Review: Fuse Chicken Titan Plus and Rivet Charge

Review in Partnership with ByronDoss.com

I’ve owned more than my fair share of Lightning cables. I’ve had Apple ones and third party, from half a meter to 3 meters in length, and in a variety of colors. Because of Apple’s MFi (Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) licensing program, they have all been exceptional cables with none of the compatibility issues I’ve seen from their Micro USB counterparts. Through all those cables, one has stood above above the rest in my arsenal: The Fuse Chicken Titan. This cable brought a level of tough that no other cable comes close is. I have another pair of Fuse Chicken products I put through the ringer: The Titan Plus & Rivet Charge

Transparency Disclaimer

These are review units supplied by the manufacturer. We did not buy them. However, we maintain full editorial control without interference. This is my honest assessment of the products.

Titan Plus

Pros

  • Toughest MFi cable out there by a mile
  • Longer 1.5m length
  • Scratch resistant Gold, Rose Gold, or Black Finish
  • Retains most flexibility of a traditional cable
  • Fully MFi compliant and compatible

Cons

  • At $42.50, it can be difficult to justify the price unless you do really need an indestructible cable.

I have both the Titan and Titan Loop from my previous review a couple years back. If there are any downsides to them, I use this term loosely, the bigger Titan at 1m can be too short to use while plugged in and both feature a very utilitarian industrial design. The Titan Plus fixes both of these.

The original Titan is a cable that I would literally go to war with it. The cable itself is so tough, I’m completely convinced that it could survive field work with the military. After two years of abuse that has claimed the life of several Apple branded cables, the Original Titan works and looks just like it came out of the box.

The Titan Plus is just as tough as the original cable. Its also just as flexible. It brings an Apple-like design aesthetic to that toughness. It comes in your choice of Gold, Rose Gold, and Black to match your iPhone. Both the cable and connector shroud are finished. Not only is the cable tough, so is the paint. It took scraping it with a hammer to be able to scratch it. It lives up to the promise in all aspects. The only wishlist items I have for the Titan Plus are 2m and 3m lengths to go with the 1.5.

At $42.50, the Titan Plus is even less cheap than the Titan that preceded it. You could buy several lessor cables for that price and for some users that might be the better fit. For the active user who wants something more while retaining the level of design of their iPhone, the Titan Plus is hands down the finest lightning cable on the market.

Android fans, you’re not completely left out. A Micro USB version of the original 1m Titan called the Titan M is available for just under $25 and the Original Titan can also be found

Rivet Charge

Pros

  • Innovative magnetic cable management system built-in that works like a charm
  • Fully MFI compatible and compliant.

Cons

  • Expensive

To be honest, I was nor familiar with the Rivet Charge until I had one in my hands. Now I’m not entirely sure how I would exist without it. The Rivet Charge isn’t extreme tough like the Titan-series, but it adds its own niche- built in cable management. The cable features five magnets throughout its 1m length allowing it to securely adhere to any magnet or magnetic metal.

So does it work? Absolutely it does. I have a steel frame desk and usually have my iPhone on the lower right hand corner. The Rivet Charge keeps the cable right where I need it to be. Not only does this allow for routing, you can also coil up the cable if you don’t need the full length/ The magnets are ridiculously strong. Strong enough where I’m able to get the magnetic mount that comes with the cable to defy gravity and fly up at the cable at at close to 1cm. My only qualm is that there aren’t more magnets for even more flexibility.

As cable, I had no qualm about the Rivet Charge. It sends both power and data like an MFi cable should. Like the Titan, the innovative nature of the Rivet Charge comes at a price. $34.95 to be exact. This makes it one of the more expensive cables on the market, especially at the 1m length. If you do spend the money, you will not regret it.

Where to Buy

Fuse Chicken Products are available at their website, Amazon, and some leading retail chains.

WWDC 2017: iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and other Software News

Today was Apple’s annual WWDC conference. As expected they had some major… and minor news for their big 4 platforms: macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. Let’s take a look at what was announced.

macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Yes, I’m going go get this out front: yes, Apple made a weed joke about macOS High Sierra being full baked. Its not only mildly funny, its also accurate. Like Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion before it, High Sierra’s major changes are under the hood where the end user doesn’t seem them. There are big changes to the file system, graphics, and more.

APFS

High Sierra marks the end of the line for the Hierarchical File System (HFS). It was introduced back in 1985 with the Mac System 2.1. It has been upgraded in the form of HFS+ and has held up surprisingly compared to its contemporary FAT. That said, it wasn’t designed for modern flash based storage. It first saw the light of data with iOS 10 and now is the standard file system for the Mac. I won’t go into the nuts and bolts as file systems aren’t sexy to the end user, but it will be a beneficial change that will hopefully underpin Apple for the next 22 years.

