Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank – first MagSafe battery pack

Anker has created a wireless battery pack that makes use of Apple’s proprietary MagSafe magnetic charging and mounting system. The PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank clicks on the back of the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max to give it charge.

The pack will only support 5W wireless charging from the 5,000 mAh cell but if you want charging to be a little quicker, the bank also has a USB-C port that supports 10W output.

As most iPhone owners will use a case of some sort, Anker is compatible with MagSafe cases. Hence, users can attach it to any iPhone 12 series device with or without a case.

At the moment, these battery packs will only be available in the US at a cost of $39.99 with an 18-month warranty. Apple is said to be creating its own wireless solution but at the moment, this is the only option.

Caviar Airpods Max

It wasn’t long until we saw a modified pair of Airpods Max on the market, and surely Caviar are one of the first to do it. If you don’t know about Caviar, it is a company that creates lavishly expensive versions of the world’s most wanted tech from iPhones with pieces of the moon to a piece of Steve Jobs’ polo neck.

This time the guys at Caviar have taken a pair of Airpods Max and gone next level. The metal elements of the headphones are coated in 18ct gold and the mesh headband is replaced with black crocodile leather.

There is no mention of the smartcase but knowing what Caviar does, it will probably be as lavish as most modern watch boxes. Now the price, is a little harder to swallow. Caviar are only making one of each colour (black or white) and it will cost $108,000.

Apple AirPods Max – £549 over ear headphones

Whenever Apple enters a space, it isn’t necessarily the first, but when it does enter it changes it for the better. Think iPod, iPhone, iPad, AirPods – all items that we didn’t know we couldn’t live without until they were presented to us.

Now, Apple has joined the over ear headphone space. Much like it had done with the Airpods and the AirPods Pro, it looked at the current market and wanted to see how it could be done better. The AirPods Max “brings the magic of AirPods to an over-ear design with high-fidelity sound.” It does have some hard hitters to compete with though, the Sony WH-1000XM4s and the Bose 700 series, both of which are cheaper by some margin.

As with all Apple products, these over ear headphones are brilliantly executed – with fantastic textures like the telescopic metal headband arms that effortlessly glide to size. The tem has used the digital crown from the Apple Watch to be used as a volume knob with the functionality to play, pause or skip songs as well as answer calls and activate Siri. There is just one button on the entire device which is used for the noise cancelling allowing a wearer to pick between active noise cancelling and Transparency mode. The latter allows you to listen to the environment around you whilst simultaneously listening to music.

Each earcup has a 40mm Apple-designed dynamic driver providing strong base, treble and mids whilst the dual neodymium ring magnet motor allows the AirPods Max to maintain total harmonic distortion of less than 1 percent across the entire audible range. Fitted with Apple’s proprietary H1 chip using computational audio to deliver the highest quality listening experience.

Now, the features on the AirPods Max aren’t anything groundbreaking, other brands have had most if not all the features for a few years but what Apple does have is spatial audio – with dynamic head tracking to place sounds virtually anywhere in a space — delivering an immersive, theatre-like experience for content recorded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos.

The AirPods Max have a battery life of 20 hours with noise cancellation enabled and will go into an extreme low-power saving mode when placed in its smart case. The question remains, that if the case is lost, do the headphones just sap battery?

The AirPods Max are available in five colours – Space Grey, Silver, Sky Blue, Green and Pink at the cost of £549.

Moment MagSafe accessories for iPhone

The new iPhone has been released with a new MagSafe charging system. It worked wonders on the old Macbooks and now Apple has found a way to incorporate it into its wireless charging system for its phones.

It may be the start of the end of wired charging as we know it but with Apple’s own magnetic accessories, it has left the door wide open for other companies to create their own accessories. Step forward Moment, a company focussed on great phone photography has made some fantastic camera lens kits and cases for iPhones in the past. Now it has recently launched its MagSafe line.

The team has combined the MagSafe technology and created proprietary patent pending configuration of magnets allowing for the strongest connection possible. There are cases with canvas or wood for that added tactility, drop in lens mounts for those moments when the standard iPhone 12 lenses don’t cut it, to mounts for tripods, car vents and cold shoe mount for lights or microphones.

Prices range from $19.99 to $49.99 for the mounts and cases, but with either of them you won’t be disappointed with the fit and quality of these products.

Apple reveals four new iPhones

There is no need to beat around the bush, those that know will have watched the event live. If you didn’t, this is for you. Apple has released four new iPhones – iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max.

