I’ve tested almost every major iPad keyboard case since the first iPad was released five years ago, and still recall when companies charged $100 for greasy vinyl folios with terrible, squishy rubber keys. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. If you’re willing to spend $100, you can get a much nicer iPad-holding case attached to a nearly great keyboard. Drop $130-$150 (or go nuts for $170), and you can get a metal keyboard that partially resembles a MacBook Air. Personally, $100 is the ceiling I’d ever be willing to pay for an iPad keyboard case, and I’d rather pay less. But unless you count discontinued models for prior-generation iPads, there aren’t many great options.
Anker is changing that. Its new Bluetooth Folio Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 sells for a stunningly low $40, and just like the 25,600mAh Anker iPad battery pack I previously reviewed, it delivers remarkable value for its price point. As the product of strategic compromises, it winds up giving up only one thing I typically prefer — a complete iPad-holding frame — in order to offer an excellent typing experience for the same cost as a typical iPad case without a keyboard. Read on for the reasons why I’d recommend this over options costing three times the price.
- Pares down typical keyboard case design, focusing heavily on the keyboard versus the case
- Offers a comfortable hard plastic typing surface with responsive keys and auto power on/off
- Six-month battery life between recharges is at upper end of industry performance
- Ships in eco-friendly packaging
Many of the iPad keyboard cases I’ve liked in the past have focused a lot upon the frame that holds the iPad, but the core element in Anker’s Keyboard Case is the keyboard — the part that needs to work well, or else. There’s no better way to explain the keyboard’s design than to say Anker got it all right: the keys are responsive, reasonably-sized, and comfortably separated, with no oddly-remapped or missing keys. Apart from the now-standard merging of iOS function keys with the top row of numbers, all of Anker’s keys are in the same places as on Apple’s own Wireless Keyboard. It took no time at all for me to start typing as well on Anker’s keyboard as on Apple’s, far less than the 15-30-minute adjustment time (with cramped fingers) I’ve experienced with many iPad keyboard cases.Anker achieved this by refusing to shoehorn its keys into an overly narrow space. The Keyboard Case’s footprint is a little larger than the iPad Air 2, in part to accommodate the minimalist frame it uses to hold the tablet in place. Hard plastic ribs lined with rubber firmly hold the iPad’s right edge inside the case, while a magnetic bar enables the iPad to form a very stable typing/video viewing angle atop the keyboard, as well as automatically powering the keyboard on and off. Other magnets hold the case firmly closed, and automatically unlock the iPad’s screen when it’s opened. All of these innovations appeared first elsewhere, but work perfectly here.
The only negative with Anker’s design: the iPad’s edges and buttons are recessed inside the folio. While the protection is welcome, this can make the buttons a little more challenging — not hard — to access. This would matter more if the volume controls weren’t also accessible from the iPad’s Control Center, or if there weren’t magnets in the case to automatically lock and unlock the screen. As-is, it’s a design compromise with little real-world consequence.
The Keyboard Case’s other features are also compelling: using the included micro-USB cable, you get six months of battery life between charges, which is in the middle of the two-month to twelve-month battery life found in rival keyboard cases. The faux leather exterior looks and feels enough like real fine-grain leather to pass executive boardroom muster. And the eco-friendly cardboard packaging is a much-appreciated alternative to the overwrought boxes packed with plastic, foam, ribbons and magnets used by too many companies.
As a design judge and tester of literally thousands of Apple accessories, it’s very clear to me that Anker really knows what it’s doing. Even at budget prices, accessories like this are rapidly earning their way into my personal travel bags when I have access to more expensive and complex alternatives. If you’re looking for a keyboard case — or didn’t consider them in the past because their prices were unappealing from accessories like this — I’d highly recommend that you consider the $40 Bluetooth Folio Keyboard Case as a viable option.Manufacturer:
iPad Air 2
Filed under: iOS Devices, Reviews Tagged: Anker, bluetooth keyboard, Bluetooth keyboard case, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 keyboard cases, keyboard case
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Gartner is out with its latest report tracking smartphone movement during the previous year and more specifically the holiday quarter.
Headlining the report is news that over 1 billion smartphones were sold in 2014, a data point IDC first said was hit in the previous year, adding that two out of three phones sold last year qualified as smartphones.
Gartner’s data shows Apple topped Samsung in worldwide smartphone sales with 74,832,000 units shipped during the holiday quarter, just 1.8 million units more than Samsung, giving Apple 20.4% market share for the quarter, a virtual tie with Samsung’s 19.9%.