H.265 HEVC

Video files are huge. Not just in terms of popularity, but in terms of file size. H.265 uses compression technology that shrinks down file size by up to 40%. For the end user, that means that streaming 4K uses less bandwidth and less of your data cap for both mobile and broadband connection. It also means that downloaded movies will use up significantly less storage space. Essentially HVEC brings 4K to the masses. Expect to hear more in the next few months.

Metal 2 and VR

Apple’s history with graphics technology has been less than stellar. OpenGL was routinely years behind and poorly implemented. As a result, the Mac suffered on gaming and other graphics intensive programs. Metal was a major step in the right direction. The developers who ported their apps to it say major performance gains over OpenGL. However, too few took advantage. Apple is going all in with Metal 2 and making improvements and optimizations that will improve speed and hopefully make Metal the graphics system for developers going forward.

Metal 2 coincides with the addition of system-level hardware support for two types devices users have been asking for. First, High Sierra will officially support external graphics solutions via Thunderbolt 3. There are no shortage of manufacturers out there making PCIe to Thunderbolt boxes out there and they allow any Mac with Thunderbolt 3 access to even Nvidia and AMD’s most high graphics cards. Also announced was support for VR. Valve SteamVR and HTC Vive are specifically mentioned and VR development tools are coming as well. Apple is also adding a patch to FCPX for VR video output.

Apple is also launching a developer Kit for external graphics which includes a PCI-E chassis and Radeon RX 580 8GB card as well as a USB-C hub for $599. Considering the price of both external enclosures and the RX580 cards, That’s actually a pretty competitive price for what you get.

Everything Else

The system apps are getting some minor changes as well. The biggest and probably most welcome is with the Photos apps which allows editing apps like Pixelmator or Photoshop to launch within Photos and work with your library, There are also minor updates to Safari, Mail, iCloud Drive, and more.

Availability:

Look, we aren’t even going to talk pricing here because you know damn well its a free upgrade. The final version will ship this fall with the public beta launching later in June.

Source: [Apple}(https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/06/macos-high-sierra-delivers-advanced-technologies-for-storage-video-and-graphics/)

iOS 11

iOS is now Apple’s most popular and flagship product. Its also the one with the most growth opportunity as mobile’s not as mature a market as computers. Apple has continued to drop a wealth of new features with iOS 11.

The iPad

There has been talk that the last few years have been iPhone-centric when it comes to the iPad and there is some truth to that. For 2017, the iPac is back in force. The Dock and app switcher have been redesigned to make them more powerful and a lot more like macOS and there’s a new files app that combines iCloud Drive as well as DropBox and other cloud platforms into a system level storage apparatus. Files that were once locked down by iOS are now wide open while still being safe. The Apple Pencil app is now full baked into the OS and Notes are usable from the lock screen. This makes the iPad the paper notebook replacement it was meant to be.

Control Center and Lock Screen

iOS 10 introduced a new 3-pane lock screen giving you Home and Music access without ever having to get into your phone. iOS 11 brings this back to a single pane, but keeps the expanded functionality. It uses 3D Touch to allow users to expand what each pane grouping can do beyond basic controls.. 3D Touch is limited to the 6S and 7-series devices so, for owners of the 6, 5S, and SE, there may be a degraded capability depending on how they handle it. On iPads, they use the expanded screen real estate to get the full functionality.

Notifications and the lock screen are now one and the same and you get the same exact functionality here, complete with widget and camera access no matter if you device is locked or not.

Camera

The biggest changes in Camera with iOS 11 are in file formats. Video now uses the HEVC that was talked about on the Mac. There is a still picture counterpart called the High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF). The question with HEIF and HVEC is compatibility with other platforms and services as well as older devices. Live photos get an upgrade allowing for. Loop and Bounce effects to create GIF-like images. You’re also able to now choose any frame within the live photo as the still picture . Lastly, there is a new form of automatic movies called Memories created from similar content on your phone.

ARKit

Just as VR is being integrated into the Mac, ARKit brings system level Augmented reality onto iOS allowing full access to hardware. This allows developers to make a far better AR experience than iOS currently enjoys.

##Siri
Siri was the original system level personal assistant and it keeps a major update for Apple’s platforms this time around. The voices have been overhauled for a more natural and less robotic tone. Like Cortana and Alex, the new Siri employs machine learning to tailor responses based on usage. Unlike the competition, Apple has no design to monetize this and keeps your results secure on device. SiriKit expands the tasks that Siri can perform. The Machine Learning that powers the new Siri is also available to developers in the form of CoreML.

