Apple launches Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader to support USB 3.0 transfer speeds on iPad Pro

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 8, 2015

If you’re looking to quickly transfer photos and videos from your camera’s SD Card to the iPad Pro, then look no further than Apple’s own Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader ($29.00) to handle the job. Apple explicitly states on its store page that the peripheral supports USB 3.0 transfer speeds on the iPad Pro.

Interestingly, the same cannot be said for Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, as that still only supports USB 2.0 transfer speeds. The Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, which just launched and is available to ship in 3-5 business days from Apple’s online store, appears to be the only accessory to support USB 3.0 transfer speeds on the iPad Pro at this time. Read More

 

Blue Spark Digital review: the best bang for your buck microphone for iOS devices

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 1, 2015

The Blue Spark Digital ($127.74 on Amazon) is a handy little condenser microphone that’s much smaller than its better-known big brother, the Blue Yeti. While the Blue Yeti excels at a lot of things, and can handle a wider variety of applications than the Spark Digital, the latter has one big advantage—the ability to directly connect to an iOS device via the included Lightning cable.

Just try to connect your Blue Yeti to your iPad, and you’ll be quickly met with the dreaded “this device uses too much power” message. You’ll see no such ominous messages when using the Blue Spark Digital, because it was made with iOS, specifically the iPad, in mind.

Although this microphone lacks the versatility of the Blue Yeti, most users will be more than satisfied with the sound quality for things like podcasting and voice-overs. The Spark lacks the varied polar patterns of Yeti, and thus can’t be used as an all-in-one microphone, but for a one-man gig, it’s almost perfect. Read More

 

Review: SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Controller

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 30, 2015

If you want to do serious gaming on the Apple TV, then using a wireless Bluetooth controller isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. Yes, Apple controversially made it a requirement for all games on its platform to support the Siri Remote, but that’s not going to cut it for any game with an even mildly complex control scheme.

Games like Alto’s Adventure and Mr. Jump play perfectly fine, and are even suited for the Siri Remote, but in most cases, you’re definitely going to want a controller as an option.

Unfortunately, there is no Apple-branded controller to speak of, but Apple did co-design a controller with the help of SteelSeries. The result of that partnership is the SteelSeries Nimbus, and Apple is promoting this controller as the de facto standard alternative input device for the Apple TV.

All of that considered, while there are other 3rd-party Bluetooth controllers that work with the Apple TV, the most obvious choice is the SteelSeries Nimbus.

I purchased a Nimbus on day one, and have been playing with it for weeks. Is the $49.99 controller worth your time and hard-earned money? Is it really the best way to control games on the Apple TV? Read More

 

Rumor: iPhone 7 to lose 3.5mm headphone port in favor of Lightning port

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 27, 2015

Apple’s next iPhone will be so thin that the company has decided to ditch the standard 3.5mm headphone port for the first time since the iPhone’s 2007 inception, a reasonably accurate Japaese blog, Macotakara, reported Friday.

The move should help Apple’s engineers shave off another millimeter of thickness or so, reports the publication, adding that users will instead connect wireless headphones over Bluetooth or compatible wired headphones over the Lightning port. Read More

 

Apple Pencil ships with extra tip and Lightning-to-Lightning adapter for USB charging

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2015

Apple’s $99 stylus accessory for the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil, conveniently comes with a spare tip and includes a special Lightning-to-USB adapter to save users from having to precariously charge their Pencils directly from their iPads.

A spare tip is a nice addition as it gives Pencil customers piece of mind knowing that wearing down the tip won’t force them to take their accessory for servicing. Read More

 

The iPad Pro Lightning connector is capable of supporting USB 3.0 speeds

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 12, 2015

According to CNET’s iPad Pro review, Apple’s just-released tablet is capable of supporting USB 3.0 transfer speeds via its Lightning connector. The report, which corroborates a finding by iFixit, and was later brought to our attention by MacRumors’ Juli Clover, is notable for a few reasons.

