Tag Archives: macbook

Watch Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Oprah Moment’, gifting The Tonight Show audience iPad Air 2’s

Alongside Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon has become the voice of the iPhone 6 with Apple releasing a continuous series of ads featuring both entertainers. Fallon also sits behind a MacBook on the set of The Tonight Show on NBC, something that he brought over from his time hosting Late Night on NBC.

Now Fallon’s Tonight Show is giving the gift of Apple, specifically to the studio audience from last night’s taping as each attendee was gifted with a brand new iPad Air 2 as part of this week’s holiday gift giveaway segment. See the clip above (and wish you were there!) …

(We know Hulu works in a very limited number of countries and will post the YouTube clip when available.)


Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: ad, ads, Apple, clip, Fallon, giveaway, iPad, ipad air, iPad Air 2, iPhone 6, Jimmy Fallon, late night, MacBook, NBC, Oprah, segment, Tablets, The Tonight Show, Timberlake, video

Continue reading more about iOS Devices, Apple, and iPad at 9to5Mac.

What do you think? Discuss "Watch Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Oprah Moment’, gifting The Tonight Show audience iPad Air 2’s" with our community.

9to5’s Last Minute Apple Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide 6

Christmas and the end of Hanukkah are only a week away. You’re looking for a last-minute gift that’s guaranteed to arrive in time for the holidays. We’re here to help with a collection of top picks for Apple fans, all at great prices.

Welcome to 9to5’s Last Minute Apple Gift Guide!

All of the items featured in our Last Minute Apple Gift Guide are currently available to ship in time for holiday delivery. Some of the items are heavy, so if you like to shop at Amazon.com and aren’t yet using its flat-rate Amazon Prime two-day shipping service, now’s the perfect time to give it a try for free. Prime has more than paid for itself every year in shipping alone, and Amazon routinely adds great free videos, free streaming songs, and other perks that make the service great.

Stocking Stuffers:

2

Charging accessories are great picks because they can keep your iPhone, iPad, or Mac running wherever you are. We recently rounded up the best batteries for all of Apple’s devices, with picks ranging from $30 to $300, depending on capacity and what you need to recharge. Top options included New Trent’s $70 PowerPak Ultra for iPads, Incipio’s $75 offGRID Pro for iPhone 5/5s, Just Mobile’s $80 Gum++ for newer iPhones, and Lenmar’s $100 ChugPlug for MacBooks. (You’ll need a tall stocking for ChugPlug.)

ravpower-1

We just reviewed – and loved – RAVPower’s recently-released two-port, four-port, and six-port USB wall chargers, which offer outstanding value if you need to recharge multiple iPads, iPhones, and iPods at once. They retail from $13 to $27, and each supports full-speed charging of even the power-hungriest iPad and iPhone models.

1

If you’re looking for a particularly nice Lightning cable for your home or car, Moshi’s USB Cable with Lightning Connector (review) combines great looks with metal-clad durability for $22. Cheaper Lightning cables like Amazon’s AmazonBasics models use larger and less case-friendly plugs, but sell for half the price.

ctrl-i-1

Buying a gift for a gamer? Mad Catz’ new $50 Micro C.T.R.L.i and $60 C.T.R.L.i game controllers are the best we’ve tested for iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. The Micro version could fit in a large pocket, while the regular version is almost exactly the same size as an Xbox One controller. They both include detachable iPhone cradles. They’re selling out all over, but Rakuten (formerly Buy.com) has C.T.R.L.i for $53, while Mad Catz is currently selling the Micro C.T.R.L.i for only $40.

bookbook-1

Cases can also make great stocking-stuffers. A few of our favorite picks are Speck’s $28-$32 CandyShell Grip for iPhone 6 Plus and $21-$28 CandyShell for iPhone 6, Griffin’s $13 Reveal for iPhone 6 Plus, and Twelve South’s $60 leather-bound BookBooks for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The larger iPad and MacBook versions of BookBook won’t fit in most stockings, but they’re beautiful.

