Oct 03

iHome iD55 with iPadAfter trying several portable iPhone speaker systems over the years, I pretty much gave up finding one ideal for my needs. I still tested portable speakers now and again, of course – for professional reasons – but all left me wanting. The best I’ve found was the Altec Lansing iMT702, and it was released over three years ago. Since then it’s been disappointment after disappointment.

So when word came that iHome, one of my favorite iOS speaker companies, was releasing a sleek new portable speaker, the iD55, I was encouraged. Surely this reasonably priced system would perform better than its current, lousy competitors. iHome had never really let me down before.

No such luck.

While well designed and constructed, its poor performance and lack of obvious conveniences left me, once again, looking for a wall outlet.

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Sep 17

Apple's Dock Connector to Lightning AdapterWell, that was fast. 

Several sellers on eBay have posted 30-pin Dock Connector to Lightning adapters that are far cheaper than Apple’s adapter. Both the small dongle-type adapter (which Apple sells for a shockingly-expensive $29 ) and the adapter with attached cable (Apple = $39) are up for sale, and most are priced between $10 and $15

Check shipping information for delivery dates.  Some are not expected to arrive until early-to-mid October.

Lightning is the name given by Apple to its new reversible Dock Connector, which replaced the traditional Dock Connector found on Apple products since the early days of the iPod.  Lightning connectors are found on the new iPhone 5, 5th Gen iPod touch and new iPod nano.  New iPads will also certainly be “upgraded” to this new connection type.

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Sep 13

30-pin to Lightning Adapter

When Apple announced it was updating the magnetic charging connection on its 2012 MacBooks, the company released an adapter that allowed users to charge new MagSafe 2 notebooks with older MagSafe chargers. That adapter is available for $10.  But when Apple unveiled the long-rumored change to its 30-pin Dock Connector yesterday, those with older Dock Connector cables, speakers, chargers, docks, batteries, etc., didn’t get off quite so cheaply.

The new Dock Connector, which Apple calls Lightning, won’t fit any existing iPhone, iPod, or iPad accessories.  So if you want to use those accessories you’ve likely been accumulating for the past few years, you’ll need a 30-Pin Dock Connector to Lightning Adapter.

And Apple will gladly sell you one… for $30.

I’m glad Apple changed its aging Dock Connector, and I very much like the design and improved usability of Lightning. But charging $30 (or $40 or the adapter with a built-in cable) is outrageously and unjustifiably pricey; you can buy an entire MP3 player with a screen, 8GB of storage, a processor, controls, etc., for less than $30.  Charging $10 – which would have still allowed a hefty profit margin – would be much more reasonable.

I will be getting the iPhone 5, and I have many accessories that use the standard Dock Connector.  But I won’t be giving Apple $30 a pop for their adapters.  I’ll wait for eBay or Amazon to sell third-party or OEM models for $3, even if I have to wait a few months. 

And if you’re smart, you’ll do the same.

M. Nichols, Products Editor

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Aug 08

iHome iD55 Portable iOS Speaker System

We’re always pleased when iHome releases new products, and today’s annoucement is no exception.

The new iHome iD55 is a portable speaker with a curved design and a universal dock for iPhone, iPad and Dock Connector iPods.  The unit runs either on AC power via a wall outlet, or with 4 AA batteries.  Includes SRS TruBass circuitry and 2 Reson8 speaker chambers. MSRP is $79.

According to iHome, the iD55 will offer 6-8 hours battery-powered playback at medium volume.  We hope to get one in for review soon to put it to the test.

Hope those new Dock Connector adapters are a reality…

Check out the iD55 and get more details at www.ihomeaudio.com.

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Jun 12

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 for iPhone, iPad or Mac

Logitech has added a new mobile keyboard to its lineup, the K760 Solar Wireless Keyboard.  Charged by light – whether from the sun or a lamp – the K760 doesn’t need to be plugged in or have its batteries changed to give you portable typing goodness.

And if you have both an iPhone and iPad, the K760 can switch between them with the touch of a button, thanks to its easy-switching Bluetooth technology and three Bluetooth device keys.  It also has dedicated buttons to adjust brightness and – if you’re using the keyboard with your Mac – for Command and Eject functions. 

On a full charge, the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 can run for about three months, but if you leave it in a lighted room when not in use, it’ll always be ready to use whenever you need it. 

Includes a 3-year warranty.

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