Notably, Gartner’s data told a different story during the same quarter in 2013 when Samsung topped Apple’s smartphone sales around the world by more than 30 million units with 29.5 % marketshare for the quarter over Apple’s 17.8%.
Apple’s record 74.4 million iPhone sales during the holiday quarter following the introduction of the larger-screened iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus of course served Apple well. Samsung entered the quarter ahead of rumors of the newly announced Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge flagship smartphones which will start shipping next month.
Coming up behind Apple and Samsung is Lenovo (which includes sales of Motorola-branded phones), Huawei, and Xiaomi with single digit market share. The collective group of others which amount to 42.4% of the holiday quarter sales.
When you look at the data for smartphone sales to end users by vendors for the year as a whole, though, Apple falls behind Samsung considerably. Samsung sales caught 24.7 percent of the market over Apple’s 15.4 percent for the year. The difference? Samsung sold 307,597,000 units over Apple’s 191,426,000 units. Compared to marketshare in 2013, Apple actually dropped 0.1% from 15.5%, although Samsung lost 6 percentage points to the runners-up.
With Apple out of its S-year cycle for most of 2015 (until this fall) and Samsung competing with its new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, the race between the two will remain an interesting space to watch.
Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices, Tech Industry Tagged: Apple, Galaxy, Garnter, iPhone, Samsung
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Daily Deals: uNu MFi 3000mAh Battery Case for iPhone 6 $49 (Reg. $80), more
PNY Turbo 256GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive: $70 shipped (Orig. $130)
Apple iPad mini 2 WiFi: 16GB $250/32GB $300 w/ free shipping ($50 off)Apple MacBook Air 13.3″ Laptop (previous gen) 1.3GHz/4GB/128GB $830 (orig. $1,099)
SanDisk’s groundbreaking microSD card will stuff an extra 200GB in your MacBook, GoPro, more
Small States Review – Bolt Briefcase from WaterField Designs is an ideal work and travel companion, $249 giveawayMore new gear from today:
Games/Apps: LEGO, Mickey & Rayman titles up to 75% off, iOS freebies, more
- New! Lenmar Meridian MFi iPhone 5/5s Battery Case $20 + shipping (Reg. up to $40+)
- New! Mpow Solar-Powerd Wireless LED Motion Sensor Light: $11 Prime shipped ($19 off)
- New! Free download: Transparent soundtrack featuring Bob Dylan, Neil Young, more
- New! Sennheiser HD 439 over-ear headphones in black $40 shipped (orig. $100)
- New! HP Stream 7 32GB Windows 8.1 Tablet + Office 365 ($70 value) + $25 gift card: $79
- New! JLab Grab Bag – headphones, Bluetooth speakers, more: $7.50 shipped
- New! DC Comic Issue #1s on Google Play for Free: Batman, Superman, more
- Incase Maki Canvas Jacket for iPad 2/3/4 case $10 shipped (Reg. $40)
- Google Play’s Birthday Sale includes $0.99 albums, $3 movies, discounted apps, more
- Readdle’s wireless printing app Printer Pro goes free on iOS (Reg. $7)
- Amazon Spring Break Fashion Sale: Reef Sandal $32, Oakley Sunglasses $72+, more
- Audio-Technica Headphones: PRO700MK2 on-ears $128 (Reg. $170+), more
- Jabra Solemate Bluetooth Speaker in black $60 shipped (Reg. $95+)
- Beats Studio Wired Over-Ear Headphones $230 shipped (Reg. $300)
- Elgato 256GB Portable Thunderbolt Drive $368 shipped (orig. $500)
- Pioneer’s SPH-DA120 adds Apple CarPlay to your car for $445 (Reg. $600)
- Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS $140 (Reg. $170)
- Amazing Indie Game iOS sale: up to 50% off Kingdom Rush, Banner Saga, more
- Dr. Seuss Birthday Sale: up to 80% off more than 60 iOS book apps/collections
Pansonic’s Nubo weatherproof, 4G-equipped monitoring camera is poised to slay Dropcam
- NeatherRealm announces Mortal Kombat X hybrid card-battler for iOS and Android
- Mad Catz brings console style controllers to Android devices with the L.Y.N.X.3
- Life Hack: Fix your iMac’s biggest annoyance by moving its USB ports
- Radically upgrade your PS4, Xbox One or Wii U hard drive for $100 or less
- Free Xbox Live Gold Games for March: Rayman Legends, Tomb Raider, more
- Netflix March Preview: House of Cards S3, Aziz Ansari Live standup, Mad Men S7, more
- These AA and AAA batteries can be recharged from any USB power source
- Control Siri, iTunes and your iPhone’s camera from afar w/ Satechi’s Bluetooth buttons
Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 256GB Flash Drive, 9to5Toys, coupon codes, Daily Deals, free music, free shipping, Freebies, iOS freebies, iPhone 6 Battery Case, Lunch Break, PNY, uNu DX 6, uNu iPhone 6, USB 3.0
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Highlighted in the new version is the ability to manage bill reminders right from the app. For the iPhone version, bill reminders can be created, edited, and managed from the latest version of the app. A change to the Overview tab wraps all this together.
