Build quality and support detract from a good keyboard
I'm in England, where you don't tend to lean over people and ask where you got that device. We're not really polite, we're just wary. Yet I've been asked that many, many times since I bought this Belkin keyboard case for my original iPad Air. It definitely looks great, it definitely looks immediately, obviously useful. The point of Living With is to examine beyond those first looks, though, and I think the question is whether, after 15 months of intensive use, I would buy it again.
STM announces Dux rugged cases for iPad, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
STM Bags has announced the release of its new Dux case for iPad, along with versions for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Described as offering "rugged" protection from drops and general wear and tear, the Dux case consists of a rubberized bracket and polycarbonate exterior. Its clear back allows for customizing the appearance of the device, or letting the back of the iPhone or iPad remain visible. The Dux for iPad (priced at $50) features sizes designed for iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 2 through 4, iPad mini, as well as mini 2 and 3, and is available in blue, red, and black. Dux for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (priced at $30) are available in black and red.
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.
Tech requires AT&T Mobile Share plan
AT&T has announced the Modio, a case that adds LTE support to otherwise Wi-Fi-only iPad models. Initially, the only version will be available for the iPad mini (all generations), but an edition for the iPad Air and Air 2 is promised down the road. AT&T has yet to set prices or launch dates for either option, however.
Entertainer involved in advertising for iPhone 6
On Wednesday's episode of the Tonight Show, host and paid Apple endorser Jimmy Fallon gave away an iPad Air 2 to every member of the studio audience. The segment (below) was part of a week-long series of giveaways. It wasn't identified which models people were getting, although NBC may have opted to give audience members the base 16GB Wi-Fi versions, given the costs involved. Even at that bottom tier, the tablet costs $499 at retail.
Cheapest option starts at $727
Cellular-equipped editions of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 are now on sale in China, Apple has announced. Wi-Fi models have been available for some time. Notably, the tablets support unique local 3G and 4G standards -- including TD-LTE, FDD-LTE, and TD-SCDMA -- along with common variants used elsewhere. Most orders from Apple's online store are listed as shipping in one day, although Minis with TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE support are cited as shipping in three to five. Minis with conventional 3G/4G are still shipping in a day.
Pushes apps like AutoCAD, Molecules, OBD Fusion
Apple has begun airing a new TV ad (below) for the iPad Air 2, dubbed "Change." The spot showcases numerous different uses for the tablet, some relatively conventional but others more creative or exotic. Accompanying the ad is a new microsite featuring the song in the ad -- "Who Needs You" by The Orwells -- along with the apps depicted in each shot.
iPads, storage and more
At BestBuy.com this week, find low prices on previous-generation iPad Air configurations. The iPad Air with Wi-Fi and 64GB of storage has seen an $85 price break, dropping the cost from an already-reduced $500 down to $415. That makes this around $85 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. This iPad features a 9.5-inch multi-touch display with a A7 processor, 1.2MP front-facing camera, 5.0MP rear-facing camera, built-in Wi-Fi, and 64GB of storage space. It is backed by Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
No down payments, but tied to two-year leases
US carrier Sprint has announced new "iPad for Life" plans for people wanting to buy a 4G-equipped iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3. All of the plans have no down payments, unlike similar T-Mobile offerings, but still require people to pay monthly fees over the course of a two-year lease. Those fees vary based on device storage. A 16GB Air 2 is $20 a month, for example, whereas 64GB is $24, and 128GB is $28. For the Mini 3, those fees are $17, $21, and $25, respectively.
Combines two Imagination GPUs
The A8X chip in the iPad Air 2 uses a semi-custom graphics component, a new report illustrates. Apple has typically used off-the-shelf GPUs from PowerVR creators Imagination Technologies in the past. In the case of the A8X, though, Apple has combined a pair of Imagination's quad-core GX6450s.
A rugged case...for those who need it
For some people, the best protection options for an iPad are probably the simplest. An AppleCare+ plan, for instance, may be $99 up front -- and cost an extra $49 per accident -- but will let you forego a case entirely, or at least pick a case for style over substance. And on the most basic level, you can just be cautious and keep your iPad out of anything like a dangerous situation. That may not be an option though, and for that, there are cases like the Griffin Survivor Slim.
