SXSW: Wi-Charge Uses Infrared to Wirelessly Charge Your Devices

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On Sunday at the SXSW Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase, Wi-Charge was showing off their infrared-based wireless power technology. They’re not the only company aiming to deliver wireless power to our devices, but they are the first we’ve seen to use infrared (IR) to do it. Using IR comes with a couple of advantages: power doesn’t degrade over distance, a thin beam can be aimed at the device to ensure full power, and IR is something we’ve found to be extremely safe. Of course, the major downside to using IR is that it only delivers over line-of-sight. Their demo at SXSW was delivering a full 1 watt of usable power, but they say their tech could eventually deliver “several watts” of power up to 15 feet away. Wi-Charge was demoing their tech with LED strip lights, an electric train, and a custom-case for an Amazon Echo Dot, all of which could be powered from an overhead IR transmitter. For your IoT devices or even your phone at your desk, this could someday offer a ton of convenience. Wi-Charge is seeking integration partners to help bring their tech to market.

SXSW: Wi-Charge Uses Infrared to Wirelessly Charge Your Devices

CES - Scosche BaseLynx Modular Wireless Charging Station Organizes and Charges Your Devices

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Scosche’s CES booth was again full of great new devices for managing your devices in both your home and car, and the highlight to us was their new BaseLynx modular wireless charging station. Available modules include a Qi fast-charge dock, an Apple Watch dock, powered end-cap, and a vertical power station which holds three wired devices. The end-cap has a 12V USB-A and 18W USB-C PD outlet, and the power station has that plus a second USB-A port. You can mix-and-match modules to serve your needs – including just using one if you like – and BaseLynx is engineered to prevent over- or under-voltage, surging, and overheating. Pricing has not yet been announced, and BaseLynx is due to be available this coming spring.

CES – Scosche BaseLynx Modular Wireless Charging Station Organizes and Charges Your Devices

CES - Hyper's New Wireless AirPods Charging Case

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At CES 2019 on Wednesday, Hyper was showing off the new version of their AirPods charging case. Due to be made available imminently, the case completely encompasses your current AirPods charging case, and contains a Lightning connector in the bottom. Simply place your existing AirPods charger inside the Hyper case and lay that down on a Qi pad (or mat, like the one coming in Q2 shown in the picture here) and, boom, your AirPods wirelessly charge. Retail price is said to be just US$20.

CES – Hyper’s New Wireless AirPods Charging Case

CES - Twelve South's PowerPic Hides a Wireless Charger in Plain Sight

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On Monday at the CES Pepcom event, Twelve South was showing off the latest result of their creative efforts: the PowerPic. As co-founder and creative director, Andrew Green, puts it, “wireless charging is supposed to be invisible.” PowerPic achieves this mandate by hiding a charging coil inside a standard 5×7 picture frame. By day (or by night, whenever you’re not charging) the PowerPic holds a photo of your favorite memory (or person, or even pet!). When you need to charge, just place your phone inside the frame and boom, the coil fires up and your phone starts sipping juice invisibly through your family ski photo. PowerPic retails for $79.99 and delivers up to 10W of wireless power to most smartphones that feature Qi charging, including everything currently available from Apple.

CES – Twelve South’s PowerPic Hides a Wireless Charger in Plain Sight

Speck's GrabTab Offers Wireless-Charging-Friendly One-Handed iPhone Grip

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Speck was showing off GrabTab, their latest iPhone accessory, at CES Unveiled in Las Vegas on Sunday. Think of GrabTab as serving the same function as a PopSocket — allowing you to get a better one-handed grip on your iPhone — but GrabTab collapses much flatter to allow for better Qi charging, car mounting, and travel in and out of pockets. For US$9.95 this is a no-brainer. Buy one, stick it on the back of your iPhone, and you’re good to go. Bonus: you can slide it open to use as an iPhone stand for watching all of your favorite videos, too.

Speck’s GrabTab Offers Wireless-Charging-Friendly One-Handed iPhone Grip

Unravel is a Foldable Wireless Charging Station

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Perfect for travelers, Unravel is a foldable wireless charging station with three 10W Qi charging pads, as well as one USB Type-C port. Powered by a cable many already have, a patent-pending hinge design that folds into accommodating orientations, and a non-slip grip surface, Unravel is the solution to long Facetime calls, cluttered laptop bags, and limited power outlets. When you’re done using it, you just fold it up and put it in the 2″ travel case. Unravel met its Kickstarter goal in 40 minutes, and sitting at nearly $300k raised with a 12 hours left on the campaign. Rewards start at US$59 to get a charging station, and the estimated delivery is December 2018.

Unravel is a Foldable Wireless Charging Station

NOMAD Intros Wireless Charging Base Station for iPhone and Apple Watch

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If you’re looking for an all-in-one wireless charging system for your iPhone and Apple Watch, check out the new NOMAD Base Station Apple Watch Edition. The new Base Station has a padded place for your iPhone and a built-in Apple Watch charger, no need to add your own. You can wirelessly charge your iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time, and your watch is propped up so you can use it as a clock on your nightstand. The Base Station Apple Watch Edition is available now for US$119.95, unlike Apple’s AirPower, which we may never see.

NOMAD Intros Wireless Charging Base Station for iPhone and Apple Watch

NOMAD Intros Wireless Charging Hub with Extra USB-A and USB-C Ports

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NOMAD, well known for their cables and Apple Watch bands, just released a Qi-compatible wireless charging pad for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. The wireless hub sports 7.5W output for charging your phone, along with a 3A USB-C and two 1A USB-A, and one 2.4A USB-A charging ports. Bundling in those extra ports makes it a great choice for your desk or your suitcase if you want an easy and convenient way to juice up your phone, iPad, and AirPods at the same time while you sleep. NOMAD’s Wireless Hub is priced at US$79.95 and is available at the company’s website.

NOMAD Intros Wireless Charging Hub with Extra USB-A and USB-C Ports

This Qi Charger Was Designed to Look Good, Uses Cork Bed

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We’ve seen a flurry of Qi chargers aimed at the Mac market since Apple launched iPhone 8/Plus and iPhone X. There are a ton of options if you just want a functional Qi charger, but I had one from Grovemade cross my desk last night that looks good, too. It has a 1/4″ brushed metal base to give it some heft, but what stood out for me was the natural cork bed. I think it looks way better than the plastic Qi chargers I’ve seen, plus it should grip my iPhone better. The company said it works with all of its own cases, and should work with other cases up to 3mm thick. Not surprisingly, it’s pricier than a small plastic puck, at US$79. I’m linking  to the natural cork color model, but it’s also available with charcoal gray cork.

This Qi Charger Was Designed to Look Good, Uses Cork Bed

Fighting The Machine & Saying the S-Word – Mac Geek Gab 682

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iOS 11 brought battery life issues for many – but not all – users, and Dave and John have a few solutions for those affected. But that’s not all you get, of course. Many tips, questions answered, and Cool Stuff Found round out the episode, including cable modem picks, iPhone X discussion, wireless charging devices, and an interesting backup analysis from a listener. Download, press play, and enjoy!