A trio of deals that can boost the battery life of your mobile devices
Every Day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the sales available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today's collection of three items are power-related items aiming to provide your iPhone or other mobile device with an energy boost when you need it, making them ideal for weekends away camping or for extremely long flights or other journeys where charging from a power point just isn't an option.
Four-man Google X team includes ex-Apple battery expert
The secretive Google X Labs is working on ways to improve battery technology, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. A small group of four engineers is said to be working on the project, which could help the company increase a number of its other projects that depend on batteries, including its consumer devices and experimental items such as Google Glass.
Solid state battery technology can offer double battery life of lithium-ion
An investment by British vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson could lead to an increase in battery power for other devices. The company has signed a joint development agreement with battery startup Sakti3, as well as investing $15 million, with the ultimate aim of commercially producing lithium-ion batteries that can store double the energy of existing versions.
Excellent free app psychoanalyzes your batteries
The curiously-named CoconutBattery 3.2 is a free app that examines the batteries in your MacBooks and your iOS devices. One click and you know everything: it gives you the skinny on every possible scintilla of information about the state your battery is in.
Some 6,000mAh models could dangerously overheat
Elgato has alerted customers to a recall of some of its Smart Power 6000mAh battery packs. The warning is being issued through a variety of means, including a notice for people updating the packs' associated iOS app. Affected units could potentially overheat while recharging. The company notes that the faulty products were sold between September and January, and fall within a specific serial number range.
Offers keyboard, extra battery life
Accessory maker Kensington has announced a new case for the iPad Air 2, the KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus. While including a Bluetooth keyboard, its most notable feature may actually be a built-in 4500mAh battery. Through USB, this lets users fully charge an iPhone two or three times, or an iPad up to 50 percent of a full charge. A free iOS app tracks how much battery power is left.
Release date sometime this year
Otterbox-owned LifeProof has announced the fre Power, a battery case for the iPhone 6. The product supplies 2600mAh of power, said to double an iPhone's regular life. More significantly, however, the case safeguards against water, drops, and dust/snow, partly through its shell but also via a built-in screen protector. The case is said to be waterproof at depths of 2m (6.6 feet )for up to an hour, and LifeProof also claims that the case meets milspec standards for shock and impact, protecting against drops up to 6.6 feet. In addition, the ports can be sealed to prevent particles from getting in.
Promises up to 12 extra hours of web use
Charging specialist Mophie has launched anticipated Juice Pack battery cases for Apple's latest iPhone models. For the iPhone 6, buyers have access to the Juice Pack Air or the Juice Pack Plus. Both come in black, white, or gold colors. The Air is a $100, 2750mAh model that doubles battery life; the Plus costs $120, and boosts longevity by 120 percent, while also adding an "impact isolation system" that protects against more severe hits.
Water Sensor will track household utilities use
Belkin has announced several new sensors for its WeMo home automation line, including the Door and Window Sensor, the Keychain Sensor, and the Alarm Sensor, the last of which triggers if an existing security system goes off. Another addition is a new Room Motion Sensor, which can track heat signatures up to 30 feet away within a 90-degree arc. The unit should ignore pets, and (through the WeMo app) not only let people set alerts or links with other devices, but check the last detected movement in a given room.
Claims milspec-level damage protection
Casemaker OtterBox has announced Resurgence, a new line of battery cases, initially designed for the iPhone 5 and 5s. Each case is rated at 2,000mAh, and will automatically stop charging an iPhone once the device hits full power. OtterBox also promises that users can still do wired sync with a Resurgence equipped, and use an included headphone jack extender to hold headphone cords.
Recall notice points to two incidents of battery packs overheating, causing damage
Lenovo is recalling notebook batteries used in its ThinkPad ranges, following two reports of battery packs overheating and damaging equipment, though no reports of injury. Approximately 34,500 batteries in the United States and 2,900 in Canada are subject to the recall notice by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as a large number sold in China.
iWALK releases four Lighting batteries for iPhone 5
iWALK has announced the launch of two new lines of external batteries designed for use with the iPhone 5. The Link series includes three products, the Link 1000i5, Link 1700i5 and Link 2500i5, each a pocketable battery with a built-in Lightning connector. Meanwhile, the Chameleon Lite is a full-body iPhone 5 case that incorporates a 2000mAh battery for up to 9 extra hours of talk time. The Link series is available in both black and white models with prices ranging from $45 up to $65, while the Chameleon Lite can be purchased in steel gray or white for $70.
Best Buy chain recalling 5,100 MBP replacement batteries after 13 reports
Retailer Best Buy is recalling 5,100 third-party battery replacements for the black and white MacBooks, made by a company called ATG and sold through the retailer's Geek Squad service division or online between 2008 and mid-2012 due to the risk of overheating and fire. The US Product Safety Commission has collected 13 reports of incidents with the replacement batteries, including one where the buyer suffered a serious burn on their leg. The batteries are also sold through other retailers, but only Best Buy has initiated a recall at this point.
