Over at Macworld Expo, the cool cats in the FastMac booth demoed the iV Plus, an iPhone case with an integrated battery similar to the Mophie Juice Pack Air that also iV doubles as a universal remote, thanks to a built-in infrared transmitter. The unit includes a super-bright LED light which can be used as a flashlight or as an actual camera flash as long as you have an app that supports it.
Per iPhone Alley, FastMac also claims that the new iV packs more battery life than the Mophie Juice Pack air, all in a slightly smaller package which is really exciting.
To create the universal remote software, FastMac partered with a compnay called Umee. The revised package offers all the tools you’d expect from a universal remote (such as customizable layouts and activities) as well as an integrated TV guide that lets you search for and select a TV show right from the same app.
FastMac expects the iV Plus to start shipping in the second quarter for around US$130 along with a free version of the remote app. Umee will also be producing a paid version of the universal remote software which gives you access to the TV guide stuff.
FastMac also announced the iV Lite, which has all the same stuff as the iV Plus, minus the universal remote feature. The unit will be available for US$79 in about a month.
Let’s face it: we’re gadget-centric and we need our chargers.
Per iLounge, accessory maker Incase has released its Combo Charger for iPod and iPhone. The device arrives in black or white and allows users to charge two devices at once if you provide a cable for the second USB port.
An Incase leaf logo below the ports glows when connected to a car or wall power source, and the bulb has been redesigned from previous versions to occupy a narrower profile while enhancing the functionality and the company says that the ports offer the “fastest possible charge” — 1 amp — as compared with 0.5 amp competitors.
The Combo Charger retails for US$40 and is immediately available.
If you meandered over to the Worth Ave. Group booth at Macworld Expo, you might have noticed their staff hammering on expensive gadgets. Per Macworld, the Worth Ave. Group is now offering notebook and iPhone insurance and invited Macworld Expo attendees to take a hammer to some of the MacBooks, iPhones and iPod touches they had on hand.
The Worth Ave. Group claims to be the only iPhone insurance company around and has stated that they’ll cover stuff that won’t be handled by your typical warranty from Apple. Whether your iPhone has been dropped, stolen, or damaged by liquid, you are covered. The annual premiums are pretty reasonable too, starting at US$55 for 3G/8GB or earlier models and going up to US$79 for 3GS/32GB models. If your iPhone encounters a fall into a toilet or falls out of your pocket at some juncture, they’ll buy you a new one.
The insurance plan seems fairly comprehensive and the company has stated that they’ll also cover cameras, game systems, and cell phones.
For those of you craving a better iPhone/iPod touch keyboard experience, 4iThumbs introduced its tactile keyboard product at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Per Mac Observer, the 4iThumbs system consists of three major components. The first is the transparent overlays that provide tactile guides that go between the keys on iPhone onscreen keyboard. There are also overlays for landscape, and one for portrait keyboard orientations with the idea being that, similar to a traditional keyboard, having tactile guides can improve your accuracy over time.
The second part of the system are adhesive guides that are placed on the top and bottom of the front of your iPhone. These allow the quick, accurate insertion and removal of the keyboard overlays. The third, optional part of the system are additional adhesive guides that you can place on the rear of your iPhone, for situations where you don’t need the overlays.
The standard keyboard retails for US$14.95, the landscape keyboard retails for US$16.95, and a kit with both keyboards sells for US$19.95.
If you got your hands on the Tactile Keyboard and have an opinion on it, please let us know.
Albeit there have been some utilities that have allowed your iPhone and iPod touch to double as a flash drive, this one may have it down pat.
And for free.
Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, myPod Apps’ iPhone Explorer can be installed on your Mac or PC and allows you to view the folder structure, and drag and drop items to or from the iPhone to your desktop or back the other way.
Users can create, delete and rename folders on your iPhone. If your iPhone is jailbroken, they can access the real root and then recover things like your address book, emails and SMS messages.
iPhone Explorer requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and iTunes 8 or later to install and run.
Take a gander, see what you think and feel free to hurl your two cents in as well.
Late Friday, Logitech released version 3.2 of its Control Center software. The update, a 17.9 megabyte download (via VersionTracker), offers the following fixes and changes for the driver software:
– Back and Forward have been added to the list of actions that can be assigned to mouse buttons. These actions are supported in web browsers, Finder, iCal, iTunes and iPhoto.
– A warning will appear when the SteerMouse application is detected. When SteerMouse is installed, LCC will not be able to detect most Logitech mice and keyboards, as OS X does not allow devices to be controlled by more than one driver at a time.
Control Center 3.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
With relations between Apple and Google growing strained, a new set of rumors places Apple as having gone into discussions with Microsoft towards making Microsoft’s Bing search engine the default for the iPhone.
According to Businessweek, a source close to the story offered the following: “Though Microsoft did not confirm or deny any chatters on the likelihood of Microsoft wining Apple search deal for iPhone, [Microsoft executive] Mr. Apter told us that for right economics Microsoft would like to win the Apple search deal.”
In a recent note, Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal, also commented: “In our view, Apple search deal can be strategically very significant win for Microsoft not only because of Google and Apple’s history of working together but also because Microsoft has been lagging behind in terms of making in roads on fast growing mobile Internet market.”
As mentioned yesterday, Apple’s inclusion of the Google search engine on the iPhone platform nets the company about US$100 million a year from Google as part of a revenue-sharing deal, making it less likely Apple would want to develop its own search engine.
If you’ve ever worried about your iPhone or iPod touch’s hard drive crashing, DriveSavers has once again proven useful.
Over at Macworld Expo, the company has announced that it will update its free DriveSaver app for the iPhone and iPod touch that can simulate solid-state drive failures.
Per Macworld, the Crash a Hard Drive feature educates users about how hard drives can crash and what you can do to ensure safe data storage. The new addition will now add a solid-state drive to the mobile app’s simulations of real-world drive failures.
If you want your iPhone or iPod touch to be able to do everything, including spackle the den this weekend, you might be one step closer.
Per Daring Fireball, Square has opened up a beta version of a payment system wherein users can create an account on the Square web site, receive a hardware dongle and swipe debit and credit cards through the device as a means of payment.
Even with Apple and HTC working to patent their own capacitive stylus, the South Koreans might have come up with a better solution: frozen sausages.
Per Gearfuse, snack sausages from the CJ Corporation have proven to be electrostatically compatible with the iPhone’s capacitive touchscreen, leading many to use them as a “meat stylus” in the cold weather, rather than remove a glove.
As a result, South Korean snack sausage sales are apparently soaring.
We’re not sure what other deli items constitute an adequate iPhone stylus, but if you play around with this and find something new, please let us know.