Trending February 2024 # Review: Native Union’s Solid Metal, Black Zinc Magsafe Rise Dock For Iphone 12 # Suggested March 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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While a lot of MagSafe stands include metal for at least some part of their build, there’s usually a good amount of plastic involved. Native Union’s MagSafe Rise Dock takes the path less traveled with a solid metal build and a minimalistic (and portable) design. Read along for our detailed review of the MagSafe Rise Dock, Native Union’s 10-foot MagSafe compatible charger, and more.

Native Union launched a number of new products in late spring/early summer with one of the most interesting being the Rise Dock that works with MagSafe.

Below we’ll start with a detailed look at the all-metal MagSafe charging dock for iPhone 12, Native Union’s take on the MagSafe charger with a durable braided 10-foot cable, along with a couple of other neat new accessories for Apple users.

Native Union MagSafe Rise Dock

The Rise Dock is sold on its own without a MagSafe charger or in a discounted bundle with a charger. That means you can use your existing Apple MagSafe Charger, pick up one of Native Union’s longer and more durable MagSafe compatible chargers, or use almost any third-party MagSafe compatible charger.

That also allows the Rise Dock comes in at a more affordable $49.99 price, particularly when you consider the build quality.

Rise Dock has a really clean build and one of my favorite aspects beyond the minimal black design is the weight the solid zinc alloy provides – just shy of a full pound. That makes it over 2.5x heavier than the iPhone 12 and about 2x heavier than an iPhone 12 Pro Max.

You can also use something like Mophie’s MagSafe compatible charger for an all-black aesthetic 😎.

To make sure the all-metal dock doesn’t scratch up your iPhone’s back, the top surface of the Rise Dock is covered in a clean matte black tarpaulin that offers a soft finish while blending in perfectly with the rest of the black zinc alloy.

On the bottom of the dock, the two contact points have a rubber edge to keep it from sliding around. I also like that the stand can be removed from the back so it’s easy to pack up and take with you when traveling.

The only piece of constructive criticism I can think of is I wish Rise Dock would come with a shorter backplate to have the option for at least two angles. The included backplate creates roughly an 80-degree angle, I’d love to see a second plate included that could offer something like a 65-degree angle.

If you’ve already got Apple’s MagSafe Charger or another compatible option you can just pick up the Rise Dock on its own. But Native Union also makes one of the few 10-foot MagSafe compatible chargers I’ve seen available.

The Snap Magnetic Wireless Charger has a durable braided nylon cable that comes in cosmos or sage (black or silver with a hint of green)

You also get a leather cable tie and the USB-C connector features a sturdy collar to prevent fraying.

The edge of the Snap charger features a metal build and unlike Apple’s own MagSafe Charger, there’s a rubber pad on the bottom to prevent slippage if you’re using it without the Rise Dock.

The one downside here is that the Snap Magnetic Wireless Charger tops out at 7.5W output for iPhone 12 (15W for Android). But for those who need the longer length, prefer the braided nylon cable or both, this is a great option priced at $39.95.

More from Native Union

I also tested out the other new summer releases from Native Union: the Desk Cable, Rise Laptop Stand, and Clean Screen Spray.

USB-C Desk Cable

The USB-C Desk Cable ($39.99) offers a nice 8-foot length with a durable braided nylon. The USB-C connectors on each end are reinforced with solid casings and collars that feel like they’ll stand up to years of use.

There’s a subtle LED on the USB-C connector to let you know power is running through the cable and the solid geometric weight has a soft silicone finish keep your cable from slipping off your desk.

Rise Laptop Stand

The Rise Laptop Stand ($29.99) is a sharp option to always have a way to elevate your MacBook without needing to remember or carry an extra accessory. It adheres to the bottom of your MacBook and then uses an origami-style folding design to lift it up about 3-inches.

It’s definitely a convenient solution and the height gives a nice angle even if you want to use the MacBook’s built-in keyboard and trackpad.

The one downside I found is there is a bit of give to the stand but I only noticed that when typing hard and was able to get used to typing a bit more gently.