Capacitors supports 10k recharge cycles
An 18-year-old student, Eesha Khare, has reportedly developed a new form of energy storage, referred to as a supercapacitor, that promises to recharge a cellphone in 20 to 30 seconds. The research project landed Khare a $50,000 scholarship and an Intel Foundation Young Scientists Award at the Intel-sponsored International Science and Engineering Fair, along with a $5,000 "best of category" award and another $3,000 prize in the chemistry division.
Adds 2,100mAh battery
Accessory maker Mophie has launched an iPhone 5 version of the Juice Pack Plus. The new case adds a 2,100mAh battery, which can roughly double the usable life of an iPhone. It in fact holds slightly more power than the Plus for the iPhone 4/4S, which is rated at 2,000mAh.
Extends life of iPad, other devices
It's not often an iPad case comes with a manual, even a short one, but it seems like an increasing number of models include some form of electronics. The Props Power Case needs a manual for its integrated lithium ion battery -- we received an 8,000mAh unit, although a 12,000mAh model is also available. In our review, we'll test how well the case works as both protection and a power supply.
Two other Chinese firms step up to fill in on iPad, MacBook batteries
A report in China Business News claims that Samsung SDI, the company's battery-producing subsidiary, has decided to withdraw from selling batteries to Apple, possibly in retaliation for various moves the iPad maker has made to reduce its dependence on Samsung as a supplier. Two other Chinese firms, Tianjin Lishen Battery and Amperex Technology, are said to be filling in for Samsung's absence in the iPad and MacBook lines of batteries, which Samsung SDI formerly supplied.
Tango uses rare tilting back
Continuing a series of CES announcements, XtremeMac has announced the Tango TT, a new speaker dock for iOS devices. The dock is unusual in featuring a sliding back, which can raise or lower a device for viewing at different vertical angles. It also features a flexible dock connector, which lets iOS devices (including iPads) sit in the dock in portrait or landscape orientations.
Replaces batch that had defective batteries
Apple is now shipping replacement iPod nanos to customers who had Nanos from a certain batch in the first-generation production run that have been shown to have defective batteries that could, in rare circumstances, overheat or even catch fire. The new units are exactly the same as the replacements, and not brand new iPod nanos (which now hold 8GB or 16GB) as some had hoped. The original Nanos came in 1, 2 or 4GB capacities.
Second investigation launched into L-Ion batteries
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) is reportedly looking into the safety of lithium-ion batteries used in electric automobiles. The action identified by Bloomberg tipsters comes in the aftermath of a recent battery fire involving a Chevy Volt. The scope of investigation will most probably include plug-in vehicles from Nissan and Ford, as well as other General Motors subsidiaries.
Greener tech fo Apple portables?
Two newly-published Apple patent applications suggest an unexpected Apple interest in hydrogen fuel cells, AppleInsider notes. The first, Parallel fuel stack architecture, suggests a way of arranging cells into a stack. A common problem with stacks is said to be a tendency toward a single point of failure in a connected series. There can also be many kinds of vulnerabilities, such as degradation of the electrolyte, accumulation of nitrogen in the anode, and water flooding in the anode or cathode. The reliability of stacks can go down as the number of cells grows, Apple comments.
Largest capacity Eneloop AA batteries
Sanyo has introduced its latest AA-size batteries that fit into the company's Eneloop lineup. The Nickel-Metal Hydride cells, labeled 'XX', are said to be the company's highest capacity Eneloops, with 2500 mAh of power. Like the rest of the series, the XX offerings ship charged and promise up to 75-percent remaining power after a year of storage.
Adds six extra hours of 3G talk time
Mophie has released a new juice pack air, built for the iPhone 4. Like other air models the battery case is designed primarily to be thin. It has a soft rubber finish for grip and shock protection, and provides access to top ports, along with a removable bottom section for docking. Its lithium polymer battery is rated at 1500mAh and should offer an additional six hours of 3G talk time, 36 hours of audio playback, or nine hours of video.
Case promises to 'double' battery life
Its cases having long been a staple of the iPhone world, Mophie's latest product is only the company's second attempt at a battery case for the iPod touch. Is the new Juice Pack Air an essential add-on, or more trouble than it's worth? We find out in a new review.
Tech improves efficiency of microbial fuel cells
Researchers at the University of East Anglia in England have reportedly made a significant breakthrough in microbial fuel-cell technology. A team of scientists have discovered the molecular structure which allow bacteria to transfer electrical charge. The findings are said to open the door for further research that will likely improve the efficiency of the fuel cells referred to as biological batteries.
