Electro-Harmonix brings ’80s synth sounds to your iPad

The likes of Korg and Moog have their own synthesizer apps for iOS devices, and now there’s a new option for loading up a virtual instrument on those mobile devices. Electro-Harmonix has released a version of its Mini-Synthesizer EH-1600 for iPad and…

Review: AyeGear’s J25 Jacket Holds a MacBook, Two iPhones, Two iPads, and More

One of the realities of living in Toronto, Canada, about a two-hour drive from the nearest American city when traffic cooperates, is experiencing a distinctly four-season climate. Winter lives up to the stereotype of being bitterly cold, before giving way to a mild and rainy spring, and eventually a hot and humid summer. The warmth lasts for no more than three to four months, however, before the leaves turn orange in October and Starbucks brings out the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

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For the past three months, I have been testing the AyeGear J25 Jacket to see how it holds up to those Canadian extremes, starting with a below-freezing, snowy day in early April to a comparatively sweltering 90º day in mid July. In addition to wearing the jacket around Toronto, I brought it with me on a recent trip to San Francisco, allowing me to test its convenience going through airport security and away from home in general. Ahead, find out if the jacket lived up to the task.

Fashion and Functionality

The jacket has over 25 separate compartments for storing portable devices, valuables, travel essentials, and general items, including six credit card and ID holders, two hand pockets, two chest pockets, two sleeve pockets, two smartphone pockets, two tablet pockets, two pen holders, two coin holders, two memory stick holders, two SD card holders, one back laptop pocket, and one passport holder.

There is also a Velcro-based earphone routing system along the neck of the jacket, an elastic strap that can hold a drink bottle, and an in-pocket retractable reel for securing your keys — or anything with a carabiner clip.

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On my trip to San Francisco, I packed a tableful of items into the jacket with ease, including a 15-inch MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, two iPhones, two SD cards, EarPods, Lightning-to-USB cable, wall charger, pack of chewing gum, car keys, sunglasses, passport, boarding pass, charging case, portable battery pack, wallet, and loose change. In addition to all of that, the jacket could hold two iPads.

My immediate reaction after putting on the jacket was that, perhaps as to be expected, it was rather heavy. It almost feels like wearing a lead apron at a dentist office during teeth X-rays. Walking around with all of your electronics and personal belongings strapped to your body obviously hunkers you down somewhat, and wearing this jacket for an extended period of time can become rather uncomfortable.

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The weight might be a worthy tradeoff for frequent flyers, however, as the jacket makes airport security a much less frustrating experience. Anyone that has stood in line at the TSA checkpoint knows it can be a tedious, albeit important, process: take your shoes off, take your laptop out of its bag, and place all of your individual belongings in the bins before proceeding through the metal detector.

When wearing the jacket, however, all you have to do is quickly take it off with your shoes, much to the delight of those waiting behind you.

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AyeGear’s J25 Jacket is built to last in all weather conditions. It is made from a mixture of cotton (67 percent) and nylon (33 percent) that proved to be waterproof — water drops bead off — and wrinkle free. The jacket also has an adjustable rollaway zipped hood, a breathable lining, and removable sleeves to turn the jacket into a vest, making it useful for hiking trips or similar activities in warmer weather.

In terms of fashion, the AyeGear J25 is not an incredibly stylish jacket — but it’s not ugly either. As a 20-something who typically wears skinny jeans and a slim v-neck crew shirt, I found the jacket to be baggier than ones I normally wear. To be fair, however, the jacket serves a specific purpose that inherently prevents it from being more of a formfitting jacket that I might purchase from a fashion retailer like H&M.

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It also looks much nicer as a vest, in my opinion, so give it a go without the sleeves and hood when possible or consider the cheaper V26 Vest instead.

Value

One knock against the AyeGear J25 is its price: £149.99​​, which is $198.75​ in the U.S. or around $260 in Canada and Australia based on current exchange rates — and that’s after the British pound’s recent post-Brexit vote decline. The jacket is certainly convenient, but whether it is worth dropping two bills on is debatable.

