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Posts tagged with "accessories"

Apple Releases New Spring Colors for iPhone Cases and Watch Bands

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

As has become a tradition, Apple released new colors of some of its cases and Apple Watch bands today. The new Silicone Case colors are Soft Mint, Sunshine, Light Blue, and Pink and come in all iPhone 15 model sizes. No new colors are available for the FineWoven cases.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Apple also released 23 new bands. There are bands that match the new iPhone 15 case colors, as well as a dozen new Hermès bands. There are no new Apple Watch Ultra bands, the selection of which is still limited to a woefully inadequate selection of three styles and nine choices.


Apple Vision Pro Accessory Roundup: Our Favorites So Far

Slowly but surely, a growing number of accessories are popping up around the Apple Vision Pro. Today, we thought we’d share our favorites so far.

Battery Accessories

Battery Packs

The [Anker Prime 27,650mAh](https://amzn.to/3SpPCSm) power bank.

The Anker Prime 27,650mAh power bank.

John: Apple sells the battery pack that powers the Apple Vision Pro as a separate accessory for $199. However, because the Vision Pro’s battery includes a USB-C port for charging it, there are plenty of cheaper solutions.

One option is simply plugging Apple’s battery into its power adapter as you use it. However, if you want something more portable, I’d suggest a battery pack to charge your Apple battery pack. Any battery pack will do, but we have several listed on our Setups page that Federico and I use and recommend and will do the trick too.

Belkin Battery Holder

Federico: I never thought I’d become the sort of person who casually holsters a tech accessory in his daily routine, and yet here we are thanks to the Vision Pro. I decided to get the Belkin battery holder upon ordering the Vision Pro, and I’m glad I did. Not only does the clip on the case make it easier to walk around the house while wearing the Vision Pro (putting the battery in my pocket causes too much tension on the cable and I don’t like it), but it also provides a nice degree of protection for the battery itself. I genuinely recommend getting this if you plan on moving around a lot while using the Vision Pro.

Keyboard and Trackpad Accessories

John: The Apple Vision Pro’s built-in keyboard and dictation are fine for entering short bits of text when you’re using the device, but for anything more than a few words, you’ll want a keyboard. The Apple Magic Keyboard works best with the Vision Pro because it integrates tightly with visionOS, displaying a preview of what you’re typing that floats just above the keyboard. Plus, Magic Trackpad is the only trackpad that I am aware of that works with the Vision Pro.

The MagicBridge or a Lap Desk

The trouble is finding a way to use the Magic Keyboard and Trackpad when you’re away from your desk or a tabletop because both are small and can be hard to balance in your lap. There are a few options here, depending on your preferences. Twelve South’s MagicBridge joins the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad using a plastic frame that holds the two together side-by-side. It works much better in the lap that way, but it’s also wide and can feel unbalanced when the keyboard is directly in front of you, and the trackpad is hanging off to the side.

Since my initial experiments with the MagicBridge, I’ve gravitated to a lap desk for those times that I’m sitting on the couch. There are a million of these on Amazon and elsewhere. However, I like the simplicity of the 30.5” Wood Curved Lap Desk Table Tray, which is a simple curved piece of wood without any notches for iPhones or ridges to hold a laptop in place to get in my way.

Hazevaiy Acrylic Magic Keyboard and Trackpad Support Stand

Federico: After some research and asking on Mastodon, I discovered that accessory manufacturers have been making for quite some time what is, effectively, the opposite of a MagicBridge: a tray where the Magic Trackpad and Keyboard are held in a laptop-like configuration, with the keyboard above the trackpad. I got a couple from Amazon, and I like the transparent one better than others I’ve seen thanks to its slimmer profile. (Plus, let’s face it – anything looks better when it’s made of transparent plastic.) These accessories all lack the sort of palm rejection features that are typically found on Mac laptops, so if you can get used to avoiding the trackpad with your palm or wrist when typing, I think you should consider this as a lap-friendly alternative to the MagicBridge.

