Logitech K380 keyboard puts 3 devices at your fingers

Logitech triple threat keyboard

Not one, not two, but three devices, all commanded by a single keyboard.

Three Bluetooth presets on one thoughtfully designed, battery operated, portable input device.

I’ve been using the Logitech K380 for a little while and I still can’t get my head around why someone would need to hook up a keyboard to three different devices at the same time. However, if you do, this keyboard is a no-brainer.

The triple Bluetooth functionality is the “gimmick” Logitech uses to draw attention to this particular tool for writers (or anybody with multiple gadgets yearning for input). To me it seems over the top, but it works flawlessly, connecting you with the touch of a button to any of three different devices, whether computers (Mac, Windows and Chrome OS) or mobile (iOS and Android).

Whether you need that kind of connectivity or not, the K380’s build quality, minimal heft and slightly angled, full-size keys will keep you coming back for more. Especially at a street price of about $30.

Logitech is a frontrunner in peripherals and the quality and value of the K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard makes it clear why.

Price: $39.99 $29.99

Hidden iOS 8 trick lets you change words to ALL CAPS with a tap.

Shouting can be an important part of your internet experience. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Sometimes you just need to emphasize something. One of the best ways to do so when you’re texting is to make the words you really need to get across in all capitals, or all caps. Or maybe you just want to shout at someone, and an ALL CAPS sentence will certainly get that across for you.

Before now, I’ve always just deleted the word I was trying to emphasize and re-typed it after double tapping the Shift key in iOS (for Caps Lock). Now, however, it looks like you can change the case of the word after you’ve typed it without any deleting needed.

Here’s how.

When you’re typing on your iPhone, in Messages, Notes or even Pages, you’ll need to highlight the word you want to change case. You can double tap the target word, or tap and hold in the word itself and then tap on Select.

Once highlighted, you’ll double tap on the Shift key, effectively making it a Caps Lock key. Make sure the QuickType bar is visible, and you’ll see the word you highlighted in dramatic ALL CAPS style. Tap on it in the QuickType bar and it will replace your boring old lowercase word.

It only seems to work with single words, and they’ll need to be in the iOS dictionary for the delightful madness of calling someone out with all capital letters. Have at it!

Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip-On Keyboard for iPad Air 2.

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Given that software keyboards are still buggy as hell, I’ve really had the chance to put the Logitech Ultrathin to use full time, and the conclusion in my iPad Ultrathin review still holds true for me.

The battery has never died on me, and I only remember having charged it once in the last eight weeks. The rubber feet are still sticking nicely to the bottom of the case, which is a good sign of overall durability. There’s really no downside to using this particular case with my Air 2, even though it’s technically designed for the original iPad Air. Most of all, the keys are still a delight to use. They’re springy, responsive, and very comfortable in continued use.

The only thing I still want changed at this point would be a sort of auto-wake switch in the form of a pressure sensor or a magnet. Credit really goes to Belkin for inclusion of that feature in many of their keyboard cases, and it has me hooked. Undocking the iPad from the keyboard and having Bluetooth automatically disconnect just feels like magic. It’s a great piece of smart design that makes the keyboard work for me, instead of forcing me to conform to the keyboard. If Logitech could add that feature to the next version of the Ultrathin, I think this would be a real 10/10 design.

Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip-On Keyboard for iPad Air 2.

New Apple patent brings insane concept videos one tiny step closer to reality.

iphone patent

Back in 2012, a local Fox affiliate ran a news story showing off what they thought was the iPhone 5. In reality, it was a concept video with non-existent features like holographic images and a projection keyboard. The internet laughed and we all went on with our lives. Now, Apple has filed a patent that brings one of those mythical features a small bit closer to reality.

The patent, titled “iPhone Frequency Sensor/Magnifier Application” describes a system that, with an iPhone laying on a flat surface, uses various acoustic signals and vibration readings to effectively turn that surface into a functional touch panel. The surface in question can then be split into various regions that, when touched, could be used for various input.

