April 5, 2012

Condom-Carrying iPhone Case Guarantees You’ll Go Home Alone

Condom-Carrying iPhone Case Guarantees You’ll Go Home Alone

An iPhone case with a condom compartment. Need I say more?

True story: When I was around 14 years old, there was a kid who would come to school sometimes already wearing a condom. His reason? In case he suddenly got lucky. Needless to say, this never happened. If this kid is still around today, I imagine he’ll be the first in line for the Playa Case, an iPhone case which has a slide-open compartment for two condoms. Classy.

Now, a condom in your wallet I can understand: that’s just smart and responsible, and socially normal. I keep one in there until it perishes to dust, and then I replace it. But a condom-carrying iPhone case is just desperate, and in using one you will appear to prospective partners as a childish, over-eager little puppy. Let’s be blunt: You will not get laid.

But with a little modification (removing the lame “Playa” logo from the back with sandpaper, for starters), this could actually be a neat and useful case. The compartment could keep a little cash, or your keys, or even (for the nerdy) a camera connection kit for your iPad. Perfect for a night out on the town, leaving your wallet at home.

But as your wallet is at home, where do you keep your rubber? Take a look at your jeans, little man. See the little pocket on the right front side, the one that sits inside the other larger pocket like Alien’s toothy, nested mouths? That’s a condom pocket, and us old folks have been keeping our prophylactics in them since before cellphones, condom vending machines and ATMs even existed.

The Playa case is “coming” soon, for $ 30.

Charlie SorrelCharlie Sorrel sits in his gadget nerve-center in Barcelona, Spain, and spits out words about  various weird plastic widgets while the sun shines outside his iCave. Previously found at Wired.com’s Gadget Lab covering cameras, power cables and sneaking in as much Apple-centric coverage as he could, Charlie spends his rare moments outside perched atop a bicycle and snapping photos. You can follow him on Twitter via @mistercharlie

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Cult of Mac

Pad&Quill’s Tiny Moleskine-Alike Case For… The iPod Nano?

Pad&Quill’s Tiny Moleskine-Alike Case For… The iPod Nano?

The iPod Nano, like an iPad for little folk

If you’re going to launch a real product on April 1st, then you may as well make it seems as ridiculous as possible, and that’s just what Brian Holmes did yesterday when he announced The Littlest Black Book for the iPod Nano, the new tiny, nano-sized Moleskine-style case from Brian’s company, Pad&Quill.

I actually mailed Brian yesterday to see if this was for real, and it is. There’s even a Kickstarter page to prove it, which is already almost a quarter of the way to the $ 4,500 goal.

Pad&Quill became famous for its “bookbindery” iPad cases. Similar in look to the DodoCase, their baltic birch frames are sturdier than the bamboo Dodos, and the case designs have evolved over the years instead of standing still.

The Littlest Black Book for the iPod Nano is pretty much a miniaturized version of the original case, and holds the Nano tight inside. To me, it seems to make the Nano better than it is naked, as you can actually get a grip on the tiny thing and use it one-handed. It is quite ridiculous that, unclothed, the Nano is actually harder to use with one hand than the bigger iPod Touch.

I love this design, and it might make me dig out my Nano once again. To get one of your own, you’ll need to pledge a minimum of $ 34, with higher pledges getting you increasing amounts of personalization.

[Thanks, Brian!]

Charlie SorrelCharlie Sorrel sits in his gadget nerve-center in Barcelona, Spain, and spits out words about  various weird plastic widgets while the sun shines outside his iCave. Previously found at Wired.com’s Gadget Lab covering cameras, power cables and sneaking in as much Apple-centric coverage as he could, Charlie spends his rare moments outside perched atop a bicycle and snapping photos. You can follow him on Twitter via @mistercharlie

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Cult of Mac

Is Pad & Quill’s new case for the iPod nano cute or what?

Pad & Quill makes amazingly cool book-like cases for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and other devices like the Kindle and Nook. Today they announced their latest product — the Littlest Black Book for iPod nano.

The case uses Pad & Quill’s wonderful bookbinding and woodworking skills to their fullest extent, creating a leather-bound case that cradles the tiny iPod nano in the cutest case EVAH! Lest you think this is some sort of silly April Fools joke, you can actually back the project on Kickstarter to get this little guy into production.