Battery attaches only as necessary
Third Rail has launched the Third Rail System, a combination of accessories for the iPhone 4. At its core is the Slim Case, which fits on any model of the iPhone 4. A slot on the back allows the connection of a 1,250mAh lithium-ion "Smart Battery," which can be removed as needed for charging, or simply to make the case lighter and thinner.
Battery pack charges iPhone 4 to 80 percent
Scosche has launched a new iPhone 4 case with a built-in backup battery, the switchBACK surge g4. The case -- which also features a kickstand for video -- incorporates a 1800mAh lithium-ion supply. It can charge a depleted iPhone up to 80 percent power, and provide an additional 275 hours of standby, 12 hours of talk time, 36 hours of audio, 9 hours of Wi-Fi or 9 hours of video. The company has also launched a free companion iPhone app, which gives users a detailed gauge of usage times remaining. Four blue LED lights on the case indicate battery life; charging is done via a micro USB cable, which can also be used to sync.
Local companies look to move facilities overseas
Apple has been coping with "tight" supplies of lithium ion batteries, according to the Wall Street Journal. A representative from the company is said to have recently contacted the US offices of Kureha, a Japanese company which controls 70 percent of the marketshare for a polymer called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), used as a binder in lithium ion batteries. The only Kureha factory which produces PVDF is based in Iwaki, and was forced to shut down on March 11th after being hit by that day's 9.0 earthquake.
1500mAh lithium battery doubles iPhone 4 runtime
Mophie has started pre-orders for a new Juice Pack Air. The revised battery case is now fully compatible with both AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4s, which differ slightly but can both be accommodated. The case uses a dual-color design available in black and silver, or red and white, an option which will ship later. To make sound clearer, speaker output is funneled from the bottom of an iPhone through to the case's front.
Requires extra Apple accessory to work
HyperMac has begun selling a new series of external batteries compliant with a settlement with Apple. 60Wh, 100Wh, 150Wh and 222Wh models are available at costs ranging from $179 to $450. The accessories are primarily meant to power or recharge MacBooks, iPads and iPhones.
Starbucks tests iOS payments
HyperMac today said that its soon-to-be-extinct external MacBook batteries are compatible with the latest Air models. 60Wh, 100Wh, 150Wh and 222Wh capacities are available, theoretically offering up to six times the capacity of 11-inch Air's built-in battery. The 222Wh battery is said to extend the 11-inch Air's life by roughly 32 hours, whereas the 13-inch computer gains 38 hours. The gear will remain available until November 2nd for $200 (60Wh), $300 (100Wh), $400 (150Wh) and $500 (222Wh). A $150 car charger is also an option.
System offers 5X capacity of capacitors
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed new ways to fabricate lithium ion batteries with performance characteristics that bridge the gap between standard power cells and capacitors. The technology takes advantage of carbon nanotubes coated in oxygen-containing chemicals, a method which allows the tubes to work as the positive electrode.
Includes wall, car chargers
XtremeMac has announced the upcoming release of a series of InCharge products, for iPhones and iPods. Five different products will become available in March. The InCharge Home is a dual-USB wall charger, capable of charging any two USB devices, and will retail for $30. A Home Plus kit will cost $10 more as a result of international power adapters.
BambooBook case, MacBook battery replacements
Skydda Design and NewerTech have each extended their lines of MacBook accessories, releasing the BambooBook carrying case and updated NuPower replacement batteries. Skydda’s BambooBook is designed specifically for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and features a hard bamboo exterior and a suede fabric interior. Users can continue to run a Pro without removing it from protection.
Devices aid with batteries, headphones
Koyono has introduced two new products for its line of Mac and iPhone accessories, the HyperMac and the Magneat. The HyperMac is an external battery and car charger designed for all MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks, as well as all three iPhone models. It features a 5V/1A USB power port, which enables it to charge any USB-powered device and Mac simultaneously. It also supports both 16.5V and 18.5V output for different device requirements, adjusting automatically.
Newer ships new gear
Newer Technology has launched its NewerTech Intelligent Battery Charging Stations for 13-inch Unibody MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pros released prior to June, 2009. The charger/conditioner models, claimed to be the first-to-market, feature two battery bays for charging multiple batteries. One battery can be charged while another is being conditioned prior to charging.
Mossberg on MBP batteries
The batteries in Apple's new MacBook Pros hold up to testing, but have some definite tradeoffs, notes Walt Mossberg. The All Things Digital writer recently tested 13- and 15-inch systems, placing their batteries under heavy strain by enabling Wi-Fi, maximizing brightness, disabling all power-saving functions, and looping music playback. The 13-inch computer held out for just under five hours, while the 15-inch model lasted five hours and 21 minutes.