Deal in-store only
As a part of a November 8 promotional event, the US branch of Best Buy will be giving away gift cards with purchases of an iPad Air or MacBook Air. Buyers of a first- or second-generation iPad Air will get a $50 card; the card value jumps to $100 when buying a MacBook. Shoppers must go to "select" retail outlets to qualify.
As much a fashion statement as practical
Modern iPad cases are built not only to suit a wide range of uses, but a wide range of incomes, and both of those factors come into play with one of WaterField's first products for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, the Outback Slip Case. On a functional level, it's relatively straightforward: it's a cushioned sleeve that you slide an iPad into. WaterField makes four variants, split between the Air and the Mini, and whether you want one sized to accommodate a Smart Cover as well. We tested the Air 2/Smart Cover edition.
Keys-To-Go supports all iOS devices
Logitech has announced a trio of new iPad keyboard accessories, beginning with updates of its Type+ and Ultrathin cases for the iPad Air 2. The Type+ is a thin folio design, with features such as automatic wake/sleep magnets for both an iPad and the keyboard itself. It costs $100, and comes in black, blue, green, or purple, with extra "synthetic" versions of the first two colors.
128GB Air 2 still unavailable
Following up on earlier promises, the US branch of T-Mobile has officially launched the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 at its online and retail stores. People shopping online, at least, are being told that the 128GB Air 2 is currently unavailable, despite it being ready at Apple and other third-party vendors. Apple does typically produce fewer quantities of its highest-end models.
Sprint, T-Mobile leave devices open
The new Apple SIM in the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 is being locked to AT&T if data subscribers choose that carrier, according to complaints. The problem is confirmed by a new Apple support document, which says that when buyers "choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to [that] network only."
Lack of antenna for NFC radio hobbles unit for Apple Pay retail buying
A new teardown of the iPad Air 2 has confirmed much of what was speculated about the device, but has also revealed some minor surprises. The team at iFixit have rated the new iPad a "two" on a scale of 10, with 10 being the most repairable. The company says that while the new "fused" display is better visually, and sturdier when opening up the iPad, it will also increase the cost of repair for a cracked screen. The teardown also revealed that the latest full-size iPad features a smaller battery and more RAM.
Option temporarily restricted to Wi-Fi models
Shoppers at Apple's online store now have the option of selecting Personal Pickup as a delivery option for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. When preorders opened last Friday, the company required all orders to be shipped. Notably, some stores are listed as having iPads ready for pickup today, even though Apple Store workers are saying they won't have tablets on sale until later this week, or even next week. Shipped orders are beginning to arrive on doorsteps however.
Mini 3 criticized for not having enough value
Early reviews of the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3 are beginning to arrive, and are typically touting the tablets as Apple's best ever, but with some caveats. Re/code's Walt Mossberg for instance says they represent a "modest evolutionary improvement over last year's models, not the kind of big change that the first iPad Air or the Retina display iPad mini did last year." He suggests that the Air 2 may be worth buying for people owning an iPad older than last year's model.
Some units could ship as soon as October 23rd
Apple is beginning to ship the earliest preorders of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 bought at its online store, accounts say. Notifications are being sent out today. Some orders are scheduled to ship on October 23 specifically, while other people have been given a broader 23rd-27th timeframe.
Ordering through carrier will allow financing options
T-Mobile's US branch has announced that it will start offering preorders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 on Wednesday. While the hardware available to preorder since last Friday already supports T-Mobile, ordering directly from the carrier opens up financing options. The 16GB LTE models can be had for no down payment on a two-year contract, with monthly fees being approximately $26 for the Air 2 and $22 for the Mini 3. That's on top of a mandatory Simple Choice data plan.
In-store pickup options only listed as 'coming soon'
Apple has officially opened up preorders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 at its online store. In the US, Apple is currently promising delivery sometime between October 23rd and the 27th. Delivery in fact appears to be the only option, as in-store pickup is quoted as "coming soon."