Check out the video below and then show your support out on Kickstarter. And by the way, Mr. & Mrs. PQ are giving TUAW readers a 10 percent discount on the Octavo (US$ 109.99, on pre-order) and Contega ($ 99.99) cases for the new iPad (third-generation) — just use the coupon code TUW31 when you’re checking out to get a heck of a deal on a beautiful iPad case.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Judge affirms vital Apple touchscreen patent in case against Motorola

By Josh Ong

Published: 08:30 PM EST (05:30 PM PST)
Judge Richard Posner has issued an order upholding some of Apple’s patent claims against Motorola Mobility that one analysis believes will likely result in a finding of infringement on Motorola’s part.

Patent expert Florian Mueller of Foss Patents reported on Saturday that the order is for a touchscreen heuristics patent (’949), one of the “killer patents” that Apple is leveraging in an attempt to get a legal “hole in one” against its competitors.

Thus far, Apple has won a handful of legal victories on minor patents, but the ’949 patent has “the best prospects of singlehandedly securing victory for Apple,” according to Mueller. Both Motorola and Samsung will offer their defenses against it at trials in June.

The patent in question outlines Apple’s work on interpreting human touchscreen input by accounting for inherent imprecision. For instance, since users don’t draw perfectly straight lines, touchscreen devices need a level of tolerance to understand the input accurately.

Judge Posner responded on Thursday to supplemental claim construction briefs related to the patent from both Apple and Motorola. Mueller interpreted the order to be “a clear win for Apple over Motorola (and Android in general).” Though he did note that jury trials come with “considerable uncertainty,” he viewed Posner’s conclusions as making it “realistically” unavoidable for Motorola to avoid a finding of infringement.

“Motorola…will have to come up with some really good invalidity arguments if it wants to avoid a disaster,” Mueller wrote, adding that the company will at least have an opportunity to appeal any decision to the Federal Circuit.

The report went on to examine which gestures Posner had found valid. The judge sided with Apple on its methods for interpreting vertical and diagonal or horizontal and diagonal swipes. He found that the patent hadn’t clearly described the difference between horizontal scrolling and swiping, while upholding a claim to tapping on the margin of a screen as a gesture to move to the next item. Posner also upheld Apple’s claims for scrolling within a section of a display using additional fingers, but he did not affirm a second claim to a distinction on whether the gesture occurred within the region.

Mueller viewed Posner as having “expressed some annoyance” at one of Motorola’s arguments. The handset maker had argued that an example of a 27-degree angle in Apple’s patent meant that the patent was only limited to that angle. After reading the patent, Mueller himself believes that the 27-degree angle is “clearly identified” as just an example.

“I reject Motorola’s argument (this is the third time they’ve made it and the third time I reject it) that the structure must be limited to the 27-degree angle used as an example by the specification,” Posner wrote.

Apple and Motorola have been locked in a complex legal dispute over their respective intellectual property rights since 2010. Both companies have recently won small victories in the form of injunctions (1, 2) against each other in Germany. Earlier this month, the ITC cleared Motorola of allegations that it had infringed on three of Apple’s patents.

Even as the lawsuits between the two companies continue, Google is making plans to finalize its $ 12.5 billion purchase of Motorola. The European Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have both approved the acquisition.


Clever Waterproof iPhone Case Obsoleted By Software Update

Clever Waterproof iPhone Case Obsoleted By Software Update

The clever camera butons on this case are broken by the iOS 5.1 update

You know what? You could probably do a blog about only iPhone cases and you’d still have something worth reading. Provided that the world keeps coming up with cases like this super-specialized iPhone Scuba Case, an underwater shell which gives you access to the camera app as you dive, that is.

The sealed plastic case costs $ 85 and is good down to 30 meters (100 feet). There’s a wrist strap to stop you losing it to Davy Jones’ locker, and three buttons on the front. And the placing of these buttons turns out to be rather ingenious.

One button hits the iPhone’s own home button, letting you wake it, trigger Siri and do anything else you can do with the home button. Two buttons above let you tap the camera shortcut icon on the lock screen, and also to toggle between the video and stills camera in the app. And the top center button takes the shot.

It’s very clever, but the recent update to iOS 5.1 makes the case completely obsolete. IPhones now have a sliding button to access the camera from the lock screen, so this case won’t work at all.

A shame, as it’s a clever idea otherwise.

[Via Andrew Liszewski]

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Charlie SorrelCharlie Sorrel sits in his gadget nerve-center in Barcelona, Spain, and spits out words about  various weird plastic widgets while the sun shines outside his iCave. Previously found at Wired.com’s Gadget Lab covering cameras, power cables and sneaking in as much Apple-centric coverage as he could, Charlie spends his rare moments outside perched atop a bicycle and snapping photos. You can follow him on Twitter via @mistercharlie

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Cult of Mac

iPhone 4 owners who refused a free bumper case can now claim $15 settlement

iPhone 4 owners who didn’t accept a Bumper case as part of a class-action suit regarding the device’s antenna are now eligible to receive US$ 15 from Apple, AppleInsider reports. Apple initially offered free Bumpers in 2010 for a brief period.