Clean Screen Spray (plus microfiber pouch)

Finally, Native Union launched a clever product that combines a microfiber cloth disguised as a screen cleaner pouch with included cleaning spray. It’s a handy and compact way to always have a shiny screen within reach.

The Clean Screen Spray with microfiber pouch sells for $14.99.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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Concept: Getting More Value Out Of Apple’s Magsafe Sleeve For Iphone 12

Nearly all of Apple’s MagSafe accessories for iPhone 12 provide a decent amount of value. But one of them has so much underutilized potential coupled with an astronomical price tag. Of course, I’m talking about Apple’s new MagSafe Sleeve.

Improving the Call Screen & Notifications

Right now you can see incoming calls through the window, but that’s about it. You can’t even answer the call through the window. Apple can do a bunch of things to not only improve the calling experience, they can also use the window to show off incoming notifications. Below you can see how Apple could let you slide to answer through the window and see the status of an ongoing call.

Slide to answer a call and end it within the window

There’s also more than enough room for Apple to show notifications like upcoming calendar appointments. Some apps like Messages could offer a dictation button so that you could reply without taking your iPhone out of the sleeve.

Calendar notifications and Messages notifications with dictation

Adding Playback Controls

One of the things we use our iPhones for most is audio. Apple could easily show a now playing screen with album art within the window. They could use multiple pages so that you can swipe over for playback controls like play/pause, forward and backward.

Now playing and audio controls

Apple also added unique pill-shaped device connection notifications in iOS 14 and they could allow them to show through in the window. Below you can see what it would look like when you tap your iPhone to a HomePod or put on your AirPods Max.

Transferring audio to a HomePod or connecting your AirPods

Clock & System Settings

The MagSafe Sleeve currently displays a clock through the window in colors that match your sleeve of choice. Apple could add status indicators like battery life and active alarms to this clock view. If you tapped on the clock you could see full-color indicators and additional information like the time of your alarm or even an active timer. Currently the clock shows up as dark text on a light background, they ought to reverse that to not just help save battery life but to make text and icons more readable.

Clock should show battery life and timer/alarm indicators

Lots of people keep their iPhone connected to power when they’re updating its software. When updating inside the MagSafe Sleeve you could be able to see the status of a software update both while it is downloading and while it is installing.

Snooze alarms through the window and see the status of software updates

Control Center is another really important component of iOS and some of the controls could be easier to access with the sleeve on. For instance, it’d be great if you could quickly enable Do Not Disturb or Airplane Mode.

Imagining control center toggles through the MagSafe Sleeve

The MagSafe Leather Sleeve is already a great accessory but here’s hoping Apple decides to add more functionality in future iOS updates. Apple’s MagSafe Leather Sleeve is available for $129 for iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12/12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max in a variety of colors. You can also check out 9to5mac’s hands on video with the MagSafe leather sleeve here.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Apple Iphone 12 Mini Review

Apple iPhone 12 mini Review – Small Surprise

The iPhone 12 mini has no right being the cheapest model in Apple’s iPhone 12 family. Sure, on paper you’re spending the smallest amount on the smallest display, but – like the most engaging gadgets – the spec comparisons simply don’t capture the true charm. It may be mini in your hand, but the iPhone 12 mini maxes out on appeal.

Most of the iPhone 12 mini is the same as you get from the iPhone 12. That makes my life easier as a reviewer – I’ve already covered the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, so you should go read that and I’ll wait patiently for you here – but it also helps establish why what Apple is offering here is so incredible. To properly understand that, you need to go back and look at so-called “mini” phones over the years.

Apple isn’t the first to make a diminutive version of its flagships. HTC, Samsung, and others have tried it in the past, but they’ve all struggled with the pitch. Yes, there’s an audience out there eager for smaller handsets, but they also don’t want to compromise on performance and cameras. That’s not something previous “mini” Android phones have delivered.