Big Gifts:

ipadair2

If you’re thinking big and want to buy something with an Apple logo on it, the best bang you’ll get for the buck is an iPad Air 2. We weren’t sure whether we’d be impressed by it, given how similar it superficially looks to the original iPad Air, but it’s meaningfully thinner and lighter, noticeably faster, and capable of making Touch ID online transactions. Our advice is to pick the 64GB or 128GB version rather than the very space-cramped 16GB base model. Best Buy, Target, and Walmart have all been jousting with brief deals on the Air 2.

ipadmini2

For young kids, the entry-priced original iPad mini or iPad mini 2 (with Retina display) are great choices, and available for much lower prices. Skip the new iPad mini 3. And seriously consider getting a LifeProof Fre ($50-$55) or OtterBox Defender ($60-$80) case to go along with it – an iPad inside one of those can survive virtually anything. Trust us, we know from experience.

lifeproofmini

We covered the best Bluetooth speakers of the year earlier this week, but we didn’t discuss two less popular categories: AirPlay and Lightning speakers. AirPlay speakers are wireless — more expensive and typically fancier than Bluetooth models, but only compatible with Apple devices and computers running iTunes. Lightning speakers are surprisingly even less common, featuring built-in Lightning plugs and docks large enough for either iPhones or iPads.

soundfreaq-1

JBL’s OnBeat Mini has enough room to accommodate iPads, iPhones, and iPods in its large central dock, and sells for $90. Soundfreaq’s Sound Step with Lightning Connector (shown above) can be had for $50 to $70 depending on the vendor, and has wireless functionality as a backup when you don’t want to dock your device. Both can charge your iOS device as well as performing audio.

bwa7-1

If you want to see what one of the best AirPlay speakers can do, Bowers & Wilkins’ A7 is a whopper, packed with four stereo drivers and a large 6″ Kevlar-reinforced subwoofer. For $800 (new, versus $700 used), you can expect powerful, audiophile-quality sound in a totally classy metal and fabric enclosure.

genevalab-1

Most speaker companies have switched entirely to Bluetooth, though some (including Geneva Lab, maker of the Geneva Sound Model S, M, L, XL, and XXL speakers), are still offering older Apple 30-pin Dock Connector speakers alongside AirPlay and Bluetooth models. The beautifully piano-lacquered $300 Geneva Sound Model S is shown above, with the furniture-like $3,500 Model XXL as a flagship model with AirPlay and other features.

thunderbolt2dock-1

Bringing a MacBook back to a desk full of cabled accessories is a hassle – unless everything’s already connected to one box, leaving you a single cable to make everything work with your laptop. That’s what Elgato’s Thunderbolt 2 Dock does (review), providing a one-cable connection to everything from a monitor to speakers, hard drives and a printer. If you have a newer Mac or MacBook with Thunderbolt 2 support, you may be able to drive a 4K monitor and super-fast peripherals using the Dock; for the same $230 price, it’s considerably improved over and every bit as compatible as its same-priced predecessor.

Camera Gear:

Last but not least, here are a few of my favorite camera picks and accessories, all of which are available to ship in time for the holidays. They’re not strictly Apple products, but work with Apple products if you really care about creating great photos and videos. In an iPhone 6/6 Plus world, there’s not as much need to carry around pocket-sized cameras any more, but larger DSLRs are still light years better in image quality and low-light performance.

5dm3

My favorite DSLR is Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III, which continues to be a very well-regarded all-around performer due to a combination of excellent full-frame still image quality, speed, cinema-quality 1080p video capabilities, and build quality. It’s not cheap at $2,800 after rebate, but a free accessory bundle will get you set up with a 32GB memory card, tripod, and starter backpack. As crazy as this sounds, I wouldn’t recommend anything below Canon’s $1,000 EOS 70D as a starter DSLR, with the $1,800 EOS 7D Mark II as a step up that’s better, but not up to the same image quality standard with the 5D Mark III. If you’re going to bother with a big camera as an alternative to the super popular, point-and-shoot iPhones, it needs to deliver a markedly better experience. Picking budget-priced lenses and camera bodies is the easiest way to moot the added investment and weight.

ef70-200_2-8_isii

High-quality DSLR lenses are expensive, but the results they deliver are astounding. My top two lenses are Canon’s 24-70 f/2.8L II ($1,849 after rebate) and 70-200 f/4L IS ($1,099 after rebate), the former a “walkaround lens” to capture everyday shots of people and events, the latter a powerful zoom lens for nature photography, visits to the zoo, and so on. The number of “perfect shots” delivered by these lenses justifies their prices; it’s impossible to put a price tag on all of the potentially great photos you’ve lost due to using lower-quality, slower lenses.

