TIME cities

Airbnb Is Officially Legal In San Francisco

Airbnb logo

After months of heated debate among rental platforms, hosts and lawmakers, city leaders voted to regulate and allow short-term rentals

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 Tuesday to legalize short-term rentals facilitated by companies like Airbnb, while requiring hosts who use such services to collect taxes like more typical hotel operators do.

The new law, proposed by Board President David Chiu in April, also sets up a regulatory framework for this branch of the sharing economy, including a registry for all hosts and rules about who is and is not allowed to offer tourists a place on their couch. The final vote came after months of debate, hearings and lobbying on both sides.

“Everyone agrees that the status quo is not working,” Chiu told TIME shortly before the vote. “We have seen an explosion of short-term rentals without any regulatory or enforcement structure to handle this new activity. . . . This is a balanced, reasonable approach.”

An op-ed from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein arguing against the legislation, published by the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, helped reignite previous debates about whether the legislation should include amendments limiting rentals to a total of 90 days per year (in order to help preserve the “residential character” of neighborhoods) or requiring that all hosting platforms pay back taxes before the law goes into effect.

Both amendments eventually failed. Those who supported the back tax requirement, which Feinstein called “commonsense,” said that companies like Airbnb should have been collecting and remitting hotel taxes since they started operating. Those who opposed the back taxes amendment argued that there might be drawn-out legal battles over those bills, saying the city could not afford to wait to start regulating short-term rentals—especially because, under the new law, business facilitated by companies like Airbnb will funnel an estimated $11 million per year into the city’s coffers.

Those opposed to the 90-day limit, meanwhile, argued it would limit the amount of income available to hosts who rely on short-term rentals to maintain their residence in the city. Before this law was passed, San Francisco prohibited any rentals for less than 30 days, a rule put in place to help preserve rental stock for full-time San Franciscans rather than tourists.

The new law will allow locals to rent out only their primary residences, a caveat meant to stop landlords who have taken apartments off the market to rent them out full-time on platforms like Airbnb as long-time residents struggle to find housing.

Chiu said that Airbnb fought many pieces that were in the final version of the legislation, such as the tax-collection requirement and the mandate that every host has insurance coverage. “No one got everything they wanted,” he said. Renters must also adhere to their existing contracts. The new law does not, for instance, trump any lease that prohibits a person from renting out their apartment, though it does prevent them from being evicted on their first offense.

At the Tuesday hearing, short-term rental supporters filled the seats of the hearing room in City Hall, raising their arms and twiddling their fingers in support of lawmakers who made arguments for the legislation. And they broke into cheers, despite the prohibition on noise-making, after it passed.

“This is about real, live people of San Francisco who rely on home-sharing . . . to put a new roof on their house, to put their kids through college,” Supervisor Scott Wiener said during the debate, to much finger twiddling. “What we’re doing is allowing people to actually make ends meet.”

TIME Security

China iCloud Attack Could Be State-Sponsored Hacking

Apple Inc. Launches iPhone 6 And iPhone 6 Plus In China
A Chinese man sets up his new iPhone 6 inside an Apple store on October 17, 2014 in Beijing, China. Feng Li—Getty Images

The iCloud attack coincided with the iPhone 6 release's in China

Chinese users recently attempting to access Apple’s iCloud online data storage service may have had their personal information stolen in what one cybersecurity firm claims was a high-level cyberattack backed by Chinese authorities.

GreatFire, an independent Chinese censorship watchdog, said the “man-in-the-middle” hack exposed the iCloud passwords of users who entered their credentials despite warnings that their connection may not be secure. Hackers then used those stolen login details to spy on the information users stored on iCloud, including iMessages, photos and contacts.

Apple confirmed the attack Tuesday, stating that it is “aware of intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information.” The firm added that the attacks “don’t compromise iCloud servers, and they don’t impact iCloud sign in on iOS devices or Macs running OS X Yosemite using the Safari browser.”

