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New gadgets simplify printing, powering up, photo sharing and more for iPhone and iPad users
Apple never shows up at the annual consumer show in Las Vegas. But lots of Apple accessory vendors do. Here are some of the cool and useful iOS products announced this year.
The Mocet Communicator is a sleekly designed desktop unit. Just slide your iPad in and you can start using the high-definition handset and speaker phones to run VoIP apps like Skype and FaceTime. Built-in VoIP features can be set up automatically by service providers or IP PBX managers. Rear ports: headset port, two Ethernet ports, Micro SD card slot, and one USB 2.0 host port. In the future Mocet will add features such as voicemail, voicemail-to-email and call center features, all available via in-app purchases using the free Mocet IP Commander app for iPad. Pricing and availability: not announced.
Hippih unveiled the Hipkey, a kind of digital leash between your iPhone and a sleek, small Bluetooth 4.0 device that's the size of a large coin and fits on your keychain. You can use Hipkey and its free iOS app to find your phone or vice versa. If either moves out of range, Hipkey triggers audio and vibration alarms. Via Bluetooth, it pairs automatically with your iPhone. You can set the range to short (2-5m), medium (15-20m) or long (30-50m). On sale via Apple Store in U.S. Jan. 15; price in U.K. currently $112.
The iLuv Multicharger-X is a 20-pound box that lets businesses, schools, museums and the like quickly charge up to 10 iPads, and sync them with iTunes, at the same time. You slide the tablets into slots; LEDs show when each one has a full charge. You can daisy link three of the boxes, and a set of wheels and built-in handles let you roll them around the office. A locked door keeps the iPads safe. Price: $800.
Innergie announced the PocketCell Duo, a rechargeable battery pack that can repower your iPhone and iPad at the same time (it also works with Android devices). It's equipped with a 6,800mAh battery, twice the power of the previous model, and two 2.1-amp USB power ports; it's 3.75 x 1.75 x 1 inches, and weighs 4.7 ounces. For the newest iOS devices with Apple's Lightning connector, Innergie will offer a tip that plugs into its existing Magic Cable Duo and Trio charging cables. The battery can fully charge a tablet once or a smartphone four times on a single charge; or extend a tablet's life for up to seven hours, and of a smartphone up to 30 hours.
Lenmar is formally debuting its Meridian iPhone 5 Battery Case at CES. The black, red or white case includes a battery that doubles your talk, text and surf time. You can charge the case battery and the phone's battery at the same time, without taking it apart. It ships Jan. 30, priced at $90.
Canon announced new Pixma series all-in-one inkjet office printers, and has equipped them with Apple's AirPrint wireless printing protocol (they also support Google Print). With AirPrint installed, iOS 4.2 and later devices can send jobs to compatible printers without having to first find, download and install drivers. The new printers -- Pixma MX392, MX452, MX522 and MX922 models -- copy, scan and print, featuring high-capacity ink cartridges and above-average duty cycles. Prices range from $80-150. Check out Canon's press release on the new models.
It-s still hard to think of a 50-plus inch plasma screen as an iOS "accessory" but it is. Panasonic unveiled a refreshed lineup of Smart Viera plasma HDTVs, ranging from 42 to 65 inches. Models in the ZT60, VT60 and ST60 Series included Swipe & Share 2.0, the vendor's latest version of its proprietary software for sharing video and photos between the TVs and iOS (and Android) mobile devices. Just swipe the screen with a finger to move a photo from an iPhone to the TV, and from the TV to an iPad. An optional touch pen lets you annotate the photos onscreen and save the additions.
U.K.-based Truphone has released a nano-SIM version of its Tru SIM product, which now lets iPhone 5 and iPad mini users connect locally in more than 200 countries. Truphone uses a technology that can load multiple international phone numbers into its SIM, to support international calling without roaming charges and without swapping a card. It offers plans for individuals and businesses. Subscribers get a single bill and have one voice and text mailbox, over-the-air updates, and access to 24/7 customer service while traveling abroad.