Apple-Lightning-SD-Card

If you want to import DSLR photos to your iPad, Apple’s $29 Lightning to SD Card Reader and $29 Lightning to USB Camera Adapter are both options. The iPad Air 2 is wicked fast at bringing in photos for editing; the iPad minis aren’t slouches, either. Most MacBooks have SD card readers built in, and they all have USB ports, so you won’t need any extra hardware besides the camera’s included USB transfer cable.

dslrsling

I’m a huge fan of Incase’s DSLR Sling Pack ($90) to carry everything around. It has enough room for a DSLR, three lenses, batteries, cables, and either an 11″ MacBook Air or any iPad. (You can squeeze a 13″ MacBook Air or 13″ Retina MacBook Pro uncomfortably inside, but I wouldn’t recommend it.) The bag is incredibly easy to carry, sectioned-off for camera gear, nicely padded, and very resilient. I’ve used mine for years without a hiccup.
Need more picks? Check out my earlier holiday gift guide for Mac, iPhone, and iPad gear, which is packed with great options from earlier in the year. Happy holidays!


Filed under: Buying Guides, iOS, iOS Devices, Mac, Reviews Tagged: Batteries, cables, Camera, cases, chargers, dslr, Elgato Thunderbolt Dock, gift guide, iPad, ipad air, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iphone 6 plus, Last minute, MacBook, speakers, Thunderbolt dock

Continue reading more about iOS Devices, iPad, and iOS at 9to5Mac.

What do you think? Discuss "9to5’s Last Minute Apple Gift Guide" with our community.

9to5’s Last Minute Apple Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide 6

Christmas and the end of Hanukkah are only a week away. You’re looking for a last-minute gift that’s guaranteed to arrive in time for the holidays. We’re here to help with a collection of top picks for Apple fans, all at great prices.

Welcome to 9to5’s Last Minute Apple Gift Guide!

All of the items featured in our Last Minute Apple Gift Guide are currently available to ship in time for holiday delivery. Some of the items are heavy, so if you like to shop at Amazon.com and aren’t yet using its flat-rate Amazon Prime two-day shipping service, now’s the perfect time to give it a try for free. Prime has more than paid for itself every year in shipping alone, and Amazon routinely adds great free videos, free streaming songs, and other perks that make the service great.

Stocking Stuffers:

2

Charging accessories are great picks because they can keep your iPhone, iPad, or Mac running wherever you are. We recently rounded up the best batteries for all of Apple’s devices, with picks ranging from $30 to $300, depending on capacity and what you need to recharge. Top options included New Trent’s $70 PowerPak Ultra for iPads, Incipio’s $75 offGRID Pro for iPhone 5/5s, Just Mobile’s $80 Gum++ for newer iPhones, and Lenmar’s $100 ChugPlug for MacBooks. (You’ll need a tall stocking for ChugPlug.)

ravpower-1

We just reviewed – and loved – RAVPower’s recently-released two-port, four-port, and six-port USB wall chargers, which offer outstanding value if you need to recharge multiple iPads, iPhones, and iPods at once. They retail from $13 to $27, and each supports full-speed charging of even the power-hungriest iPad and iPhone models.

