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Expert Blogs

Review: Inateck HB7003 7-Port USB 3.0 Hub

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You can never have enough USB ports (especially considering that the new MacBook Pro only has one) and the Inateck HB7003 USB 3.0 hub ($36.99) can turn one of your USB ports into seven.



Review: Braven BRV-HD Bluetooth Speaker

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The Braven BRV-HD ($299) is the newest addition to the company's lineup of rugged, outdoor Bluetooth speakers. Does the price match its perfomance?



New Light Bulb from Sengled Doubles as WiFi Repeater

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If you've had the experience of getting a weak Wi-Fi signal in particular areas in your home because of the distance from the router or due to obstructions, a Wi-Fi repeater is the answer. And now you can buy an LED light bulb that doubles as a Wi-Fi repeater.



Review: BackBeat Pro Headphones—High Comfort and Bluetooth Sonic Excellence

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If you are looking for a quality pair of Bluetooth headphones that won't break the bank, the BackBeat PRO Headphones ($249.99) may be the perfect fit. The BackBeat PRO is rich in features, and considering the build quality and specs that these headphones offer, they are definitely one of the better options within their price bracket.



Martian Watch Notifier Gets You in to the Smart Watch Owners Club at a Discount

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If you want a smart watch, but can't wait for the Apple Watch, or don't want to spend $349 or more and still end up with a watch with one day of battery life, the Martian Watch Notifier has always been an attractive option. Today, however, it's available at a blow-out price. Instead of the normal $130, it's almost half off, at $69.99 from BestBuy.com. Martian Watches differ from traditional smart watches by offering an analog face and using a regular watch battery that can last for six months or more. They add a scrolling digital display that notifies you of incoming text messages, caller ID, etc. The guts that power the display capabilities do require charging every few days via USB, but you will always have the correct time. Most people won't even know you have a smart watch, until you start seeing your text messages on your screen! 



Indie Project Corner - Gene Aikens wants Data in Your Pocket (Part 2)

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This is the follow-up post to our first edition of the Indie Project corner, where we talk to indie product developers who are crowdfunding and implementing a new project related to iOS. In Part 1, we interviewed Gene Aikens of the Power Company on the early success involving his recent campaigns on Indiegogo. In this edition, we are following that up with a product review of his iPocket Drive.



Start Your Own Business Making Custom Cases

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The iPhone and iPad ushered in the Post-PC era; and when the App Store launched, it created a new economy. As an app developer, I've been able to ride that wave and it has been an incredible journey. If you would like to piggyback on the success of the iPhone, but aren't a programmer, there may be another way.



Otterbox Defender and Symmetry Offer Style and Substance

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I had the opportunity to try the Otterbox Defender and Symmetry Series ($39.95 - $59.95). OtterBox gave me a variety of cases to try, in assorted color combinations. They offer a dizzying array of choices and have come a long way since the old days of basic black cases with the rare yellow or white option.



Indie Project Corner—Gene Aikens wants Data in Your Pocket (Part 1)

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This is the first Indie Project Corner post, a regular feature we will be undertaking to showcase noteworthy indie development efforts (mostly iPhone-related). It's not easy to get a crowdfunded product off the ground, as any who have done it will tell you, and iPhone Life wants to help by interviewing entrepreneurs and getting the skinny on what makes their products the best. In this first edition, we interview Gene Aikens of The Power Company, maker of the Smart Card, and the iPocket Drive. Gene sent us an early review sample of the iPocket Drive to check out. If you are looking for an alternative to network or cloud-connected storage, you will want an iPocket Drive! Gene shares some great insights in part one of this edition.



Rumor: New Apple TV Coming in June Will Include Siri and App Store

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For well over a year rumors have been floating around that Apple would come out with a new Apple TV set-top box that would include Siri and an App Store. Now, according to BuzzFeed, it's finally going to happen. Citing "sources familiar with the company's plan," BuzzFeed says the new Apple TV will be introduced in June at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference and that it represents a major overhaul of the device. That overhaul not only includes a new interface but also the capability of controlling smart home devices. With the introduction of HomeKit at WWDC last year, many had expected the Apple TV to play a central role in controlling HomeKit-compatible devices. It looks like that may be happening. 



