In the last decade or so, lots of companies have gotten design religion. Design has been brought in-house, where it can shape products from the very get-go. There’s an obvious source for this idea — Apple.
This week on the Kahney’s Korner podcast, I talked to Oliver Seil, senior design director of Belkin International’s Innovation Design Group. We discussed Belkin’s products and design process; the surprising complexity of USB cables (and why they cost so much); and why Apple has had such an enormous influence on design and manufacturing.
You can listen to the podcast or read a full transcript of the interview below. (Or dive into the show notes.)
Apple Stores in the U.S. are now offering machine-applied screen protectors for iPhone. The service, which uses a Belkin protectors and the ScreenCare+ applicator tool, starts at $18 and is available for iPhone 6 and up.
Modern day meetings around the conference table may be a rare occurrence in our often-mobile and telecommuting world, but when they happen, the incoming mass of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks need a lot of electricity.
Instead of making all your employees figure out where the outlets are (under the table? behind them on the wall?), why not provide a big fat power center in the middle of the action? The Belkin Meeting Room Power Center aims to do just that, with a huge, round UFO-looking power hub that sports four actual plugs and a generous eight USB ports.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2014 – Belkin is really hopping onto this connected-home thing with fiery fervor. They already have a formidable array of Internet-connected devices in their WeMo line — switches, plugs, motion detectors — and now they’ve added light bulbs and a DIY WeMo interface that can be adapted for use with practically anything that’s powered by electricity. Oh, they’ve also just come out with a big, shiny cloud-connected crockpot so you can cook dinner from the office.
Joining Belkin’s armada of WeMo home-automation devices today is the WeMo Insight Switch. Like the plain-vanilla WeMo Switch, the Insight Switch will let you power on or off whatever is connected to its outlet via the WeMo iOS or Android app. Unlike the regular Switch, the Insight lets you also see exactly how much money you’er spending on juice, and adds more control flexibility.
I wonder just what effect the new iPad Air will have on keyboard covers? The iPads one to four were all big enough that you could pretty much squeeze a full-sized keyboard into a matching cover, but all the keyboard cases I have so far tried for the iPad mini have been unusable, like a netbook keyboard.
Belkin’s new keyboards for the iPad Air hope that physics will continue to favor the former situation.
The ring of Tim Cook’s softened Southern twang hasn’t yet left our ears, and yet Belkin has already announced, not one, but practically a whole wall at the Apple Store full of iPad Air cases and keyboards.
Of the ten cases and three keyboard cases announced by Belkin after today’s event, the most interesting is the minimalist Qode (perhaps a Star Wars character?) Thin Type Keyboard Case — one of Belkin’s excellent keyboards wrapped in aluminum and equipped with a hinge that lets it double as a cover for the screen. For a little more protection, there’s the Qode (Peruvian dessert?) Ultimate Keyboard Case, which adds a protective aluminum backing around the iPad Air.