It's a poorly kept secret that Apple is looking at making a bigger iPad, dubbed an iPad Pro, likely with a 12.9-inch screen. And we have seen indications that such an iPad would make use of Apple's new Force Touch sensors to detect how hard a user presses, and respond differently based on that pressure. But to add a Force Touch sensor similar to the ones in their new MacBooks, Apple may need to make more room available. If they can make the already slim iPad screen even thinner, this could provide the space they need.
I had the opportunity to try PowerClip ($61) from Emtec. This clever charger snaps on to the bottom of the iPhone via the Lightning port. This can be a more compact alternative than a traditional battery pack case. I used to have a similar charger for my 30-pin iPhone and was glad to see a Lightning option. Emtec also makes an Android-compatible model with a microUSB port.
I love the products from Satechi. They offer a range of hubs, stands, remotes, and more that make the iOS and Apple Mac experience better. Additionally, many of their gadgets are made out of aluminum which makes them right at home on any Apple user's desk. Recently, Satechi gave me their Premium Aluminum Monitor Stand ($69.99) to try.
While some new owners of the Apple Watch are content to destroy it for the benefit of YouTube fans, other firms like iFixit and Chipworks are carefully taking their Apple Watches apart to check out the components inside. Chipworks has had some time to analyze the components and reached some conclusions. Here are some key takeaways.
There are 54 combinations of the Apple Watch, but that may still not be enough for some people. Third parties are making their own bands and even bands with batteries in them. But if you really want to stand out, you probably want a gold Apple Watch. If you don't have $14,000 to pay for a gold Apple Watch Edition, the folks at WatchPlate.com have a more affordable alternative.
Google has at least one big advantage over Apple when it comes to voice queries, namely their eponymous search engine. Apple has had to rely on partners like Google, Bing, and Wolfram Alpha to deliver information in response to Siri queries. While Google has had years of experience in this area, Apple has always outsourced search. But, just as with Apple Maps, Apple doesn't want to rely on Google, or anyone really, if they can do it themselves. This way the company controls its own destiny.
I had the opportunity to try Scosche MagicMount XL Dash/Window ($34.99) from Scosche. The MagicMount is a car mount for phones, but is hefty enough to work with tablets as well, and it can also work on a desk in an office. This makes the MagicMount's decent price even more justifiable. I once drove a Tesla Model S and it has a 17-inch touchscreen display. If you want to do something similar, with an iPad mini or even a full-size iPad, the MagicMount could do the trick.
The Apple TV is due for a refresh and signs point to a June announcement, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. The box might not be the only element to get an upgrade, as reports suggest the remote control that ships with the Apple TV, and is sold separately to control Macs, could get a touchpad. I was just setting up a current version of the Apple TV at a friend's house today and it was a pain trying to use the arrow keys to enter an email and password. Usually I use the Apple Remote iPad or iPhone app which adds touchscreen control and a virtual keyboard. It will be a nice addition if the next generation of the Apple TV includes an improved remote control.
May 4 ought to be a national holiday. That day is known as Star Wars Day, as in "May the Fourth be with you!" Fortunately, there are a ton of accessories that can get you in the spirit of Star Wars. A year ago, I reviewed the SMS Audio Boba Fett headphones and I still use them, so I can report that they have held up well. It was nice to learn that SMS has expanded their Star Wars-themed offerings to include Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Tie Fighter, and R2-D2 versions. They are adorable and each one has a unique design that will be appreciated by any Star Wars fan. The headphones are packaged in a gift-worthy box that includes a carrying case, poster, sticker, cleaning cloth, and certificate of authenticity that extend the Star Wars theme. These new headphones are available for pre-order, and early adopters will receive a free t-shirt as well.