U.S. Apple Stores offer machine-applied protectors for iPhone

Apple Stores in the U.S. are now offering machine-applied screen protectors for iPhone. The service, which uses a Belkin protectors and the ScreenCare+ applicator tool, starts at $18 and is available for iPhone 6 and up. Apple Stores in Japan first began using Belkin’s tool to apply screen protectors last week, and now the service is […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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Belkin Announces Qode Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

Belkin today debuted a new product that joins its lineup of Qode keyboard cases for the iPad Air 2, introducing the Qode Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case. The Qode Ultimate Lite is similar in design to the Qode Ultimate Keyboard Case and the Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case, but it features a sleeker build that’s much lighter.

The Qode Ultimate Lite Keyboard case weighs in at 370 grams, which is approximately 150 grams lighter than the company’s top-of-the-line Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case. Like all of the Qode cases, the Ultimate Lite features an aluminum keyboard base, nicely spaced keys that replicate the feel of a MacBook keyboard, and a folio design that protects the iPad when the keyboard is not in use.

It also features Belkin’s signature swivel design, letting it be used in portrait or landscape mode with built-in magnets that offer multiple viewing angles. There’s an auto on/off feature that preserves battery life, and the Ultimate Lite will last for six months on a single charge.

The Qode Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for the iPad Air 2 can be purchased from the Belkin website for $99.99.

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iOS 9 Could Feature ‘Home’ App For Controlling HomeKit Accessories

Apple is planning a new „Home“ app that would enable users to wirelessly discover, securely manage and control HomeKit-based accessories using an iOS device, according to 9to5Mac. The report also reiterates that the Apple TV would serve as a hub for all HomeKit connected devices.

The report claims that Home could be introduced alongside iOS 9 at Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next month, although the app may not be finalized in time and could remain limited to internal usage by employees only.

HomeKit was announced at WWDC last year as a software framework for communicating with and controlling connected devices in the home, but the home automation platform has experienced delays since then and has yet to officially launch. Fortune reported last week that HomeKit was pushed back until August or September, but Apple has since confirmed that accessory announcements will begin in June.

The rumored Home app would be the front-end platform for HomeKit, akin to the Health app and HealthKit on iOS 8, and reportedly has „fairly basic“ functionality centered upon virtual rooms, the Apple TV and other features:

Wirelessly discovering and setting up compatible HomeKit devices
Creating a virtual representation of rooms in the home to easily organize and connect HomeKit devices
Utilizing the Apple TV as a hub connecting all of the HomeKit devices
Offering a series of screens to help users find new HomeKit devices and apps

If the Home app is not released, the report claims that Apple may elect for customers to control their HomeKit connected devices using Siri and accompanying App Store apps from accessory makers and developers. HomeKit partners confirmed to date, among others, include Belkin, Elgato, Schlage, iDevices and GE.

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Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter [Mac Blog]

Popular Apple accessory maker Belkin today announced a line of new cables and adapters designed to work with the newly announced 12-inch Retina MacBook, which ships with a single USB-C port.

Most notably, the company has announced a USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter, which will allow the 12-inch MacBook to be connected to Gigabit Ethernet networks using its USB-C port. Apple is not offering its own USB-C to gigabit ethernet adapter, so users who want that functionality will need a third-party accessory like this one. Belkin has not yet added the adapter to its website, but it will be priced between $19.99 and $29.99.

Belkin is also offering a range of other USB-C cables, which are listed below:

USB-C Cable ($29.99)
USB-A to USB-C Charge Cable ($19.99)
USB-A to USB-C Cable ($29.99)
USB-C to Micro USB-B Charge Cable ($19.99)
USB-C to Micro USB-B Cable ($29.99)
USB-C to Mini USB-B Charge Cable ($19.99)
USB-C to USB-B Charge Cable ($19.99)

Belkin’s cables and the Gigabit Ethernet Adapter will be priced between $19.99 and $29.99 and will ship early this summer.

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CES 2015: Belkin and Elgato Announce New Home Automation Sensors for Windows, Doors, and More [Mac Blog]

Belkin and Elgato today used CES as a platform to expand their home automation lineup of products. Belkin is showing off five new WeMo products at CES, while Elgato is presenting two products from its previously announced line of „Eve“ connected home sensors.