As is often the case, a better deal can be found on Amazon, where the jacket sells for between $149.99 and $190. Prices vary depending on the size selected.

Bottom Line

AyeGear’s J25 Jacket is a convenient, multipurpose jacket that fills a niche, particularly for the outdoorsman or frequent flyers, but its drawbacks of being somewhat heavy and expensive should be duly considered. For most people, it may be wiser to save your money and stick with a traditional jacket and backpack combo.

How to Buy

The J25 Jacket can be purchased on AyeGear’s website (~$198) or Amazon ($149.99-$190) in small, medium, large, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, or 5XL. Free delivery is offered within the U.K., while worldwide shipping is available.

Note: AyeGear provided the J5 Jacket to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.

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Review: Ten One Design’s Clever ‘Blockhead’ Allows MacBook and iPad Chargers to Fit Behind Furniture

Created by Ten One Design, the Blockhead is a simple plug designed to rotate the orientation of the MacBook or iPad Power Adapter so it rests flush against a wall or power strip when it’s plugged in.

There are, occasionally, some products that are so simple and intuitive that you look at them and wonder why they didn’t already exist — the Blockhead is one of those products. Made from blue plastic, the Blockhead replaces the snap-in plug portion of the official chargers for Apple’s lineup of MacBooks and iPads.


There’s not a lot to say about the design of the Blockhead. It’s similar to the official AC wall adapter that can be snapped out of a MacBook or iPad Power Adapter, but its plugs are oriented in a different direction. Made of an attractive blue ABS plastic instead of white plastic, the Blockhead is otherwise functionally identical to Apple’s own power adapter bits.



The Blockhead, which is UL-approved, fits flush into the Power Adapter, but the fit isn’t quite as exact as the original adapter it replaces. The Blockhead sticks out slightly on the backside, but this is only noticeable when holding it and it doesn’t affect the functionality of the accessory. It works in the United States and Canada and fits in any socket able to accommodate a NEMA 1-15 plug with two parallel blades.


When plugged into an outlet, a Power Adapter with the Blockhead measures in at 1.2 inches thick, compared to the 3.8 inches a Power Adapter takes up with the standard Apple hardware installed. Two Blockheads can also be used side-by-side in a single two-socket outlet, with one positioned upside down and one positioned right side up.


The Blockhead fits into outlets in a more logical way, and something I noticed was a tighter fit in outlets that have become looser over time. Even in an outlet where orientation wasn’t an issue, I was less likely to accidentally pull the Power Adapter out of the wall with the Blockhead attached, and I was also less likely to accidentally bump into it.


According to Ten One, the design of the Blockhead can protect against cord stress because it puts less tension on the plug, which makes sense because it changes the positioning of the cord to be closer to the ground. I’ve never damaged my cord near the Power Adapter because of stress, but I imagine this has the potential to be useful to some people who have run into trouble.


One clear negative to the Blockhead is non-retractable plugs. With the standard Apple adapter, the plugs can be folded inwards to make it more convenient for travel, but the Blockhead doesn’t work that way. It’s a small inconvenience, but an inconvenience nonetheless.


The Blockhead works with all MacBook chargers designed for the Retina MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, along with 10 and 12-watt chargers designed for the iPad. It fit well in each of the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and iPad Pro/iPad Air chargers I tested it with.

During the month and a half that I tested the Blockhead, I had no problems with heat, durability, or design, and ran into no issues that would prevent me from recommending it to anyone who wants to orient their MacBook or iPad charger in another direction when charging.

Bottom Line

If you have an outlet located behind furniture or in an area where a MacBook charger that sticks out of the wall is inconvenient, the Blockhead is well worth the purchase price. It’s $19.99, which sounds expensive for a piece of plastic, but it definitely improves the functionality of Apple’s Power Adapters for those who need it.

After using the Blockhead, I find myself wondering why Apple designs the Power Adapters to stick out from the wall. I prefer the look of a Power Adapter that sits flush with the wall, even in situations where my outlet isn’t blocked by furniture. It’s a cleaner design that makes more sense than a sideways-facing Power Adapter. Of course, it’s not symmetrical with the power outlet, which is one reason why the Apple design is superior, and it may not fit as well into a power strip.