GreatFire said the hackers involved with the iCloud breaches used servers accessible by only state-run organizations and Chinese authorities, a sign the attacks had the blessing of such authorities. The hack came just as the iPhone 6 was released in China after a delay over the government’s security firms.

The iCloud attack follows a report earlier this month that “a very large organization or nation state” was putting malicious spyware onto iPhones and iPads belonging to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protestors. GreatFire also previously reported that Chinese authorities had launched attacks on GitHub, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft in an apparent effort to censor those services.

“This is what nation states do to ‘protect’ their citizens. There is nothing surprising or unexpected in this revelation,” said Phil Lieberman, president of cybersecurity firm Lieberman Software. “It would not be hard to find other countries doing similar things.”

TIME Earnings

Yahoo’s Minuscule Growth Enough to Exceed Expectations

Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer delivers a keynote address at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer delivers a keynote address at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller—Getty Images

The search giant had seen its revenue fall in four of the previous five quarters

Yahoo said Tuesday that third-quarter grew 1%. Here are the most important points from the company’s earnings report.

What you need to know: Yahoo beat Wall Street estimates with $1.15 billion in third-quarter revenue, up from $1.14 during the same quarter last year. Surprising analysts is always nice, but the Internet search giant should be especially happy about the revenue bump, even if it is just a 1% increase. Sales had declined in four of the previous five quarters, including a 3% year-over-year drop in this year’s second quarter.

Yahoo also reported earnings excluding certain costs (and a huge windfall from selling shares in the initial public offering of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba) of 52 cents per share, which trounced analyst predictions of 30 cents per share. The company’s profit jumped to $6.8 billion compared with the help of $6.3 billion in cash, after tax, that the company netted from selling a chunk of its Alibaba shares in September. In the year-ago quarter, Yahoo had reported a profit of $297 million.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer described the quarter in a statement as solid.

“We achieved this revenue growth through strong growth in our new areas of investment – mobile, social, native and video – despite industry headwinds in some of our large, legacy businesses,” Mayer said.

Yahoo shares soared in after-hours trading, gaining almost 2.8% after finishing Tuesday trading up by 2.3% – one of many stocks on the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite to enjoy a strong day.

The big number: Yahoo said its third-quarter mobile revenue topped $200 million, the first time the company has revealed the amount of money it makes from showing ads on mobile devices. The company said gross mobile sales for the year will exceed $1.2 billion. Mayer said that Yahoo’s mobile investments – which include a $300 million acquisition of mobile analytics startup Flurry – have paid off for the company. In the current quarter, mobile revenue made up only around 17% of overall sales, far less than rivals like Facebook and Twitter.

“Not only are our mobile products attracting praise and engagement from users and industry awards, they are generating meaningful revenue for Yahoo,” Mayer said.

Meanwhile, Yahoo’s display ad revenue – the equivalent on online billboard ads – dipped again, falling 5% year-over-year to $447 million in the third quarter. (Interestingly, Yahoo said in its earnings release that the number of ads sold in the third quarter increased about 24%, but that seems to have been offset by the fact that the price of each ad declined by an equal amount.) Search ads continue to grow for Yahoo, though, with third-quarter revenue in that sector rising 4% to $452 million.

What you might have missed: Yahoo plans to spend some of the more than $6 billion in cash it netted from the recent Alibaba IPO on one or more tech start-up acquisitions, according to The Wall Street Journal. Mayer is expected to discuss Yahoo’s plan for potential acquisitions as well as cost-cutting measures – a discussion that comes a few weeks after activist investor Starboard Value revealed it had taken a stake in Yahoo and pushed for Mayer to reduce costs and consider a combination with AOL.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Security

Experts Warn Corporate Boards Aren’t Protecting Us From Hackers

A shopper walks past a large Home Depot logo inside a store
A shopper walks past a large Home Depot logo inside a store in New York,Tuesday, May 16, 2006. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

In the wake of hacks agains Target, Home Depot and JPMorgan, analysts say companies' boards need to be more vigilant on cybersecurity

As an increasing number of major retailers and financial institutions are falling victim to hacks like those against Target, Home Depot and JPMorgan, many experts say corporate boards aren’t doing enough to protect customers from cybersecurity breaches.While corporate boards are a step removed from companies’ day-to-day operations, the increasing risk of data breaches means that boardmembers need to be more involved in cybersecurity, observers say, whether by pushing for security oversight or reshuffling executives who don’t react properly to crises.

