Case Logic is known its line of backpacks, cases, and other storage accessories, all of which are priced affordably, making it quite popular with people looking for inexpensive but quality solutions for carrying around their devices.
We met up with Case Logic at CES this year, where the company had a large booth showcasing all of its products, including the Ibira backpack, one of its newest offerings. We went hands-on with the Ibira backpack in our latest video review, so check it out to see what we thought.
The Ibira is a lightweight, slim backpack but we were impressed with what it was able to hold. We fit in a MacBook, an iPad, an Apple keyboard, an iPhone, several chargers and accessories, a water bottle, and several notebooks. Build wise, the backpack is made of a high quality material that feels like it will stand up to heavy usage, but the straps were a bit too thin and could use more padding to be comfortable.
Case Logic's Ibira Backpack is available in black and anthracite from the Case Logic website for $29.99.
As we head into March, deals are beginning to pick up a little bit. The iPad Air 2 is still available at discounted prices from B&H Photo, and Best Buy is offering discounts on its stock of original iPad Air tablets.
There are also deals to be had on the iMac, the MacBook Air, and the Retina MacBook Pro, plus, as always, we have a nice selection of Apple accessories that have been discounted this week.
There are quite a few apps that are on sale at discounted prices or available for free for a limited time. We'll highlight a few here, but make sure to check out our sister site AppShopper for a complete list.
Toca Hair Salon, a popular game for children, is available for free this week, down from $2.99. NFL Quarterback 15 is available for free, down from $0.99. Duet Display is half off this week, priced at $7.99 instead of $15.99.
The Bolt battery and wall charger is available for $44.99 from StackSocial, a $15 discount off its regular price. The Griffin PowerJolt car charger is available for $24.99 from Groupon, $10 off its normal price. Groupon is also selling the Mophie Powerstation 4,000mAh battery charger for $29.99, down from its original price of $79.95.
The second-generation Jawbone UP fitness tracker is available for $49.99 from LivingSocial, down from its original price of $129.99. The Ion iCade Arcade Bluetooth cabinet is available for $59.99from Amazon, $70 off its regular price of $129.99. PayPal Digital Gifts on eBay is offering a $100 iTunes gift card for $80.
The JBL OnBeat Mini Speaker Dock for iPhone 5/5s/6/6 Plus and iPad is available for $39.99 from Groupon, an 80 percent discount off its regular price.LivingSocial is selling the Speck CandyShell Grip case for iPad mini for $14.99, down from $44.95.
Speck is offering 50 percent off site wide, discounting its entire stock of iPhone cases and accessories. The discount will be available until Saturday and is applied at checkout.
SkinIt, a site that makes custom skins for a wide range of devices from the iPhone to the MacBook, is offering a special deal buy one get one 50 percent off deal for MacRumors readers. With the code MACRUMORS, you can get 50% off a second skin after purchasing one skin.
MacRumors is an affiliate partner of some of these vendors.
Apple may be planning to release iOS 8.2 to the public as early as next Monday, reports BGR. iOS 8.2 has been in testing since November and notably contains support for the Apple Watch. The March release date has been rumored for several weeks now, but earlier information pointed towards a launch a bit later in the month, possibly during the second week of March.
A Monday, March 2 release date for iOS 8.2 would mean the software would be released to consumers a full week ahead of Apple's scheduled March 9 "Spring Forward" media event, where the company is expected to divulge additional details on the Apple Watch.
BGR is fairly accurate when it comes to iOS release date predictions. The site correctly determined several iOS 7 beta release dates, but it has been wrong on occasion. Because March 2 is not in line with earlier predictions, BGR could be off by a week, but we will certainly be seeing a public release of iOS 8.2 sometime during the first two weeks of March, even if the March 2 date is inaccurate.
Thus far, there have been five iOS 8.2 betas, with the last beta coming on Monday, February 2, suggesting either another beta or a public release is coming in the near future.
The site also says that it has learned from its sources that there may be as many as four betas of iOS 8.3. We have had two iOS 8.3 betas, so there could be two more beta updates before the software is provided to the public. That would put iOS 8.3 on track to launch in April. iOS 8.3 brings several new features to the operating system, most notably introducing a redesigned emoji picker and adding both new emoji and emoji skin tone modifiers.
Following Apple's unveiling of a March 9 media event that will most likely focus on the pricing and launch date for the Apple Watch, Swiss watchmakers Swatch, Frédérique Constant and Alpina have recently released more details regarding products that will be residing in the same smart wearable space as the Apple Watch (via Watch Insider).
Swatch yesterday announced the Swatch Touch Zero One, a new smartwatch with a dedicated touch screen and a focus on durability and outdoor activity. The sports-heavy focus comes thanks to the company's partnership with the Beach Major Company, which specializes in organizing and putting on Beach Volleyball competitions.
Besides volleyball specific functions like counting "power hits" and "power claps", the Touch Zero One will apparently compete most directly with the Apple Watch Sport, thanks to its enhanced durability, lightweight frame, and sweat-proof band.