1

If you’re looking for a particularly nice Lightning cable for your home or car, Moshi’s USB Cable with Lightning Connector (review) combines great looks with metal-clad durability for $22. Cheaper Lightning cables like Amazon’s AmazonBasics models use larger and less case-friendly plugs, but sell for half the price.

ctrl-i-1

Buying a gift for a gamer? Mad Catz’ new $50 Micro C.T.R.L.i and $60 C.T.R.L.i game controllers are the best we’ve tested for iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. The Micro version could fit in a large pocket, while the regular version is almost exactly the same size as an Xbox One controller. They both include detachable iPhone cradles. They’re selling out all over, but Rakuten (formerly Buy.com) has C.T.R.L.i for $53, while Mad Catz is currently selling the Micro C.T.R.L.i for only $40.

bookbook-1

Cases can also make great stocking-stuffers. A few of our favorite picks are Speck’s $28-$32 CandyShell Grip for iPhone 6 Plus and $21-$28 CandyShell for iPhone 6, Griffin’s $13 Reveal for iPhone 6 Plus, and Twelve South’s $60 leather-bound BookBooks for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The larger iPad and MacBook versions of BookBook won’t fit in most stockings, but they’re beautiful.

Big Gifts:

ipadair2

If you’re thinking big and want to buy something with an Apple logo on it, the best bang you’ll get for the buck is an iPad Air 2. We weren’t sure whether we’d be impressed by it, given how similar it superficially looks to the original iPad Air, but it’s meaningfully thinner and lighter, noticeably faster, and capable of making Touch ID online transactions. Our advice is to pick the 64GB or 128GB version rather than the very space-cramped 16GB base model. Best Buy, Target, and Walmart have all been jousting with brief deals on the Air 2.

ipadmini2

For young kids, the entry-priced original iPad mini or iPad mini 2 (with Retina display) are great choices, and available for much lower prices. Skip the new iPad mini 3. And seriously consider getting a LifeProof Fre ($50-$55) or OtterBox Defender ($60-$80) case to go along with it – an iPad inside one of those can survive virtually anything. Trust us, we know from experience.

lifeproofmini

We covered the best Bluetooth speakers of the year earlier this week, but we didn’t discuss two less popular categories: AirPlay and Lightning speakers. AirPlay speakers are wireless — more expensive and typically fancier than Bluetooth models, but only compatible with Apple devices and computers running iTunes. Lightning speakers are surprisingly even less common, featuring built-in Lightning plugs and docks large enough for either iPhones or iPads.

soundfreaq-1

JBL’s OnBeat Mini has enough room to accommodate iPads, iPhones, and iPods in its large central dock, and sells for $90. Soundfreaq’s Sound Step with Lightning Connector (shown above) can be had for $50 to $70 depending on the vendor, and has wireless functionality as a backup when you don’t want to dock your device. Both can charge your iOS device as well as performing audio.

bwa7-1

If you want to see what one of the best AirPlay speakers can do, Bowers & Wilkins’ A7 is a whopper, packed with four stereo drivers and a large 6″ Kevlar-reinforced subwoofer. For $800 (new, versus $700 used), you can expect powerful, audiophile-quality sound in a totally classy metal and fabric enclosure.

genevalab-1

Most speaker companies have switched entirely to Bluetooth, though some (including Geneva Lab, maker of the Geneva Sound Model S, M, L, XL, and XXL speakers), are still offering older Apple 30-pin Dock Connector speakers alongside AirPlay and Bluetooth models. The beautifully piano-lacquered $300 Geneva Sound Model S is shown above, with the furniture-like $3,500 Model XXL as a flagship model with AirPlay and other features.

thunderbolt2dock-1

Bringing a MacBook back to a desk full of cabled accessories is a hassle – unless everything’s already connected to one box, leaving you a single cable to make everything work with your laptop. That’s what Elgato’s Thunderbolt 2 Dock does (review), providing a one-cable connection to everything from a monitor to speakers, hard drives and a printer. If you have a newer Mac or MacBook with Thunderbolt 2 support, you may be able to drive a 4K monitor and super-fast peripherals using the Dock; for the same $230 price, it’s considerably improved over and every bit as compatible as its same-priced predecessor.

Camera Gear:

Last but not least, here are a few of my favorite camera picks and accessories, all of which are available to ship in time for the holidays. They’re not strictly Apple products, but work with Apple products if you really care about creating great photos and videos. In an iPhone 6/6 Plus world, there’s not as much need to carry around pocket-sized cameras any more, but larger DSLRs are still light years better in image quality and low-light performance.