“We live in the post-Target era,” said John Kindervag, security analyst at Forrester. “There’s a moral obligation to consider firing an executive team because of a data breach. It’s a huge business failure.”

Corporate boards rarely review cybersecurity plans or involve themselves in the particulars of data protection, traditionally viewing security as an information technology problem. According to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report released last month, just 42% of 9,700 executives in over 150 countries said their boards are involved in security strategy; just 25% said their boards are involved in reviewing security and privacy threats.

“They’ll say to the CEO, what are we doing about security, and then don’t get involved at all until they get breached,” says Avivah Litan, security analyst at Gartner. “Most companies don’t communicate at that level with the board. They’re out of touch and they’re totally clueless about information security.”

Securities and Exchange Commissioner Luis Aguilar put it more gingerly to board directors earlier this month at a New York Stock Exchange cybersecurity conference. “There may be a gap that exists between the magnitude of the exposure presented by cyber-risks and the steps, or lack thereof, that many corporate boards have taken to address these risks,” Aguilar said. There’s a discrepancy, too, between what shareholders demand of boards and what they’re actually doing — a survey published by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) last month shows that nearly 70% of shareholders view board oversight actions prior to hacking incidents as “very important.”

Negligent boards may find themselves facing questions from angry shareholders and customers after a cyber breach. In June, ISS made the unusual recommendation that Target shareholders oust seven out of 10 members of its board after credit card information belonging to 40 million customers was compromised, laying blame on two board committees in particular.

“The data breach revealed that the company was inadequately prepared for the significant risks of doing business in today’s electronic commerce environment,” ISS advised. “The responsibility for oversight of these risks lies squarely with the Audit Committee and the Corporate Responsibility Committee.” Shareholders re-elected the board, but ISS’ condemnation was a wake-up call for retailers. Target is now facing an investigation from the Federal Trade Commission into the details of the breach.

Home Depot, meanwhile, was a founding member of a threat-sharing group of major retailers earlier this year, and its board received regular updates on cybersecurity, according to a spokesman. “IT and IT security have regularly been items on our board meeting agendas for several years now, and the board has received regular updates on the breach since it occurred,” said that spokesman. But the hardware retailer was caught flat-footed by a data breach this year that jeopardized 56 million customers’ credit cards, and managers ignored weaknesses in cyber defense before the attack, the New York Times reported last month.

Analysts say a strong board of directors should know how to ask management the right questions about cybersecurity. “The board is not responsible for identifying risk, but it sure as hell needs to know that management understands that responsibility and knows how to respond to it,” said Rick Steinberg, former governance practice leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ultimately, it might be a financial motivation that gets corporate boards to take a closer look at their firms’ cybersecurity standards. Target’s net income dropped more than $400 million in the quarter the breach was announced compared to the year before; the company said direct costs from the data breach would reach $148 million in the second quarter of 2014 alone. The total expense of any breach, including lost profits from nervous consumers, are often incalculable. “A data breach is the equivalent of an oil spill,” said Kindervag. “It’s a fundamental business issue.”

TIME Smartphones

This Is the Best Wireless Carrier for You

2012 International Consumer Electronics Show
The Verizon Communications Inc. logo is seen at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Big Red beats out the competition

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com

If you’re in the United States and looking for a carrier with good coverage, fast bandwidth and—this may surprise you—affordable single-line plans, you should consider Verizon Wireless. We found it has the widest coverage map, the fastest network and the lowest costs for individuals. But it’s not the only answer for everyone: Some situations call for other carriers, and we discuss that below.

