Griffin’s New Premium Lightning Cables Now Available

Griffin Premium Lightning Cables reversable USBGriffin has announced that their new Premium Charge / Sync Cables with Lightning connector are now available. These cables have easy-connecting reversible USB that can be plugged in regardless of the orientation.

The Premium Charge/Sync Cable’s reversible USB connector works in any full-sized USB port regardless of how it’s plugged in, making it the easiest-to-connect USB plug ever.

Through brutal bend and environmental testing, the redesigned cable has proven that it’s built for a longer, more reliable life. The durable braided nylon cable jacket resists kinking and the anodized aluminum housing stabilizes and protects the Lightning connector from physical stresses.

Griffin Premium Lightning Cables

Griffin’s new Premium Lightning Cables are available in 5 feet ($29.99) or 10 feet ($39.99) in 3 sleek colors – silver, gold, and space gray – to perfectly coordinate with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Booq Taipan Shock Backpack Review

booq LogoThe Booq Taipan Shock is a lightweight laptop backpack for devices with screens up to 16″, designed to store the laptop safely in a padded section, placing all the accoutrements of mobile life in other pockets and compartments. As can be seen in the photos, it’s a relatively big backpack at 46 × 33 × 21 cm giving it a large internal volume for plenty of gear. The outer material is 1680D triweave water-repellent polyester closed with YKK zips and all the stitching is neatly finished and taped over on the inside. The specs say it weighs just under a kilo.

Booq Taipan Shock back

Booq Taipan Shock strap sideThe dedicated laptop section is closest to the back side of the Shock and has padding on all sides with a flash of red material. The Shock easily took a chunky HP ProBook with a 15.6″ screen and a more svelte 13″ Lenovo Yoga looked almost lost inside the padded laptop pocket.

Booq Taipan Shock laptop pocket

In the main section, there’s a selection of zipped pockets, netted areas, pen-holders and slots for paper pads. There’s plenty of room for books and lunchboxes too.

Inside the Taipan Shock

Booq Taipan Shock Removable KeyringThe Taipan Shock has loads of neat features. To start with all the zips are YKK’s water-repellent versions, so once closed up the bag will keep gear dry in a rain shower. As the zips are covered with a layer of material, they look neat and tidy, with none of the zip teeth showing. For convenience, one of the side pockets has a detachable keyring, and while the arm straps can be adjusted for fit, any extra webbing can be neatly wrapped and retain with velcro to stop it flapping around. Finally on the rear of the backpack, there’s a pocket that’s just the right size for an ereader or 7″ tablet, which is handy for easy access.

Booq TagsThe Taipan Shock looks very smart in grey but for a bit of brightness a few coloured leather pull-tabs are included which can be swapped in. It’s a neat touch.

Finally, the Booq Taipan Shock comes with Terralinq, a service designed to reunite lost bags with owners. By pairing a serial number on the backpack with the purchaser, the Shock can be returned should it be found.

Overall, the Booq Taipan Shock is a well-made backpack that has plenty of pockets and space for safely toting larger laptops. The Taipan Shock is vailable from Amazon.co.uk with an RRP of £80.

Thanks to Booq for the loan of the Taipan Shock.

Satechi’s USB Charging Station Powers 7 Devices at Once

Satechi 7 Port USB Charging StationSatechi has a 7-port USB Charging Station Dock that is available now. It is a compact 7.4 x 5.5 inches and is designed to reduce clutter and to avoid taking over valuable desk space. It can charge multiple devices at once without causing a mess of wires.

The Charging Station Dock has a total of 7 USB ports. Four of them provide 5 volts / 1 amp. The other three each provide 5 volts / 2.4 amps of power. It is easy to plug each device directly into the side of the Charging Station Dock. Plug the Dock itself into a wall outlet. This reduces cord clutter.

There is no need to remove protective cases before putting a device into the Charging Station Dock. A blue LED light will indicate that the Dock is powered on and ready to charge.

There are a variety of devices that are compatible with the 7-Port Charging Station Dock.

