Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Two New Toys - a sneak preview

I've been a bit under the weather for the past week or so - it's virus season in the UK (that's the kind that attacks people, not Apples) and it was just a matter of time before it caught up with me. But two new toys arrived at Apple Harvest HQ this morning which cheered me up no end. The first was a blooming great big box which turned out to be my long awaited iPad dock. The second was the new wireless charger for the Magic Mouse.

This is just going to be a sneak preview as they are so new and still need to be put through their paces. Watch out for more in-depth reviews in future posts.

Mobee Magic Charger

I'll start with the charger because it is so simple to get up and running. The Magic Charger consists of an inductive charging pad, a replacement battery pack and a mini USB cable. Installation is simply a matter of taking the back off the Magic Mouse, removing the batteries and replacing them with the battery pack. With the USB cable plugged into the charging pad and an appropriate USB power source (USB port on a Mac or an external charging unit both work fine) all that is left to do is to put the mouse on the pad and watch the little green light start to flash.

That's all folks!

Mobee Magic Charger
Mobee Magic Charger

This is a really neat piece of gadgetry, which Mobee claim will pay for itself within six months of office use or a year in the home. I can't be bothered to do the sums but that sounds fine to me. What I really like is the fact that I don't have to worry about running out of mouse batteries again - well at least not Magic Mouse batteries. Of course, you are potentially losing a precious USB port while charging is taking place, but ideally you can charge overnight and during breaks when the USB port is less valuable. I have a Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation which I can use as an external charger if necessary.

It took about an hour to get the Magic Mouse charged to a state where it claimed to be at 50%. I've seen claims that the % charge never rises above 78% but as I was writing this I checked and it was now at 82%, but I'm not convinced about the accuracy of Apple's battery life algorithms any more. I'll be watching these numbers over the next few days and report back in a later post. Similarly the manufacturer claims 6 days autonomy after a full charge, but the Macworld review suggests a day is more realistic. Again, I'll monitor and give you my findings in a week or so.

iHome iA100 Bluetooth Audio System

I've used an iHome audio dock for a while (see my review of the iHome Reson8 from October 2009), and have been really pleased with. But of course, it doesn't work with the iPad, and companies appear to have been very slow to fill this apparent gap in the market. iHome announced their iPad offering back in July 2010, and it started appearing in October. I ordered mine back in October and it finally arrived this morning. And it's been well worth the wait.
The unit is much smaller than I expected, but is beautifully engineered and looks fantastic. It sounds really good too. And critically for me - you don't have to take the iPad out of its case. The iA100 is an app-enhanced device and can be set up to work in conjunction with the iHome+Sleep app which is free from the App Store.

That's all I'm going to say for now - the alarms are set up for the next few days and if they work as I expect, I'll start writing the proper review tomorrow!

iHome iA100 Bluetooth Audio System
iHome iA100 Bluetooth Audio System (in the box)

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