How We Decided

We reached that conclusion after a good 70 hours poring over the large and small print of wireless plans, checking coverage maps and calculating the cost of smartphone service: 500MB of data per month, 2GB and 4GB. We did the math for all those scenarios with expensive and affordable phones, ran the numbers for two and four phones on the same plan and recalculated again for those who want to use their own device not purchased through the carrier.

Finally, we inspected prior research and testing from a host of reputable sources and publications and consulted experts from around the industry.

Why Verizon is best for most people on an individual plan

Our endorsement rides on some assumptions: wireless coverage where you need it trumps all else; the lowest total cost of owning your smartphone or device, based on your typical usage; and that a lack of tethering or a wide choice of Android phones aren’t necessarily deal-breakers. (Though we have other recommendations if they are deal-breakers.)

Verizon has the widest coverage map, the fastest network, and the lowest costs for the medium solo-usage scenario—analysts estimate this ranges between 1.2GB and less than 1.5GB a month. Its “Single Line Smartphone” plans limit the two-year total cost of a new iPhone with 2GB of data a month to $1,640, versus $1,680 at Sprint (that’s an iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus exclusive lease deal, while non-Apple high-end phones cost $2,090), $1,730 at T-Mobile, and $2,120 at AT&T.

Those numbers, except for T-Mobile’s, assume a standard two-year contract in which higher monthly rates recoup a lower initial phone price. That deal traditionally entails getting gouged on international roaming (hi, AT&T!), but Verizon’s numerous “world phones” with internationally compatible devices all come unlocked, allowing you to pop in cheap prepaid SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards while overseas.

Back in the U.S., Verizon’s deployment of “XLTE” LTE service sped it ahead of AT&T in PCMag.com’s latest tests, with LTE downloads across the country averaging 19.6 megabits per second. RootMetrics’s tests over the first half of 2014 also favored Verizon in overall performance and speed.

Flaws (but not dealbreakers)

Reading this on a laptop away from home? Verizon’s Single Line plans exclude “tethering,” or sharing a smartphone’s bandwidth over Wi-Fi. Adding tethering with a “More Everything” plan balloons two-year costs to $2,360 in a 2GB/month iPhone scenario, above comparable costs at T-Mobile ($1,730) and AT&T ($2,120).

Want an Android phone? Subsidized or not, Verizon’s Android phones come loaded with apps you can’t remove, and then you must wait for Verizon to deliver system updates. And as with Sprint, its use of CDMA wireless technology instead of the more open GSM standard relied on by AT&T and T-Mobile obstructs customers from buying a new phone from somebody besides the carrier, like a manufacturer or Google.

The best selection of Android phones

For the widest choice in Android phones, look to T-Mobile. By pricing service separate from hardware, it frees you to buy hardware directly, with less unwanted software and faster updates. Even its subsidized, locked phones come with free international low-speed data and cheap overseas calling and texting—and if you need faster service, its roaming rates still mop the floor with the competition. And its Wi-Fi-calling-capable phones can get free in-flight texting and voicemail reception on planes with Gogo Wi-Fi.

What if I want a wider selection, but need coverage in a less populated area?

T-Mobile’s coverage often fades in rural areas. If that’s an issue, and you also want unlocked phones or devices that aren’t available through Verizon, consider AT&T: It provides coverage that our sources saw as about as good as Verizon’s and offers a wider selection of phones. But while you can buy a compatible phone from another place, AT&T’s pricing favors getting a subsidized-phone contract—and then accepting its control-freak locking policy that prevents using other carriers on your phone until your contract concludes.

Both AT&T and T-Mo support simultaneous voice and data on any phone (though some Android phones at Sprint and Verizon provide that with an extra antenna).