First, it would make the iPad Pro the first and only device that Apple makes (that’s not a Mac) to support USB 3.0 transfer speeds. Secondly, it means that copying large 4K video files to the device will be much more feasible. Read More

 

Save 30% on the virtually indestructible Titan cable and Titan loop charger bundle

By iDB Deals on Nov 3, 2015

The Titan Cable & Titan Loop Lightning Charger Bundle – now just $44.95 – is a virtually indestructible duo to power your iOS devices, perfect for your on-the-go charging needs and compatible with all of Apple’s latest devices (it is MFi certified). Designed to be easy to carry around, it can be folded in half and attached to your keychain or bag. Read More

 

Nomad’s Wallet puts a full charge for your iPhone 6s in your wallet

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 3, 2015

Nomad today launched an interesting lifestyle accessory for your iPhone, dubbed the Wallet. It’s literally a premium bifold leather wallet with an integrated 3.5-inch Lightning cable and a built-in 2,400mAh battery, enough to provide a full charge for your Lightning-based iPhone and then some more.

The wallet holds six credit or gift cards, cash, is made from Saffiano leather and is just 0.75 inch thick when closed. If you’re a fan of real wallets, not those iPhone cases that double as wallets, you can pre-order Nomad’s Wallet for $79. Read More

 

Belkin Charge Dock review: the best iPhone and Apple Watch dock available

By Cody Lee on Nov 2, 2015

Shortly after Apple announced that it would allow manufacturers to include Apple Watch charging pads in their accessories, Belkin unveiled the Charge Dock. It’s a charging dock with a built-in magnetic charger for the Watch and an adjustable Lightning connector for iPhone.

The Dock checks all of the necessary boxes: it looks sharp, is very well-made and it carries Made for iPhone and Apple Watch badges, meaning it’s passed Apple’s certification tests. And after using one for the past few weeks, I felt it was good enough to warrant an in-depth review. Read More

 

Report: the iPad Pro Pencil will ship with an adapter for Lightning cable connections

By Jeff Benjamin on Oct 29, 2015

Good news: when you want to charge your iPad Pro Pencil, you won’t necessarily have to look like a doofus when you do so.

Prior to today, it was assumed that the only way to charge the iPad Pro’s Pencil stylus was to plug it into the bottom of the iPad Pro itself. The Pencil’s cap features a Lightning plug hidden underneath, and Apple showcased its ability to charge it by plugging the device directly into the iPad Pro’s Lightning port.

While this method of charging works, and is extremely handy when you need a quick bit of extra juice on the fly, it looks incredibly goofy to have a stylus protruding out of the top of the iPad Pro, especially because the iPad Pro is so big itself.

Today, 9to5Mac is reporting that Apple plans on shipping the Pencil with an adapter that will allow users to connect the device directly to a Lightning cable. The adapter will reportedly ship with all Pencil’s, which come as a separate purchase from the iPad Pro itself. Read More

 

AmazonBasics Retractable USB cable saves space, avoids tangles

By Lory Gil on Oct 24, 2015

This past weekend, as I packed for a road trip, I crammed my overnight bag full of clothes, toiletries, gadgets, and cables for all of my various devices. My side pocket looked like a robot spider had spun a USB web. It was a mess.

AmazonBasics’ Retractable USB Cable would have saved me a lot of hassle. It stretches to two feet in length, but when closed up, fits neatly into small compartments so you don’t have a tangled mess to deal with when you unpack. Read More

 

How to direct connect an iPhone to an iPad to share photos and videos

By Jeff Benjamin on Oct 17, 2015

Today I learned that it’s possible to directly connect an iPhone to an iPad via a Lightning cable. To create a dual-sided Lightning cable, just take a regular Lightning cable and connect the USB end to a Lightning to USB Camera adapter. This, in essence, creates a Lightning to Lightning cable that can be used to directly connect an iPhone to an iPad.

This setup is a novelty to do just because you can. In practice, I find that it actually adds little value in terms of transmission speed. Still, it’s cool that it can be done, which is why I thought I’d share with you.

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Teardown analysis of Magic accessories finds chips from other Apple products and more tidbits

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 16, 2015

Repair experts over at iFixit have performed an interesting triple teardown of Apple’s latest Magic accessories—the Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and Magic Keyboard—and found that all three devices are outfitted with many of the same chips also found in other Apple products.

On the downside, Apple’s unified approach to engineering the new Magic devices has resulted in just 3 out of 10 in iFixit’s Repairability ratings due to high level of integration and excessive amount of adhesive. Read More

 

The Magic Mouse 2’s Lightning port location isn’t the problem it’s being made out to be

By Jeff Benjamin on Oct 16, 2015

As soon as I saw the location of the Lightning port for recharging Apple’s new Magic Mouse 2, I knew that a mini outrage was imminent. It took a while, but I guess everyone’s Magic Mouse 2 finally arrived in the mail. Thus, let the outrage commence!

