THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

Funn Media

Jump-Start Your New Year with WaterMinder, FitnessView, and Calory


Posts tagged with "accessories"

Apple Contributes Magnetic Coupling Tech to the Qi Charging Standard

Sean Hollister of The Verge reports that Apple is contributing aspects of its MagSafe charging technology to the Qi wireless charging standard, which will bring magnetic coupling to Qi2-compatible mobile phones, including Android phones. According to Hollister’s interview with Paul Golden, a spokesperson for the Wireless Power Consortium:

There’s no reason to think a future Qi2 charger wouldn’t work seamlessly and identically with both Android and iPhones, Golden says when I ask. That’s because Apple, a WPC “steering member” (and chair of the board of directors) is contributing essentially the same “magnetic power profile” as MagSafe to the new Qi2 standard.

Hollister also reports that faster charging speeds are next on the Wireless Power Consortium’s to-do list:

That’s not all the WPC is working on, either! While the Qi2.0 release is largely just about adding magnets — it’s still primarily for phones, still tops out at 15 watts, still has the same foreign object detection, etc — the WPC intends to take advantage of guaranteed magnetic coupling to give us faster charging speeds, too. “When we finish with the spec for Qi2, we’ll immediately start working on a significantly higher power profile level for the next version of Qi2,” says Golden.

I’m glad to see Apple contributing to the Qi standard. Very few third-party manufacturers are using the official MagSafe standard, which usually means they charge more slowly. By standardizing the underlying magnetic connection and focusing next on charging speeds, we’ll hopefully see broader adoption of faster wireless charging across mobile phone accessories.

Permalink

Belkin’s MagSafe Mount for Desktops and Displays, Hand Mirror, and the Logitech Crayon

It’s the end of the year, and before I take a few days off to relax for the holidays, I have a few cool things to share that have been sitting on my desk and Mac for a little bit.

The Belkin Mount with MagSafe for Mac Desktops and Displays

One of macOS Ventura’s flagship features is Continuity Camera, which lets you use an iPhone’s camera as a webcam. I covered Continuity Camera in my Ventura review, and it works really well, especially with Center Stage turned off, so you get the full uncropped image from the iPhone’s camera.

A side view.

A side view.

Alongside Continuity Camera, Belkin introduced an excellent, compact MagSafe mount for Apple Laptops but left desktop and external display users hanging. Last week, desktop users got their wish for a similar solution, with a double-hinged MagSafe Mount that I expect will work on a work with a wide range of displays.

Ready for hooking to a screen.

Ready for hooking to a screen.

Belkin sent me its new mount to try last week, and I immediately gave it a try. The hardware has a nice, solid feel. The hinges are stiff, so your iPhone’s weight won’t affect your setup, and every surface that touches your display, front and back, as well as your iPhone, has a soft-touch finish that shouldn’t scratch your display or phone.

Read more


The New iPad and iPad Pro Review: Mixed Signals

The new iPad Pro and iPad.

The new iPad Pro and iPad.

Last week on Thursday, I received review units of the new 10th generation iPad and 6th generation iPad Pro. I’ve spent the past few days testing and getting work done with both of them – including finishing a big story about Stage Manager I’m going to publish in a few hours on MacStories.

These are relatively easy iPads to review with a fairly straightforward narrative around them. The new iPad Pro is an iterative update that shows us Apple has seemingly hit a plateau in terms of innovation with this particular design – save for one feature that truly surprised me. The new base model iPad is a massive update compared to its predecessor, adding an all-new, iPad Pro-inspired design and a brand new accessory – the Magic Keyboard Folio – that has turned out to be one of my favorite accessories Apple has launched in recent years. I’ve had a ton of fun playing around and working with the new iPad over the weekend; if you’re in the market for an 11” tablet, you shouldn’t sleep on this one.

When considered individually, these new iPads are solid options in their respective categories – each delivering on the different goals Apple set out to accomplish for these product lines in 2022.

It’s when you zoom out and take a broader look at the new state of the iPad lineup that things become…a bit more confusing.