Used Apple Watches Just a Matter of Time

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Apple products have always kept their value pretty well and there is a healthy marketplace for used MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads. I don't mind the "Apple Tax" because I'm likely to get a good portion of that value back at trade-in time. My Pebble Watch, which sold a year ago for $150, is only worth $20 on trade but the $349 Apple Watch should do better. Cnet is reporting that Gazelle already has plans to take in, and sell, used Apple Watches.



What Apple Gear Has Not Been Updated Lately?

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Apple may have just updated a bunch of products and introduced some completely new ones, like the Apple Watch, but there are quite a few products on their price list that are overdue for a refresh. The iPod line hasn't been touched in almost two years. Considering they list for close to the price of an iPad mini, Apple may feel that customers can get a bigger device for the same price, or buy an iPhone or use a hand-me-down iPhone, without a cellular contract, as a de facto iPod touch. The Apple Watch could take the place of the iPod nano, but at a much higher price.



Guitar Gadget iRig 2 Now Available - iPhone Life Full Review Coming Soon!

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Attention, guitarists! IK Multimedia announced that the iRig 2 ($39.99)—the signal converting wonder that lets you rock out with a kaleidoscope of filters and patches using the iPad or iPhone—hit the streets today! We have reviewed the iRig and related audio gadgets in the past, but this new version garnered one of our Best of CES awards this year, and a full review will be forthcoming. You can read on for the technical details and first impressions from my brief experience at CES.



Apple TV Rumored (Again) to Get Cable Channels

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Every year, analysts predict the Apple TV will offer a la carte Cable TV channels, and every year they are wrong. Sure, some channels like HBO and ESPN have added "apps" or buttons to the Apple TV, and the HBO NOW announcement, during Apple's Watch event, help Apple inch along towards a set top box replacement. This year is no different, as the Wall Street Journal is getting a little more specific and stating Apple could add about 25 channels and could do so this fall.



Pronto and Peel Let You Use Your iPhone, and Apple Watch, to Control Your TV

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I had the chance to try the Pronto Smart Remote ($49.99). It's a nice, affordable way to turn your iPhone into a universal remote control, and it will get better when the Apple Watch is available. The makers promise to make the app work with the Apple Watch, so you can control your TV and A/V equipment from your wrist! How cool is that? The Peel iPhone app also works as a TV guide, but it would be nice if it could leverage the full screen of an iPad. The app talks to the Pronto base station that sits within line of sight of your A/V equipment.



Serious Speakers are Sporty, Splashproof, and Ready for Summer

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I saw Fugoo's speakers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Recently, Fugoo gave me the opportunity to try its Sport Wireless Speakers ($199). Fugoo offers a wide variety of speakers, with different materials, textures, colors and capabilities, but they all have one thing in common. They are substantial both in weight and sound quality. And these speakers are waterproof, not just splash proof. At CES, Fugoo drenched their speakers in water and they kept on rocking!



Customize Your Apple Watch in Even More Ways than Apple Imagined

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The Apple Watch will be available in a wide variety of configurations, but there is one more way to personalize your Apple Watch that Apple didn't even mention. If you purchase the Sport version, and pick up a second Sport band in a different color, you could mix and match and have a band that is part green and part blue for example. You could use any combination of black, white, pink, blue, and green, perhaps to reflect your favorite sports team or college colors. (I can't do that for my college, since Carnegie Mellon's official "colors" were plaid!) I put together an animated GIF showing the possible color combinations.



Microsoft Windows Band Could be a Good Alternative to Apple Watch

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Before the Apple Watch was announced, when we learned that Nike was abandoning its Fuel Band, there was speculation that the Apple offering might be more of a fitness band and less of a miniature iPhone. However, that didn't happen and the Apple Watch is indeed bulkier than most fitness bands. Potential customers looking for a smaller band may want to consider the Microsoft Band. Not only is the Microsoft Band smaller, but it's cheaper too, at $199.



Review: JUNE Measures Sun Exposure

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With summer soon to arrive, we'll all be spending more and more time outdoors. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to tell when you've had enough sun besides noticing the sudden bright red coloring of your skin?



Review: Booq Cobra Squeeze Backpack

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With Apple's recent unveiling of the next generation of MacBooks (among other things), it's obvious that portability is becoming an even larger priority than before for both companies and consumers. Booq is staying with the times and its latest tech backpack, the Cobra squeeze ($195), aims to do more than just keep your tech with you.



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