The key takeaways from it is 5G connectivity for all phones, the design harks back to the iPhone 4 with stainless steel frame but with a 2020 form factor and four sizes and prices.

iPhone 12 and 12 Mini
So let’s get to the 12 Mini -it is 5.4-inch iPhone, suitable for those you truly dislike the massive screen craze. It doesn’t lose out on any of the larger phones, still getting 5G connectivity, IP68 rating and the Super-Retina XDR display. The iPhone 12 is the same but in a larger 6.1-inch format fitted with the same A14 Bionic chip, the double rear cameras and a new Ceramic Shield front cover, said to provide the biggest jump in durability for an iPhone. The phones also introduce MagSafe, high-powered wireless charging using magnets that opens up to a new world of accessories that can easily attach to the iPhone.

Both phones will be available in five aluminum finishes, including blue, green, black, white, and (PRODUCT)RED with either 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage. The iPhone 12 starts at $799 and the 12 Mini starts at $699 with deliveries starting October 23rd and November 13th respectively.

iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max
If those phones didn’t really take your fancy, the 12 Pro and Pro Max are those targeting the serious photographers and videographers. Offered as a 6.1-inch or 6.7-inch Super-Retina XDR screen with 1200 nits of brightness. As with the other 12s, the Pros come with IP68 rating, Ceramic Shield front cover, 5G connectivity, A14 Bionic chips and MagSafe. What makes these the Pro versions are the camera systems.

The iPhone 12 Pro features the new seven-element lens Wide camera with an ƒ/1.6 aperture, with a 27 percent improved low-light performance in photo and video; the Ultra Wide camera with a 120-degree field of view, perfect for capturing more scene in tight spots; and a 52 mm focal length Telephoto camera, bringing the optical zoom range to 4x. iPhone 12 Pro Max takes the pro camera experience even further – the ƒ/1.6 aperture Wide camera sensor has 1.7μm pixels for a massive 87 percent improvement in low-light conditions. It also includes the expansive Ultra Wide camera and a 65 mm focal length Telephoto camera for increased flexibility with closer shots and tighter crops. Combined, this system offers 5x optical zoom range. And then there is Apple ProRAW which allows users to shoot in RAW but also keep the computational functionality of using an iPhone giving full creative control over color, detail, and dynamic range natively.

If that wasn’t enough, Apple has added LiDAR to the Pro line. This allows the camera system to measure light distance and use pixel depth information to create a better image or scene. This is great for AR and greatly improves autofocus in low-light.

Then onto video. The Pro series is said to be the first and only devices that enable end-to-end HDR video with Dolby Vision, up to 60fps. This allows users to grade live and then can be sustained during editing straight from the Photos app.

Both of the Pro series will be made available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB models in graphite, silver, gold, and pacific blue starting at $999 for the 12 Pro and $1,099 for the 12 Pro Max delivered from October 23rd and November 13th respectively.

Apple Fitness+

It was only a matter of time until Apple helped you get fit. Mixing Apple Watch with Fitness+, the new fitness experience from Apple. Creating an experience like no other, Fitness+ incorporates metrics from your Apple Watch like your heart rate, calories burned as well as your fitness rings.

To help users keep exercising, Fitness+ studies previously completed workouts and intelligently suggests new options that match the workouts users select most often, or something fresh to balance their current routine.

“We’re so excited to energise our customers with new ways to get active and stay active with Apple Watch,” said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director of fitness for Health Technologies. “With diverse studio workouts that are suitable for all ability levels, led by a phenomenal group of unique trainers, and an approachable programme designed for beginners all the way through to the fitness enthusiast — as well as the flexibility to work out anywhere — there’s something for everyone. We know Fitness+ will take working out with Apple Watch to the next level with unparalleled engagement, convenience, and inspiration.”

If a user has an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV and picks a workout, the same workout will start on your Apple Watch with metrics shown on the screen and coming to life for moments of inspiration like when a trainer tells you to check heart rate, the metrics will change, showing your heart rate in a larger format whilst showing low and high rates. If you close the rings during the workout, there is a new animated celebration.

Apple Fitness+ will launch with the most popular workout types including Cycling, Treadmill, Rowing, HIIT, Strength, Yoga, Dance, Core, and Mindful Cooldown, and each is accompanied by music thoughtfully curated by the trainers. Each week, the team of Fitness+ trainers will deliver fresh workouts from the studio across a range of lengths, disciplines, and music genres so there are always new workouts to explore.