Read more


Gamevice Begins Taking Pre-Orders for the Flex, Its New iPhone Game Controller

Source: Gamevice.

Source: Gamevice.

Today, Gamevice announced pre-orders for the Flex, a new MFi-certified, case-compatible game controller for the iPhone. Like the Backbone One and Razer Kishi V2, the Flex separates an Xbox-style controller into two halves that connect to the ends of your iPhone for playing controller-compatible iOS games. I haven’t had a chance to try the Gamevice Flex, but based on the company’s announcement video, there are a handful of features that set it apart from the Backbone One and Razer Kishi V2 that are worth considering if you’re shopping for an iPhone game controller.

Like the Razer Kishi V2, the Gamevice Flex uses spacers to accommodate a long list of Apple and third-party cases, an advantage over the Backbone One, which requires you to remove your case before using it. The downside, of course, is keeping track of the collection of spacers to allow for moving to a different case in the future.

Gamevice says that the Flex uses Hall effect triggers, a technology that uses magnetic field sensors instead of mechanical parts to cut down on the wear and tear on components. The company hasn’t said if the Flex’s thumbsticks use the same technology or not.

Like the Backbone One, the Flex includes passthrough charging via a Lightning port on the end of one of the controller’s grips and a headphone jack on the other grip. The Razer Kishi V2 includes a Lightning port for charging but not a headphone jack. Although you can never be sure about how a controller will feel to use until you have it in your hands, I like the look of Flex’s grips too.

Originally announced in August with the video above, 9to5Mac has a hands-on with a prototype of the Flex with more details on what the device is like to use.

Set to start shipping later this month, the Gamevice Flex costs $109.95 for the iPhone model, which is about $10 more than the Backbone One or Razer Kishi V2, and $99.95 for the Android version. Customers who order before October 14th can get one month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate free with their purchase.


iPhone Gaming with the Razer Kishi V2 and Backbone One

Razer Kishi V2.

Razer Kishi V2.

When I look at the innovation happening in handheld gaming at all levels with devices like the Analogue Pocket and Steam Deck, I can’t help but wonder, “What if Apple really jumped into the videogame market and put the power of its hardware and software design teams behind devices that could play everything from Candy Crush Saga to Elden Ring?” Apple hasn’t, and I don’t expect it will, but every time I use my iPhone, I look at its gorgeous ProMotion OLED display and want to use it for more than the gaming experiences that the App Store offers.

That said, there is still gaming fun to be had on the iPhone. For me, that occasionally takes the form of an Apple Arcade game like the excellent Shovel Knight Dig that was released on the service last week, and I’ll cover this week on MacStories Unwind. Other times, it’s an indie platformer like the Dadish series or a classic Nintendo handheld game via Delta. With a fast enough WiFi connection, I’ve even found myself streaming games from my Xbox Series X, Microsoft Game Pass, and PlayStation 5. It’s not everything I think gaming could be on the iPhone, but it’s not bad either.

Despite Apple’s perplexing relationship with videogames, the last few years have seen the company expand controller support, which has gradually led to an increase in support among developers. That, in turn, has prompted me to try a lot of different controllers and conclude that with the iPhone, nothing beats an integrated Nintendo Switch-style controller solution.

Read more


HiRise 3: Twelve South’s Space-Saving, Three-in-One Charging Solution

Source: Twelve South.

Source: Twelve South.

Not long ago, Twelve South introduced a new 3-in-1 charger for the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods Pro called the HiRise 3. I’ve used a Belkin 3-in-1 charger on my desk for a few years and love it, but it takes up quite a bit of space. So, when Twelve South recently offered to send me the HiRise 3 to test, I jumped at the chance to check out its more compact design. After using the HiRise 3 for the past few weeks, I’m happy with it overall and think it’s a great choice for most users, but it comes with a couple of limitations that you’ll want to consider before buying one yourself.

Read more


MacStories Starter Pack: The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300 Is Perfect for Anyone Whose Paperless Workflow Still Starts with Paper

Fujitsu iX1300.

Fujitsu iX1300.