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The patent specifically calls out the possibility of such technology being used for keyboard input, game control, or for navigating and playing music from the iPhone. There’s even a mention of being able to print out a paper keyboard that could be used in conjunction with the iPhone’s sensing capabilities, as well as the idea that the iPhone itself could project the keyboard or other input grid onto a surface.

It’s a wild idea, and while we’ve seen virtual keyboards in the past, they’re typically clunky and usually not accurate enough to rely on for long periods of time. The technology described in Apple’s patent seems much more advanced, so on the small chance that we ever see an iPhone that actually utilizes it, that futuristic concept video might not have been so crazy after all.

Can a music keyboard for your iPad be any good?

Miselu C.24

As musicians throw their real instruments in garbage bins all over the world in a rush to create Electronic Dance Music using nothing but the most minimal of computers, one piece of “legacy” equipment refuses to go away: good ol’ ebony and ivory (or a plastic imitation of it). Manufacturers from Akai to Numark to Korg have created portable MIDI keyboards in every imaginable iteration, but none of them have felt substantial enough to be interesting on their own merits. And then there’s the C.24, a Kickstarted piece of kit from San Francisco-based Miselu that doubles as an iPad cover.

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The entire device fits in a metal enclosure that’s almost the same size as the iPad, while a magnetic latch on the edge lets it function almost as elegantly as Apple’s own covers. Like a sort of click pen, the whole keyboard pops out of its frame to a satisfying elevation of a little more than an inch, creating a small but significant key-travel distance. Each key is equipped with a small pair of opposed magnets to give a slightly “weighted” feel — it’s certainly nothing compared to a baby grand, but the tiny resistance is just one of many little perks that make the C.24 as interesting to explore as a Swiss army knife.

IT’S CERTAINLY NOTHING COMPARED TO A BABY GRAND

A combination of infrared and optical key-tracking methods provide super-high-resolution touch data to the iPad over a Bluetooth Low Energy connection. Inside the tablet, the Miselu KEY application takes care of all the MIDI routing you can throw at it. There’s no mechanical latch on top of the C.24 to hold the iPad, just a grippy “performance groove” slot that feels solid enough to use even on a bumpy car ride. There’s also a small slot on board to house third-party auxiliary controllers like button arrays or ribbon controllers.

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The preproduction units on display at NAMM seemed super delicate — there were some latching, spring-load, and magnetics issues to be firmed up before the product ships to its 1,200 Kickstarter backers in April. But once it was properly engaged, the C.24 was super-fun to use with Animoog — it was the first time I’d used the virtual-modular synth app with hardware that felt like it was “supposed” to feel, whatever that means. My favorite little trick was optical octave-switching: to shift the pitch up or down, you simply swipe your left hand somewhere near the left side of the keyboard.

I never pictured myself as the kind of person who would care about an iPad keyboard, but with so many well-thought-out tricks under its belt, I have high hopes for the C.24 when it launches commercially. Pre-orders for the non-Kickstarting public will start in February at $199.

Source:  The Verge.

Fine, you can have a physical keyboard on your iPhone.

Remember back when all the iPhone naysayers cried “Fail!” because the device lacked a physical keyboard? They were wrong, but the Typo Keyboard Case is a glimpse at what those sad souls apparently wanted. Adding a full qwerty keyboard to the bottom of the phone, the Typo connects via Bluetooth, features backlit keys and can be recharged within one hour.

The device is currently available for pre-order, so we haven’t gotten a chance to go hands-on with one, but from a design perspective, the Typo seems like a mixed bag. If you’re curious about where the Home Button went — which was my first concern upon seeing the keyboard placement — it has been relocated to the bottom-right of the keyboard itself, which means no more Touch ID functionality. Bummer.

Still, if you’ve been searching for physical keys on your iPhone for the past five years, US$99 will make that dream come true, starting in January 2014.

Satechi Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keypad adds convenient number pad/calculator in Apple design for $35.

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Santechi released a new Bluetooth keypad today that sports a similar look and feel to Apple’s aluminum wireless keyboard. The keypad works alongside any existing Bluetooth keyboard to give you access to a full number pad that doubles as a calculator at the press of a button. You can get it now on Amazon for $34.99.