The iPhone 12 mini, then, is arguably the perfect example of why Apple’s investments in everything from software, to hardware production, to chipsets, have paid off. It can afford to give the smallest of the iPhone 12 series the same cutting-edge A14 Bionic processor as its most expensive, because it makes that rather than buying it from someone else. It can afford to give it the same cameras as the larger iPhone 12, too, and it can fettle the software so that even with a smaller battery, in theory the iPhone 12 mini doesn’t have to sacrifice on time between charges.

Here, “mini” doesn’t mean “lesser” – it just means it’s easier to hold.

The primary difference is of course the display. 5.4-inches of Super Retina XDR, it may have the lowest resolution of the four phones – 2340 x 1080 – but ironically it’s the most pixel-dense, at 476 ppi. You still get True Tone, P3 wide color support, and the same 625 nits of typical maximum brightness or 1,200 nits in HDR mode as the iPhone 12.

It’s a fantastic OLED panel, even with Apple’s decision to stick with a 60Hz refresh rate rather than the 90Hz or 120Hz rival Android phones often now offer. What I’ve been surprised by is how usable it is to type on, too. Yes, iOS 14’s autocorrection is helping there, but my average-sized fingers can still crank up to a decent pace despite the phone’s mere 2.53-inch width.

On the back, there are the same two cameras – Wide and Ultra Wide – as the iPhone 12, with Night Mode, Deep Fusion, OIS, and Smart HDR 3. You still get 4K video recording at up to 60fps, or Dolby Vision HDR recording at up to 30fps, plus up to 240fps Full HD slow-motion. A 12-megapixel front camera which also does 4K capture rounds things out nicely.

I was impressed by the iPhone 12’s cameras, and so unsurprisingly I’m impressed by the iPhone 12 mini’s cameras. Sure, I’d prefer a telephoto than an ultra-wide, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Compared to its bigger siblings, the 135 gram iPhone 12 mini is also much easier to hold steady for Night Mode shots and when capturing video. Go back to the iPhone 12 Pro Max and it feels like a brick.

Apple quotes up to 15 hours of video playback, 10 hours of video streaming, or up to 50 hours of audio from the iPhone 12 mini’s battery. Honestly, it’s here that the compromises finally start to catch up a little. Battery life isn’t bad, but it’s only around average. Where I could go a full day without needing to top up the iPhone 12 before bed, the iPhone 12 mini’s battery gauge was starting to look a little needy earlier than that.

Part of the reason for that is 5G, whether you’re using it or not. On the one hand, I’m fascinated by the fact that Apple managed to fit in not only Sub-6GHz 5G support but mmWave as well, the latter notorious for being demanding both in terms of power and physical antenna space. If you’re tapping the maximum speeds – which currently requires standing in a very specific position in one of a handful of cities – then you can expect a bigger hit on the battery.

Even if you’re outside of mmWave coverage, though, you’re still paying for it. How much bigger could the iPhone 12 mini’s battery have been, had Apple’s engineers not needed to design around the mmWave antennas and other components? It’s a question with no clean-cut answer, but while future-proofing with the speediest 5G support feels like an acceptable compromise on its bigger siblings, it’s a more noticeable trade-off here.

Much in the same way, the fact that the cheapest iPhone 12 mini (and the cheapest iPhone 12 for that matter) only come with 64GB of storage feels miserly. The absence of a power adapter in the box is annoying, too, and the fact that a MagSafe charger – which works great, even if the charging plate looks huge clinging to the back of the phone – will set you back $39, also without an adapter, means the $699 starting price isn’t quite the whole story.

Apple Iphone 12 Mini Review: Pint

Is it comfortable to use?

David Imel / Android Authority

For me, the iPhone 12 Mini is incredibly comfortable to use. It’s refreshing to use a phone where I can reach the top of the screen with my thumb. That said, two-handed typing can feel a bit cramped compared to a larger display. I almost always opted for swipe-typing. If you’re used to two-handed tapping, this is something you should take note of.

I love small phones, and the iPhone 12 Mini is one of the fastest small phones you can get.

If you’re someone who consumes a ton of media on your phone and needs a big screen to do that, you might want to look elsewhere. While I personally love how compact this thing is, larger flagship phones like the iPhone 12 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, or Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 will almost definitely give you a better media experience.

What is the battery life like?

David Imel / Android Authority

Probably the biggest downside of getting a small iPhone is the physically smaller battery packed inside the device. The iPhone 12 Pro clocked me six hours of screen-on time and the even bigger 12 Pro Max gave me a staggering eight hours of screen time. The iPhone 12 Mini, on the other hand, slumps to just over five hours. This is certainly lagging behind most phones you’ll find nowadays. It’s perhaps the biggest trade-off when picking up a smaller phone. Considering the iPhone 12 Mini is packing the super-fast Apple A14 Bionic processor, this isn’t going to be the most power-efficient device you’ll find.

In daily use, I generally got through a whole day with the iPhone 12 Mini, but not much more. If I unplugged around 9 am, the phone would die a bit past midnight. This may be fine for many people. However, you’ll almost certainly need to top up mid-day if you’re planning on staying out for the night.

The iPhone 12 Mini doesn’t have the best battery life but it charges pretty darn fast for quick top-ups.

It should also be noted that the iPhone 12 Mini can be a bit awkward to charge wirelessly without a MagSafe charger. Due to its small size, it’s difficult to get it charging on most standing wireless chargers. The positioning of the camera bump also means you’ll have to find the exact correct place to set your phone if you want to top it up on a charging pad. I found myself charging this phone with a cable every night because of this, which is not something I can say about any other phone with wireless charging.

How are the cameras?

David Imel / Android Authority

The camera system on the iPhone 12 Mini is the exact same you’ll find in the standard iPhone 12. That means you’re getting two 12MP cameras on the rear of the device and a 12MP selfie camera hidden in the notch on the front. While you’re missing the 2x telephoto camera you’ll find on the iPhone 12 Pro and the 2.5x telephoto camera you get on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the standard and wide cameras on the iPhone 12 Mini are still incredibly good.

See also: The best Android camera phones you can get

Image quality from both the main and wide lens is very good on the iPhone 12 Mini. It offers a nice balance of dynamic range and contrast. There is a lot of color retained in the image with very little color shift overall. Photos look very similar to how they looked in real life. Sharpness is fantastic even on 12MP sensors.

In lower-light scenarios, the iPhone 12 Mini still produced a very good image. However, details certainly start getting soft, especially on the wide camera, which has a smaller aperture. Low-light scenarios will also catch flare extremely easily, manifesting in the form of small floating balls around the scene. Apple’s smartphones have suffered from this for a while now. It would be nice to see the issue fixed in next year’s devices.

Video quality on the iPhone 12 Mini is just as good as it is on the iPhone 12, which is to say, stellar. Color is extremely true-to-life, and the 4K 60fps video looks fantastic. It’s also incredibly stable. I would feel comfortable using video from the iPhone 12 Mini for a quick pickup shot in a video. If you want to shoot Dolby Vision HDR video that’s here too, but in the form of 4K 30fps vs the 4k 60fps option you’ve got on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Note that all the images and video above have been compressed to optimize page-load times. If you want to check any of these files out in their full resolution, you can do so at the Google Drive link here.

Overall, I think the cameras on the iPhone 12 Mini will be pretty great for most people. They have great color, wonderful video, and can do well in low-light scenarios. If you want to zoom in they’re unfortunately a bit lacking. If that’s something you want, you’ll need to go with a device that has an optical telephoto camera.

Things I like about the iPhone 12 Mini

Size: I really love how compact the iPhone 12 Mini is. While many other phones take up almost all of my available pocket space, I’ve actually thought I lost the iPhone 12 Mini because of how little space it takes up in my pocket. It also fits really perfectly in my palm, and it’s refreshing to be able to easily use the phone with one hand. Personally, this is my ideal phone size.

Performance: Even at $700, the iPhone 12 Mini slays in performance. It beats nearly every phone in its pricing tier in RAW performance. I didn’t experience a single slowdown during my time with the device.

Design: Apple’s iPhone 12 series has quite a unique design. The flat sides feel futuristic while at the same time retro. The compactness of the iPhone 12 Mini takes this to the next level, blending miniaturization with a premium design.

Ecosystem: If you’re invested in Apple’s other products, be it the Apple Watch, MacBook, AirPods, or HomePod, Apple’s ecosystem of devices truly play fantastically together. AirDrop lets you share files in a pinch, iMessage is the killer messaging app keeping plenty of people on iOS, and the Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches you can buy. It all works so well together, which is not something that can be said of many Android manufacturers.

Face ID: Face ID is an incredibly fast and secure way to log into your phone and secure apps. It works perfectly almost every time, even after I’ve gotten a hair cut. While I wish the iPhone 12 Mini had a fingerprint reader as well, Face ID remains a fantastic option for bio-authentication.

Battery life and wireless charging awkwardness: Unfortunately, a natural trade-off of a smaller phone is worse battery life. The iPhone 12 Mini doesn’t get abysmal battery life by any means, but if you’re going to be out for the night, you’ll have to give your phone a bump to make sure you can make it home.

Interface: iOS just isn’t that customizable. While it’s been getting progressively better over the years, it still doesn’t come close to the customization of Android. You do, however, get the security of knowing your phone will be updated for many years to come, unlike a lot of Android devices.

Siri: I truly missed Google Assistant when testing the iPhone 12 Mini. Siri’s limited functionality isn’t nearly as powerful as what Google is offering. Google’s integration with smart homes is far superior to that of Siri too.

Lightning charging: Apple refuses to move over the USB-C. That means I need to carry one very specific cable with me every time I go out. I’m at least happy to have wireless charging in this device, but considering the iPad and MacBook don’t use Lightning, the port remains awkwardly particular.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini: 64GB Storage — $699/£699/€809

Apple iPhone 12 Mini: 128GB Storage — $749/£749/€859

Apple iPhone 12 Mini: 256GB Storage — $849/£849/€979

At $699, the iPhone 12 Mini is one of the most powerful smartphones you can get for the price. That’s quite a flipped script from what we’ve seen previously. There are, of course, many Android phones around this price. They offer similar performance as well as things like high refresh rate displays, super-fast charging, and more, so let’s talk about them.

At its pricing tier, the most immediate comparison to be made is between the iPhone 12 Mini and Google Pixel 5. Both start at the same price, but Google’s option does some things better and some things worse than the iPhone. In my opinion, Google’s Pixel UI with Google Assistant is far superior to iOS and Siri. Additionally, the 90Hz display Google touts is more fluid to use. However, the iPhone 12 Mini has a much faster processor, a more premium design, and a deeper ecosystem of products.

The Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE is another competitor with a similar $699 price tag. It comes with a 3x optical telephoto lens, alongside other things like 25W wired charging, a 120Hz display, and expandable storage. The S20 FE is a great option if you value these things in your device, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 packed into this device isn’t far behind Apple’s A14 Bionic. That said, Samsung’s competitor is much bigger and uses a plastic build. If materials quality and size is important to you, you may find yourself looking towards the iPhone 12 Mini instead.

iPhone 12 Mini review: The verdict

David Imel / Android Authority

Starting at $699, the iPhone 12 Mini is one of the best small phones you can get. It runs the same flagship processor as the more expensive iPhones in its family, it has a fantastic design, and Apple’s ecosystem is nearly unmatched. Nevertheless, it’s also missing a lot of bells and whistles. If you’re someone who wants a high refresh rate display, a telephoto camera, or super-fast charging, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

With all that said, I really, really like Apple’s iPhone 12 Mini. Small phones are just my forte. Getting great build quality and incredible performance in a phone this small, for this price, is great. If you’re someone who’s been looking to downsize your device and you’re okay with Apple’s ecosystem, you should absolutely give the iPhone 12 Mini a look.

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Great design • Compact size • Super-fast performance

MSRP: $449.99

The iPhone 12 Mini is one of the best compact smartphones you can buy, has fantastic performance.

Apple’s iPhone 12 mini delivers the best price-to-power ratio of any 2023 iPhone, bringing top-of-the-line features to a phone that easily fits into smaller hands.

See price at Amazon



Netac Zx20 Portable Solid State Drive Review

Offline storage and backup can be a big problem. Basically, the data we generate monthly in 2023 would have been a lifetime supply only 10 years ago. Even with cloud storage, there is still a very present need for physical storage for temporary backup, transportation, security, and backup off site. With USB sticks so darn easy to lose, what we really need is some kind of reliable, high-capacity storage in a form factor that’s bigger than a USB stick and smaller than a USB hard drive. This leaves room for the Netac ZX20 Portable Solid State Drive.

This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Netac. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence even when a post is sponsored.

Netac’s Tiny Drive

The Netac ZX20 Portable Solid State Drive takes a small SSD and puts it into a small form factor suitable for your bag or even your pocket. It’s so small and neat, you could even slip it into the trouser pocket of a suit and not spoil the lining.

The case dimensions are only 8 cm x 4.3 cm, about as big as a cigarette lighter for comparison. The case is robust and silicone protected on five sides. It has a hole built into the corner so that you can use a carabiner clip to lash it to a bag or jacket or link it to your keys for easy transport. Attachment to a computer or device is handled by the included USB-C to standard USB cable.

Also included is a USB-C to USB-C cable for connection to the growing lot of devices using that standard. You also get a tiny leatherette pouch that doesn’t protect it so much as look nice. I can’t say I use it much, but it’s nice to have.

Netac is one of the claimants to being the inventors of the USB memory stick, which tells you something important: it has been doing this kind of thing for a long time.

Big Storage, Small Package

The initial response to opening the box and taking out the drive is how small and neat and nicely made the drive is. It feels expensive. Out of the box it is formatted for Windows, so I plugged it into the PC, and it recognized it easily. The USB lead is very well made and feels robust enough to carry around in a coat pocket without risking any damage in transit.

The first thing you notice while using it is how fast it is compared to the bulk of the external storage you use on a PC. Obviously, you only get full speed if you have certified USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20Gbps) sockets on your machine.

Of course, the primary limiting factor and primary bottleneck in any USB-based storage system is the speed of the socket itself, which is a serious thing you should bear in mind.

On that note, I have USB 3.0 and not 3.2, so I have to cite test results supplied to me by Netac. The USB-C test results sound impressive: 2031Mb/s sequential read, 1774Mb/s sequential write. If you can’t get a certified USB 3.2 with a USB-A interface (easy to spot with the blue tab), then clearly, USB-C is your best bet.

This doesn’t mean that if you don’t have USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20Gbps) this drive is useless. To the contrary, in fact.

Although the peak performance of the ZX20 can only be achieved with the USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20Gbps) interface, this product supports full backward compatibility with a variety of interfaces and can still be used when connected to a USB 3.0 interface. This means that if you take the product out and about and use it on someone else’s device, it will work fine.

Using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test tool and a regular USB socket, I could see the ZX20 managed speeds as high as 145MB/s. That’s good enough to read and write 2K cinema-quality video attached to a digital cinema projector.

This product gets on well in connection with a standard USB 3.0 interface. As you can see, it can reach levels of 429Mb/s read and 405Mb/s write. Basically, the type of performance you get depends entirely on the kind of interface you have. Suffice to say, whatever you are using with it will be fast.

I really like the Netac ZX20 Portable Solid State Drive. It’s difficult to put across how small it is – yet powerful and fast. The speed of regular USB sticks is usually terrible, as they are almost always cheap. That’s understandable, as if you are going to carry around something small AND expensive, it’s a recipe for disaster. But this device is not only compact, powerful and fast – it’s also not that expensive, and with USB 3.2 it really flies.

I only have two quibbles with it, and they are very minor and purely personal. Number one: it would have been nice to have a little LED activity light on it. I don’t like indicators that are too bright, but a nice discreet little light that flashes when it’s working would have been nice.

I also question why the cables you get with this and similar items are so stiff. I get that they have to be durable, but it doesn’t lie flat when I plug the drive. Admittedly, this is more to do with my own OCDs than any technical deficiency in the product, so it’s not a major issue, and the PSSD willl be dangling in some way anyway.

Where to get it

All things considered, the Netac ZX20 Portable Solid State Drive is a great little drive, and for an estimated retail price of about $70, not crazy expensive either. It’s probably about $10 more than I’d like to see, but the quality is great, so I’ll forgive the price immediately, as you can’t go wrong with the capacity.

All images by Phil South.

Phil South

Phil South has been writing about tech subjects for over 30 years. Starting out with Your Sinclair magazine in the 80s, and then MacUser and Computer Shopper. He’s designed user interfaces for groundbreaking music software, been the technical editor on film making and visual effects books for Elsevier, and helped create the MTE YouTube Channel. He lives and works in South Wales, UK.

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Volkswagen Unveils New ‘Ibeetle’ With Integrated Iphone Dock

This is kind of interesting. Following a press release this weekend, Volkswagen has just unveiled the ‘iBeetle’ at the Shanghai Motor Show in the city’s Pudong district. The vehicle is expected to launch early next year, and will come in both coupe and convertible models.

Why is it called the iBeetle? The car will feature a custom built-in iPhone docking station, as well as a companion app, that will allow you to sync your iPhone with its entertainment system for making phone calls, streaming music and more. More details after the fold…

Volkswagen claims that this is the first time a vehicle has featured a “genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple.” And in addition to the app and dock, the iBeetle will also feature Chrome trim, and custom ‘Disc’ wheels and badging.

Here’s some of the car’s capabilities noted in Volkswagen’s press release (via AutoBlog):

The newly designed docking station is located centrally on the dashboard of the Beetle: the iPhone simply snaps in to integrate it with the car. Essentially, all iPhone functions can be used in the Beetle; the iPhone can be used to navigate, make calls hands-free, listen to music, and much more.

When this special app is launched on an iPhone, it can either connect the phone to the Beetle via the docking station or wirelessly. Each option allows for different app functions to be accessed:

Spotify: lets users stream media such as new songs, customized playlists or online radio stations into the Beetle. Those who wish can post their favorite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between “Spotify” and “iTunes” at any time.

Expert: offers five functions which make the iPhone an extended on-board instrument of the Beetle, such as a G-Meter (for measuring lateral acceleration), oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer, and a compass.

Postcard: Sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif.

Photo: Sends photos taken inside the car to numerous social networks. Simply activate it, and the app does the rest.

Milestones: Available when the smartphone is undocked. Rewards its users with virtual “milestone stickers” for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed.

We’ve heard several reports recently that Apple is looking to wade further into the auto space. Last month, word got out that the iPad-maker was going to broaden its partnership with Ferrari. And shortly after that, it was seen hiring engineers for its vehicle integration team.

Apple is also making a big push in the auto space right now with its new Siri Eyes Free project. The feature, which was introduced in iOS 6 last year, allows users to initiate Siri through their car’s factory entertainment system. It made its debut earlier this year in the Chevy Spark.

The company’s growing infatuation with in-car integration should surprise no one. Steve Jobs often dreamed of building an ‘iCar,’ and even went so far as to discuss the idea with Volkswagen years ago. And Apple has factory iPhone and iPod adapters in most makes and models.

But what is surprising is that VW thought an iPhone dock (oh yeah, and an iPhone application) was worth building an entire car around. It seems like something that would have just been available as an option, or listed as a bullet point in a ‘technology’ trim package.

At any rate, the iBeetle will be available in iPhone-like ‘Candy White’ and ‘Black Monochrome,’ among other special colors. And should be ready for purchase in early 2014.

So, who’s planning on picking up an iBeetle?

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