Why we don’t recommend Sprint

Sorry, but Sprint’s LTE coverage still suffers from earlier detours with the failed 4G standard “WiMax” and its acquisition of Nextel. Most of its plans don’t include tethering, you have to wait 90 days into a contract to get a world phone’s SIM card unlocked. If you’re set on a new iPhone, you may want to consider its “iPhone for Life” option: Unlimited data for $70 a month with an iPhone 6 or $75 for an iPhone 6 Plus, with a replacement every two years. But bear in mind that other smartphones don’t allow this deal and that Sprint’s subsidized-phone deals quickly change from its cheapest to its priciest option as your data appetite increases.

No clear winner among family plans

Sprint and T-Mobile offer the best deals for most multiple-line plans, but the coverage for each can be a deal-breaker. And mastering how discounts for extra data can intersect with those for buying an unsubsidized phone can be a brain-breaker.

  • In a 500MB-per-line scenario, AT&T’s unsubsidized deal is the cheapest way to get two lines, while T-Mobile is your lowest-cost option for four lines.
  • With 2GB of data per line, Sprint unsubsidized is the cheapest route to two lines (although Apple users will do better by pairing two “iPhone for Life” leases), T-Mobile for four.
  • At 4GB per line, Sprint’s unsubsidized options take the lead all around—but if you need two but not four iPhones, get two “iPhone for Life” leases, while for two other high-end devices, take its handset subsidy.

If you can’t deal with either Sprint or T-Mobile’s coverage, Verizon’s multiple-line pricing isn’t bad but requires a spreadsheet to grasp (as in, it’s cheaper to share 10GB of data among four unsubsidized phones than to buy less data). If you wanted shopping for wireless service to feel more like confronting the tax code, this is the corner of the market for you.

In Closing

Verizon is not the “best carrier” for every single person–your location, your travel habits, and your taste in phones can make it a poor choice. But for most people needing only one line, it’s the safest recommendation we can make, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s the cheapest either.

This guide may have been updated since publication. To see the current recommendation, please go to TheWirecutter.com.

TIME Innovation

Watch the ‘First Real’ Hoverboard

Watch how Hendo the hoverboard works and how can get one for yourself

The idea that a man or woman could someday glide effortlessly through the air has captured our imaginations ever since Michael J. Fox hopped on a hoverboard in 1989’s Back to the Future Part II.

Now it’s even more so, thanks to the Hendo, touted as “the world’s first REAL hoverboard,” named after inventor Greg Henderson.

Henderson said he didn’t get his inspiration from the beloved Robert Zemeckis film, but rather the Loma Prietra earthquake. Henderson told Engadget that he believes hover technology could solve a host of serious problems–perhaps to raise a building during an earthquake someday and eliminate risks for emergency workers.

The self-propelled Hendo, which is the 18th prototype and priced at $10,000, uses four disc-shaped magnets that create an electromagnetic field, generating a one-inch lift.

That means you won’t be hover to work any day soon–the Hendo can only levitate over surfaces that are a non-ferrous conductor, like copper or aluminum.

TIME

These Are the 5 Coolest Features of OS X Yosemite

Apple OS X Yosemite Apple

These features come free on Apple's latest desktop upgrade

From Apple Pay to Apple Watch — and with new iPhones and iPads launched in between — the tech world has been awash with innovations flowing from Cupertino over the past few months. Less publicized but just as game-changing, OS X Yosemite, Apple’s new Mac operating system, was released last Thursday as a free upgrade.

A major release with an array of features, Yosemite has a lot more than just new graphics and typefaces: the operating system unites Apple’s desktop and mobile devices in ways they’ve never worked together before, for instance. So while you were eyeing that oversized iPhone 6 Plus and ogling that svelte iPad Air 2, here are the five coolest, new OS X features that you missed.