Those eligible for the settlement had to have been the original owner of an iPhone 4 before February 17. The settlement offer is good through August 28.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPhone 4 owners who didn’t take a free case can now claim $15 settlement

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 07:46 AM EST (04:46 AM PST)
Legal notices began arriving with iPhone 4 owners on Thursday, informing them that they can receive $ 15 if they refused to take a free case from Apple as a result of a class-action settlement.

It was first announced in February that Apple had settled a class-action lawsuit over reception concerns with the iPhone 4 antenna. The settlement offers users either a free iPhone bumper case, which the company sells for $ 29, or they can instead opt to receive $ 15 in cash.

Apple said in a statement that the settlement relates to a “small number” of users who experienced reception issues with the iPhone 4, but didn’t take advantage of the free case program the company offered for a limited time in 2010.

Even though the iPhone 4 free bumper case program technically ended on Sept. 30, 2010, Apple quietly still offered free cases after that deadline to customers who contacted AppleCare support with reception issues. Those involved in the lawsuit only gain the new option of accepting $ 15, which is about half the value of the bumper case.

iPhone 4 owners were notified of the settlement in an e-mail sent out on Thursday. Customers are a “class member” of the suit if they are a U.S. resident who is or was the original owner of an iPhone 4 as of February 17, 2012.

“The settlement will provide a $ 15 cash payment if you are a United States resident who is or was the original owner of an iPhone 4, experienced antenna or reception issues, and satisfy other requirements explained below,” the note reads. “The United States District Court for the Northern District of California authorized this notice. The Court will have a hearing to consider whether to approve the settlement so that the benefits may be paid.”

Those who would rather receive a free case from Apple can visit an official support page on the company’s website. They are eligible to request a free black iPhone 4 Bumper from an Authorized iPhone Service Provider.

Those who would rather receive the $ 15 cash payment must receive a detailed notice and claim form package. Customers can call 1-877-417-7234 or go to www.iPhone4settlement.com to get one.

“The lawsuit claimed that the iPhone 4’s signal quality attenuates when users handle the phone and that Apple engaged in misrepresentations regarding the phone,” the note reads. “Apple denies all allegations and is entering into this settlement to avoid burdensome and costly litigation. The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.”

To obtain a cash payment, customers must submit the claim form on or before August 28, 2012. Those who do not claim a cash payment within this time period lose their right to obtain this benefit.


The BookBook Case For iPad: Strong And Pretty But Not Very Practical [Review]

The BookBook Case For iPad: Strong And Pretty But Not Very Practical [Review]

The BookBook is handmade from premium leather and designed to look like a vintage book.

TwelveSouth’s BookBook case for the iPad is a hard, leatherback binder that’s designed to look like a vintage book. It’s handmade and it features a soft, velvety interior that promises to keep your tablet free from scratches and scrapes, while its hard exterior provides impact protection from all angles. It also boasts a fully-adjustable stand using “the oldest trick in the book” — a button and a piece of string.

Because it’s hand distressed, every BookBook case is unique, and TwelveSouth claims that no two look alike. We were more than impressed by the BookBook case for the MacBook Air, so we had high expectations for this one. But did it live up to them?

The Good:

The first thing you’ll notice when you take the BookBook case out of its box is that its build quality is terrific. TwelveSouth has clearly used only high quality materials here, which have been put together so well that you can bet this thing’s going to last a lifetime. The stitching is strong, the leather is tough, and the zipper that keeps the BookBook closed seems nice and robust.

And thanks to those materials, you can be sure your iPad is protected inside this case. The hardback exterior provides great protection against dings and dents, while the soft, cushioned interior means you don’t need to worry about your iPad picking up scuffs while it’s secured inside. Even the button inside the case that’s used for its stand is made from a soft leather that will be of no threat to your iPad’s precious display.

Despite all of those materials, the BookBook is still remarkably light. It does make your iPad feel a little heavier, but you have to expect that from any case. It’s certainly not as heavy as I was expecting it to be.

Because the BookBook is designed to sport a vintage look, you can forget about scuffing its leather when you place it down or stuff it in your bag; the more you use it and the more distressed it becomes, the better it looks. Having said that, it’s surprising how much of a beating the BookBook will take before it begins to look worn. I’ve been using mine on and off for months, and it still looks great.

