MacRumors Gift Guide by Marianne: Elevation Dock, Fluxmob Bolt, and More

To provide gift ideas for our readers this holiday season, we here at MacRumors have written gift guides based on our own experiences with products we like and recommend to others. If you want to catch up, here are links to the guides published so far: Juli Clover, Joe Rossignol, and Mitchel Broussard.

Here’s my selection of gift suggestions based on products I own, use often, and recommend to anyone looking for gift ideas for friends or family:

Elevation Dock for iPhone by Elevation Lab ($89)

I first heard about Elevation Lab’s iPhone dock through the company’s Kickstarter in 2011 and I backed the project there in order to receive one before they were commercially available. The dock, which is made out of a block of solid aluminum, was intended to be heavy enough to easily remove an iPhone with just one hand, and its design complemented Apple’s existing products beautifully. I have two Elevation Docks – one at my desk in front of my iMac and another on my nightstand – that I use every single day with my iPhone 6s. Elevation Lab currently offers the Elevation Dock 3 for the iPhone 6/6s and 6 Plus/6s Plus models. It’s pricey at $89 but I recommend it if you’ve got someone who appreciates the Apple design aesthetic and needs a solid, well-made iPhone dock.

Fluxmob Bolt battery backup and wall charger ($50)

I use my iPhone almost constantly most days and I’m oddly paranoid that the battery will die when I actually need it to make an emergency call or something else important. To allay this fear, I like to carry the means to charge my iPhone anywhere. However, I also like to streamline what I carry and prefer multipurpose items when possible, and a combination back-up battery and AC charger made sense. My search led me to Fluxmob’s Bolt, which is both a 3,000 mAh battery and an AC charger thanks to its built-in prongs, which stay hidden until you flip them out. The Bolt offers pass-through charging, which means that it can charge both its internal battery and and a connected iPhone at the same time when it’s plugged into an outlet, so I never have to worry about charging its battery separately. The Bolt, along with a retractable Lightning cable, are staples in my purse.

At $49.99, it’s a reasonably-priced gift for any heavy smartphone user on your gift list. Fluxmob also makes the Bolt2, a larger model with two USB ports and a 6,000 mAh internal battery that costs $79.99.

Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker

I still have one of Apple’s iPod Hi-Fi speakers use it regularly with my iPhone. Though it can run on batteries and is meant to be somewhat portable, it’s not something I can throw in my bag. Jawbone was one of the first companies to release a portable Bluetooth speaker and I loved the idea and its design and bought one a few years ago and it’s still one of my most-used accessories. I bring it with me when I travel and have even had family members ask me if I could „accidentally“ forget it when I left.

Jawbone no longer makes the original Jambox that I have but you can buy a refurbished one directly from Jawbone for $47.99. The company now makes a smaller Mini Jambox (pictured above) and an extra-large Big Jambox, which cost $129.99 and $199.99 respectively at Jawbone’s site at the time of this post.

LG Pocket Photo printer ($120)

Though it pains me to admit it, I’m old enough to remember Polaroid cameras and the grainy, chemical-laden instant photos they could print. With my iPhone as my main camera, I wanted something that could duplicate that ability to quickly print a photo and found LG’s Pocket Photo printer. It connects to an iPhone via Bluetooth and is managed through LG’s Pocket Photo app. It uses inkless paper made by Zink and is small enough to throw in the small messenger bag I normally use every day. It prints 2-inch by 3-inch photos on paper with a peel-and-stick back so they can easily be used for scrapbooking, journals, greeting cards, and more.

LG doesn’t sell its Pocket Photo models directly in the US but you can get the latest PD251 model from Newegg for $119.99 (I have the previous generation PD239 model in a glorious Hello Kitty limited edition, thank you very much).

Fitbit One ($100)

Though the iPhone has step-tracking capabilities, I don’t carry it in a pocket consistently enough to use it as a step tracker. Also, I’d prefer my step tracker to be small and unobtrusive and as accurate as possible. After trying a wrist-based tracker, I switched to the Fitbit One a few years ago and it’s become an accessory I use every single day and even remember to clip to my pajamas to track my sleep. The companion Fitbit app is easy to use and I like the community aspect, particularly the challenges you can complete with friends, which are surprisingly motivating. I’m not fanatical enough about tracking my steps to take a walk just before midnight to meet my daily goal, but it does help me be cognizant of how active, or inactive, I am every day and plan something to increase my activity if I can.

The Fitbit One costs $99.95 directly from Fitbit, but it’s usually around $89 at Amazon.

We have a few more gift guides to publish, so stay tuned. In the meantime, feel free to add your own suggestions or find even more ideas for your own gift shopping lists with our MacRumors gift guide that was curated by readers.

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AT&T to Raise Price of Grandfathered Unlimited Plans From $30 to $35

AT&T will raise the price of its grandfathered unlimited data plans from $30 to $35 in February of 2016, reports CNBC. The upcoming rate change is detailed on a page on AT&T’s website and is the first price hike the unlimited plan has seen in seven years.

Though AT&T no longer offers unlimited data plans to customers, a small number of customers continue to hold unlimited data plans that were purchased before AT&T discontinued them in 2010. AT&T’s current $30 unlimited data plan allows customers to use an unlimited amount of data, but AT&T does throttle with excessive data usage.

