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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.

Mophie Juice Pack Dock: Speaking of docks and cradles, if you've got one of Mophie's excellent battery cases for the iPhone 5 and 5S, you know that a drawback of these cases is that in order to use a desktop dock to charge your phone, you've got to remove your phone from the battery case. Similarly, charging the Juice Pack requires you to use a Micro-USB-to-USB cable, instead of a nice desktop dock. The $50 Juice Pack Dock is an accessory for an accessory that solves both problems: It's a desktop docking cradle that charges both your iPhone and its Juice Pack case simultaneously. (If you're thinking, "So that's what those two metal contacts on the bottom of the Juice Pack are for!" you're dead on.) Just plug the dock's cable into a USB charger or powered USB port, and then place your Juice Pack — Helium, Air, or Plus — in the dock. The dock is even hefty enough (just over eight ounces) that you can snatch your Juice Pack-encased phone out of the dock without having to hold down the cradle. Alas, the dock is charge-only — it doesn't support USB-cable syncing.

Stands and mounts
We don't always want to hold our iPhones and iPads when we're using them — sometimes we want to prop them up for hands-free viewing, or to hold them steady for better photos.

Kanex Foldable iDevice Stand: We've reviewed a good number of iPad and iPhone stands, but it's tough to find a really good one that's also small and light. Kanex's Foldable iDevice Stand weighs less than an ounce and folds into an almost-flat package that's perfect for tossing in your bag or pocket. Despite this portability, the stand is surprisingly sturdy, even supporting a full-size iPad in portrait orientation, and it offers four different viewing angles. I first praised the stand when I reviewed Kanex's Multi-Sync Keyboard, and buying that keyboard used to be the only way to get the stand. But Kanex now sells the accessory on its own, and while many other iPad and iPhone stands cost $40, $50, or more, a paltry $18 gets you two Foldable iDevice Stands.

Studio Neat Glif: The original Glif, released a few years back, was a nifty portable accessory that let you mount your iPhone on a tripod for better photo-taking; it could also be used as a makeshift stand for watching video. Studio Neat recently released an updated Glif, and the new version, which sells for $30, improves on the original in pretty much every way. Instead of having to carry multiple pieces to get the full utility of the Glif, the new version is a single piece, made from recyclable rubber plastic, with a stationary bracket it the middle, a movable bracket on each end, and a 1/4-inch, 20-thread mount point for attaching your tripod. Using the included hex wrench, you adjust each end to fit your particular smartphone's width (for tripod mounting), and thickness (for using the Glif as a stand), respectively. Once you've configured the Glif for your phone, you don't have to worry about fiddling with it — it's always ready. The included keychain attachment makes it easy to keep the Glif close at hand.

 

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