Event featured expected news for news iPad, surprises for 5K iMac and Mac Mini
Chatter between the staff of MacNN and Electronista is always occurring behind the scenes, but it ramps up when special events or live reveals happen in the tech world. Excitement was amplified this week as Apple took to the stage barely a month after its last event, the September showcase that launched the iPhone 6. Editors Mike and Charles, along with writer Jordan, debate some of the new device information that trickled out of the Wednesday event, while digging a little deeper on the impact the devices could have on Apple.
New SIM tech lets users switch between carriers
The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, both announced today, will also come with a new SIM card dubbed the Apple SIM. Previously, people ordering a cellular iPad had to choose their carrier in advance. The Apple SIM will let buyers pick a single iPad and quickly switch between AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile plans in the US, and even EE in the UK. Verizon is not participating, and the service will require activating through a store.
New tablet even thinner than iPad Air, half the thickness of original iPad
Through its press event, Apple today unveiled the iPad Air 2, and a third-generation iPad mini. Both are the first iPads equipped with Touch ID fingerprint sensors, previously limited to iPhones. For the first time, the tablets are also available in a gold color along with previous silver and "space gray" options. Touch ID can be used for Apple Pay, but only online, not at retail outlets.
Leak coincides with Google Nexus 9 announcement
New screenshots for Apple's iOS 8 User Guide have revealed details of the new iPads the company is expected to reveal tomorrow. The tablets are identified as the "iPad Air 2" and "iPad mini 3." Both appear similar to their predecessors design-wise, but are equipped with Touch ID sensors. The screenshots also indicate that the Air 2's camera will support burst photography, as on the iPhone 5s, 6, and 6 Plus.
Calls for 27-inch Retina iMac, modest Mini update at press event
Apple will announce a second-generation iPad Air at tomorrow's press event, but 2014 shipments of the tablet will be hampered by production delays, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. "Of the new products, we think the market will be more interested in iPad Air 2. However, as the poor yield rate of anti-reflective coating cover lens has delayed mass production, we estimate 2014 shipments of iPad Air 2 to 7M to 9M units, lower than the 12M units of the then-new iPad Air shipments in 2013," he writes. "We thus expect iPad Air 2 to contribute less to the supply chain than iPad Air did last year. We also don't expect the event to boost supply chain shares much."
'Mass quantities' of new product already en route to US
Apple is already shipping "mass quantities" of a new product to the US, apparently with the aim an October 24 launch, a source says. The product in question is unspecified, but given the timing it's anticipated to be the second-generation iPad Air, third-gen iPad mini, or both. Apple has an iPad-centric press event scheduled for this Thursday, and typically likes to ship new iOS devices a little over a week after their introduction.
Images of next iPad Air logic board leak, reveal 2GB of RAM, A8X chip, more
What looks to be a legitimate logic board for the next-generation iPad Air has leaked, and appears to support several previous rumors regarding the changes that are likely. A new rumor, however, adds to what is generally "known" about the upcoming revision by stating that, like the unexpected debut of the iPhone 6 Plus, the second-generation Retina iPad mini -- long thought to be delayed -- will be debuting alongside the larger version at Apple's press event, scheduled for Thursday.
Tablet even thinner than iPhone 6 Plus
A Vietnamese website has produced photos of what appears to be a fully-assembled dummy model of the second-generation iPad Air. The tablet is said to be just 7mm thick, making it even thinner than the iPhone 6 Plus -- which is rated at 7.1mm -- and marginally thicker than the 6.9mm iPhone 6. In contrast, the current Air measures 7.5mm.
Could ditch 16GB model, support Apple Pay
A new report -- citing researchers with access to pictures and illustrations from Apple sources -- claims to have details of what the final or near-final second-generation iPad Air will feature. One major improvement is said to be a fully-laminated display, in which the LCD and cover glass are merged into a single unit, as with the iPhone. This should improve the size and weight of the device. TPK, GIS, Sharp, Samsung, and LG are mentioned as manufacturers, with the report saying that the screen should improve in quality as well.