Belkin today announced an expansion to its WeMo line with the new WeMo Door and Window Sensor, the Keychain sensor, and an Alarm sensor to notify users when an existing home alarm goes off. It also introduced an improved motion detector with a new infrared option to detect heat signatures for even more precise motion detection. All four sensors will debut in the second half of 2015 at yet-to-be-determined prices.

Belkin also is working on a Water sensor with „Echo Technology“ that will monitor household water usage. The new WeMo Water sensor will attach to the home’s plumbing system and analyze pressure changes caused by faucets and the flushing of toilets. The sensor can calculate consumption duration and even detect damaging water leaks. The WeMo Water is still in the field trial stage with no set availability date at this time.

Elgato is also at CES, presenting its previously announced Eve Energy and Eve Door & Window sensors along with the Eve app. The HomeKit-compliant products allow you monitor the energy usage and control connected appliances with the tap of the screen. The Eve Energy and Eve Door & Window sensors will debut in Q1 2015, and the company is also working on sensors for air quality, temperature, humidity, and water consumption.

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List of Cases Available for Apple’s New iPad Air 2 [iOS Blog]

Though the second-generation iPad Air was just announced yesterday, several prominent case manufacturers have already begun releasing cases for the new ultra thin tablets.

Many cases for the original iPad Air won’t fit the new version of the iPad Air because it is 18 percent thinner at 6.1 mm instead of 7.5 mm, even though it has the same 9.4-inch height and 6.6-inch width. For that reason, prospective iPad Air 2 buyers who want to keep their tablets protected in a case will need to buy a case specifically created with the new design in mind.

We’ve gathered up a list of the iPad Air 2 cases that are available now or that will be available in the very near future below.

Griffin – Griffin has already come out with several different cases for the iPad Air 2, which have estimated shipping dates of one to two weeks. There’s a Survivor All-Terrain Case and a Survivor Slim, both of which are priced at $79.99 and are designed to protect the iPad from drops and weather elements.

Griffin also has a simple TurnFolio case available for the iPad Air 2, which functions as a four-position workstand in landscape or portrait mode. The case, which ships in one to two weeks, is available for $49.99.

Apple – Apple has created its own Smart Cover and Smart Case for the iPad Air 2, which can be purchased from its online store. The iPad Air 2 polyurethane Smart Cover is designed to protect just the front of the iPad and is available in Black, White, Pink, Yellow, Blue, Green, and (PRODUCT) Red colors for $39. It appears that older iPad Air Smart Covers will fit the new tablet as new Smart Covers fit the original iPad Air.

Apple’s leather Smart Case offers more protection and is designed to protect both the cover and the rear shell of the device. It’s available in Black, Midnight Blue, Olive Brown, Soft Pink, and (PRODUCT) RED colors for $79.

Belkin – Belkin has announced several new cases designed for the iPad Air 2, including the QODE Pro Keyboard case for$149.99, the QODE Ultimate Keyboard case for $129.99 and the QODE Slim Style Keyboard for $99.99.

Belkin also has simple folio-style cases for the iPad Air 2, including the Slim Style Cover for $49.99 and the Chambray Cover for $39.99.

Incipio – Incipio has four separate iPad Air 2 cases that will be available to purchase in the near future, including the $40 Octane Folio, designed to be impact resistant; the $35 Clarion, with a clear backing; the $40 Faraday, with a magnetic fold over closure; and the $50 Tuxen, a Snap-On Folio with a magnetic closure.

Poetic – Poetic has several inexpensive iPad Air 2 cases available on Amazon, like the SlimBook Vegan Leather case that’s priced at $9.95, or the GraphGrip Silicone Case priced at $9.95. Poetic also has the DuraBook iPad Air 2 case for $9.95, and the Slimline Leather Trifold cover for the same price. All of Poetic’s cases cost $4.95 to ship, come in a range of colors, and will be available on October 29.

A limited number of existing iPad Air cases may fit the new iPad Air 2, and all sleeves and bags designed for the iPad Air will, of course, also be compatible with the new iPad Air 2. Additional Apple accessory makers will be coming out with iPad Air 2 cases in the coming weeks as well, now that the new tablets are shipping to customers in just a few days.

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Belkin Announces Keyboard Cases and Folio Covers for iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 [iOS Blog]

Belkin has announced a lineup of new cases made for Apple’s new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, including new keyboard cases and a variety of protective covers catered to the design of both tablets.

The QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for the iPad Air 2
The QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for the iPad Air 2 ($149.99) features an improved keyboard layout that features the same amount of keys as a laptop, and also includes three brightness levels for backlighting. The keyboard is rated for up to one year of continuous battery life and also has adjustable landscape and portrait modes with two viewing angles.

The QODE Ultimate Keyboard for iPad Air and iPad Air 2
Belkin is also offering the QODE Ultimate Keyboard for the iPad Air 2 ($129.99), which features a foldable design, three adjustable viewing angles, and up to six months of battery life. The QODE Slim Style Keyboard ($99.99) for the iPad Air and iPad Air 2 offers a folio-style cover and Bluetooth keyboard in one that contains a built-in stand and flexible corner tabs.

Slim Style Cover and Slim Stripe Cover for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3
In addition to the keyboard cases, Belkin is also launching a variety of new covers for both the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 that are similar to Apple’s own Smart Covers. Each cover can fold into a keyboard stand and features smart-wake technology. Made for the iPad Air 2 ($49.99) and iPad mini 3 ($39.99), the Slim Style Cover includes a curved, form-fitting design with a velvet finish, while the Stripe Cover for the iPad Air 2 ($39.99) and iPad mini 3 ($34.99) comes with a classic folio style. Belkin is also offering a Classic Cover for the iPad mini 3 ($29.99) that features a slim two-tone design and a Chambray Cover for the iPad Air 2 ($39.99) that features a folio style with a chambray finish.

Classic Cover for the iPad mini 3 and Chambray Cover for the iPad Air 2
Belkin’s new protective covers for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 are available to order now at its official website. Belkin’s QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case and the QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case for the iPad Air 2 will be available starting in December.

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Apple to Launch New ‘Smart Home’ Platform at WWDC

Apple will launch a new software platform that will let the iPhone directly control lights, security systems and other household gadgets at WWDC next week, according to a report from The Financial Times.

The piece claims Apple will make a „big play“ in smart home technology by working with device makers give them official approval, like the „Made for iPhone“ program does for some accessories like headphones and speaker docks, and software support in iOS 8.

The scheme will be similar to Apple’s existing “Made for iPhone” label, given to compatible headphones, speakers and other accessories, but with a new brand and logo. Apple may also provide additional checks and assurances that certified products are not vulnerable to hackers.

The Cupertino-based company was likely to emphasise the privacy protections built into its smart home system, one person familiar with Apple’s plans told the FT, given heightened sensitivity about technology companies’ access to personal information amid revelations about US intelligence agencies’ online surveillance programmes.

The piece notes that plans can always change, but that Apple has launched a number of initiatives over the past year or two, including CarPlay and iBeacon, to expand the reach of the iPhone and have it interact more with the real world and other electronic devices in it.

Apple’s retail stores sell a number of different components of the so-called „Internet of Things“, including the Google-owned Nest Thermostat (pictured above), Philips Hue lightbulbs and Belkin WeMo Wi-Fi enabled light switches.

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Belkin’s Ultra-Slim QODE Thin Type Keyboard Now Available for iPad Air [iOS Blog]

Belkin today announced the availability of the QODE Thin Type for iPad Air, adding an ultra-slim keyboard option to its popular QODE line of tablet keyboards. QODE Thin Type for iPad Air features an anodized aluminum design, 79 hours of battery life and iOS specific keys that pair nicely with the iPad. The keyboard’s main selling point is its 4mm thin profile that barely adds any heft to the already slender iPad Air.

An early review of the device from ZDNet’s James Kendrick is favorable, noting that the keyboard is „different in a good way“ from competing iPad tablets from Logitech, Kensington and Annker.

The Belkin is a simple cover with a keyboard on one side. The metal cover is not flat like the competitors’ models. There is a hump toward the back of the cover that gives the Belkin three advantages over the competition. The hump houses a large battery that Belkin claims gives six months of use on a charge. This is double that of other iPad keyboards. Having this hump on the cover provides an ergonomic tilt to the keyboard, perfect for typing. Last but not least, the protrusion provides a secure grip for handling the tablet in the cover.

The QODE Thin Type keyboard for iPad Air is available now for $99.99 at Belkin.com and will land soon at select retailers worldwide.

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