5dm3

My favorite DSLR is Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III, which continues to be a very well-regarded all-around performer due to a combination of excellent full-frame still image quality, speed, cinema-quality 1080p video capabilities, and build quality. It’s not cheap at $2,800 after rebate, but a free accessory bundle will get you set up with a 32GB memory card, tripod, and starter backpack. As crazy as this sounds, I wouldn’t recommend anything below Canon’s $1,000 EOS 70D as a starter DSLR, with the $1,800 EOS 7D Mark II as a step up that’s better, but not up to the same image quality standard with the 5D Mark III. If you’re going to bother with a big camera as an alternative to the super popular, point-and-shoot iPhones, it needs to deliver a markedly better experience. Picking budget-priced lenses and camera bodies is the easiest way to moot the added investment and weight.

ef70-200_2-8_isii

High-quality DSLR lenses are expensive, but the results they deliver are astounding. My top two lenses are Canon’s 24-70 f/2.8L II ($1,849 after rebate) and 70-200 f/4L IS ($1,099 after rebate), the former a “walkaround lens” to capture everyday shots of people and events, the latter a powerful zoom lens for nature photography, visits to the zoo, and so on. The number of “perfect shots” delivered by these lenses justifies their prices; it’s impossible to put a price tag on all of the potentially great photos you’ve lost due to using lower-quality, slower lenses.

Apple-Lightning-SD-Card

If you want to import DSLR photos to your iPad, Apple’s $29 Lightning to SD Card Reader and $29 Lightning to USB Camera Adapter are both options. The iPad Air 2 is wicked fast at bringing in photos for editing; the iPad minis aren’t slouches, either. Most MacBooks have SD card readers built in, and they all have USB ports, so you won’t need any extra hardware besides the camera’s included USB transfer cable.

dslrsling

I’m a huge fan of Incase’s DSLR Sling Pack ($90) to carry everything around. It has enough room for a DSLR, three lenses, batteries, cables, and either an 11″ MacBook Air or any iPad. (You can squeeze a 13″ MacBook Air or 13″ Retina MacBook Pro uncomfortably inside, but I wouldn’t recommend it.) The bag is incredibly easy to carry, sectioned-off for camera gear, nicely padded, and very resilient. I’ve used mine for years without a hiccup.
Need more picks? Check out my earlier holiday gift guide for Mac, iPhone, and iPad gear, which is packed with great options from earlier in the year. Happy holidays!


Filed under: Buying Guides, iOS, iOS Devices, Mac, Reviews Tagged: Batteries, cables, Camera, cases, chargers, dslr, Elgato Thunderbolt Dock, gift guide, iPad, ipad air, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iphone 6 plus, Last minute, MacBook, speakers, Thunderbolt dock

Continue reading more about iOS Devices, iPad, and iOS at 9to5Mac.

What do you think? Discuss "9to5’s Last Minute Apple Gift Guide" with our community.

How to reformat your Mac without a recovery drive or disk

There are tons of reasons why you might need to reformat your Mac: It’s slowing down, filling up with too many unneeded files to delete manually or suffering from major technical issues that can’t be fixed otherwise. Or maybe you’re






Review: Elgato’s Thunderbolt 2 Dock is a faster, one-cable hub for all your Mac peripherals

thunderbolt2dock-1

As “really good Mac accessory ideas” go, Thunderbolt docks are high on the list. It’s hard to overstate the sheer convenience of connecting a bunch of peripherals to a central hub, then running one Thunderbolt cable from the hub to your Mac — a huge time-saver if you’re frequently bringing any Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook in and out of an office full of hardware.

thunderbolt2dock-2

Earlier this year, Elgato’s original Thunderbolt Dock brought that convenience to Macs with first-generation Thunderbolt Ports. For the same $230 price, the just-released Thunderbolt 2 Dock ramps up the speed using twin Thunderbolt 2 connectors, and also boosts the performance of integrated USB 3.0, HDMI video, and analog audio-out ports. The under-the-hood changes make it a solid pick regardless of whether you have a newer Mac with Thunderbolt 2, and even if you’re using an older Mac with Thunderbolt.