Up to 480 songs on your wrist, perhaps, but only iPad Airs for Xmas
A new pair of rumors -- one from sketchy sources in Taiwan, the other a claim by a Wall Street analyst -- offer some unconfirmed sources of new details for the Apple Watch, as well as the company's holiday plans for the next iPad, the latter thus far being unmentioned by Apple but expected sometime next month. According to Taiwan's Commercial Times, Apple will only offer an updated 7.9-inch iPad Air for the holidays, leaving the second-gen Retina iPad mini until early next year.
Tablet should be thinner, faster, equipped with Touch ID
Supply firms are ramping up production for the second-generation iPad Air, sources say. The people indicate that touch panel makers like TPK and GIS are receiving Apple orders for full-lamination units. Sharp, Japan Display, and LG Display -- typically believed to be the tablet's main LCD suppliers -- are also reportedly receiving an uptick in orders, but for the iPhone.
Magnus iPad stand uses magnets to hold tablet in place
Ten One Design has announced the release of its new iPad stand, Magnus, which uses magnets to hold the tablet in place. Designed to work with iPad Air, the low-profile stand features aluminum finishing and is minimally visible from the front of the tablet. Its rubberized magnetic grip protects the refined aluminum enclosure of the iPad from unwanted scratches, additionally providing surface traction. Weighing less than two ounces, its 22-degree viewing angle offers a suitable positioning for viewing in landscape mode. The Magnus Air is priced at $40.
Retailers looking to clear out old stock
Best Buy is conducting a one-day sale on all its iPad Air models, cutting their costs by $75 each. That makes a 16GB Wi-Fi Air $425, and a 16GB 4G Air $555. The most expensive iPads -- 128GB 4G models -- have been lowered to $855. A further $50 discount on any of the models is available to educational buyers.
iWatch may have 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage
The second-generation iPad Air should see a switch from 1GB to 2GB of RAM, according to a Taiwanese site, TechNews. The third-gen iPad mini, however, will allegedly retain 1GB, according to the publication. That would be a reversal of last year, when the Mini was made equivalent to full-sized iPads in everything but size.
TweetDeck updated for OS X, adds Regional + City level Trends
TweetDeck by Twitter has received an update for OS X. The app is designed for publishers, marketers and power users of Twitter, and features a customizable layout for the social networking platform. Tweetdeck v3.8.4 offers the ability to find locally trending topics for Regions and Cities, adding a column based on the trend.
Includes bigger speaker grilles, shifted rear mic
A Taiwanese accessory maker, Yi Lin Enterprises, has posted photos online showing what's claimed to be a rear shell for the second-generation iPad Air. While mostly similar to the current Air, the shell's speaker grilles have been modified to use a single row of larger holes, and the rear microphone port has been placed next to the iSight camera. The part appears to be for a space gray model.
iPad Air is a more capable productivity tool than some might expect
The question of how much productivity you can get done on the Apple iPad is one that has persisted since its introduction. Even if the question is not an easy one to answer, it seems almost irrelevant to even ask when one looks at how massively successful the iPad has been since its introduction. The question also depends on what one defines as being 'productivity,' when it has been clear for some time that plenty of people can and do use iPads for getting work done, particularly in creative endeavors. The recently announced partnership between Apple and IBM in enterprise, coupled with the arrival of Microsoft Office for iPad suggests that the iPad's capability in the workplace will be properly tested given that IBM also becomes an official Apple reseller and will help to shift many more units into the workplace.
Griffin Technology's Survivor Slim rugged iPad Air case now available
Griffin Technology has announced the release of a new rugged case for use with iPad Air. The Survivor Slim aims to deliver protection for all conditions, featuring a shatter-resistant shell and silicone bumper for absorbing the shock of a drop. Its accompanying screen shield prevents scratches and smudges, and the flexible button covers deflect dust, dirt, and rain from entering vulnerable places on the tablet.
