Must-have accessories for the Apple lover

Photo: Reuters

HYPERDRIVE BY SANHO

US$99 (S$140), pre-order at https://igg.me/at/hyperdrive2016

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If you are using the Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, the HyperDrive by Sanho is probably the only adapter you will ever need.

It is a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C hub designed specifically for the Touch Bar MacBook Pro laptops (both 13-inch and 15-inch models).

It has two USB-C connectors that plug straight into the dual Thunderbolt 3 ports on the side of the MacBook Pro.

Thus, there is no dangling cable to worry about.

Once connected, you get seven ports: a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB-C port, a microSD card slot, an SD card slot, an HDMI video output port and two USB 3.1 ports.

You can still charge the MacBook Pro in the usual way via the Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C port, but you get access to all the normal USB 3.1 ports you need to transfer files.

Furthermore, the HDMI video output port allows you to use your MacBook Pro for presentation or just for connecting to a monitor that does not have Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C ports.

Photographers will love the SD card slot.

There is no need to take along an external card reader anymore.

Besides, the HyperDrive has an aluminium enclosure and comes in space grey (version reviewed) or silver to fit nicely with the design of the new MacBook Pro.

Yes, the HyperDrive is still a dongle that you need to take along and something you might end up losing.

But you can just keep it plugged into the MacBook Pro.The only downer is that it is not available now.

The HyperDrive is expected to ship worldwide in March. You can pre-order it at its Indiegogo page.

MONOWEAR MONOCHEST

$129

What's in your chest?

What's in your chest?

A post shared by Monowear Design (@monoweardesign) on

Do you have too many Apple Watch bands?

Get the Monochest leather folio case.

This case lets you store one closed-loop watch band, two open-loop band and an Apple Watch with a watch band.

There are rubber tabs to keep the bands in place on the smooth plastic holding trays.

An opening at the rear of the case lets you insert the Apple Watch charging puck.

Thus, you have a charging station for your Apple Watch as well as a neat way to store all your watch bands on your travels.

If you are a frequent traveller, you will like the fact that the slim folio case can be easily packed into your luggage or slipped into your carry-on bag during your travels.

You can flip open the cover of the folio case every morning and decide which band to use before you go for a long day of meetings.

However, there are some drawbacks.

The watch-holding tray takes only an Apple Watch with an open-loop watch band.

Also, I found that Apple's Leather Loop watch straps cannot really fit into the holding tray.

The large Apple Sport Band cannot fit in too, but the small and medium sizes will fit.

Apart from that, Apple's Milanese Loop, Woven Nylon and Link Bracelet watch bands all fit nicely into the closed-loop tray.

The Monochest offers an elegant way to store your Apple Watch and its watch band when on the move.

BELKIN LIGHTNING AUDIO + CHARGE ROCKSTAR!

$64, available only at Nubox stores

Photo: Belkin

I know of friends who decided not to upgrade to the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus because of the loss of the headphone jack.

Their reason? They cannot charge the iPhone while listening to music using the smartphone.

Well, you can actually get the Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar! adapter to do so.

Despite its rather long and flashy name, the RockStar! looks very much like Apple's Lightning-to- HDMI or USB-C-to-VGA adapters at first glance.

Only the Belkin logo gives its identity away.

This adapter essentially gives you two Lightning ports when you plug it into the Lightning port of your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus.

Once inserted into your iPhone, you can plug in the iPhone 7's included Lightning EarPods earphones to listen to music and plug in a Lightning cable to charge the phone.

I found no discernible difference in terms of audio quality when using the RockStar! compared with a direct connection to my iPhone 7 Plus.

I could also use the EarPods' in-cable remote for volume control and taking calls without any issues when using the adapter.

The only downer is that you can use only either one of the Lightning ports but not both for audio output.

It would have been a bonus if the Rockstar! can double as a splitter that allows two Lightning headphones to be used.

But this option is still much cheaper than buying a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

FUSE CHICKEN BOBINE

$69

Photo: Fuse Chicken

It might have a rather funny name, but the Fuse Chicken Bobine is a useful iPhone cable, dock and stand all rolled into one.

That is due to its military- grade nickel-plated and steel- wrapped cable, which can be twisted into a coil that can be used as a stand.

At one end is the usual USB connector to plug into a USB charging port.

At the other end is a Lightning connector integrated into a plastic dock with a rear flap as back support for your iPhone.

The cable can be adjusted to any position, so you can plug it into your laptop and prop it up at eye level to see your messages.

Or you can plug it into an iMac's rear USB port and have the iPhone sited beside the iMac's display.

Initially, you might find some difficulty in manipulating the cable as it is pretty stiff. But you will get used to it with some practice.

The bigger downer, though, is that the stand might not be able to fit your iPhone if you are using a thick case on it.

The rear flap support just does not have enough room for it.

But I was able to comfortably dock my iPhone 7 Plus fitted with Apple's Leather Case on the stand.

However, it did seem a little wobbly.

On the other hand, when I mounted lighter iOS devices, like an iPod Touch or iPhone 6, on the Bobine, it does not have such an issue.

If you need a flexible Lightning cable that doubles as a stand at times, the Bobine is certainly one to look out for.

INNERGIE POCKETCELL USB-C 6000

$89

Photo:Innergie

Why is this power bank in this Apple accessories round-up?

It is because if you are an Apple MacBook or Touch Bar MacBook Pro user, you can charge this power bank using the USB-C port of the Apple laptops.

And when you are on the move, this power bank can help to keep your MacBook or Touch Bar MacBook Pro alive for a while.

Design-wise, the Innergie PocketCell USB-C 6000 is similar to its predecessor, the PocketCell Plus.

Like its predecessor, the PocketCell USB-C has a 6,000 mAh in a very compact and minimalist shell.

It also has the same pearly white exterior and smooth texture.

There are practically no sharp edges on this power bank, with the streamlined curves making it really comfortable to hold and use.

But the biggest difference is that it does not have a micro-USB input port like its predecessor.

Instead, it has a USB-C input port.

It also has only one USB-C output port and one USB-A output port.

I found that the PocketCell USB-C can extend the MacBook battery life by around 30 per cent, but only by around 15 per cent for the 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro.

But it will charge your iPhone very quickly. In just 1hr 27min, it charged my iPhone 7 Plus from 20 per cent to 90 per cent.

And that was when I was busy messaging on WhatsApp and playing Pokemon Go.

A neat feature of this power bank is its power pass-through design.

You can charge the power bank's battery and your iPhone - via a Lightning cable attached to the power bank - at the same time.


This article was first published on Feb 01, 2017.
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