Home and Music.

Home Automation and Music may seem like strange bedfellows, but in iOS 11 they are very much intertwined. Airplay2 integrates into HomeKit and the Home app giving you multi-room audio with Siri support. HomeKit also adds additional device types and functions to the mix and makes it easier for developers to integrate existing devices and get them certified.

Apple Music has new social media functions allowing people to share music. There’s also a new API called MusicKit allow the full power of Apple music in third party applications. There would no longer need any reader to go outside of your workout app or game to access your full AppleMusic catalog. This basically replaces an older and more limited iTunes integration.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay expands person to person in iOS 11. If you want to know how this works, use Vemo or Square Cash because its pretty much the same thing. In fact, the name of the place you receive is called your “Apple Pay Cash Account”, You can use funds added to this account for payment or you can send it back to your bank account. There’s even a Messages widget that automatically determines if you need to pay someone and suggests itself. There is also Siri support.

Do Not Disturb While Driving

This might not be the most popular feature in iOS 11, but I would argue its the most necessary. DND while Driving detects while your in a car through several methods and shuts down your notifications while you drive. The screen even goes black and gives you the option to send an auto message to tell your contacts that you’ll text them back. If you are a passenger, there is a button to say I’m not driving, but please take a hint and don’t use this while driving you’ll be putting somebody else’s life at risk.

App Store and Others

The App Store gets a major makeover based on the design of Apple Music. Apps and Games are now separate panes and its easier to get to in-app purchases for Apps your already have. The App Store for Messages as also had a redesign.

Rounding things out are indoor maps for major shopping centers, airports, and lane guidance. Apple News is now personalized using machine learning. There has also been updates to the keyboard

Availability

As with macOS High Sierra, iOS 11 will be free and ship this fall. There is also a public beta coming at the end of the month.

Source: Apple

watchOS 4

watchOS 4 continues to refine and enhance the Core functions of the Apple Watch. This year’s improvements make it an ever increasingly useful accessory to your iPhone.

Fitness and Health

The biggest improvements in watchOS 4 have to do with health and fitness. Chiefly is communication with outside devices. Introduced with the new OS is GymKit which uses the NFC to pair and provide two-way communication with exercise equipment computers. The equipment gets your Apple Watches’s sensors and the Watch gets the data from the equipment allowing for a single dataset. Apple already has support from several major exercise equipment companies. There is also enhanced compatibility with connected health devices, like continuous glucose meters.

The Workout and Activity apps have received upgrades to better switch between workouts on a single session. The Activity App also has personalized goal messages very reminiscent of the fitness app Human.

Watch Faces and Siri

The biggest news about watch faces is what watchOS still does not have: any ability to add third-party faces. For a device that is supposed to be highly personalized, the lack of a FaceKit seems out of place. If you want something different, you’re stuck with Nike or Hermes editions.

For the faces that we actually have to choose from, there are three new types. The most interesting one is the proactive Siri Face that uses the same machine learning as on iOS 11 to constantly update you with relevant data. You automatically get reminds, calendar events, location/ time specific items like boarding passes, traffic info, or HomeKit scenes. If that’s not your scenes, there are Toy Story themed character faces in the form of Woody, Buzz, and Jessie. There’s also a colorful kaleidoscope face. All faces get new access to complications for Now Playing and Apple News

Availability

watchOS 4 comes will come out later in 2011. Unlike iOS and macOS, there will not be a public beta.

Source: Apple

tvOS

There is a reason tvOS is last. It was basically a giant IOU. Apple announced two things: That Amazon was thankfully and finally releasing their Prime Video platform on tv and that sometime later, presumably in the fall, they would be talking about tvOS. That would presumably come with new hardware. Until then, it’s business as usual.

Apple Introduces Red iPhone, New iPad, and Clip Video App

Apple Introduces Red iPhone, New iPad, and Clip Video App

There has been a rumor going round the last few days that Apple would do a soft update of some products today. That rumor turned out true, though not entirely in the same scope rumored. Instead of a massively updated iPad Pro line, Apple went a bit more mainstream with a new color to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, a new low end iPad, and a new social media app called clips. Let’s take a look.

(PRODUCT) RED iPhone 7 & 7 Plus

Apple has had a long relationship supporting the retail initiative to support HIV/ AIDS research and care. That relationship has involved iPods, cases, headphones, and accessories is now going to the iPhone in the form of special edition (PRODUCT) RED iPhone 7s and 7 Pluses. The special edition (PRODUCT) RED version represents the 6th color choice available for the iPhone 7 series joining Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, Matte Black, and Jet Back.

