Origin may look like it is just another part of the average Bluetooth line up, but a detachable companion speaker is the second part of a one-two punch to success… Read More

 

Some entry level Bluetooth speakers to consider

By Jim Gresham on Nov 8, 2013

We love music. For years, well before iPods, we took music everywhere. From records to CD’s, music is a part of every day life, especially with the invention of MP3 players and the subsequent iPod. However, these are personal devices with single use headphone jacks. Music is most fun when enjoyed with those around us, or at least without being tied down by a corded headset.

Setting music free, is the Bluetooth speaker. As a reviewer, it seems Bluetooth speakers continue to advance in popularity. Not only do I get asked to review them more frequently, but I seem to have more personal conversations about them too. Which one is best, more portable, louder, more clear, better battery and so forth. To throw a few out there for consideration, I rounded up four different models for your consideration… Read More

 

Apple’s Bluetooth hotspot patent points to iWatch

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 7, 2013

The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday published an interesting Apple patent that has iWatch written all over it. The filing titled ‘Network access using short-range connectability’ describes a low-power wireless hotspot functionality via Bluetooth 4.0 that basically provides network connectivity akin to the iOS Wi-Fi hotspot feature, but without draining the battery as much.

By relying on the Bluetooth 4.0 low-energy protocol, also known as Bluetooth LE or Bluetooth Smart, such a wireless hotspot is a fit for a device like the rumored Apple smartwatch, which must be super power-efficient. Another benefit of using the Bluetooth LE-enabled hotspot is that your iPhone can instantly wake up the host device… Read More

 
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