Apple Fitness+ comes later this year and will be available to Apple Watch customers as a subscription service for £9.99 per month or £79.99 per year which can be shared with five family members for free. Everyone can try Fitness+ free for one month and if you buy an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, you’ll get three months free of charge.

iOS 14: What you need to know

2020 is the first year that Apple’s WWDC or World Wide Developer Conference wasn’t held in front a large physical audience. This time, digital only using a familiar format but making use of the vast Apple campus and some pretty swanky transitions. A lot was discussed and previewed; the $100 million initiative to combat racism and investing in education and criminal justice reform.

The biggest news to come out of WWDC 2020 is definitely iOS 14, the upcoming operating system for iPhone with some new design features. Now, there are elements Android users will be familiar with, but this doesn’t mean that Apple shouldn’t be able to include them too and here are some of the ones we are most excited for:

Redesigned Home Screen

An iPhone home screen was only as configurable as moving/removing apps around the screen and subsequent pages. Now though, the home screen supports widgets, meaning you can get more information at a glance that you could ever before. Yes, it isn’t anything new when you look over to the other ecosystems but for Apple users this is pretty big.

Simply drag a widget from the ‘Today’ view and place it on the home screen. Pin or resize to your hearts content and if you like having different information fed to you at different times of the day you can try out the ‘Smart Stack’ feature which will use on-device intelligence to push the right widget based on time, location, and activity.

Digital car key

Your iPhone pretty much is everything you want it to be; a phone, a camera, a credit card so why not let it also be your car keys? You can register your car key in the Apple Wallet, (only if you own the new BMW 5-Series for now, with more models being added) and when you walk up to it, you can unlock via NFC. Rest the phone on its pad on the centre console, start the car and you are good to go. With that, users are able to set specific driving profiles with certain restrictions if needed.

What if your battery runs out, I hear you call out? Well Apple have thought about that too, the phone will still be able to unlock the car for up to five hours after you hit 0%, plenty of time to get back in the car and give the phone some juice.

App library

Swipe right to the very last page on an iPhone with iOS 14 and it opens the new App library. Similar to an Android app drawer, this is where you can see all of your apps at a glance. The apps are organised into folders by category and the phone will suggest a collection in the top left whilst the most recently added apps will in the folder to the top right.

This means the home screen cleaner can be kept cleaner and all the apps can kept in the app library rather than spread out over numerous pages.

Siri

Siri has had an overhaul to bring it up to the standards of 2020. Given a more compact design, popping up as a swirling globe rather than the full page as before. It has more answers too, stated as having over 20X more than it did three years ago so expect better answers to those trivial questions we all ask our ‘virtual assistants’. Another great thing Siri has added is that it can now send voice messages directly.

Compact design

Elements including calls, FaceTime and Siri among others are now more compact, showing up as button notifications rather than the whole screen as it used to. Picture in picture has also been added to give you more freedom when you are on a FaceTime call but you need to check your calendar before accepting the invitation to a bbq.

Updated Maps

Apple Maps has been constantly improving over the years to claw back users from Google Maps and in iOS 14 it is going green. Own an electric car? Well Apple Maps has you covered. Input the type of electric car you drive and it will plan the route with compatible chargers along the way.

Maybe you prefer taking a bicycle… Apple Maps has that covered too. It takes elevation changes into account and alerts you if you are set for a sweaty uphill battle or an easy flat cruise. It also gives you the option to avoid busy roads when picking a route. If you are visiting a new city, Maps has also thrown in a new feature called ‘Guides’ which offers curated content showing you where to eat, shop and explore.

Translate

Translate offers conversation between two people in 11 languages. Simply turn your phone into landscape mode and hit the microphone in the middle and the app will listen before translating to the desired language and playing audio.

Sometimes it is difficult for people to understand your phone in a busy, noisy environment so Apple has added the attention mode which shows the enlarged translation to get a person’s attention.

App clips

Have you ever tried to read something on the go and you are directed to the app store to download the app? The team that developed iOS 14 were aware of how frustrating that is and added app clips. This allows you to interact with apps to a certain extent without needing to download it. You can rent a scooter, order a coffee and pay for parking without needing to download the full app.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the features in iOS 14, as there have been changes to Messages, Memoji, health app, privacy, Home and more. You can find the full list here.

iOS 14 will be available in Autumn and the list of compatible phones are iPhone 11 series, XS series, XR, X, 8 series, 7 series, 6S series and iPhone SE.