Just like the first Thunderbolt Dock, the Thunderbolt 2 Dock has a silver aluminum frame with a black plastic core, drawing most of its power from an included wall power adapter, and connecting to your Mac with a bundled 1.6-foot Thunderbolt cable. The two models look highly similar to one another, but the newer version’s front and rear ports are in trivially different orders. Elgato includes three USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, a 3.5mm microphone input port, a USB-to-analog 3.5mm audio out port, a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port and an HDMI port. Apart from the tweaked arrangement of the ports, which continue to let you connect up to eight accessories to your Mac at the same time, the connectors look the same as before, hiding their new functionality inside.

thunderbolt2dock-4

This time out, the Dock’s USB 3.0 ports include standalone 1.5-Amp power output with USB Battery Charging 1.2/UASP standard compliance, enabling them to recharge iPads and iPhones at higher speeds even when a Mac isn’t connected. Similarly, Elgato uses the Thunderbolt connection to share digital USB audio output from your Mac, providing a powered amplifier for the 3.5mm stereo audio port; the mic input next to it is monaural. Another major change is the HDMI port, which now supports the HDMI 1.4b standard and 4096×2160 resolution output, if you’re planning to connect your Mac to a 4K monitor. Not surprisingly, your Mac will still need enough video card horsepower to drive all those pixels.

thunderbolt2dock-3

Elgato has also upgraded the Thunderbolt ports on the Thunderbolt 2 Dock. The Thunderbolt 2 ports both promise up to 20Gb/second, bi-directional input and output, though you’ll notably need one of the ports to connect to your Mac, leaving the other one for a hard drive, monitor, or other Thunderbolt/Thunderbolt 2 peripheral. Practically, the speeds that you get between the Mac and the Thunderbolt 2 Dock will depend on how many devices are competing for bandwidth with the single outbound connection, and you may or may not achieve full Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 speeds. Elgato’s own Thunderbolt Drive+ ran at full 373MB/second read speeds when connected to the Dock or a Mac, but write speeds fell for reasons unknown from 328MB/sec to 287MB/sec.

thunderbolt2dock-5

Some of this might be software-dependent. Elgato offers a free Thunderbolt Dock Utility to enable simultaneous all-device ejection from your Mac, full-speed USB 3.0 support, and proper iPad charging on the Mac. It’s currently at version 1.1, and we didn’t notice any speed differences between versions 1.0 and 1.1 when using the Utility with the Thunderbolt 2 Dock. We’ll see whether a future version boosts the throughput speeds.

thunderbolt2dock-6

Conceptually, the Thunderbolt 2 Dock overlaps a lot with Belkin’s Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD, which offers similar ports, features, and speeds for a higher $300 price. Belkin’s bundled Thunderbolt cable is a little longer, and it has two audio outputs — one for speakers, one for headphones — rather than an output and a mic, but the USB, 4K HDMI, and audio port enhancements in Elgato’s version make it at least equally strong as a rival, at a $70 lower price. If you want to enjoy the convenience of a single-cable connection between multiple peripherals and your Mac, the Thunderbolt 2 Dock is very easy to recommend.


Filed under: Reviews Tagged: Belkin, Elgato, Mac, MacBook, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, Thunderbolt 2 Dock, Thunderbolt dock

Check out 9to5Mac for more breaking coverage of Mac, Reviews, and MacBook.

What do you think? Discuss "Review: Elgato’s Thunderbolt 2 Dock is a faster, one-cable hub for all your Mac peripherals" with our community.

Grab a big iOS App designer bundle (MSRP: over $1000) for only a few bucks

From 9to5Toys Specials:
Programming-classes-cheap

Specials.9to5toys.com is running a **special** on an iOS app designer bundle that up and coming iOS app designers will likely want to take advantage of.  This is an “NYOP bundle”, meaning that people can name their own price to get 2 courses (Learn Mobile Web Design Using Bootstrap & Learn To Build Cross Platform Apps). Or, if you beat the average price, you’ll get the entire bundle (7 courses & assets). This evening that is only a few bucks plus 10% goes to charity of your choice and high bidders get a chance to win a Gold iPad Air/ iPhone 6. The bundle includes:


Filed under: How-To Tagged: Apple Inc, IDevice, iOS, iPad, iPhone, IPod Touch, MacBook, MagSafe, Secure Digital, USB flash drive

For more news on iPhone, iPad, and iOS continue reading at 9to5Mac.

