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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Apr 21

iHome iA100 App-Enhanced Alarm & Speaker System

Alarm clocks and speaker systems – even those for iOS devices and other modern handhelds – are usually simple, straightforward affairs; not so with the newest flagship product from iHome, the iA100 App-Enhanced bedside audio system.  This iPod, iPad and iPhone alarm and speaker is so chock full of features and options that it requires several days to become truly comfortable with its use – at least it did for me. 

And this will be off-putting for some, or even downright aggravating to others, but its complexity provides an opportunity to transform a seemingly basic accessory into something more powerful.  It’s simply a question of learning how the iA100 works and what it can do, and becoming familiar with how to make it perform the way you want. But once you do, the iA100 can accommodate just about any user preference, and if your iOS bedside speaker needs are more demanding than your peers’, it may just be the only solution to consider – if you can afford it.

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Apr 19

XtremeMac Incharge Portable Charger

No accessory is more fundamental to a smartphone’s operation than its charger.  Chargers aren’t sexy, but we need them – and often in more places than we might think.

Which brings us to our Accessory Spotlight for today: the XtremeMac Incharge Portable Charger (model IPU-ICP-11).

What makes the Incharge Portable interesting is that it’s a wall charger for iPhones and iPods that also has an integrated battery pack; so you can leave it plugged in and use one of its two USB ports (or both) to charge your iPhone and/or iPod, then disconnect it from the wall when you leave and take a little more juice with you.  There’s even a built-in LED charge indicator so that you know how much battery power is left when you’re on the go.

The best news is that this charger, which retails for $79, is available at Amazon.com for just $15.29.  Price subject to change at any time.

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Mar 09

iOS 4.3Apple released a new version of iTunes this morning, v10.2.1.1, and shortly thereafter the iOS 4.3 update went live and is now available for download in iTunes.

iOS 4.3 updates are available for the iPad, iPhone 4 and 3GS, and 3rd 4th Gen iPod touch models.

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Mar 08

iOS 4.3 is Coming This WeekA new rumor from BGR says iOS 4.3 updates will be made available today at 12PM Pacific for the iPad, iPhone 4 and 3GS (AT&T only), and late-gen iPod touch models.  We’d bet the updates won’t go live this afternoon, but whether today, tomorrow, or Friday, iOS 4.3 is coming this week.

And you should get ready. 

First, update iTunes on your PC or Mac to v10.2.  You can download the installer here or update through iTunes itself by  clicking Help > Check for Updates in Windows or with Software Update in the Mac OS.

Second, think about turning on Home Sharing in iTunes since the new version of iOS supports this feature.  Home Sharing, available until now only between iTunes PCs and Macs, allows you to stream and share audio and video between devices over Wi-Fi.  Home Sharing configuration settings are in the Advanced menu in iTunes.

Third, if you’re on AT&T and have an iPhone 4, iOS 4.3 will add 3G data sharing over Wi-Fi via the new Personal Hotspot feature.  If you’re interested, contact AT&T and get your Data Pro + Tethering plan going so that it’ll be ready to use as soon as your iPhone 4 is updated.

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