Apple: iPhone 6 Plus, 6, 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, 4, 3, iPad Mini, iPad, iPod
Samsung: Galaxy S5, S4, S3, S2, Note 2, Note
Blackberry: Playbook, Torch
HTC One, SV, Flyer, Inspire 4G, Sensation, First, Desire
Motorola: Droid, Razr
Nokia: Lumia
LG: Optimus, Ludic
Google: Nexus

Satechi’s 7-Port Charging Station Dock is now available for $59.99. Charging cables are not included.

Line 6 brings Amplifi Remote app to Apple Watch

Line 6 logoLine 6 is a musical instrument and audio equipment manufacturer that’s been a real industry innovator for nearly two decades. I bought my first Line 6 guitar amp back in 2001 and have been hooked on the company’s products ever since. At this point, it’d be a neck-and-neck battle between Line 6 and Apple as far as which company has made a bigger dent in my overall net worth.

One thing that Line 6 has done recently that’s really intriguing is the development of “remote” apps that work wirelessly with its various products. The first of these connected-app lines is the Amplifi guitar amp/smart speaker system.  Amplifi was designed to bridge the gap between practicing at home and jamming with other musicians. At home, the Amplifi could be used as a speaker for entertainment systems. At the rehearsal space, Amplifi also works as a full-power electric guitar amp.

Amplifi is also the first Line 6 product to use a remote app to control different features of the device. The app originally launched for Android and iOS, running both on iPhone and iPad. Now, Line 6 has brought its Amplifi Remote app to Apple Watch:

The new AMPLIFi Remote v2.11 update enables guitar players to control and access guitar tones via Apple Watch. Guitarists can now access tones, control levels, search the Line 6 Tone Cloud, and use the tuner, right from their wrist. AMPLIFi Remote works with the entire AMPLIFi family, and provides guitarists with unprecedented control over every aspect of their guitar tone and effects.

Amplifi Remote features such as Tuner, MyTones and master/instrument level controls will be accessibly directly on the Apple Watch version of the app. Users will also be able to do a “dictation search” of Line 6’s Tone Cloud service, which will allow them to use vocal requests to search thru guitar tones saved to Line 6’s cloud service. Tones can then be quickly loaded onto an Amplifi device for immediate use.

It’s great to see Line 6’s continued development of things like the Amplifi Remote App. The company has also started rolling out other products that work with similar apps. I’m definitely excited to see what else Line 6 comes up with this year.

Special Needs Customers Can Make Apple Watch Demo Appointments

Apple LogoApple has made a point of adding accessibility features to its products for years. Everything from the Mac to iOS devices has user-enabled controls and configurations for things like voice-to-text, alteration of the screen thru focused zooming in and more. And while it seems like the company’s new Apple Watch wouldn’t necessarily be that useful for customers with visual or other kinds of impairments, Apple wants to prove that misconception wrong right out of the gate. That’s why users with special needs can make appointments to test out an Apple Watch, with specific guidance from an Apple Store employee that can demonstrate all of the watch’s accessibility options.

Customers who are interested in making one of these appointments can do so thru the Apple website, the Apple Store iOS app or by calling 1-800-692-7753. When making an appointment, it’s a good idea to note that you’re a disabled user and you’d like to try out the Apple Watch’s accessibility features. This way, the store can have an iPhone preloaded with the full Watch OS and paired with an Apple Watch ready when you arrive. (Apple Stores don’t normally have their watches fully set up like this for customers who just walk in off the street, that’s why it’s important to make an appointment in advance.)

Anytime you’re going to purchase a new item (especially something that can be pricey like an Apple Watch), it’s a good idea to try it out and really see if its right for you before handing over the credit card. It’s great that Apple is continuing its commitment to disabled users by allowing them to make these special appointments. Hopefully, the Apple Watch will prove to be a true asset to those who are in need of assistive technology.

WatchPlate will Gold Plate your Apple Watch

WatchPlateDeserved or otherwise, the prevailing perception of the new Apple Watch is that it’s an accessory for rich people. It’s unclear at this point if Apple sees this as an asset or a liability. Regardless, now that the Apple Watch is officially on the market, all kinds of third party accessories and services are jumping in to fill the needs of Apple Watch owners. And while the third-party Apple Watch market may never reach the kind of saturation point that’s happened for iPhone accessories, this market is still likely to generate some real profits. The latest example of that is WatchPlate, a new service that will add gold plating to any Apple Watch.