What do you think? Discuss "Grab a big iOS App designer bundle (MSRP: over $1000) for only a few bucks" with our community.

9to5 Guide: the best iPad, iPhone + MacBook battery cases/packs

8

Earlier this week, I walked through a great collection of iPad, iPhone, and Mac products that I’d strongly recommend. Today, I’m here to help you choose an excellent spare battery for any portable Apple device. You can trust me because I’ve been testing Apple batteries for over a decade, conducting hours-long tests to learn how each new Apple device consumes power, and how quickly each battery replenishes a given device. If you want to learn more about why I’m recommending the specific batteries below, I discuss key factors worth considering at the bottom of this guide.

Top iPhone Batteries

There are two types of spare batteries you can choose for an iPhone: battery cases or battery packs. Battery cases are by far the most popular option, since you don’t have to carry a separate box and Lightning cable around everywhere you go. There are currently no real iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus battery cases on the market – that will change next month – but you have plenty of options for the iPhone 5/5s. By comparison, USB battery packs almost always offer more power for the dollar, and work with multiple devices, if you’re willing to deal with the extra size and supply a USB to Lightning cable. If you have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, a battery pack is your best choice right now.

6

For iPhone 5/5s users, our top pick is Incipio’s offGRID Pro ($80). Ingeniously packaged with two 2000mAh batteries that can be swapped when needed, offGRID Pro gives you a nearly complete recharge with a single battery. The case feels great in the hand – slim and light – and even includes a charger that turns the two batteries into a 4000mAh universal device charger. Amazon is currently selling it for only $63, so jump on it.

4

If you need a waterproof battery case, we’d strongly recommend the iBattz Mojo Refuel Aqua ($130). Like offGRID Pro, it uses affordable swappable batteries – only one 2200mAh cell is packed in for a full recharge — but you also get IPX8 waterproof submersibility, with anti-shock and anti-dust protection. There’s also a Touch ID-compatible protector for the iPhone 5s Home Button. Users looking for a combination of ruggedization and power will be hard-pressed to find a better choice than this.

5

Last but not least, Mophie’s Space Pack ($150/$180) simultaneously adds a 1700mAh battery and your choice of 16 or 32GB of extra media storage space to your iPhone 5/5s, all in the same basic size as a typical Mophie Juice Pack case. Space Pack gives you a way to keep older capacity-crunched iPhones running for another year or two, and it’s easier to fit in a pocket than an iPhone 6 Plus.

What About iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus?

0

Right now, our top pick for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users would be a device-agnostic USB battery pack such as Just Mobile’s Gum++. Small enough to toss in a pocket, Gum++ packs 6000mAh of power, enough to recharge the iPhone 6 Plus at least 1.5 times, and the iPhone 6 2.5 times. It’s made from resilient ABS plastic and has USB port fast enough to refuel any iPhone at its peak speed. Kanex’s GoPower 11000mAh ($70, shown at the top of this article) offers even more power for the same price, and includes an iPhone-holding tray, though its USB ports are slower. Another option called PoP’n 2 from PowerSkin (not shown) is a 4000mAh battery pack that suction cups onto the back of your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, connecting with an integrated Lightning plug. The $70 price tag is really steep for that energy capacity, but it’s fairly slender and includes that Lightning connector, so some people may like it.

Top iPad Batteries

iPads require much higher-capacity batteries than iPhones. The iPad mini’s battery is around twice as large as the iPhone 6 Plus’s, and three times as large as the iPhone 6’s. That means an iPad external battery pack will need 2-3 times as much power just to restore the same 100% capacity. If you don’t need a full iPad recharge, you can get away with carrying around a smaller cell.

