Accessories

Charge Your Phone on the Pikachu Charger

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Charge Your Phone on the Pikachu Charger

iPhone 8 and X users (or owners of any smartphone with wireless charging capability) get a more adorable charging accessory option-- a wireless charger modeled after Pikachu, the yellow Pokemon with appropriate electric powers.

Made by TeknFun, the Pikachu charger uses Qi induction technology, making it compatible with the latest Apple and Samsung Galaxy smartphones, among others. A trio of USB ports allow it to charge other devices, and Pikachu's cheeks glow red while charging is taking place.

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Magnesium Key for Bigger, Safer Batteries?

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Magnesium Key for Bigger, Safer Batteries?

Berkeley Lab researchers announce a "major step" towards energy dense and safe solid-state magnesium-ion rechargeable batteries through the discovery of the fastest magnesium-ion solid-state conductor yet.

Magnesium promises higher energy density than the currently used lithium. However it lacks good options for liquid electrolyte, with most being actually corrosive against other parts of the battery. As a result, the researchers bypassed the liquid option in favour of creating a solid-state alternative, the impressively named magnesium scandium selenide spinel.

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HEX Presents Official Star Wars iPhone Cases

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HEX Presents Official Star Wars iPhone Cases

Disney chooses accessory maker HEX to reveal official Star Wars cases for the iPhone, ahead of the 15 December premiere of the latest film in the series, The Last Jedi.

The cases fit the most recent iPhone models, namely the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. They are made from genuine leather, and come in a number of styles, such as snap-on cases, folio wallets and zipper wallets with slots for cards and cash.

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AirPods "Most Important" Wireless Apple Accessory?

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AirPods

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo states the AirPods are "the most important accessory in Apple's wireless ecosystem," before predicting the earbuds will be a big seller come next year.

According to note from the analyst obtained by MacRumors, AirPods shipments will double in 2018-- from 13-14 million in 2017 to 26-28 million units. The analyst believes AirPod demand is "strong" and, thanks to improved assembly and increased capacity from manufacturer Luxshare, shipping has been reduced to 1-3 days.

Previously the Airpods were manufactured by one supplier, Invetec, but the addition of Luxshare has helped smooth manufacturing issues. As a result Luxshare might become main AirPod supplier, and even enter the HomePod supply chain.

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Promise Intros TD-300 Dock

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Promise Intros TD-300 Dock

Promise Technology launches the TD-300-- a Thunderbolt 3 dock designed for use with the latest MacBook Pro models with both USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 offering a variety of ports.

The dock features x5 USB 3.0 ports (x3 back, x2 front), x2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, ethernet port, audio in/out port and an HDMI 2.0 port. As such, it allows the connection of a pair of 4K displays (or one 5K display), device charging, Thunderbolt 3 HDD daisy-chaining, USB device connection and the transfer of SD card content, all from a single connection.

In addition it has transfer speeds of 40GB/s and delivers up to 60W of power when charging a MacBook Pro.

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How to Add Cooling to the iPad

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How to Add Cooling to the iPad

Customers demanding a solution for any overheating issues faced by the iPad? X-naut offers a solution with the Active Cooling Mount, an accessory designed to allow iPad use in extreme situations.

Available in versions fitting the iPad Air, 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPad Mini, the Active Cooling Mount fights overheating through an array of four cooling fans. It attaches on the back of the tablet via spring-loaded fans, is powered through either micro USB port or x8 AA batteries and promises relatively low noise levels at 26 DBA.

A battery test button indicates power levels, with green meaning high, yellow low and red battery replacement).

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Microsoft Brings Intellimouse Back

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Microsoft Brings Intellimouse Back

A surprise listing on the Microsoft hardware website reveals the return of a classic rodent-- the IntelliMouse, in the shape of a modern version inspired by the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0.

Launched in 2002, the IntelliMouse 3.0 was the last version of the IntelliMouse, a mouse line Microsoft started way back in 1996. The first version featured a curvy ergonomic design and introduced the scroll wheel to the world. Actual mouse functionality came through a ball before a 1999 update brought optical tracking technology.

The 2017 Classic IntelliMouse is very similar to the original, if updated with a DPI range reaching up to 3200. It also has 3 customisable buttons, BlueTrack tracking for glass use and a 1000 reports per second mouse report rate. Connectivity remains wired, if via USB. In actual changes, the distinctive red tail light is now a "clean, modern white."

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Sonnet Intros Thunderbolt 3 to Dual HDMI Adapter

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Sonnet Intros Thunderbolt 3 to Dual HDMI Adapter

Sonnet Technologies launches the Thunderbolt 3 to Dual HDMI 2.0 Adapter-- a means for customers to connect up to two 4K displays or one 5K displays to their Windows PC or Mac.

The accessory connects to PCs, such as the 2016 MacBook, via Thunderbolt 3. It is plug-and play, and provides a pair of HDMI ports for the connection of monitors. The computer powers the adapter, meaning no external power supply is required, and native macOS and Windows support allows use without installation of separate driver software.

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The Rugged Romeo Power Saber Battery

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The Rugged Romeo Power Saber Battery

Recently founded battery maker Romeo Power announces a first product-- the Saber, a rugged battery pack offering 23000mAh (or 86 watt-hours) of power, allowing it to charge a laptop twice.

Formed by former Tesla, SpaceX, Amazon and Faraday Future engineers, Romeo Power says it wanted to create a "personal power pack designed to recharge any digital device at full speed," be it smartphones, laptops or drones. The Saber is around the size of a water bottle, weighs 1kg and offers x1 USB-C, x2 USB-A (one 2.1A/10.5W, the other 1A/5W) and a variable AC outlet with a universal port.

“Saber is like having a wall socket in your pocket,” the company adds. “We created Saber to be the most advanced power pack available that gets you out the door faster than anyone else, and with a lifeproof design so consumers can have power wherever life takes them.”

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SmartHalo Arrives in Apple Stores

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SmartHalo Arrives in Apple Stores

The SmartHalo-- an iPhone-compatible accessory providing cyclists with navigation, fitness and safety functionality-- arrives at Apple retail locations, starting from N. America.

A Kickstarter success story, the SmartHalo locks to bike handlebars. It pairs with a companion app (on iPhone 4S and higher) via Bluetooth 4.0, and uses a ring light to guide cyclists to their destination using either a turn-by-turn or compass-style lighting mode system.

In addition, a blue dot light illuminates for incoming lights, and a front light turns on or off according to the time of day and when a trip is in progress. A final feature has it record fitness data (such as calories burned) for syncing with the Apple Health app.

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"Made for Google" Certification on the Way?

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9to5Google reports Google has a "Made for Google" program in the works-- an accessory certification scheme presumably similar to Apple's MFi (Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) scheme.

The unnamed sources speaking to the news site don't have any further details on the program, but the aforementioned MFi program provides accessory makers with “hardware components, tools, documentation, and technical support,” and allows the promotion of accessory with Apple certification logos.

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