Did Apple commit a design faux pas by placing a Lightning port on the bottom of the mouse, rendering it useless while the device is charging? Is it really that big of a deal? Read More

 

Magic Mouse 2 review: rechargeable and sturdier, but is it worth the upgrade?

By Jeff Benjamin on Oct 13, 2015

I’ve been a huge proponent of the Magic Mouse ever since it first debuted. I use this mouse almost daily, even though I have a MacBook with a trackpad.

When editing video in Final Cut Pro X, a mouse is pretty much a necessity due to the precision required. With this in mind, the Magic Mouse is one of my most cherished companions when it comes to my daily workflow.

As you know, Apple just updated its Magic Mouse with several new features. The headlining feature of the new Magic Mouse is its built-in rechargeable battery. The new mouse is also lighter with a sturdier build and features an optimized foot design for better movement. But for existing Magic Mouse users, is it worth the upgrade? Read More

 

Beats announces light Pill+ wireless speaker, available in November

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 7, 2015

Apple-owned Beats by Dr. Dre today announced its very first wireless speaker since joining the Cupertino firm in May 2014 deal valued at more than $3 billion.

The new Pill+ is Bluetooth-enabled, lighter than its predecessor and comes with a twelve-hour battery that can be used to charge your devices through the USB and USB-C ports found on the back.

The Pill+ is slightly larger than the original Pill speaker and uses the stereo active 2-way crossover system to create an optimized sound field. Read More

 

Titan Loop MFi-Certified Lightning cable is now 33% Off

By iDB Deals on Sep 11, 2015

Sick of frayed, split or broken lightning chargers? Then grab the Titan Loop – a virtually indestructible, foldable and MFi certified charging cable. Whether it’s your iPhone or iPad, the Titan Loop lightning cable is a great deal at $19.99, at a great savings of 33% off.  Read More

 

MagCable brings MagSafe-like experience with fast-charging to your iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 25, 2015

If the 12-inch MacBook is indicative of Apple’s future plans, the popular MagSafe adapter is on its way out as USB-C comes into full view.

Sadly, USB-C is plagued with a major drawback: the standard doesn’t use Apple’s proprietary MagSafe charging method which employs magnets to ensure your notebook doesn’t fly off a desk or wiggle the pins when you trip on the cord.

With MagSafe’s future hanging in the balance, a company called aMagic Ltd. set out to replicate the MagSafe charging experience on Lightning-enabled iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. Read More

 

Review: Skiva PowerFlow 7 Port StandCharger + Giveaway

By Jeff Benjamin on Aug 21, 2015

Chances are that if you’re reading this review, you have more than one portable device that charges via USB. Maybe you have two—a tablet and a phone—or maybe you have multiple phones.

Admittedly, someone like me is a bit of anomaly, as I review phones and cover them on a daily basis. Hence, it’s not out of the ordinary for me to have multiple smartphones at any given time. This has especially become true as I get acquainted with more Android devices.

One of the main caveats of having this many portable devices is keeping them charged. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up a phone or a tablet that I haven’t touched in a while, only to find it dead—the dreaded “dead phone syndrome”.

The problem really is two-fold: a). I don’t have enough wall outlets and chargers in convenient places to keep the devices topped off, and b). my devices are usually scattered all over the place.

Skiva’s new PowerFlow StandCharger 7-Port USB Charging Station aims to eliminate both problems. It can charge all of your devices at the same time via the seven 2.4 Amp USB ports, and it also houses each device in a organized manner.

But does the Skiva do enough to warrant a serious look? Is this $59.99 device truly better than your current system of charging your device? Check out our video walkthrough and thoughts inside.
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Keep your iPhone 6 charged at a distance with Bolse’s Cloth Jacketed Lightning Cable

By Lory Gil on Aug 20, 2015

There are two things wrong with Apple’s Lightning cable. One is that the cord is just not long enough to be useful. The other is that it tends to tangle when not properly stored.

Bolse solves both of those problems with a six-foot MFi certified cord that is covered in a high-quality nylon jacket so you can plug your iPhone 6 into the wall and still use it while sitting on the couch. Read More