1. Handoff

As fun as it is to say phablets are killing tablets or tablets are killing laptops, the reality is that most computer users are carrying around more than one machine. Yosemite’s new Handoff feature gets these multiple devices thinking like one intuitive supercomputer. For example, imagine reading about the World Series in Safari on a Mac Mini, and then turning to check the weather with an iPad. With OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 installed, you’ll find a Safari icon at the bottom left of your iPad’s lock screen, ready to be swiped and take you to the same baseball story in Safari on the tablet. It’s a fantastically fluid feature that works with an array of apps, from productivity software like Numbers and Pages to personal apps like Reminders and Contacts.

2. Desktop Macs Can Make Phone Calls

It’s almost 2015 — shouldn’t this new feature be old hat? In a way it is; Skype and Google Voice users have been yapping away for years on Macs. But Yosemite uses a new technology called “Continuity” that uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to link iDevices and Macs owned by the same user in order to push phone calls from iPhones to Apple computers and even iPads.

The feature is enabled by default, so it may be a bit jarring the first time your iMac rings. But with all the standard calling features like call waiting, conference calling, and even custom ringtones, it’s a welcome addition to a multi-tasker’s workflow. SMS text messages, not just iMessages, even get displayed in the Messages app, turning your MacBook into a full-fledged smartphone. Still, beware deploying this new feature in an office environment: with computers ringing and people conducting conversations via speakers and microphones, this new feature could get very old, very fast.

3. Safari Gets Private and Secure

Prior to Yosemite, Safari’s Private Browsing mode was the best way to ensure Apple’s web browser would keep your secrets. But this operating system release saw an overhaul of the browser, introducing more security features like a custom history clearing option that lets users clear history, cookies, and other data from the previous hour, day, or two days. In addition, Apple has added DuckDuckGo, a non-tracking search engine that doesn’t store users’ data, to its search offerings. And with Continuity features of its own, a Safari browser running on an Apple computer can not only share its history with browsers on associated iPhones and iPads, but it can also close tabs left open on the iOS devices—a great way to ensure people don’t view the browsing habits on your mobile devices.

4. Edit Attachments Directly In the Mail App

Little bloats a computer’s hard drive more than email attachments, especially when you need to edit them. Consider this workflow: Save the attachment, edit the saved data, and reattach the updated document — that simple exchange turns one file into three, at least tripling the space it occupies on a hard drive. Yosemite’s Mail app lets users make edits to attachments within the email window through tools that allow text to be inserted, signatures to be doodled with the touchpad, and diagrams to be drawn. It’s a small but necessary feature that is much overdue, and offers a convenience that could finally (hopefully?) spell the end of the fax machine.

5. AirDrop with iOS

Speaking of Mail, Yosemite’s Mac to iDevice diplomacy marks the end of another painstaking workaround: emailing files from your mobile device to your desktop. AirDrop is nothing new — introduced in iOS 7, it previously allowed two nearby iDevices to transfer files between each other, wirelessly. But for reasons that only Apple engineers can explain, these handhelds couldn’t send files to Macs — until now. It’s such a simple feature that it hardly feels like magic, but Yosemite’s AirDrop is representative of the overhaul Apple made with this operating system build: Finally, all your machines can interact with each other and it just works.

Read next: Hands-On With Apple’s New iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and Retina iMac

TIME Gadgets

7 Cases That Do More Than Protect Your iPhone

You already know you need a case to protect your phone from accidental drops and bumps, but did you know the right case can do so much more? Whether you want your case to perform double duty as a wallet or help keep your precious photos private, we’ve rounded up seven cases that go above and beyond protection. Some are available now, while others are coming before the end of the year.

1. iFrogz Charisma Case

ifrogz-charisma-case-510px
iFrogz

For those days when you don’t want to carry a purse but need a credit card and driver’s license or ID, the iFrogz Charisma iPhone 6 case has you covered. It’s made of soft silicone in fun, bright colors like purple and pink. Inside the case is a secret wallet compartment where you can fit three credit cards in separate slots. A built-in mirror on the opposite side accommodates a quick lipstick check after lunch.