Mint has also enhanced the newly added Updates view to show upcoming bill due dates. The new Upcoming Bills Card will present any bills with a due date within the next seven days.
In terms of accessibility, Mint has added support in a number of areas of the app. This includes the login, signup, split transactions and transaction detail pages.
Mint 4.1 for iPhone and iPad is available for free on the App Store.
Filed under: Apps Tagged: accessibility, bill reminders, budget, finance, Intuit, Mint, money, money management, personal finance
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South by Southwest (SXSW) just launched its official mobile app ahead of the festival and alongside it announced plans for the world’s largest deployment of iBeacons to offer mobile app features triggered by the Bluetooth beacons. In total, more than 1000+ beacons will be deployed to pull it all off. SXSW thinks the features will “fundamentally change attendee’s experiences” by letting mobile app users network and navigate the event.
Working with its partner Eventbase, which it invested in last year and collaborated with in recent years, this year’s deployment of iBeacons will offer an in-app social networking feature called Attendee Match. Users will also be able to discover events around them using iBeacon tech with an Around Me feature (pictured above).
Also expanded this year is the iBeacon-based Session Live feature that allows audience members to get involved in conversations. “Using iBeacon technology, see who’s in the session with you and join the discussion (expanded to more sessions for 2015)”
The SXSW GO 2015 app is available to download on the App Store now. The SXSW festival takes place later this month in Austin, Texas from March 13-17 and could potentially be home to “pop up” Apple Watch displays.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Austin, beacons, Bluetooth, festival, iBeacon, iBeacons, South by Southwest, SXSW, Texas
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Sonos is today rolling out version 5.3 of its Sonos Controller app for iOS to introduce a few new features and a tweaked user interface.
The feature being highlighted above others in the update is easier access to controlling the app’s Rooms feature: Effortlessly move your music around your home with a more accessible ROOMS menu available by tapping the top of any screen in the Sonos app. Group and ungroup rooms from the ROOMS menu to play music in perfect synchrony throughout your home.
Also new in the update is an updated user experience for iPad users that offers new, separate views for currently playing music and discovery features:
- More engaging browse experience for tablets. Version 5.3 provides separate views for music discovery and what’s currently playing.
- Last browsed on a phone or tablet. Quickly return to the last place you browsed.
- Touch to view the last place you browsed. On your phone, you can also go back to the last place you browsed by swiping down on the Now Playing screen.
- Touch the collapsed Now Playing screen at the bottom of the screen to return to full-screen view.
Sonos highlighted a few other new features including more readily available search and a new playback progress slider.
The updated app, version 5.3, is available on the App Store now.
What’s New in Version 5.3
SIMPLER ROOM CONTROL AND FASTER ACCESS TO ALL YOUR MUSIC.
Effortlessly move your music around your home with a more accessible Rooms menu available by tapping the top of any screen in the Sonos app.
A more engaging browse experience for tablets with dedicated screens for what’s playing and music discovery.
Simplified track progression bar, just below the album art in the Now playing screen. Drag it to whatever point in the song you want to play. This is only applicable for music sources that allow this.
Switch between screens by swiping down from the Now Playing screen to go back to browsing your music. Then swipe from far left to right to show all your music sources.
Search is now more readily available so you can quickly find and play music.