The flat positioning of a Power Adapter equipped with the Blockhead has prevented me from accidentally pulling the adapter out of the wall by tugging on it or knocking it out accidentally when walking by, something that came in handy even when I didn’t need to fit my Power Adapter in a tight space. It was also more stable in outlets that are somewhat loose due to the weight distribution.

Given that most people use their MacBooks and Power Adapters for several years, $19.99 is a small price to pay for additional convenience.

Pros:

  • Weight distribution makes it fit better in loose outlets
  • Allows the Power Adapter to fit in tighter spaces
  • Prevents Power Adapter from being knocked out of an outlet
  • Saves space
  • Better aesthetic appeal than standard adapter

Cons:

  • Prongs are not collapsible for portability
  • Fit is not as flush as standard Apple adapter piece

How to Buy

The Blockhead can be purchased from the Ten One Design website for $19.95. Two Blockheads are also available for a discounted price of $34.94 At the current time, the Blockhead is only certified for use in the U.S. and Canada, but Ten One is exploring a potential expansion to additional countries.

Note: Ten One Design provided a Blockhead to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.

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Apple Pulls iOS 9.3.2 Update for 9.7-Inch iPad Pro After Bricking Complaints

Amid a growing number of complaints over iOS 9.3.2 bricking some 9.7-inch iPad Pro models, Apple yesterday pulled the iOS 9.3.2 update. 9.7-inch iPad Pro users who have not installed iOS 9.3.2 no longer see the update, with iOS 9.3.1 now listed as the …

9.7-Inch iPad Pro Crashing Issues Persist for Some Users on iOS 9.3.2

iPad-boot-upOver the past six weeks, a number of 9.7-inch iPad Pro early adopters have reported sporadic crashing issues that result in the tablet soft rebooting to the Apple logo start up screen and prompting Touch ID or passcode verification.

The bug has afflicted a wide range of 9.7-inch iPad Pro models since the tablet launched on March 31, regardless of storage capacity, color, and Wi-Fi or cellular capabilities. Both iOS 9.3.1 and iOS 9.3.2 appear to be affected.

Based on crowdsourced information from the Apple Support Communities and MacRumors discussion forums, it appears that Safari, while not necessarily the root cause of the problem, may be triggering the crashing and reboot cycles.

MacRumors reader jekjones1558 writes:

I have started getting random reboots. Today for the first time my 9.7-inch iPad Pro froze on the Apple screen during reboot. It seems to happen most when switching between Mail and Safari. I had to hold the on/off button to get it unstuck.

Apple Support Communities user MangoSoda experienced similar behavior:

My 9.7-inch iPad Pro (32GB) is less than 15 days old and has exhibited this behavior at least twice now. I’m up to date on iOS. […] Last time [it crashed] I was looking at […] images on Safari. I also had 5-6 apps running in the background.

Various related discussion topics have amassed over 30,000 views and 500 comments, indicating more than a few isolated users are affected.

The actual underlying problem remains unknown, but it is likely rooted in software and should be addressed by Apple in a future update if warranted, in the same vein as iOS 9.3.2 fixed iPhone SE Bluetooth issues and multiple other bugs. Most affected users report seeing “bug type 298” under Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & Usage > Diagnostic & Usage Data.

Apple has not officially commented on the matter, but some customers that have contacted support claim the company is aware of the issue and working on a fix. In the interim, some customers have had their iPad Pro swapped out for a new model at an Apple retail store; however, for some, the problems persist. We will update this article if and as new information becomes available.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tags: Safari, iOS 9.3.1, iOS 9.3.2
Buyer’s Guide: 12.9″ iPad Pro (Buy Now)

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9.7-inch iPad Pro First Impressions: Major Improvement Over iPad Air 2, True Tone Display is Great

Apple’s newest iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch model, made its way into the hands of customers on March 31, and now that a day has passed, many people who purchased the powerful little tablet have shared their thoughts on the device on our forums.

