Apple apparently stopped selling its official Bluetooth headset for the iPhone, as noted by MacNN today. Although the product’s page still exists over on the Apple Store, the company has marked the device as “discontinued”.
The headset, which was launched along with the original iPhone in June of 2007, dropped in price from US$129 to US$99 in 2008, while also losing its bundled dual-dock.
Though exact reasons for the disappearance are unknown, this could be connected to future iPhone hardware changes, especially those tied in with the recently-announced iPhone OS 3.0 firmware — and possibly iPod touches — that are expected to gain full Bluetooth functionality in the summer. Though the current iPhone technically supports Bluetooth 2.0, it does not allow stereo audio, nor does it support many of the advanced data functions possible on other cellphones.
Apple may intend to introduce a new generation of headset at the same time as a new iPhone, incorporating stereo and more advanced controls.
If you have any ideas on this, please let us know in the comments or forums.
Accessory provider Elgato announced the release of its new Turbo.264 HD video converter on Thursday. The USB hardware converter can convert HD and AVCHD content into a wide range of standard and HD video formats.
Users can then edit movies before copying them from a camera, splice movies together, and download movies to your Mac or YouTube account. Turbo.264 HD supports AVCHD Video, QuickTime, AVI, DV, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 Program/Transport Stream, MPEG-4, MP4, M4V, H.263, H.264 AVC, Xvid, VIDEO_TS and more. It also includes a QuickTime component that improves H.264 exporting for other applications including Apple’s iMovie.
The Turbo.264 HD retails for US$149.99 and requires Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later to run.
If you have a hardware converter of choice, let us know in the comments or forums.
By David Klein
Moshi’s latest product, the iLynx, immediately caught my eye at January’s Macworld convention in San Francisco. When I saw Moshi’s booth I ran over to see what they had coming in the near future. My first question was: “What is that and when can I buy it?!” (Yes, I love cool looking products.) The Moshi employee told me it was a USB and Firewire hub. Somehow, they took a relatively dull concept and made it surprisingly sexy. Moshi demonstrated expertise in this style of design again. (more…)
Accessory maker QuickerTek has begun selling its 2009 Apple aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro External Battery and Charger for Mac notebooks. According to MacNN, the unit is design for use with the latest unibody 13″ MacBooks and 15″ MacBook Pro notebooks. The battery is said to provide between eight and 10 hours of total run time as opposed to the five offered by Apple’s batteries. When attached, internal batteries are depleted before the QuickerTek one takes effect.
The QuickerTek battery is additionally said to charge in only three hours instead of five, as well as significantly extend the useful life of a MacBook by separately lasting between 2,000 and 3,000 recharge cycles. The unit retails for US$450.
If you’ve worked with QuickerTek batteries before or have an external battery of choice, let us know in the comments or forums.
On Monday, accessory maker USBFever.com announced that it had released its Ultra Slim USB Travel Charger.
The USB Travel Charger, which retails for US$12, functions as a charging unit for either an iPod or an iPhone. According to Electronista, the unit measures 42 x 70 x 15 mm, weighs 43 grams and uses a five volt output capable of charging other devices such as PDAs, cell phones and USB-powered MP3 players. The unit features a retractable power plug and is smaller than a credit card as well as half as high as a SIM card.
If you’ve have any thoughts or feedback about this or similar chargers, let us know in the comments or forums.
It only took ‘em a year and a half to do it, but the ginormous monstrosity that is Apple MacBookPro 85W MagSafe power adapters have finally seem to have been reduced to a more manageable size. (Scale comparison above.) The same $80 that before got you the rather large 1st gen A1172 brick will now bring you home a 2nd gen MA938LL/A
The head writer for the Late Show with David Letterman recently had a mildly shocking experience with the power adapter for his PowerBook G4. While at work in Manhattan last week, Stangel starting to smell something burning after firing up his PowerBook, and noticed that the cord was frayed near the adapter, giving off smoke and occasional sparks. Sensing a potential gag for the show, he had a producer tape him playing with the cord, moving it back and forth in order to reproduce the smoke and sparks.
That was my reaction when I saw this little diddy from our friends at WiebeTech. The Mouse Jiggler (US$30) is actually pretty self explanatory and quite simple. Just stick this little device in your USB port (no, it’s not a USB flash drive) and it jiggles your mouse around on your screen. Since Mouse Jiggler registers as a Human Interface Device (HID), no new software is installed or required. An LED counts off the number of minutes Mouse Jiggler has been working.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself “Why would I want something that jiggles my mouse around?” Good question. It’s sole purpose (at least that I can think of, anyway) is to prevent timed screen savers and sleep mode from invoking and their associated password dialogs.
The Mouse Jiggler is available in two speeds (fast and slow). The fast version makes constant large motions that it’s obvious at a glance that it’s working. The slow version makes constant small motions allowing you to use the computer while Mouse Jiggler is attached.
The Roland Edirol R-09 is one of the best audio recorders out there. Podcasters and musicians can look no further and stop and take a look at the Roland Edirol R-09 (MSRP US$400, specifications).
The Edirol R-09 has a lot of similarities with the M-Audio MicroTrack (MSRP US$500). Two things that make R-09 different is that it runs on two AA batteries and it has an automatic turn off setting, which can be programmed if you forget to shut it off saving you battery time.
Also a new firmware update released on 17 November 2006 allows the E-09 to support SD cards up to 4GB in capacity. The bottom line is the sound quality. The E-09 can record both in WAV and MP3 files and features seven MP3 variable speeds depending on your desires.
The Edirol R-09 also has a digital input (which can be used with a mixing board), a headphone jack and a USB jack. It comes with a 64MB SD card. For review purposes I used a 2GB SD card which provided me with ample room to record whatever I needed. I tested the E-09 at a party as well as at seminars and just jamming with a couple of guys. In each situation it performed pretty well.
I wanted to see how it would work with a Mac. One thing you must do is take some time to read the manual. Opening the battery to access the USB port can be difficult. I had no problem because I read about the problem that some had with the bottom in the forums. But the R-09 has many settings before you even start.
For audio aficionados it can be tough to decide which setting to use for certain situations. The E-09 has a built-in reverb setting with different settings – but not as many at the R-1.
Read more after the jump…
The Snowball microphone (US$159) from Blue Microphones is a nice USB condenser microphone for recording podcasts or anything else, for that matter.
Blue bills the Snowball as “the world’s first professional USB mic” and the sound quality bears that out. It’s dead simple to use, literally plug and play. There’s no software to install and it’s recognized immediately by Mac OS X. The Snowball also works out of the box with Windows.
With its dual capsule design and unique three-pattern switch (cardioid, cardioid with -10dB pad and omni), the Snowball can handle everything from soft vocals to the loudest garage band — and it’s ideal for podcasting.
I’ve been using the Snowball microphone to record the last six PowerPage podcasts (usually over Skype) and I’ve been suitably impressed with the sound quality. I don’t usually take the Snowball with me on the road because I prefer a more compact headset-based mic like the Plantronics DSP-400 (which I reviewed in 2005). The sound quality of the Snowball is far superior than the DSP-400.
One tip: if you buy a Snowball, immediately download and install the firmware update from BlueMic.com for the best sound quality. To find out more check out Blue Microphone’s Snowball product page and FAQ. Although the Snowball lists for US$159 it’s available online from Guitar Center for US$99. Which is an excellent deal.