The new phones will be available both online and in stores starting on March 24th starting at $749 for the 4.7” iPhone and $869 for the 5.5” iPhone 7 Plus in 128 and 256GB variants. There will not be an entry level 32GB version in (PRODUCT) RED.

Also getting a bit of love is Apple’s smallest and most affordable iPhone, the iPhone SE. While its not getting a replacement, the SE has had its storage doubled from 16 to 32GB in the entry level and from 64gb to 128gb in the next step up. Prices stay the same starting at $399 starting on March 24.

iPad

While we were expecting iPad Pro updates, Apple went in the other direction and made the 9.7” model more affordable. The new model is simply called iPad. It feature the A9 SoC from the iPhone 6 Plus and is a replacement in the lineup for the A8X powered iPad Air 2. The new iPad is lightly thicker featuring the 7.5mm thickness of the original iPad Air rather than the 6.1mm of the iPad Air 2 and 9.7” iPad Pro. That doesn’t mean the new iPad in losing any features as it still has Touch ID, 8MM rear and 1.2mp front cameras, and stereo speakers.

The iPad will ship on February 24th in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold. It will come in 32 and 128GB versions. Pricing may be the new iPad’s killer feature starting at $329, $70 less than the Air 2, for Wi-Fi and $459 for cellular. The 128GB models add $100 to both of those prices.

Clips

The Most surprising announcement was an app called Clips. Clips is Apple’s take on the multi-clip videos that have become popular on Snapchat and Instagram, only platform agnostic. What makes Clips unique is that the app can add captions and titles in realtime using only their voice. Clips of courses also features the filters and animations that have made these videos popular.

Clips will be a free download from the iOS Apple Store in April and be compatible with iPhones, iPods, and iPads using the 64-bit A7 SoC and later.

Apple allows you to share clips privately with your friends messages or post the finished product to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Vimeo.

Source: Apple 1, 2, 3

Tech Hangout #70 – Apple iPad Event Recap & Quarterly Earnings

Introduction

  • Andrew Rouch
  • Hal Sherman
  • Ricardo Garza
  • Patrice Brend’amour
  • Ben Roethig (Host)

Topic

Apple Releases OS X Yosemite, iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay

Apple releases New iPad Air and old iPad Mini with Touch ID

iPad 27” with Retina and Mac Mini see updates

Macs Beat iPads in quarterly sales

Picks

Tech Hangout #48 – The US Airways Twitter screwup

Introduction

  • Andrew Rouch
  • Hal Sherman
  • Ben Roethig (Host)
  • Patrice Brend’amour
  • Ricardo Garza
  • JW Hodge

iPhones and Macs up, iPads down, 7 to 1 split, Big stock buyback, and Angela comes to Cuppertino

Apple’s Stock Jumps $40 (7.7%) in After-Hours Session
Over 23% of Apple’s iPad buyers were new to the iPad

Apple opens up Beta Program to public

Apple opens up Mavericks Beta Program to the public

USAirways Twitter really really screws up

The Verge Article
US Airways employee screws up

Project Ara takes shape

Project Ara

GameStop puts SimplyMac stores where Apple isn’t

Game Stop puts SimplyMac stores where Apple isn’t

Aftermarket Carplay units coming!

Pioneer brings Apple’s CarPlay to older cars
CarPlay is coming to third-party stereo market

Picks

Tech Hangout #46 – MacWorld/iWorld 2014

Introduction

  • Ben
  • Patrice
  • 8-bit Rick
  • Andrew

Hal – Monday was World Backup Day

World Backup Day
Backblaze

Patrice’s MacWorld Report

MacWorld/iWorld

Blackberry cuts ties with T-Mobile

http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/01/t-mobile-will-no-longer-carry-blackberry-devices/

Tablet Talk. Is there a place or larger screen tablets?

4 years of iPad

http://www.cultofmac.com/272797/ipad-anniversary/

Picks

  • Andrew: Incredibles 2. Coming out some car. plus Cars 3
  • Rick: Monkey Boxing for Android and iOS
  • Patrice: Roost Stand for MacBook, Divergent movie
  • Ben: Apple Design Award Bundle

Tech Hangout #45 – EA Games drops the ball!