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Reviews and impressions from media sites came out earlier this month, but there are always new details and small tidbits of information that come out when products see a wide release. First impressions from actual Apple consumers can also be valuable for those considering a purchase, so we’ve gathered up some of the details MacRumors readers have shared about the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

A thread querying users about their happiness level with the new iPad Pro suggests opinions on the device are largely positive. More than half of respondents said the device is “amazing” or a “great upgrade.” While some are upgrading from an iPad Air 2 or earlier, there are buyers who traded their 12.9-inch iPad Pros for the smaller models. MacRumors reader Traverse outlined a long list of positives about his iPad Pro, highlighting the speed improvements over the iPad Air 2.

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Noticeably faster performance than my Air 2. I loved the Air 2 and never thought of it as slow and expected the A9X to yield no real world benefit in day to day use. I think a combination of that and the NAND flash improvements are huge. Apps install faster, many app launches are noticeably faster. The Music app is nearly instant open whereas the Air 2 took 2-3 seconds. I set up my iPad as new and launched Sky Guide for the first time by accident when I was putting it’s widget in NC and by the time NC swiped up the app was already loaded and waiting :eek:. It’s noticeable more zippy.

The True Tone display, unique to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, is getting some rave reviews, but not all iPad Pro owners are fans of the yellowing of the display. Patriot24 says it’s “insanely great,” but BitSlap says he prefers bright and crisp whites. On the whole, most readers seem to like the feature quite a bit.


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Can we talk about how insanely great (yeah, I went there) True Tone is?

I had to switch to my MacBook Pro/iPhone every few minutes during the setup process of my new iPad Pro to get two-factor authentication codes, and holy cow is it a major difference. I didn’t realize just how stark all of the displays around me are until now. I think it has ruined me forever.

People aren’t going to run out and buy iPads because of it, but it isn’t hard to imagine a future where all displays have this feature.

Sound on the new iPad Pro is described as “stunning,” but Cakefish points out that the speakers are prone to vibrating at high volume levels, much like the iPad Air 2. 3goldens says the vibration issue is less pronounced, though.

I personally couldn’t care less. Does not bother me at all with my Air 2. But I know it aggrevates some people enough to want to rip their own hands off. So for all of you who are sensitive to the speakers vibrating I’ll give you a warning that the speakers on the Pro 9.7″ also vibrate. By the same amount as the Air 2. I checked it out in store today.

Some prospective buyers were concerned about the protruding rear camera on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro as it could potentially prevent the tablet from laying flat on a surface, but many report that is not the case.

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The camera sticking out doesn’t affect it’s ability to be stable while laying flat. I usually use a foldable stand with my tablets so it’s a non issue for me. The flash is great and it takes great pictures, I won’t use that feature often but it’s nice to have when my phone isn’t nearby.

One other interesting camera quirk — wdam123 points out that there’s no flashlight option in the Control Center on the iPad Pro despite the fact that it now includes a rear flash like the iPhone. For those wondering about the color of the Space Gray iPad Pro, CD3660 says it matches the iPhone 6s but is lighter than the 2015 MacBook and the original iPad Air.

A list of all of the threads mentioned in the post is included below, along with other interesting 9.7-inch iPad Pro forum discussions.

iPad Pro 9.7 pictures/opinions

How happy are you with your new 9.7″ iPad Pro?

Space Gray Lighter on iPad Pro

iPad Pro 9.7 has no option in Control Center for flashlight

If speaker vibration was a deal breaker for you with the Air 2, don’t bother getting the new Pro.

True Tone is a Great Innovation

The Big Pro or Little Pro

Will itWobble?

iPad Pro 9.7 Screen is Nice

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is now available online, in Apple retail stores, and from third-party retailers. Pricing on the tablet starts at $599 for the 32GB Wi-Fi only model and goes up to $1,029 for the 256GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Buyer’s Guide: iPad Pro (Buy Now)

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Apple Introduces 9.7-inch iPad Pro

Apple today introduced the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which at just under one pound features a new pro Retina display with greater brightness, wider color gamut, lower reflectivity, Night Shift mode, and new True Tone display technology. The new iPad Pro also has a 64-bit A9X chip that rivals most portable PCs. “iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.