As of February 16, the $30 price tag, which is in addition to voice costs, will rise to $35. The price hike comes just a couple of months after AT&T announced changes to its throttling practices. AT&T previously throttled customers on congested networks after 5GB of LTE data usage, but that cap was increased to 22GB in September, making unlimited plans more valuable.

AT&T plans to notify customers who will be impacted by the price increase. Customers who wish to cancel their wireless service because of the pricing increase will have early termination fees waived for affected lines. Price changes will take effect during each customer’s February billing period.

Tag: AT&T
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Video Review: The iLuv Layup X is a Solid Multi-Functional Case for the iPhone 6s Plus

iLuv is a well-known Apple accessory manufacturer, with a wide range of iPhone and iPad case options available in retail stores. For our most recent video review, we went hands-on with the company’s Layup X case, available for the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus.

The Layup X is a multi-function case that offers all around iPhone protection, a tempered glass screen protector to keep the screen safe from scratches, and a built-in kickstand. More functional than stylish, the Layup X consists of an inner hard shell that holds the iPhone in place and an outer rubber shell that’s designed to offer protection from impact.

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iLuv’s Layup X fits onto an iPhone easily and provides access to all ports and buttons on the device. Though somewhat bulky, the Layup X feels solid on the phone and is a case that’s going to offer a good amount of protection against bumps and drops.

As for the built-in kickstand, it’s functional, but it’s made out of a thin plastic that doesn’t have a good build quality. It’s able to prop the iPhone up into an ideal viewing angle, but we feel that the kickstand is the first place the iLuv case could fail. Overall, though, this is a solid choice for customers seeking a case that’s going to offer all around protection.

The Layup X is available for $34.99 from the iLuv website or from Amazon.com.

Tags: review, video review, iLuv
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Pryme Vessyl is a Smart Cup That Monitors Your Water Consumption

Mark One, the company that’s currently working on the Vessyl smart cup that can measure the nutritional content of any liquid, today launched an interim product that’s designed to track how much water a person drinks in a day.

The Pryme Vessyl is a smart cup that measures all of the water that a person drinks during the day, using the data collected with a proprietary hydration algorithm that lets users know if their hydration needs are being met. It uses decades of research on hydration to determine an optimal or „Pryme“ hydration level for every person based on factors like age, weight, sex, and activity level. The data collected by the Pryme Vessyl is compatible with the Jawbone UP and Apple’s own Health app.

Many of us still follow the 8 cups per day, one-size-fits-all approach to water consumption, but everyone’s hydration needs are unique–fluctuating day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour. Pryme captures a variety of factors such as height, age, weight and sex, as well as changing variables like sleep and exercise, to help you understand your personal hydration needs.

Design wise, Pryme Vessyl is a 16-ounce cup that has a glass interior with a soft-touch white exterior and a nickel-plated bottom. It includes a spill-resistant lid that can be flipped back with a thumb, and the Pryme Vessyl team tells MacRumors that it’s both highly durable and reliable.

There are sensors built into the cup to detect each time a person takes a sip. In addition to water, it can hold any hot or cold beverage, so it can be used with other liquids like tea or juice. Though it’s safe to use with hot liquids, the electronics inside prevent it from being dishwasher safe.

A blue line on the side of the cup, activated with a tilt, lets users keep an eye on their hydration levels throughout the day to make sure they’re getting enough water. Pryme Vessyl uses inductive charging and attaches to an included base, so it’s simple to charge. Its built-in battery is able to last for up to five days per charge.

Pryme Vessyl can be purchased from the Vessyl website for $99 and it’s also available online at Apple.com and from select Apple retail stores in the United States and Canada.

All customers who previously pre-ordered the Vessyl will receive a Pryme Vessyl for free. The Vessyl remains in development with no prospective launch date as the Mark One team works to transition from prototype to production while maintaining accuracy.

Tags: Pryme Vessyl, Vessyl, Mark One
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Home Depot to Begin Supporting Apple Pay Following Retail System Upgrade

Home Depot plans to officially support Apple Pay in its home improvement stores following a retail system upgrade, reports Bloomberg. Though there’s no timeline on when Apple Pay support will be introduced in Home Depot stores, a spokesperson said the payment service would be available after a revamp to the company’s point-of-sale machines.

News of Home Depot’s plans to support Apple Pay come following earlier reports suggesting the retailer was shutting off Apple Pay access in its stores. Home Depot has NFC-based terminals in its stores allowing for unofficial use of Apple Pay, but as of this morning, a customer discovered he could no longer use Apple Pay at Home Depot.

Contacting customer support resulted in a message stating that while Apple Pay was not supported in Home Depot stores, PayPal was, hinting that Home Depot may be choosing to promote PayPal over Apple Pay, but as it turns out, that’s not the case. According to Bloomberg, Home Depot’s NFC checkout terminals have been disabled as the company works on upgrading its point-of-sale system.

Many Home Depot stores continue to support checkout through Apple Pay using NFC payment terminals at this time, but access may be shut off in the coming weeks until Apple Pay officially launches at the retail chain. Home Depot will likely support Apple Pay both in its retail stores and through its iOS app.

With 2,000 stores across the United States, Home Depot will be the largest retailer to offer Apple Pay.




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