Filed under: Apps Tagged: #1 iOS app, controller, iOS, rooms, Sonos, Sonos Controller, universal search, update
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Ahead of Apple’s ‘Spring forward’ event on Monday where we expect to hear much more about the Apple Watch, more than a dozen new banks and credit unions have added support for Apple Pay. The Apple Watch will support the mobile payment service and extend Apple Pay support in stores beyond the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s when paired. Following the addition of 17 new banks including credit unions for American Airlines and IBM today, Apple Pay is now supported by nearly 100 institutions. Here’s the list of newly added banks:
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
American Airlines Credit Union
Bank of Hawaii
Baxter Credit Union
CFE Federal Credit Union
Commonwealth Credit Union
Foothill Credit Union
Founders Federal Credit Union
IBM Southest Employees Federal Credit Union
Lister Hill Credit Union
PenFed Credit Union
Royal Credit Union
Schools First Federal Credit Union
Spokane Teachers Federal Credit Union
Telhio Credit Union
University First Federal Credit Union
West Community Credit Union
Apple Pay is now active for Visa, MasterCard, and American Express card holders from the following 98 banks and credit unions:
-L&N Federal Credit Union
-UW Credit Union
-America First Credit Union
-Bank of America
-Navy Federal Credit Union
-National Institutes of Health FCU
-Security Service Federal Credit Union
-Consumers Credit Union
-Virginia Credit Union
-Cyprus Federal Credit Union
-Fairwinds Credit Union
-Mountain America Credit Union
-Partners Federal Credit Union
-A+ Federal Credit Union
-Amegy Bank of Texas
-America First Credit Union
-Bethpage Federal Credit Union
-California Bank & Trust
-Connex Credit Union
-KeyPoint Credit Union
-Meijer Credit Union
-National Bank of Arizona
-Nevada State Bank
-The Bank of Greene County
-Zions First National Bank
-Alliant Credit Union
-Altra Federal Credit Union
-Andrews Federal Credit Union
-BECU (Boeing Employees’ Credit Union)
-Ent Federal Credit Union
-F&A Federal Credit Union
-Fifth Third Bank
-First Niagara Bank
-First Tech Federal Credit Union
-Golden 1 Credit Union
-INOVA Federal Credit Union
-Savings Bank of Danbury
-Star One Credit Union
-Affinity Federal Credit Union
-Credit Union of Southern California
-Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach
-First National Bank of Omaha
-First Sentry Bank
-Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
-Ideal Credit Union
-Redwood Credit Union
-State Department Federal Credit Union
-Teachers Credit Union
-Technology Credit Union
-The Northern Trust Company
-TIB-The Independent BankersBank
-United Federal Credit Union
-Utah First Federal Credit Union
-Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
-American Airlines Credit Union
-Bank of Hawaii
-Baxter Credit Union
-CFE Federal Credit Union
-Commonwealth Credit Union
-Foothill Credit Union
-Founders Federal Credit Union
-IBM Southest Employees Federal Credit Union
-Lister Hill Credit Union
-PenFed Credit Union
-Royal Credit Union
-Schools First Federal Credit Union
-Spokane Teachers Federal Credit Union
-Telhio Credit Union
-University First Federal Credit Union
-West Community Credit Union
If you’re bank isn’t yet supported, both Visa and MasterCard have shared their lists of banks that will add Apple Pay support in the future. As always, we’re continuing to update our running list of merchants and apps that accept Apple Pay which you can find here.
Apple Pay is currently available for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for use in stores and within apps, while iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 support Apple Pay in apps.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: American Express, Apple pay, Apple Pay banks, Apple watch, banks, credit unions, iPhone 6, iphone 6 plus, MasterCard, Visa
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You’d think putting three electric motors into a sportscar to generate a total of 697bhp would be pretty impressive in itself, as would a 1085bhp 5-litre V8 gas engine, but no: Koenigsegg had to combine the two. The exclusive Swedish supercar manufacturer’s new Regera hybrid delivers a total output of 1782bhp.
With all that power, it might be a little hard to hear the stereo over the engine noise and tire screeching, but Koenigsegg has fitted a CarPlay unit to the car for those times when you’re taking things a little easier …
As you’d expect from Koenigsegg, the Regera isn’t going to be cheap. They are making just 80 models, and the base price is a cool $1.89M. I’ll let them know my address for the review model …
Apple introduced wireless CarPlay to iOS in the 8.3 build seeded to developers earlier this month. It is likely to be available in some rather cheaper cars in the future thanks to a touchscreen-free option from Harman.
You can also buy compatible aftermarket stereos from Pioneer, Alpine, and Kenwood–a route you may need to take if your next car is going to be a Toyota. You could also skip CarPlay altogether in favor of an Apple Watch … or wait for the hypothetical Apple Car.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: CarPlay, Electric motor, Koenigsegg
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Im happy I finally signed up
Britt82Fpj - Today, 05:42 PM
Gartner: iPhone worldwide sales topped Samsung in holiday quarter, but Samsung won the year
x-bot - Today, 05:31 PM
Intuit’s Mint app adds new bill reminder features, accessibility improvements, more
x-bot - Today, 04:45 PM
Bing, Google, +danieliphone, Yahoo, thenicewilly