A Smaller Case – Syntech Hard Carrying Case

John: By all accounts Apple’s Vision Pro case is very nice, but I wasn’t interested because it’s so bulky and expensive. Instead, I went with one Federico discovered on Reddit by Syntech that was originally made for the Meta Quest. It’s not small, but it fits in a backpack better than Apple’s case ever will. Inside, there’s a velcro strap for securing your Vision Pro in place and enough spare room to stow your battery and polishing cloth. Best of all, the Syntech case is less than $30.

Protecting the Vision Pro’s Lenses - KIWI design Lens Protector Cover

John: My most recent accessory find for the Vision Pro is the KIWI Lens Protector Cover. It’s another accessory originally designed for the Meta Quest, but it works perfectly with the Vision Pro too. There’s not much to say about the KIWI other than it’s a soft microfiber pillow that you stuff into the inside of your Vision Pro headset against the lenses to protect them. With a USB-C cable and other items in the same case as the Vision Pro, I feel better knowing that there’s a soft barrier between its lenses and everything else in my bag.


That’s it for now, but keep an eye on our MacStories Setups page for updates on the accessories we use with our Apple Vision Pros and other gear.


Apple Offers USB-C Enabled Vision Pro Strap to Registered Developers

Apple is offering a new Vision Pro accessory to registered developers: a head strap with a USB-C connector for $299. There aren’t a lot of details about the strap, which is designed to be connected to a Mac to accelerate development and testing for the Vision Pro, other than this description that is behind a developer account login:

Overview

The Developer Strap is an optional accessory that provides a USB-C connection between Apple Vision Pro and Mac and is helpful for accelerating the development of graphics-intensive apps and games. The Developer Strap provides the same audio experience as the in-box Right Audio Strap, so developers can keep the Developer Strap attached for both development and testing.

Tech specs

  • USB-C data connection
  • Individually amplified dual driver audio pods
  • Compatible with Mac

Although we haven’t been able to confirm the capabilities of the Developer Strap, USB-C may allow developers to connect the Vision Pro to their network over Ethernet or access external storage, for example.

Why is a USB-C dongle $299? It’s expensive, but as the description makes clear, it incorporates the speaker found in Vision Pro’s right strap, which it replaces, explaining at least part of the cost.


Tucked Away Nearby: A Refinement of my Desk Setup

When Federico and I published our setups last November, I was happy with mine, but there was still something that bothered me. Every day, I wound up with too much stuff strewn across my desk. At the same time, some of the things I use most days felt annoyingly out of reach. These weren’t monumental annoyances, but they were daily distractions that led me to leave things on my desk for long stretches of time where they were in the way. So, I started thinking about ways to improve my setup again.

What I realized is that I had nowhere to put any of the little things I use each day, so they’d end up all over my desk, which then snowballed into a bigger mess. The solution was to bring those little things closer but create places for them that are out of the way. At the same time, I made a greater effort to tuck cables and wires out of the way where I can’t see them, which has also helped cut down on clutter.

The centerpiece of this revised setup is a Balolo Setup Cockpit. There are a lot of companies that make desk shelves, but they never appealed to me because I’ve always been able to adjust my Studio Display to a comfortable height without one. I could tuck things under the shelf, but I needed more than that.

What I like about the Balolo shelf is that it has a system of attachment points on the underside of the shelf for adding accessories that have allowed me to get more off my desk and out of the way. It’s turned out to be the perfect floating, modular extension of my old setup that makes a long list of small adjustments that add up to a big difference overall.

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Every Apple Vision Pro Accessory Option

The Vision Pro Travel Case.

The Vision Pro Travel Case.

If you finished the Apple Vision Pro checkout process with any money left in your bank account, Apple has several accessories available for its new spatial computing headset.

The Vision Pro battery.

The Vision Pro battery.

At the $199 price point, you have three options:

The light seal.

The light seal.

The light seal cushion.

The light seal cushion.

However, if all you need is the light seal cushion, you can order that for $29. The Apple Vision Pro Solo Knit Band and Dual Loop Band are also available for separate purchase for $99 each.

The ZEISS lenses.

The ZEISS lenses.

If you forgot to order ZEISS lens inserts during checkout or your prescription changes, they can be purchased separately starting at $99 for non-prescription ‘reader’ lenses and $149 for prescription lenses.

The Dual Loop Band.