Editor’s Note: The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300 Is Perfect for Anyone Whose Paperless Workflow Still Start with Paper is part of the MacStories Starter Pack, a collection of ready-to-use shortcuts, apps, workflows, and more that we’ve created to help you get the most out of your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

I’ve had a couple of different Fujitsu scanners over the years. In the early days, I used my scanner a lot. It helped me cut down on the paper in my life, which was great. However, over time, I found myself using my scanner less and less as banking, taxes, bills, and other paper-heavy areas of life became increasingly digital. As time wore on, and I found myself rarely, if ever, turning to my library of scanned documents, I also realized I didn’t need to scan and keep as much as I’d thought.

So when Fujitsu sent me their latest ScanSnap iX1300 scanner to try, I was skeptical. I wondered if there was still a place for scanners in the home or whether the many excellent scanning apps available on the iPhone and iPad were good enough. For most people who don’t need to scan more than a few pages of paper ever so often, I think apps or a scanner built into a home printer are adequate. However, if you run a business with workflows that involve paper, you’re working from home in a paper-oriented industry, or you simply find yourself needing to digitize paper documents regularly for whatever other reason, the iX1300 is an excellent choice.

The S1300i is a little smaller, but as a practical matter, you need more space or yere will be paper all over your floor.

The S1300i is a little smaller, but as a practical matter, you need more space or yere will be paper all over your floor.

What’s fascinating to me about the ix 1300 is that it’s actually slightly bigger than the ScanSnap S1300i model that I already owned, but I would never have guessed it. That’s because the way the two scanners work is quite different, which makes a considerable difference in how much space they demand. However, that’s not the only edge the newer iX1300 has, so let’s take a closer look at what sets it apart from its predecessor.

Read more


CES 2022 Roundup: TVs, Home Automation, Health and Fitness Devices, and More

The Consumer Electronics Show was back this week as an in-person event in Las Vegas for 2022 despite the current COVID surge, which caused many large companies to pull out of the show or scale back their plans. Still, that hasn’t stopped companies from announcing a wide variety of products planned for the next year and beyond. New TV technology and home automation are big again this year, as are new takes on existing tech.

After sifting through the headlines and press releases, I’ve compiled a roundup of some of this week’s most intriguing announcements. Feel free to skip around to the categories that you find most interesting using the table of contents after the break.

Read more


Shortcuts By SENTINELITE: A Fantastic New Stream Deck Plugin


If you own a Stream Deck and want a better way for adding your shortcuts to it, give Shortcuts by SENTINELITE a try. I’ve only been playing with the plugin for a short time, but this is hands down the best way I’ve found for adding push-button convenience to Shortcuts on the Mac.

I covered the Stream Deck and how I’ve been using it late last year. I’ve also built a variety of utility shortcuts for packaging shortcuts as scripts and applets that make it easier to add multiple shortcuts to your Stream Deck setup. Shortcuts by SENTINELITE significantly improves the process by making it as simple to add a shortcut to the device as it is to add an app.

One of the things that I appreciate about Shortcuts by SENTINELITE is that the plugin preserves the folder structure you use in Shortcuts and sorts shortcuts alphabetically. It’s a small thing, but one that makes the experience of wading through large collections of shortcuts much better, giving the plugin a leg up on many other Shortcuts utilities I’ve tried.

Here's a simple shortcut for grabbing the icons for the shortcuts you want to add to your Stream Deck.

Here’s a simple shortcut for grabbing the icons for the shortcuts you want to add to your Stream Deck.

Just like adding an app to a Stream Deck button, you can add a custom icon and title to the button you create. There’s also a toggle for turning on an Accessibility mode that adds audible cues to the plugin’s interactions for the visually impaired.

If you’ve put off adding shortcuts to your Stream Deck, your procrastination has paid off because Shortcuts by SENTINELITE is the easiest solution that I’ve found so far. That said, I have run into a known bug that occasionally requires the Stream Deck Mac app to be restarted, which is annoying, but on balance, it’s a small price to pay compared to the plugin’s utility.

You can download the Shortcuts for Stream Deck plugin, which also happens to be open-source and free from Stream Deck’s Mac app or on Elgato’s website.