2

One battery that can deliver at least one full recharge to any iPad Air or iPad mini model is New Trent’s PowerPak Ultra ($100). The ruggedized Ultra has 14,000mAh of power and two outbound USB ports for simultaneous iPhone and iPad charging. Amazon’s current $70 asking price is crazy low for such a giant battery, and the reasons are simple: speed and quality. To recharge the big cell, you’ll need to leave it plugged into an iPad wall adapter overnight, and if you get a bum unit – a rarity – you’ll need to contact New Trent or Amazon to replace it. But for $70, would you rather take a chance on a 14,000mAh PowerPak Ultra, or a 4,000mAh PoP’n 2?

3

A really great compromise option for iPad users is uNu’s Ultrapak Tour ($100). Sleeker and smaller than the PowerPak Ultra, it has a 10,000mAh cell inside and can recharge itself with an included wall adapter in only 1.5 hours — miraculously fast. There’s even a screen on the top to show you the current power remaining, and how long it will take to recharge. Two outputs let you charge an iPad and iPhone at the same time.

Top MacBook Batteries

Apple has all but killed the external MacBook charger market by using patented MagSafe connectors, preventing developers from selling third-party MagSafe-compatible power accessories. But two companies have come up with viable workarounds — they’re big because they need to refuel big laptop batteries, but if you need the extra power, they’re the only options around.

1

Sanho’s HyperJuice 1.5 ($259) and HyperJuice 2 ($299) are metal-clad batteries with 27,000mAh of power — enough to fully recharge any MacBook Air or MacBook Pro up to 15″ in size, with at least a little power left to spare. Each HyperJuice unit can also supply power to two iPads (or iPhones) at the same time as your MacBook; the 2 model has a fancier power remaining display, but less positive user ratings. The only hitch is that you’ll need a $150 Magic Box modified MagSafe Adapter to connect your MacBook to it.

Another option is Lenmar’s ChugPlug ($160), currently on sale at Amazon for only $100. ChugPlug gets around Apple’s MagSafe issue by attaching to the other end of the MacBook’s power adapter, turning it into a gigantic white block. You give up some power relative to HyperJuice — expect only 3-4 hours of additional use depending on your MacBook – but the price is way lower, and you don’t need to worry about a special power adapter to use it.

Choosing A Great Battery

I’ve tested hundreds of batteries, so when I recommend a battery, it’s passed a four-point test focused on quality, capacity, speed, and price — typically in that order. If you think you’ve found another battery that’s worth considering, run through these steps to see how it matches up with our picks.

Quality: A battery should come from a reputable manufacturer with a track record of producing reliable products, and willingness to offer hassle-free replacements in the event of a problem. Good quality batteries tend to last for two or so years.

Capacity: An iPhone battery should generally offer enough capacity to perform at least one full iPhone recharge, while an iPad battery should be able to recharge at least half – preferably more – of a tablet.

Speed: Any iPad battery should be capable of actual “full iPad recharging speed” 2.1-Amp or 2.4-Amp output. Pre-2014 iPhone batteries should be capable of at least 1-Amp speeds, full speed for older iPhones; newer ones ideally would offer 2.1-Amp output. iPad batteries should ideally be able to recharge from their own wall adapters or iPad wall adapters at 2.1-Amp or faster speeds. You’d be amazed at how many companies overstate the speeds of their batteries.

Price: The battery market is ultra-competitive right now, and many battery packs are being sold at too good to be true prices. Based on a lot of past experience, I wouldn’t recommend taking a risk on the very cheapest batteries, as they tend to fail early and I’ve had quite a few of them physically expand/bulge over time. A great price is really dependent on the battery’s quality, capacity, and speed.

For more great gear and deals on iOS and Mac accessories, head over to 9to5Toys!


Filed under: Buying Guides, Reviews Tagged: Apple, Batteries, battery cases, charging, charging case, iPad, iPhone, MacBook, power, USB batteries

For more information about Apple, iPhone, and iPad continue reading at 9to5Mac.

What do you think? Discuss "9to5 Guide: the best iPad, iPhone + MacBook battery cases/packs" with our community.