Price: $29.99 for iPhone 6 cases on Amazon and for iPhone 6 Plus cases on Amazon

2. Pong Case

pong-iphone-6-case-350px
Pong

The Pong case not only boosts signal strength with its next-gen antenna technology, it also helps reduce your radiation exposure from the phone. It does this by redirecting wireless energy away from your head and body for a reduction of up to 89% below safety limits, according to the company, which verified its findings in FCC-certified labs.

The Pong case protects your phone as well as protecting you, offering drop protection for up to four to six feet in the Sleek and Rugged case styles.

Price: Starting at $51.90 for iPhone 5/5S cases on Amazon; $49.99 for iPhone 6 cases on Amazon; $69.99 for iPhone 6 Plus cases (available starting Nov 17) on Amazon

3. Vysk EP1 Everyday Privacy Case

vysk-iphone-6-case-510px
Vysk

The Vysk Everyday Privacy Case protects your phone and its contents with an encrypted text and photo gallery app. This stealthy case looks stylish in colors like gold, red, blue and black, as it guards against cyberthieves who might remotely access your camera and texts. The case protects your data with the help of an app that encrypts your texts and photos. And if sending all those texts drains your phone’s battery too quickly, the Vysk case’s built-in, rechargeable 3200mAh battery provides a 120% boost to your battery power.

Price: $119 for iPhone 5/5S cases from vysk.com (iPhone 6 cases coming soon)

4. Incipio Highland Folio

incipio-highlan-iphone-6-case-510px
Incipio

Incipio’s Highland Folio is a thin case with a rigid front cover and brushed aluminum finish that protects in style, with colors like gold and pink. Its built-in rear kickstand is a great addition for anyone who likes to watch videos or show demos on the new, larger iPhone. There’s a slot on the inside cover for you to stash a credit card or ID.

Price: $39.99 for iPhone 5/5S cases on Amazon; Starting at $32.18 for iPhone 6 cases on Amazon; $39.99 for iPhone 6 Plus cases (shipping in 1 to 4 months) on Amazon

5. Boostcase Crossbody Wallet Case

bootcase-crossbody-wallet-case-510px
Boostcase

The fashion-forward folio case from Boostcase turns your iPhone into a stylish shoulder bag with a soft leather wallet and suede base. Tuck a credit card, some cash and an ID into the card slots on the inside of the folio, snap your phone in on the other side and secure your precious cargo with the snap enclosure. The Crossbody shoulder chain is detachable in case you want to carry the phone like a clutch, and the extra outer pocket on the back is perfect for quickly stashing receipts or a metro card.

Price: $99.95 for iPhone 5/5S cases on Amazon

6. ChargeAll Battery Case

chargeall-iphone-6-battery-case-510px
ChargeAll

We all know it’s nearly impossible to get through a full day on a single iPhone charge. The ChargeAll case doubles as a backup battery, so you never run out of power. Its 2400mAh battery lets you recharge whenever you need, providing enough power to more than double the life of your phone’s charge. Its slim profile doesn’t add much bulk to your sleek new phone, and its protection is spot on, with a two-piece design and raised bumpers that guard against accidental drops and scratches. The ChargeAll is available in colors including blue, pink, green, red and purple and ships in December.

Price: $59.99 for iPhone 6 cases at chargeall.com

7. HoldTight Case

holdtight-iphone-6-case-350px
HoldTight

If your needs change on a daily basis, get a phone case that you can personalize to meet those needs. Perhaps you want to stow earbuds to take to the gym, then tuck away some cash for a smoothie after your workout or store your metro card for a trip to a business meeting. The HoldTight comes with seven interchangeable bands in a variety of colors. You choose the case color as well as the color of the bands and then stretch them to whatever configuration you want. The website offers design suggestions with names like “The Music Lover,” “The College Kid,” or “Paper or Plastic.” You can also watch a video of the HoldTight in action.