WatchPlate works by placing an order thru the company’s website. From there, you’ll receive an e-mail with a prepaid FedEx shipping label. Take your Apple Watch to any authorized FedEx drop-off point and it’ll be whisked away to WatchPlate where it’ll undergo the gold plating process. The company estimates that your Apple Watch will be back in your hands (and on your wrist) within three business days of when its received by WatchPlate.

WatchPlate charges a $399.00 flat fee for gold plating an Apple Watch, a watch band or both. Shipping is free anywhere in the world. The plating can be done in either yellow or rose gold and WatchPlate states that it uses only 24 karat gold in the process. WatchPlate also recommends that users regularly clean and maintain their gold plated watches to ensure longevity of the plating. If needed, the company will re-plate a watch for a flat fee of $199.00.

There are a couple of things to be aware of before placing a WatchPlate order. Gold plating is only possible on stainless steel models of the Apple Watch, which excludes the Sport edition. And when it comes to potentially voiding an Apple Watch warranty, WatchPlate says:

It is possible. The process involves dipping the watch in about 3 inches of fluid for about 20 minutes total. This is much easier on the watch than Apple’s recommended maximum of 3 ft submersion for 30 minutes. That being said, because this is a new service, we don’t know how Apple’s warrantee policies could change regarding gold plating.

If you’re concerned about your watch breaking during its warranty period and it’d be difficult for you to buy another one out of pocket, you may want to proceed with caution when it comes to gold plating the device. If that’s not a concern, and you can stand to be without your shiny new watch for a few days, head on over to WatchPlate and make that new accessory truly stand out.

SAGO Cover Protects Your Apple Watch

SAGO Cover for Apple WatchThe Apple Watch ranges in price from $349 to $12,000 depending on which model you want and what kind of band you select. One would assume that people would want to protect this rather expensive smartwatch. There is currently a Kickstarter for the SAGO cover – a protective shell that fits over the Apple Watch and prevents it from damage due to impacts and scratches.

As is typical on Kickstarter, the SAGO cover will only be funded if at least $32,400 is pledged by the deadline (May 24, 2015). At the time I am writing this blog, a total of $340 has been pledged. It has 24 days to goal.

The SAGO cover comes in four colors: Blanc De Blanc (white), Glacier Grey (grey), Bermuda (green) and Hot Coral (red). Each color comes in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm. The cover can be placed on the Apple Watch while the user is wearing it. There is a space in the cover that will accommodate the watch band.

The SAGO cover protects the digital crown, the touch display, the secondary input, and the heart rate sensor/charging contact (that is located on the back of the Apple Watch). Put the SAGO cover on the Apple Watch one way, and it covers the buttons that are on the side of the watch. Users that prefer to have those buttons accessible can flip the SAGO cover over so that the buttons are on the open side of the cover. It appears that people will need to remove the SAGO cover in order to view the display on the Apple Watch.

Some of the Kickstarter rewards for the SAGO cover include a microfiber pouch. It gives additional protection to the Apple Watch when it is put into a bag or purse and not being worn. The microfiber pouch can also be used to clean an Apple Watch.

WatchStand Charges and Displays Apple Watch

Griffin WatchStandGriffin Technology has created WatchStand. It is a new charging dock for Apple Watch that offers an elegant solution for displaying the Apple Watch. WatchStand is available now for $29.99.

WatchStand houses the Apple-provided magnetic charging cable in an angled cradle that keeps it ready to charge at all times. Feed the magnetic charging cable through the center of the post.

After that, you can charge your Apple Watch each day by laying it against the cradle. The magnetic connector gently snaps itself onto the back of the Apple Watch and begins charging.

WatchStand can accommodate both semi-flexible and fully flexible bands. It displays the Apple Watch vertically or horizontally for the perfect view. The weighted base of WatchStand has a home for a phone as well. The raised lip on the front of the dock holds the phone at an angle that makes it easy to view.