Introduction

  • Andrew Rouch
  • Hal Sherman
  • Paul Gans
  • Ricardo Garza
  • Patrice Brend’amour
  • Ben Roethig (Host)

EA Games site hacked to steal Apple IDs

(http://www.macworld.com/article/2110160/ea-games-site-hacked-to-steal-apple-ids.html()

Sim City back offline

(http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/18/ea-simcity-offline-mode/)

Return of the iPad 4

http://geekbeat.tv/apple-introduces-8gb-iphone-5c-reintroduces-4th-gen-ipad/

iPhone 6 “specs” “Leaked”

(http://lph0ne.blogspot.com/2014/03/leaked-iphone-6-specifications-ultra.html)

Why NOT to use AirBNB

(http://gawker.com/man-unwittingly-rents-out-apartment-on-airbnb-for-xxx-1544961941)

Picks

  • Andrew: Planescape Torment
    (http://www.amazon.com/Planescape-Torment-PC/dp/B00002EPZ2)
    (http://www.gog.com/game/planescape_torment)
  • Hal: House of Cards Season 2
  • Patrice: The 100
  • Paul: his old Mac mini
  • Rick: Asus MeMO Pad FHD
  • Ben: Nexus 7 (2013)

Tech Hangout #28 – Apple October Event Edition

Introduction

  • Andrew Rouch
  • Ben Roethig (Host)
  • Eric Schuetz
  • Patrice Brend’amour
  • Ricardo Garza
  • Talyna Morrison

Steve’s Indiegogo

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kinetic-servers-always-fast
http://www.kineticservers.com/premium-hosting.html

Nokia launches tablet, phablet

http://geekbeat.tv/nokia-launches-lumia-2520-10-inch-tablet-and-1520-6-inch-phone/

Apple event: iPads

http://geekbeat.tv/apple-unveils-ipad-air-new-ipad-mini/

Apple event: Macs

http://geekbeat.tv/apple-announces-new-macbook-pros-and-mac-pro/

Apple event: They remembered iWork exists….and iLife too!

http://geekbeat.tv/apple-releases-updated-versions-of-iwork-and-ilife-apps-for-mac-and-ios/

Tweetbot 3 for iPhone

http://www.tuaw.com/2013/10/25/tweetbot-3-for-ios-7-arrives-but-its-not-a-free-update/

Picks

Tech Hangout #17 – Doctors and TVs

Introduction

  • Andrew Rouch
  • Ben Roethig (Host)
  • Steve ‘Kinetic’ Roberts
  • Melissa ‘The Mac Mommy’ Davis
  • Patrice Brend’amour
  • Paul Gans
  • Ricardo Garza

Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor

BBC Announcement
Peter Capaldi on IMDB
In the Loop

Shark Week 2013, how the mighty have fallen

http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/5/4590706/discovery-starts-shark-week-with-fake-megalodon-documentary

CBS vs TWC

http://www.engadget.com/2013/08/02/time-warner-cable-drops-cbs-channels-again-cbs-first-time/
http://www.engadget.com/2013/08/06/cbs-ceo-calls-time-warner-cable-proposal-grandstanding/
http://betabeat.com/2013/08/the-ceo-of-cablevision-says-even-his-own-kids-prefer-netflix/

Jeff Bezos of Amazon buys Washington Post for $250 million

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/washington-post-to-be-sold-to-jeff-bezos/2013/08/05/ca537c9e-fe0c-11e2-9711-3708310f6f4d_story.html
http://5mag.co/

Administration overruled ITC

http://www.imore.com/obama-administration-overrules-itc-ban-iphone-4-ipad-2

Tablet Market Explodes

http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24253413

XBox One Records at 720p 30fps

http://www.destructoid.com/xbox-one-records-games-in-720p-at-30-frames-per-second-259497.phtml

Picks of the week

Green Screen Apps and Tips

  • Hit Film Deluxe
  • Adobe Deluxe (?)

Hangout about Green Screen

Tech Hangout #8 – The Reversed Reality Distortion Field

Introduction

  • Ben Roethig (Host)
  • Patrice Brend’amour
  • Andrew Rouch
  • Ricardo Garza
  • Melissa ‘Mac Mommy’ Davis

Zynga cuts jobs, studios

http://www.engadget.com/2013/06/03/zynga-layoffs-nyc-los-angeles/

Is Microsoft THAT desperate? The latest Microsoft Surface Ads target iPad directly

http://www.tuaw.com/2013/05/23/microsofts-new-ad-slams-siri-hard/

(Ubuntu) Linux as a data recovery tool

http://www.ubuntu.com/

WWDC Predictions

WWDC is starting next week (Monday). Here are our predictions:

Patrice:
– iOS 7 and Mac OS 10.9.
– Plus maybe a new Mac Pro.
– Nothing else on the Hardware side.

Melissa:
– Concerned that iOS 7 will drop support for the 3GS

Ricardo:
– Maybe something with the Apple TV?

Ben:
– Everything is said.