The Dual Loop Band.

The Solo Knit Band.

The Solo Knit Band.

As previously reported, Belkin is offering a battery clip that includes a case with a clip for the battery and a smaller clip for the power cable for $49.95. Apple also lists a 30W power adapter, USB-C charging cable, the Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad, and AirPods Pro (2nd generation) alongside the Vision Pro.

Oh hey, here's an accessory for less than $100. Thanks Belkin.

Oh hey, here’s an accessory for less than $100. Thanks Belkin.

Thankfully, it looks like Apple heard the critics of its AirPods Max case and built a polycarbonate protective case with a ‘ripstop outer shell’ and spots to tuck the device’s battery, optical lenses, and cover, along with ‘other accessories.’ The case looks nice, but I took a pass, figuring I can always pick one up in advance of my next trip if I decide to take the Vision Pro on the road with me.

I did, however, buy a spare battery. I expect that I’ll connect the battery that comes with the Vision Pro to power a lot of the time to get more than two hours of use out of it, but a spare battery will allow for greater portability.


BenQ ScreenBar Halo: Lighting Your Entire Desk Setup

Years ago, I bought a BenQ ScreenBar with Dial. It sat perched on top of my display, bathing my desk in light. I loved it, except for the cables that snaked down the back of my monitor: one to power it via USB-A and the other leading to a knob for turning it on and off and adjusting brightness and light temperature.

I stopped using the BenQ ScreenBar when I moved my desk to an area of my old house where the back of my screen was exposed. The wires hanging off of the ScreenBar were just too messy looking, no matter what I did.

Not long ago, I pulled the ScreenBar out of storage and began using it again. I still wasn’t a fan of the wires, but with my Studio Display facing a wall, it was usable again. That’s why I was interested in trying the ScreenBar Halo when BenQ offered to send me one to test. It’s similar to the older model I was using but with a couple of crucial differences.

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CES 2024: ASUS Rules CES, A Grab Bag of Other Announcements, Plus More Weird and Wonderful Gadget Finds

Source: CES.

Source: CES.

We’re only two days into CES 2024, and something occurred to me in the aftermath of ASUS’s packed presentation. We’re in a new golden age of gadgets, the likes of which we haven’t seen in many years. The world seems ready for something new after spending more than a decade cramming everything imaginable into our phones. An awful lot of companies seem to think the next big thing will be powered by artificial intelligence. Perhaps it will be, but even if it isn’t, we’re seeing a breadth and depth of gadget innovation at CES that’s exciting.

Yesterday, the gadget that stuck with me the most was the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid. I love the flexibility and modularity it promises. ASUS’s ROG Phone 8 line of mobile phones was a close second with its beefy, game-friendly specs. But neither captured my imagination quite like one of the accessories ASUS saved for yesterday’s presentation.

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The AirPods Pro MagSafe Charging Case with USB-C Can Now Be Purchased Separately

The MagSafe charging case for second-generation AirPods Pro that comes with a USB-C connector is now available as a separate purchase. When the updated headphones were introduced in September, many users expected the charging case would be available separately, but it wasn’t. That came as a bit of a surprise because when Qi charging was first introduced in the AirPods line, the case was offered as a separate purchase immediately. But with today’s listing on Apple’s online store, if all you want to do is swap your old Lightning case for the USB-C model, you can.

The new case is available to order on the Apple Store for $99, although deliveries in my area aren’t expected until after Christmas, and there aren’t any available for pickup in my local Charlotte, NC retail store.

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Astropad’s Rock Paper Pencil Delivers A No-Compromise, Simple Paper-like Experience on iPad

It’s been years since I took a serious run at handwritten notes on the iPad. However, that changed with my recent experiments with the Boox Tab Ultra, which led me back to the benefits of jotting down handwritten notes as a quick capture system while I work. That’s why Aspropad’s new Rock Paper Pencil bundle of a nano-textured iPad screen protector and replacement Apple Pencil tips that mimic the feel of paper caught my eye. I’ve had bad luck with screen covers that feel like paper in the past, but as I’ll explain below, Astropad has created a unique package that offers the closest experience to writing or drawing on paper that I’ve ever tried while also being easy to use.

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