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Great gear you may have missed

Dan Frakes | Jan. 20, 2014
As the editor who coordinates most of Macworld's iOS- and Mac-accessory coverage, I'm inundated with miscellaneous cables, connectors, chargers, and other "minor" products that don't necessarily warrant a full review or article. But, as I wrote back in late 2012, that doesn't mean they should all go unnoticed. Some of these products are interesting or useful enough that they're worth talking about; or they're things that, though they may not have impressed me at first, have since earned a spot on my desk or in my bag.

As the editor who coordinates most of Macworld's iOS- and Mac-accessory coverage, I'm inundated with miscellaneous cables, connectors, chargers, and other "minor" products that don't necessarily warrant a full review or article. But, as I wrote back in late 2012, that doesn't mean they should all go unnoticed. Some of these products are interesting or useful enough that they're worth talking about; or they're things that, though they may not have impressed me at first, have since earned a spot on my desk or in my bag.

Here are some of the best little accessories I've come across over the past year for connecting, charging, organizing, and more.

Charging and syncing gear
If you've got an iPad, iPhone, or iPod, you need to keep it charged — and there's a good chance you need to do so in more than one location. These gadgets can help.

Kanex DoubleUp: If you're like me, you have more than one iOS device, and you tend to charge them at the same time — say, at night while you're sleeping, or in a hotel room, using the one available outlet, when traveling. The $49 DoubleUp (available online for less than half that) is a single charger that features two USB ports for charging your devices. Even better, each USB port provides enough juice (2.1 amps/10.5 watts) to fast-charge a full-size iPad, and each has an LED that turns green when your iPad gets to roughly 98 percent of a full charge, or your iPhone to roughly 90 percent. It's bulkier than Apple's iPad chargers, but it takes the place of two of those chargers in your bag or behind your nightstand.

Griffin Technology 3m USB to Lightning Cable: Speaking of charging by the bed, I've long been a fan of extra-long cables, and this $19 offering from Griffin lets you charge or sync your Lightning-connector-equipped iOS device from up to three meters away from your computer or power source. The cable is a bit chunky, which can be slightly annoying when using it with an iPhone or iPod touch, but unlike some third-party cables, this one feels like it can take abuse. I can't count the number of evenings when, thanks to this cable, I was able to do some leisure reading in bed or on the couch despite my iPad being almost dead from a full day of use.

Bluelounge MiniDock: What if, instead of a longer cable, you'd prefer no cable? Bluelounge's $40 MiniDock isn't cheap, but it's a handy accessory for your travel bag — or for use above your kitchen or bathroom counter. Plug the MiniDock's USB connector into your iPhone's own USB charger, and it provides a convenient Lightning Connector cradle that charges your iPhone or iPod touch right there on the wall outlet. Bluelounge includes several spacers to accommodate different iPhones and iPods, naked or in a case, and the dock's Lightning Connector swivels for a no-strain connection. (In a pinch, you can even plug the MiniDock into a USB port on some MacBook models for a quick charge and sync.)

 

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