All models are 16GB only, limited choice on selection and carriers
Nearly four years after Costco and Apple had a falling out that resulted in the discount chain pulling all Apple products from its warehouse outlets, the discounter is now again selling iPhones and iPads, albeit in a limited fashion for the time being in its US stores. After first bringing back iTunes gift cards to the stores, the Costco Mobile online store is now carrying 16GB models of the iPhone 5s and 5c, as well as the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, with discounts as high as $121 off retail.
TSMC bulking up production
TSMC will start shipping a new generation of Touch ID sensors for Apple products in July, claims the China Times. Production is expected to jump a colossal 233 percent to 120 million units, presumably because the sensors will also be used in iPads for the first time. On top of this, though, the parts have allegedly been designed for better durability, and will be built at an expanded 8-inch fabrication facility.
Builds in shortcut buttons, palm rejection, pressure sensitivity
Adonit has unveiled the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint, an iPad stylus based on Adobe's new SDK. Its name refers to the Pixelpoint tip, which is extremely precise and has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Supporting apps also make use of the stylus' two shortcut buttons, and turn on palm rejection to prevent accidental input.
Other parts to follow
Displays for a second-generation iPad Air should enter production later this month, followed shortly by other components like camera modules, claims Korean site ETNews. Apple is expected to stick to the same 9.7-inch 2048x1536 panels it used with the Air. LG Display will reportedly lead production, followed by Sharp and Samsung in July.
Kindle for iOS adds compatibility with Audible audiobooks
Kindle has updated its iOS app, now allowing users to access purchased Audible content. Users can switch back and forth between reading a Kindle version of a book and the Audible audiobook version, depending on the relevant situation. Over 45,000 Kindle and Audible title pairs are now available. Additional features in v4.3 include synchronized reading progress between the Audible and Kindle versions of a book, the option to increase narration speed by up to 2x, and bulk title downloading. The Kindle iOS app is free to download through iTunes.
Belkin announces availability of QODE Thin Type keyboard case
Belkin has introduced a new keyboard case for the iPad Air, intended to provide a laptop-like experience. The Qode Thin Type is approximately 12 ounces in weight, and features comfortably-spaced, responsive keys, Bluetooth connectivity and functions as a screen cover when not in use. Secure-hold magnets attach the keyboard case to the iPad, and is compatible with both landscape and portrait viewing. Its rechargeable battery can run for 79 hours of average active use. Available in silver, the Qode Thin Type for iPad Air is priced at $100 and is available for purchase online.
Pegatron rumored to have 15 percent of iPhone 6 orders
Taiwanese supplier TSMC has delivered the first batch of Touch ID fingerprint sensors for several Apple products, including the iPhone 6, second-generation iPad Air, and third-generation iPad mini, supply chain sources claim. The sensors are reportedly being assembled by TSMC subsidiaries Xintec and Suzhou Crystal Semiconductor. While the rumor is hard to verify, Apple is likely receiving parts in preparation for mass production, since its flagship products -- iPhones and iPads -- are due to refresh in the fall. Reports have also indicated that Apple intends to expand use of Touch ID beyond the iPhone.
Simple designs, different directions
On Tuesday Logitech announced several new iPad cases. Here at MacNN we were given a chance to try two of them, the Hinge and the Turnaround, both in versions for the iPad Air. Since they're relatively straightforward cases, we thought we'd give them a simple-hands-on rather than full reviews.
Ultrathin gets lighter, more angles
Logitech today officially launched three new cases for the iPad Air and the iPad mini. Leading these is the Big Bang, which merges a compact folio design with shock-absorbing material; Logitech claims the case can survive drops from as high as 1.4m, or about 4.6 feet. The front and back are also covered with liquid-resistant materials. The Air version of the case costs $100, while the Mini edition is $80.
Folio tries to bridge paper and tablet worlds
Before we get rolling, I'll confess: I've never understood the purpose of cases like the Booqpad. If you've got a tablet, surely part of the point is being able to ditch paper entirely. In practice of course, there are times when a pen and paper are handy -- but can that justify building an entire case around the concept? I suppose we'll have to put the Booqpad to the test.