Another advantage with this case is that not many people are going to know what’s inside it. When it’s closed, it just looks like an old book. Who’s going to snatch that out of your hands while you’re walking down the street?

The BookBook is really unique, and you’re likely to be the only one with this case in your local coffee shop. Finally, it’s also compatible with all iPads, whether you have the original, the iPad 2, or the new iPad.

The Bad:

While it may be light, the BookBook is very big. It’s 25mm thick, which is almost triple the thickness of your iPad 2, and it adds a significant amount of bulk to every side. This certainly helps make the BookBook protective — especially against big drops — but it also steals your iPad’s beautifully slim design.

With your iPad inside, the BookBook loses its shape a little. It bows slightly in the middle and bulges out at the back, which somewhat spoils the vintage book look. It’s not a major issue with the iPad 2 or the new iPad, however, I can imagine it would be worse with the original iPad inside, which is much thicker.

The zipper does a terrific job of keeping your BookBook closed, but at the top of the case it gets dangerously close to your iPad when you’re opening and closing it. If you’re not careful, the zip will run along the top edge of your iPad, and could leave a nice scratch in its aluminum.

The adjustable stand uses a piece of leather string that you wrap around a leather button to create a stand for your iPad, and it does work well. However, it is rather fiddly, and because the string sits behind your iPad, you either have to lift your iPad up to pull it in and out each time, or leave it dangling out of the case.

There are two things that you cannot do with the BookBook, and that’s typing and taking pictures. There’s no camera cutout, so you’ll have to take your iPad out of the case to snap a picture, and typing on the iPad’s virtual keyboard is just far too uncomfortable while it’s inside.

The Verdict:

Part of me really loves the BookBook. It’s a beautiful case, it’s well built from quality materials, and it does a fantastic job of protecting your iPad — which warrants its $ 70 price tag. It’s great for those who use a wireless keyboard, or those who seldom use the iPad for typing or taking pictures at all, and want a great looking case that’s going to last a lifetime.

However, for me, it’s just not practical enough. I regularly use my iPad for typing at a desk or table, and taking it out of the BookBook every time I wanted to do that is just frustrating after a while.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

The BookBook Case For iPad: Strong And Pretty But Not Very Practical [Review]The BookBook Case For iPad: Strong And Pretty But Not Very Practical [Review]The BookBook Case For iPad: Strong And Pretty But Not Very Practical [Review]The BookBook Case For iPad: Strong And Pretty But Not Very Practical [Review]The BookBook Case For iPad: Strong And Pretty But Not Very Practical [Review]The BookBook Case For iPad: Strong And Pretty But Not Very Practical [Review]

Cult of Mac

iMainGo XP: The loudest iPad case you’ve ever heard (Enter to win one)

I’ve seen just about every type of iPad case in the two years that the world’s best-selling tablet has been on the market, most of which are variations on the theme of protection. Some of them act simply as cases, some are ultra-protective, and others add a keyboard. But the iMainGo XP (US$ 119.00 MSRP) case from Portable Sounds Labs is the first iPad case I’ve seen that includes a powerful set of stereo speakers.

The case isn’t exactly skinny as it contains a 2100 mAh rechargeable battery to power those speakers. iMainGo recommends charging that battery for eight to ten hours to get full life out of the speakers when you’re watching movies or playing DJ at a party. In full use, the battery will last for about six hours of use. The case was designed to work with the original iPad, then came with a snap-in insert to work with the iPad 2 and the new iPad.

DJ’s are going to love this portable setup for small parties. It protects your iPad in transit and it can actually crank out some decent sound. The specs say that the iMainGo XP only puts out 5 watts per channel, but it sounds much louder than that. I found it to be quite loud for personal listening with the iPad’s volume control turned up only half way, and it was intolerable to my wife in the next room when I played some music at full blast.

At a lower volume, the iMainGo XP did a wonderful job while I was watching HDTV through the Xfinity AnyPlay box in our house or watching movies from iTunes. There was good stereo separation, and the tuned bass and additional tweeters made movie soundtracks come alive.

The case isn’t exactly lightweight — without the iPad inside, it weighs in at almost two pounds. The case provides an external on/off button for the iPad, access to the volume rocker and orientation/mute lock. The speakers have a sliding lock to hold everything together and closed, and there’s an external stand included in case you want to tilt the iPad back a bit for easier viewing.