WatchStand weighs 18 ounces and is 7.87” x 5.5” x 3.15” in size. It has a non-slip base and no-scratch padding that holds WatchStand in place on a desk or tabletop. Excess cable length can be stored away inside WatchStand’s post.

The video below gives you a good look at the elegant WatchStand. The video says “coming soon” because it was produced before WatchStand became available. WatchStand is available now for $29.99.

Line 6 Releases new G70 Digital Wireless System

Line 6 logoAs a performing musician, it can be a real drag to have to deal with an instrument cable hanging off behind you on stage. You never know for sure if that cord is going to get tangled up in a weird way, potentially damaging your gear (or maybe even you!). Also, cables can be limiting in terms of mobility. Because sometimes, you just want to get out into the crowd and get up close with your audience during a show. Fortunately, modern music makers have access to wireless transmitters that can fix both of these problems. And audio equipment/musical instrument manufacturer Line 6 has just released the most advanced guitar wireless system ever, the Relay G70.

The G70 supports multiple transmitters so musicians can instantly switch between instruments. Each transmitter features a locking 1/4” input that allows guitarists to plug right in without requiring any special cables or adapters. User-programmable presets on the receiver enable performers to control each instrument’s signal routing, levels and more, with the single press of a footswitch. For example, guitarists can route an electric guitar to an amp via one of two assignable 1/4″ outputs, and an acoustic guitar to the PA system through the assignable XLR output. A dedicated always-on 1/4″ tuner output is also provided, in addition to a built-in tuner. And to preserve battery life in multi-instrument setups, the new intelligent sleep mode allows you to leave all your transmitters on with minimal battery drain while connected to the instruments you’re not actively playing.

Relay G70 provides the lowest latency of any digital wireless system, coming in at under 1.5ms. A custom-designed radio with four calibrated internal antennas delivers a lossless 24-bit digital signal and a wide dynamic range of over 120dB. The G70 also never compresses the signal, providing guitarists with the purest possible audio quality. Performers will enjoy 8+ hours of battery life with standard AA batteries, plus up to 70 hours of standby time thanks to the intelligent sleep mode. The Relay system features a rugged but familiar stompbox-style form factor that integrates easily with an existing guitar pedalboard.

Relay G70 is available now for purchase from most audio gear/musical instrument vendors. One receiver and transmitter retails for $699.99 and additional Relay TB516G transmitters are priced at $279.99 each.

Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speaker Review

bose soundlink colorI’ve been playing around with the Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speaker and, truth be told, I think I’m in love.

The Soundlink Color packs an incredible punch despite its compact design. It weighs only 1.25 pounds, making it the perfect audio solution for travel and everyday use. The upright, rounded design allows for crisp, clear sound that projects throughout the room. While it doesn’t beat the quality of higher-grade professional speakers, the Soundlink Color is perfect for the average music lover, with exceptional sound quality considering that it connects via Bluetooth.

Pairing your smartphone, tablet, or computer with the Soundlink Color couldn’t be easier. Just turn on the speaker and it will begin searching for nearby Bluetooth devices within a 30-foot range. When it pops up as an available connection on your device, just hit connect and you’re good to go. The speaker will guide you through the process with voice prompts so you’ll be connected in no time. The Soundlink Color can connect to up to two Bluetooth devices at a time, so you can easily switch between different sources of audio. In addition, the speaker remembers the last eight devices it’s been paired with to make connecting even easier.

The Soundlink Color’s rechargable lithium ion battery boasts an impressive 8-hour battery life, so you’ll get plenty of listening time before its time to charge up. This makes it the perfect choice for camping, traveling, or casual listening wherever you are. You can charge the speaker using the included wall adapter or via USB.

True to its name, the Soundlink Color comes in an assortment of colors: red, mint, blue, white, and black. I bought the black model, and it is quite attractive. One of the first things I noticed when trying it out is just how sturdy this little speaker is– you can feel the durability. The durable rubber casing protects it against dust, dirt, and damage, without compromising on style or performance.

You can purchase the Soundlink Color for $129.95 on the Bose website or at an electronics retailer near you.