Price: $29.99 for iPhone 5/5S cases and $34.99 for iPhone 6 cases (ships at end of year) at felix.com

This article was written by Andrea Smith and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME Companies

Google Inks $542 Million Venture Deal to Fund Mysterious Startup

2013 Google Developer Conference Continues In San Francisco
An attendee tries Google Glass during the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The four-year-old firm Magic Leap aspires to blend computer generated images into the physical world

Google and several other leading tech firms have pooled $542 million in venture capital funding for Magic Leap, a secretive, Florida-based startup that is rumored to be working on virtual reality eyewear.

The deal, one of the largest venture capital fundraisers to date, would value the company at nearly $2 billion, two sources close to the negotiations told the Wall Street Journal. Two senior Google executives will join Magic Leap’s board of directors.

Little is known about Magic Leap beyond an eye-popping video of what the company hopes to achieve with its technology: a projection of life-like imagery that seamlessly blends with the physical surroundings. This deal echoes Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that immerses users in graphically rendered 3-D worlds.

Both technologies point to a gamble within the tech industry that interfaces will ultimately break free from the confines of 2-D screens and form more immersive user experiences.

[WSJ]

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone and Android Apps You Should Try This Week

From Flickr to hands-free music control

It seems like hundreds of new smartphone apps pop up every day, but which ones should you bother trying? Here, TIME offers a look at five apps for iPhone, iPad and Android that stand out and are worth a shot.

 

  • Alien Blue

    There have been a series of unofficial Reddit apps available for a while now, but last week the social networking/news website that receives over a million uniques a day sanctioned the official release of a Reddit app, Alien Bue. It’s a clean, mobile-friendly version of the site, allowing users to keep up on threads and receive notifications as well as discover new subreddits. For a short while, users can also upgrade to Alien Blue Pro for free in order to access features like switching between multiple accounts.

    Alienblue is available free in the App Store.

  • Flickr for iPad

    Flickr for iPad App Store

    Although imgur has nearly replaced Flickr on many social media sites, the decade-old photo-sharing site just released an iPad app that offers extensive editing tools for mobile devices. And because of the iPad’s retina display, early reviews suggest that Flickr’s iOS app may be more efficient than using older model computers for light editing. Flickr also offers 1TB of free storage space.

    Flickr for iPad is available free in the App Store.

  • WishBeen

    Wishbeen Google Play

    When Tripadvisor fails and your outdated travel books begin to weigh down a suitcase, WishBeen offers a solution to the most complicated, time-consuming parts of planning a vacation. WishBeen, also a popular travel website, delivers an app that allows users to search, modify, and create travel itineraries, find nearby spots to visit and tailor activities to a budget. Most importantly, travel plans can be downloaded for offline use when Internet access is limited.

    WishBeen is available free in the Google Play store.

  • Hooks

    As football season stats to pick up and a different fall television show airs every night of the week, the hardest part may be keeping track of scores and when new episodes go up on Hulu. Hooks eliminates this strange, 21st century anxiety; it is a task reminder app not for obligations, but for the things you care about and actually enjoy. No more missed parties, no more delayed celebration until you check the final results of your team’s game, no more missing your favorite band next time they’re in town.

    Hooks is available free in the App Store.

     

  • Brainwave

    Brainwave Google Play

    Brainwave integrates the sleek, Minority Report technology of hands-free device operation with Android phones. Brainwave asks which music application you wish to use (it’s compatible with Spotify, Pandora and iHeart Radio, among others), and then allows you to control these various music apps by swiping a hand in different directions over the phone. Not only is it good for the moments in which you need to play DJ with greasy kitchen hands or are serving drinks at a party, but it’s precisely the kind of fascinating technology that reminds us why we’ve allowed our lives to be run by phones.

    Brainwave (beta) is available free in the Google Play store.

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