To pass your music to the speakers, the iMainGo XP doesn’t use Bluetooth. Instead, there’s a standard plug that you plug into the iPad’s headphone jack. There are also a pair of headphone jacks on the case — one of those can be used to daisy-chain a second iMainGo XP to the first for even more sound.

While it’s not for everyone, the iMainGo XP definitely fills a niche and is a unique iPad case that will make music and movie fans jump for joy. And speaking of jumping for joy, TUAW is going to give you a chance to win an iMainGo XP case for your iPad (remember, it works on all three versions of the iPad). Here are the details:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The comment must be left before March 26, 2012 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected and will receive a Portable Sound Labs iMainGo XP iPad case valued at US$ 119.00.
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

BiKN iPhone case and tags: Finding everything that matters

Last month I did a review of the Zomm Wireless Leash Plus, a dongle that works with your iPhone and Bluetooth to find your keys or whatever else you happen to attach the dongle to. Recently, a BiKN (pronounced “beacon”) iPhone case and tag showed up at my door from Treehouse Labs. BiKN works similarly to the Zomm, but has a few features that make it a vastly superior solution.

While the Zomm leash is useful, I found the use of the iPhone’s Bluetooth to be somewhat of a drain on the battery. The BiKN resolves this issue by providing an external battery pack and built-in electronics. There’s a micro-USB cable that is used to charge both the case / battery pack and the included BiKN tags. The tags just need to be charged every few weeks, and I found it convenient to just plug in the BiKN case every night to “top off” the iPhone and BiKN batteries. The iPhone is charged up first, and then the BiKN battery pack is charged. The BiKN battery pack cannot be used to power your iPhone, so it’s not a substitute for an external battery pack like a Mophie Juice Pack.

The system is meant to be colorful, although my review setup was strictly black and white. When purchasing a BiKN system, you start by choosing the base color of black or white. Next, you select one of six different highlight colors (that was the white on my case). Then you select the base color for your tags (black or white), and finally pick a color for the highlight on the tag — that’s the part that has the loop you use to connect the tag to a keychain, a dog collar, your child’s belt, or whatever else you need to find.

A starter kit with the case and one tag currently costs US$ 99.99 (regularly $ 104.98), while a kit with two tags runs $ 119.99 (regularly $ 129.97). Extra tags cost $ 49.99 for two. What’s fascinating is that tags can be used to find other tags, and your “network” of BiKN tags and cases can have up to 8 devices. BiKN says that an app upgrade coming soon will increase that number to 254 tags.

Once everything is nicely charged up and the free myBiKN app has been installed on your phone(s), it’s time to start having fun. If you’ve purchased more than one case, it’s possible to “join” those cases so that if one person in your household loses track of their iPhone, you can find it with the other. For the tags, you pretty much do the same pairing, but can also give the tag a name and a picture to identify it. I chose to name my tag “backpack” and there’s a nice drawing of a backpack included in the app. Had I wanted to, I could have taken a photo of the item connected to the tag.

One thing I liked about the BiKN system is that it kept me up to date on the battery status of the case and tag. When a tag is getting low on charge, you’re warned to plug it in soon.

For any of the tags or cases, you have three options: page, leash, and find. Tapping the page button for any selected tags and cases makes the tag or case play a sprightly tune that should help locate the device. If you have a tag but have misplaced your phone, there’s a button on the tag that you can push to page the case or any other tags — pretty handy to get everyone in your family at an outdoor picnic to come to your table to eat.

Leashing is the process of creating a geofence for an item you don’t want to misplace. Let’s say that I want to make sure that my dog doesn’t wander too far away from me or dig its way out of the back yard. I can clip the BiKN tag to the dog’s collar, then set up the sensitivity of the myBiKN leashing function. If it’s set to “far”, the leash can be as long as 50 to 100 feet inside or up to 500 feet outside.

Find is a really cool function. The Zomm leash didn’t have a way to tell you how far away you were from the tag or which direction to go — the BiKN find function gives you an estimate of the distance and really whether you’re “hot or cold” in terms of finding the item.

Between the Zomm Wireless Leash Plus and the BiKN, the latter is certainly much more convenient, versatile, and easy to use. The tags are much smaller and less obtrusive, and the two-way capability — being able to find a phone or another tag with a tag — is brilliant.

The BiKN system isn’t exactly inexpensive, but it’s certainly a powerful way to keep tabs on those things that you don’t want to lose, such as children, pets, keys, phones, and cameras. Please watch the video below to get an idea of exactly how the BiKN case and tags work.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog