Logitech launches Slim Folio keyboard case with four-year battery life for new 2017 iPad

Apple’s recently released 5th-generation iPad is receiving a new third-party keyboard courtesy of Logitech. The Slim Folio is a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard that snaps onto the new 2017 9.7-inch iPad to enable more efficient typing.

But the most compelling thing about Logitech’s iPad keyboard case is its battery life. Thanks the implementation of power-sipping Bluetooth Low Energy, Logitech states that the unit’s coin cell batteries can last up to four years with two hours of daily usage. Depending on how you use your iPad, that could mean that you’ll never have to worry about the Slim Folio’s Keyboard for the lifetime of iPad ownership.

The best wireless keyboard for the Mac?

Configured with what Logitech is labeling as a laptop-like layout, the Slim Folio features large keys that are well-spaced and stretched from edge to edge. There’s also a full row of iOS-centric shortcut keys at the top of the keyboard for quick access to often-used functions.

Product dimensions:

  • Height: 9.76-inches
  • Width: 7.17-inches
  • Depth: 0.79-inches
  • Weight (incl. battery): 0.96 pounds

Although I’ve yet to go hands-on with the Slim Folio (our review unit should be arriving soon), the press photos make it appear as if there is a decent amount of key travel to be found on the keyboard.

The Slim Folio is also, for all intents and purposes, a case. The iPad snaps into the Slim Folio’s shell casing, and provides a flexible stand that utilizes magnets to lock your device into an ideal typing position. Logitech even says that it works well when placed in your lap, although that traditionally hasn’t been a strong point of folio cases in general.

At under a pound, the Slim Folio will be noticeable, but likely won’t add enough weight and bulk to be a significant hinderance to travel and everyday usage. The $99 price point of the Slim Folio means that you could get a full on laptop replacement device for less than $430 when factoring in the cost of an entry-level iPad.

All of the bullet points are nice, but it’s the battery life that has me the most intrigued. Apparently there is no charging necessary with this case. The user-replaceable coin cell batteries provide enough power to keep going for years.

Logitech says that the Slim Folio will launch this month, and comes with a 1-year warranty in the United States. Once we get our hands on one, we’ll post a hands-on video review that clearly spells out the Slim Folio’s features, along with its pluses and minuses.

Do you currently own a new 9.7-inch iPad? Would you consider adding a keyboard case like Logitech’s Slim Folio?


BlaBlaCar unveils BlaBlaLines, a new app for daily commutes

French startup BlaBlaCar is launching a brand new app and service today. Named BlaBlaLines, this new app is all about short distance carpooling and daily commutes so that you can leave your car at home.

BlaBlaCar is going to launch this new service progressively. The app will only be available on Android at first, and it’ll only work between a handful of French cities — between Reims and Châlons-en-Champagne, and between Toulouse and Mountauban. These are popular routes for commuters of around 50 kilometers. Think about it as a sort of minimal viable product.

There are a few issues worth mentioning when it comes to carpooling. Drivers don’t want to waste time waiting for riders. Similarly, you don’t want to be waiting at work for a couple of hours because your driver still has work to do. BlaBlaCar thinks it can fix all those pain points.

When I talked with BlaBlaCar co-founder Frédéric Mazzella, he compared it to a subway or bus line. Just like taking the subway, you want to be able to leave whenever you want, you want to have frequent trains and you need to go to the subway stop.

Let’s say you live in one city and work in another. You tell BlaBlaCar that you’re regularly driving between these two cities. It doesn’t mean that you’ll have to accept riders every day, but it’ll make it easier for future rides.

For passengers, you can book a ride in a few taps using the app. The app automatically creates a line and assigns a stop (just like a bus stop), and you’ll have to wait for your ride over there. Waze’s carpooling service is a bit different as drivers have to pick up other users at home, which is a waste of time because people tend to be late if they’re waiting at home.

When you request a ride, the driver receives a push notification. Drivers have to accept rides in the BlaBlaLines app. Interestingly, it seems like you have to pay in cash for your rides.

“Today, we don’t take any cut,” Mazzella said. “Our goal is to get users and tractions first.” During today’s presentation, the company showed an example between Toulouse and Mountauban. According to the images, a typical ride could cost €6 (or $6.55).

There are multiple options for the business model for this new service. BlaBlaCar could work with companies so that they help their employees when it comes to their daily commutes. I could also see cities contributing as BlaBlaLines is going to save money when it comes to public transportation investment. Mazzella said that cities could help promote the app.

BlaBlaLines is a brand new app and works only on mobile. You have to create a new user account to use the service. This is the first time BlaBlaCar is branching out its service with another app. BlaBlaCar is focusing on making BlaBlaLines as frictionless as possible, automatically assigning stops and matching drivers with riders. This is a big departure from BlaBlaCar’s service as the company’s main service can be a bit cumbersome to list a ride as a driver or find a ride as a rider.

The company is going to iterate on BlaBlaLines, potentially adding in-app payments before the end of the year. You’ll be able to synchronize your BlaBlaCar profile with your BlaBlaLines profile at some point too. In 2018, BlaBlaCar is going to expand BlaBlaLines to the entire country of France.

BlaBlaCar now has 40 million users and handles 12 million rides per quarter. The French startup is the global leader for long-distance ridesharing.

The company has also been facing growing pains. It has been focusing on new markets, such as Russia, Eastern Europe and Brazil, and launching new products to make BlaBlaCar more useful. BlaBlaLines is a good example of this new strategy.

BlaBlaLines could turn BlaBlaCar into a service with a lot of recurring transactions. It’s a bit more complicated to set up a service like BlaBlaLines as you need to have a big community. But it’s a promising service given BlaBlaCar’s ubiquity in France.

first OnePlus 5 teaser comes directly from the company’s CEO



OnePlus, the Chinese smartphone startup that surprised the world with its ambitious “Never Settle” devices is at it again. After a garden variety of leaks and rumors indicate that a OnePlue 5 device is going to be launched this year, the company’s CEO teased a “big surprise” on Weibo.

OnePlus will skip a beat this year, reports indicated, as the number four is associated with bad luck in China, and therefore can’t be used in a product name. Therefore, a OnePlus 5 handset is expected to hit stores at some point in the coming months and compete directly against the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 8.

The handset is supposed to feature high-end specs wrapped in a budget-friendly premium design just like its predecessors.

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau retweeted — well, he re-Weibo-ed — a message that OnePlus posted on China’s Weibo social network.

Image Source: Weibo

OnePlus’s message, shared on Monday, said the company is working without a break, “just to make a big surprise.” Lau reposted the image on his Weibo account with a “carry on” encouragement — and both messages had the expected #NeverSettle hashtags.

“Never Settle” is a motto that OnePlus used since launching its first handset, even though the company was often criticized for some of the settling it had to do to launch a flagship phone that carried a mid-range price tag. That can only mean the “surprise” is the next OnePlus installment, which can only be the OnePlus 5.

That said, it’s unclear at this time when the OnePlus 5 will be unveiled, as the Chinese smartphone maker is yet to make any announcements.

Google briefly published (then unpublished) an I/O 17 Google Home action for basic event info

Google I/O is just around the corner and for those who aren’t lucky enough to be going, Google has plenty of options to tune in. It will offer up live streams for major events, and of course, 9to5Google will be there to bring you all the latest news and more from the Shoreline Amphitheatre. Along with those, though, Google also seems to have plans for a Google Home app for I/O 17, and it briefly went live early…

As spotted by VentureBeat, Google briefly published this action for Google Homeusers, giving users easy access to information such as times or topics regarding I/O via their home assistant. The action went live yesterday for a few hours, but apparently never properly worked. It never responded to queries given by VentureBeat staff. By mid-day, the app was gone completely from the Google Home app, and it remains that way as of today.

The action’s listing on the Home app gives some examples of commands including “Talk to Google I/O 2017 about the date,” “Talk to Google I/O 2017 about the keynote,” and “Talk to Google I/O 2017 about the location.” Presumably, giving commands like this will bring back information such as times, where to find live streams, or the topics at hand for various events.

It’s unclear why Google pulled the action, but odds are the company simply pushed it a bit early and still plans to offer it as I/O gets closer. If you’ll recall, the event takes place starting on May 17th and runs through the 19th. Google Assistant is expected to be one of the major areas of focus for the conference, along with potential announcements regarding Google Home, such as the rumored mesh router-assistant combo that has been rumored.

Deutsche Bank analysts suggests iPhone 8 may not launch this year, but evidence is thin


A research note from Deutsche Bank suggests that the iPhone 8 may not be launched this year.

Report suggests no new iPhone 8 this calendar year. As we have written in previous [research notes], several supply chain reports have suggested that key component shortages and technical challenges could delay the release of a high-end iPhone 8 device this fall. We believe this report further underscores the uncertainty around the timing of Apple’s next- generation iPhone model.

The evidence for this appears thin, though it may explain an odd report from last week …


As Business Insider notes, the bank is referencing a ValueWalk story from last week. This cited a Foxconn source stating that Apple was only placing orders for the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus at present. This claim appears to be based on the expectation that packaging materials are scheduled to arrive in the last week of June, but only for two models.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because another supply-chain report – possibly from the same source – also referenced the expected timing of packaging materials. The Chinese blog MicGadget seems to have received the same information but cited it as evidence for the exceedingly unlikely claim that Apple was making two iPhone 8 models but no iPhone 7S.

Both sites are, of course, jumping to conclusions. First, Apple likes to spread the risk and maximize its negotiating strength by using multiple suppliers, and it’s likely to do so for packaging as well as components. If it’s true that packaging for two models is expected in June, that doesn’t mean that packaging for a third model won’t arrive at the same time from a separate supplier.

Second, if packaging for the iPhone 8 is indeed arriving later, that tells us nothing specific about the timing of its launch, only that it is likely to be later than that of the 7S. And third, the packaging timeframe is based on just a single report so may not be true anyway.

There have been multiple reports that component and yield issues are likely to delay the launch of the iPhone 8 beyond the usual September timing, so that much is credible. But there seems nothing here to tells us that it will be 2018 rather than 2017.

This is the new Surface laptop Microsoft is about to unveil

Ever wished Microsoft launched a budget-friendly Surface laptop that would be a Windows alternative to the MacBook Air or Google’s Chromebooks? Well, the good news is that Microsoft is rumored to do exactly that on Tuesday. Even better, a series of fresh leaks seems to confirm that not only will Microsoft release new Surface hardware, but that the device already looks kind of hot.



A Twitter user that goes by the name of @WalkingCat shared various images that show a “Surface Laptop” in action. According to the post, the Surface Laptop will pack a 13.5-inch PixelSense display (featuring 3.4 million pixels) and run Windows 10 S, whatever that is.




The laptop seems to have a MacBook Air-like design and will come in four colors, including Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, Graphite Gold, featuring an Alcantara-covered keyboard.


The device will weigh 2.76 pounds, and measure 14.47 at its thickest point, and 9.9mm at its thinnest point. When it comes to ports, the laptop will have what seem to be USB-A and Thunderbolt/Display Port connectors, a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card reader.

Mind you, this isn’t a tablet that converts into a laptop, as is the case with the Surface Pro or Surface Book devices. The Surface Book appears to have a traditional format.

Considering the number of images @WalkingCat got access to, it’s likely this leak is very accurate. In fact, famous leaker Evan Blass also posted the same information on Twitter.

All we need now are more details about the Surface Laptop’s specs and price.

Update Firefox now: major vulnerability could steal your data

A major vulnerability discovered by Mozilla lurking on a Russian news site could steal your files and upload them to a Ukrainian server without you ever knowing.

The flaw exploits Firefox’s PDF viewer and the JavaScript context to inject a script that can search for and upload local files. All you need to do is load the page with the exploit and it’ll silently steal files in the background.

Interestingly, the files it searches for on the local system are mostly developer focused. On Windows, the attack specifically looks for FTP configuration files, subversion, .purple and other account information. On Linux, it looks for global configuration files and user directories.

Mac users aren’t specifically targeted by the attack that was discovered, but wouldn’t be immune if targeted.

All versions of Firefox are affected and Mozilla says that to protect against the exploit you should update to version 39.0.3 right now. Enterprise users can patch to 38.1.1.

There’s finally a good way to text in sign language

With new mobile keyboard app Signily, American Sign Language speakers no longer have to worry about their messages being lost in translation.


Created by American Sign Language nonprofit ASLized!, the Signily keyboard lets users send text messages and emails using specific ASL emoji, BuzzFeed reported.

“Most of us in the deaf community use text messaging or email to communicate back and forth to each other,” explained a Signily representative in an introductory video. “And oftentimes, we’ve noticed that is not 100% equivalent to American Sign Language.”

Here’s a look at some of the signs available on the keyboard app.


Perhaps more crucially, Signily also includes animated signs for many popular ASL phrases that don’t have exact English translations. This makes texting a more natural experience for signers.

For example, BuzzFeed notes where a hearing person might say “um,” American Sign Language has a specific sign used to pause speech.

This is what the sign looks like in a text message with Signily.

Like iOS emoji, the keyboard’s signs come in different skin tones for users to choose from. Signily also has a profanity free option for users looking for a more G-rated experience.

Members of the deaf community are already buzzing about the keyboard, including Nyle DiMarco, America’s Next Top Model’s first deaf contestant.

Not everyone is quite so excited, though. Android users will have to hold on a bit longer to use Signily on their devices

Tesla’s Robotic Metal Snake Charger Is “For Realz”

Tesla is coming off of a rough earnings day, but that didn’t stop the company from showing off some awesome stuff.

Today, the company tweeted out a demo of something its founder and CEO Elon Musk has talked about before. At the time it sounded crazy, as most of Musk’s ideas do.

But here it is. It’s a charging station and technique that looks like it’s straight out of a science-fiction movie.

Hit the play button and watch it all the way through. The snakey charging arm (called the “Solid Metal Snake”) makes its way to the parked Tesla Model S car automatically. No human intervention.

The technology looks like this “JetSnake,” but Tesla’s is way cooler:

I’m not sure why, but I’ve watched it 35 times already. Feel free to do the same:


What did we learn today, class? When Elon says his company is working on something, his company is working on something. I wonder if the potential Tesla self-driving car fleet is “for realz” too?

Pebble’s next smartwatch is here

I’ve had a chance to spend a few days with the Time Steel, and it’s easily the best product Pebble has ever made. Its steel construction is much nicer than the plastic used on the standard Time, and its tolerances and build quality trump the Pebble Steel from 2014. It’s slightly thicker and heavier than the Time, but that affords for a larger battery and longer time away from a charger — in the six days that I’ve been wearing the watch, I’ve not yet had to recharge it. It’s not so thick to be uncomfortable, and the added weight gives it a higher level of perceived quality.

Pebble Time Steel

The display on the Time Steel is dramatically better than the Time’s, and that might be enough of a reason to pony up for the the fancier model. It’s still a small 64-color LCD with a limited palette and muted colors, but it has less glare and is easier to read indoors. It also doesn’t have the noticeable air gap between the glass lens and LCD panel that’s on the Time’s display. I still would prefer more vibrance and it can still look washed out when the backlight is on, but I didn’t have the same readability issues with the Time Steel as I did with the Time. (I’ve also learned that black text on a white background is easier to read on either watch compared to white text on a black background.)

The main issue I have with the Time Steel’s design is the massive black border surrounding the display. It’s more prominent than on the Time (ironically, because the Time Steel has a smaller metal frame around the bezel), and it makes the display look even smaller than it actually is. It’s one (rather significant) blemish on what is otherwise a nicely designed device — even my wife wasn’t offended by its appearance on my wrist, and she’s been very critical of smartwatches in the past.

The Time Steel has the same software interface as the Time, including Pebble’s new Timeline feature that lets you look forward or backward in time to see events, weather information, and other useful data. (For more on the software, check out my full Pebble Time review.) Pebble has been slowly improving the software via firmware updates over the past few months, and it’s now possible to control the intensity of the vibration alert and the brightness and duration of the backlight. Those are pretty minor things, but they make for a much better experience when using the device.

Pebble Time Steel

Pebble’s companion app and app store for iOS and Android is still, sadly, a chore to work with, but it’s slowly getting filled out with more apps and watchfaces that can take advantage of the Time and Time Steel’s color displays. Most of the apps are still very basic compared to what’s available for the Apple Watch, and the Pebble store doesn’t have nearly as many big name developers. Some of the app gap has been filled in by third-party options for missing apps (such as an app to control Philips Hue lights), but those are almost invariably inferior to a first-party option.

The Time Steel’s biggest drawback, especially compared to the Apple Watch, is its limited functionality on iOS. Just like the regular Time, the Time Steel can’t do much with notifications other than clear them — there’s no option to reply with a canned response or voice dictation as you can with the Apple Watch. Nor is it possible to filter which notifications come to the watch, which is something I miss dearly from the Apple Watch. Android users have it a little better, as it’s possible to reply to messages right from the Time Steel with either emoji, a preset response, or voice dictation.

AT $250 TO $300, THE TIME STEEL IS A TOUGH SELLOf course, despite the advancements made by the Time and the Time Steel on top of it, the question remains if it’s a compelling option compared to the Apple Watch or the variety of Android Wear devices. At $249 or $299, the Time Steel is getting dangerously close to the price of the Apple Watch, and it’s priced higher than virtually all Android Wear watches worth considering. To make the Time Steel a viable choice, you really have to value its strengths, which are long battery life, always-on display, and, to a limited extent, cross platform compatibility. And as the popularity of the Apple Watch has shown, most smartwatch buyers don’t seem to value those features as highly as others.

Photography by Sean O’Kane

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