"Beach Volleyball is a wonderful sport, a thrill for the players and very exciting for the fans," said Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek. "We’ve had great fun in the past and now we want to push it further with the new Major Series in collaboration with the FIVB. With the players we share a passion for this great, young sport and look forward to the upcoming tournaments.”
Lacking from the Touch Zero One, however, is any mention of non-fitness related content such as phone, text, and e-mail notifications, even though the company confirmed the device will sync with a smartphone app. Swatch says the Swatch Touch Zero One will be "available this beach volleyball summer season" and cost those interested around $159.
Watch Insider also reported on the partnership between Swiss luxury watchmakers Alpina and Frédérique Constant, who have taken a different approach to the smartwatch business and introduced "smart" components into otherwise traditional timepieces instead of crafting an entirely new smartwatch line.
The created platform, called Manufacture Modules Technologies (MMT), powers the new line of Swiss Horological Smartwatches and allows for a device that tracks sleep and activity in real time and syncs automatically with a smartphone app and allows users to break down the information into daily, weekly, or monthly categories.
“The Swiss Horological Smartwatch is the synthesis of high-tech innovation and traditional Swiss watch craftsmanship; it is the link (no pun intended) between modern and classic, and the bridge between Silicon Valley and Switzerland," said co-founder and CEO of the Frédérique Constant group Peter Stas. "There is no digital screen on our Swiss Horological Smartwatch. Instead, the beautiful laser cut hands on the watch dial display information in analog form.”
A few companies who have been in the watch business for a while have reversed course - including Swatch itself - on dismissing the trend of smartwatches, announcing new products to be released around the launch window of the Apple Watch or sometime later in the year. More and more companies are announcing their own product additions to the smart wearable trend almost every week in preparation for the Apple Watch, which new rumors suggest could launch within the first week of April.
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday made an unannounced visit to the iconic Apple Store in Covent Garden, a popular shopping and tourist location in London, according to The Telegraph. The chief executive also sat down for an interview with the British publication to discuss the Apple Watch, providing a few more interesting details about the device ahead of Apple's highly-anticipated "Spring Forward" media event on March 9.
Cook claimed that the Apple Watch will have several features that go beyond timekeeping and health and fitness, such as the ability to replace large car key fobs that come with most current vehicles. "This will be just like the iPhone: people wanted it and bought for a particular reason, perhaps for browsing, but then found out that they loved it for all sorts of other reasons," he said.
The chief executive told Apple retail employees at the Covent Garden store that the Apple Watch will be unlike any other product the company has ever sold before. "We've never sold anything as a company that people could try on before", said Cook. He added that "tweaking the experience in the store" will likely be a requirement when the wrist-worn device launches in April.
During his visit to the Covent Garden store, one retail employee asked Cook what his biggest accomplishment was in the past year. "I'm proud we stayed true to our North Star", replied Cook. "We are pro-privacy, pro-environment and pro-human rights. He added that the Covent Garden location is one of his favorite Apple Stores and praised the retail staff for being such a contributing factor to Apple's success.
Cook has been on traveling on an international tour this week, making stops in Belgium, Germany and Israel earlier this week. The chief executive kicked off the week in Belgium to meet with the European Commission, visited the newsroom of popular German publication BILD on Tuesday and traveled to Israel on Wednesday to sit down with President Reuven Rivlin, committing to continued growth in the country.
Mobile printing app Printer Pro, by developer Readdle, has been named by Apple as this week's App of the Week. Known for their knack at developing productivity-based apps, Readdle says Printer Pro will allow users to "print just about anything" from an iPhone or iPad.
Normally priced at $6.99, the app gives users the ability to print a wide array of documents - from pictures in the Photos app to documents found in iCloud or Mail - to any Wi-Fi or USB-enabled printer. Readdle also provides a free-to-download desktop utility for the service that helps users with USB printers through an initial set-up and allows everyone using it to "print more document types and with better quality."
The company notes that to print a Safari page, users can change "http" to "phttp" in the address bar and hit go, immediately bringing up the desired web page within the Printer Pro app. Most other apps, like Dropbox, Mail, and Readdle's own PDF Expert, allow for a more streamlined process of accessing the app from a third-party app's "Open In" list.
Once installed, Printer Pro appears in the "Open In..." list on your device. This lets you print documents from Mail, PDF Expert and many other applications on your iPad that supports this function.
Using "Open In..." approach you can print files from many popular online storages: Dropbox and Google Drive. It just a matter of several taps to download your file via free Dropbox or Google Drive application and send it to printer.
The app has garnered a 4 star rating on the App Store, with one review calling it "indispensable" and many others praising its ease-of-use and high quality. Relied on by "over 2 million people", according to Readdle, Printer Pro [Direct Link] will remain free as the App of the Week for the next week.
Apple faces further legal action from Ericsson this week after refusing to accept a licensing deal for its patented LTE technologies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Swedish networking company on Friday said it is suing Apple for infringing 41 wireless-related patents that it believes are critical to the functionality of products such as the iPhone and iPad.
“By refusing Ericsson’s fair and reasonable licensing offer for patented technology used in Apple smartphones and tablets, Apple harms the entire market and reduces the incentive to share innovation,” the company said in a statement.