Safari tabs petition
In brief: The Mac U has released a new video designed to help customers become more familiar with the latest release of iMovie. The video includes approximately 90 minutes of content and covers topics ranging from organization to editing. Mophie has announced that its latest small-form case and external battery combo will be fully compatible with the iPhone 3GS. The case is claimed to be one of the smallest external batteries available, and add an additional 4.5 hours of 3G talk time. Meanwhile, a new petition has been started, in an attempt to see the tabs-on-top feature returned to Safari 4. The feature was introduced in the Safari 4 beta, but ultimately removed.
Jumpstart Sport released
Digipower has announced a new line of universal battery chargers, led by its flagship product, the Jumpstart Sport. A variety of chargers should eventually emerge under the label, featuring different battery types and sizes.
HyperMac external battery
Sanho Electronics has announced the HyperMac series of external power packs for Apple's entire MacBook line. Available in four different capacities -- 60Wh, 100Wh, 150Wh and 222Wh -- each device includes a cable for connecting to a MagSafe port. The packs also come with a 5V USB power port for charging any USB device individually, or simultaneously alongside a MacBook. In addition to providing a second mobile power source, the packs can charge an internal battery while providing main power.
QuickerTek MBP charger
QuickerTek has announced an updated external battery/charger unit, designed for the 17-inch MacBook Pro. The 3lb. device can extend the notebook's battery life by as much as 18 hours, and can also charge a Pro while it is still in use. The charger is designed to provide 1,000 full cycles, and takes approximately 12 hours to recharge from an empty state.
Juice Pack for Touch 2G
Mophie has announced that a version of the Juice Pack is now available for the iPod touch 2G. Designed as both a soft grip case and a charger, the Juice Pack features a rechargeable lithium battery, a USB charge and sync cable, and a passthrough headphone jack for listening while an iPod is still in the case. On a full charge, the case offers up to 42 hours of audio playback, and a maximum 7 hours of video.
New QuickerTek MB battery
Accessory maker QuickerTek has begun selling a new external battery and charger for Mac notebooks. The device is designed for the latest 13-inch MacBooks, and 15-inch MacBook Pros; it is chiefly said to provide between eight and 10 hours of total running time, as compared to the five made possible by Apple's built-in batteries. Internal batteries are depleted before the QuickerTek one takes effect.
Mophie Juice Pack Air
Accessory maker Mophie has announced the Juice Pack air, a revised version of its earlier battery pack for the iPhone 3G. Both Juice Packs latch onto the back of an iPhone, supplying extra power without dangling any cords or protrusions off of the dock connector. The batteries extend operational time by several hours, eliminating the need to recharge as frequently or avoid using functions to conserve energy.
MBP battery swap costs
Apple has confirmed the pricing and steps needed to replace the battery in the new 17-inch MacBook Pro, a report indicates. Due to a new power-efficient design, the battery cannot easily be replaced by owners; instead, an Apple spokesperson says, people will have to bring their Pros to an Apple Store or an authorized reseller, where they will pay a fee of $179. This should cover the cost of installation, the new battery, and safe disposal of the old battery.
Apple battery controversy
Developing European Union guidelines could force Apple to adopt a more user- and environmentally-friendly approach to batteries, reports say. The legal body is currently in the process of drafting a "New Batteries Directive," which would expand on the present set of guidelines designed to make it easier to remove, dispose of and/or recycle old batteries. The present directive indicates that companies must make it simple to remove batteries from electronics; the proposed one would insist that batteries can be "readily removed" for replacement or disposal.
QuickerTek MacBook battery
QuickerTek has announced a new external battery/charger for the MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro. The battery provides users between 8 and 10 extra hours of usage, on top of what a MacBook's internal battery already provides. The casing appears to be brushed aluminum, allowing it to blend in with other Apple products, and features an LED charging status indicator.
ASUS Eee PC batteries
Consumers who bought ASUS' Eee PC 900 in Hong Kong are accusing the company of misleading them. Review copies of the highly anticipated mini-laptop featured a higher-spec battery which is not yet available to the public and ASUS claims it shipped by mistake. The company is now giving a free battery upgrade to buyers who purchased the Eee PC 900 on its launch date.
Argonne Composite Battery
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, IL claim to have developed composite battery materials that will increase battery life by up to 30 percent, as well as making them safer and last longer than conventional lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries, based on a new generation of lithium-ion electrode chemistry, are similar to the ones GM is developing for its Chevy Volt electric vehicle, but Argonne is likely to market its technology to extend the usefulness of laptops and cell phones.
FastMac 17" MBP battery
Upgrade specialist FastMac has announced a new upgraded notebook battery, designed specifically for the 17-inch MacBook Pro. By swapping it with the default unit, owners are said to gain extended battery life, over and above the 5.75 hours promised by Apple. Along those lines, the FastMac battery is rated at 71Wh, surpassing Apple's 68Wh figure. Both batteries, however, use lithium-polymer cells, and have LED lights to indicate charge status. The new FastMac model should ship within 10 days, and can be pre-ordered now for $100; this is said to be $30 cheaper than a replacement from Apple.