Ericsson has filed two complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to secure an exclusion order against Apple, which could block the iPhone, iPad and other products involved from being sold in the United States. The company has also filed seven complaints with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas as part of the negotiations. Apple's previous licensing deal with Ericsson expired in mid-January.
Apple originally filed suit against Ericsson on January 12, arguing that it was demanding excessive royalties for patents not essential to LTE standards. Ericsson countersued in a Texas courtroom just hours later, seeking an estimated $250 million to $750 million in royalties per year for Apple to continue licensing its patented wireless technologies. Ericsson is the world's largest provider of mobile network equipment and holds over 35,000 patents related to 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies.
Ahead of the Apple Watch's launch, accessory makers are already hoping to create solutions that will allow the device to be used with a wide array of existing watch bands. Click, for example, is an upcoming watchband adapter that will slide into the band slots of the Apple Watch, allowing the Apple Watch casing to be used with any existing 24mm watchband.
According to Click's creators, the adapter is a spring bar that will attach to a watchband, which will then fit into the Apple Watch's grooves, much like one of Apple's own watch bands. It appears to use the pin that comes with an existing watchband rather than shipping with one of its own.
Click takes advantage of the sliding and locking mechanism on both sides of the watch to hold the adapter in place just like one of Apple's watchbands. Click allows customers to truly personalize the Apple Watch to match their style and at a fraction of the cost of Apple's Watchbands.
Click is currently in the prototype stage with only 3D printed versions of the adapter available to show off, but the team behind Click is planning to introduce it via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in the next two weeks.
It's possible, however, that Click will never make it out of the prototype phase and into the hands of consumers. Click is not the first Apple Watch watchband adapter as it claims to be, but the second. Earlier this year, a designer introduced a crowdfunding campaign for another strap adapter designed for the Apple Watch. The campaign was shut down shortly after it launched, presumably by Apple, in an effort to prevent people from circumventing the specific design aesthetic the company has in mind for the Apple Watch.
Apple's distaste for adapters that will allow the Apple Watch to be used with any watch band is not surprising given the amount of work that went into developing the six custom bands for the Apple Watch: the Link Bracelet, the Sport Band, the Leather Loop, the Modern Buckle, the Classic Buckle, and the Milanese Loop. Jony Ive has called the Apple Watch "one of the most difficult projects" he's ever worked on, and in multiple interviews, he's detailed the extensive amount of time that the company put into design of the Apple Watch.
It's possible Apple will relax its stance on third-party Apple Watch bands and adapters in the future, and it's even likely that the company will form partnerships or design guidelines for those wishing to create bands for the device, but at this early stage, Apple likely wants to keep a tight rein on the bands the watch is worn with given its position as the company's first fashion accessory.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted in favor by a 3-to-2 decision to enforce net neutrality rules that it claims will help protect freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet, reports Ars Technica. The FCC ruling classifies broadband service as a utility and prevents Internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering prioritized service through so-called Internet "fast lanes" for payment.
"The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. It is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. "Think about it. The Internet has replaced the functions of the telephone and the post office. The Internet has redefined commerce, and as the outpouring from four million Americans has demonstrated, the Internet is the ultimate vehicle for free expression. The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules."
The ruling will reclassify fixed and mobile broadband as a telecommunications service, and Internet providers will be regulated under Title II of the Communications Act. The decision was heavily contested by Internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, which could sue the FCC in an attempt to reverse the new rules. FCC officials believe that Type II reclassification will give them more legal authority to prevent net neutrality rules from being overturned.
While the new requirements are intended to ensure that the Internet remains fast, fair and open, the FCC did not follow through with last-mile unbundling that would have required Internet service providers to sell wholesale access to their networks. That decision would have allowed new competitors to enter local markets and sell broadband service using the existing infrastructure of larger providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
"But the FCC decided not to impose unbundling," adds Ars Technica. "As such, the vote does little to boost Internet service competition in cities or towns. But it's an attempt to prevent incumbent ISPs from using their market dominance to harm online providers, including those who offer services that compete against the broadband providers' voice and video services."
The FCC's order on Thursday could be faced with legal challenges and action from Congress, according to the report, suggesting that debate surrounding net neutrality is far from over. The new rules will go into effect 60 days after being published in the U.S. Federal Register, although the Office of Management and Budget will continue to manage enhancements to the transparency rule.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
As of today, anyone can sign up for an Apple ID to access Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for free. The software suite lets users create and edit text documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from their browsers. Signing up for a free Apple ID account entitles users to 1GB of complimentary iCloud storage to be used with the apps for storing documents.
Previously, access to Apple's iWork suite of apps was limited to users who owned an iOS device or a Mac, but with Apple's new web-only iCloud access, the company can draw new users to its platform and compete with more universal software offerings like Microsoft's Office Suite.
iCloud.com's web-only apps can be accessed from recent versions of Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. Free accounts are limited to 1GB of storage and users will need an iOS device or Mac to acquire more storage or access iCloud's full set of features.