I just got back from CE Week and I always try to travel light. Instead of carrying a battery pack and a USB charger as I wandered around the tradeshow floor and around New York City, I tried something new, namely TYLT's Energi 2K Travel Charger. This compact "block" has 2,000 mAh of battery life, a USB port, and a flip-down prong for charging via the wall. This eliminates the need to carry two separate devices and made my life a lot easier. Combined with a retractable Lightning cable, I was able to keep my iPhone charged and recharge the Energi back whenever I was near a wall outlet.
A recent interview by Apple's CEO Tim Cook suggests that voice may be more important to an iWatch than previously thought. I've used a number of smartwatches, from Pebble, Martian Watches and others. While the Pebble offers the best battery life, the Martian Watch offers the most promise precisely because of its Siri button. In addition to acting as a Bluetooth Speakerphone, there is a button that can be pressed to activate Siri. This is similar to CarPlay, where an audio-only interface is used to access Siri's functions, so there's no touchscreen to distract the driver.
Batteries and chargers—Smartphones and tablets are hungry for them. But if you do a search online, and good luck choosing a battery or charger that is not at least sometimes annoying. They will either be too heavy or too bulky, the power will drain too quickly, etc. But now the AUGMENT (case $24.95/charge $39.95) an add-on case and charging solution made for the latest iPhone models aims to change the status quo. The AUGMENT is a power pack that can cleverly ride around on the bottom of an attractive cover or fit into a pocket.
With Beats becoming part of Apple, there's room for an independent high-end headphone vendor and SMS wants to earn that spot. I've reviewed their Star Wars licensed line by 50 Cent and been impressed. Now they are pivoting (pun intended) in another direction, namely athletic earbuds and on-ear headphones, with help from NBA star Carmelo Anthony.
In addition to writing for iPhone Life I also consult on web designing and Apple-related computer issues, which means I'm the go-to techie amongst all of my close friends. So when our close family friend (we'll call him "The Dude") got his new Apple TV and a set of speakers to go along with the new set-top box, I was more than happy to help him set everything up. While the Apple TV lived up to its reputation and delivered a seamlessly well-integrated media experience, it was the Kinivo M2 Bluetooth sound system ($69.99 on sale) that really got my attention. If you are looking for a great home theater speaker set up, one that won't break the bank, the Kinivo M2 Bluetooth speakers perform incredibly and they're one of the best deals I've come across anywhere online, comparable to systems that are over twice the price.
I'm always scanning for unique and hackable tech, and a news item caught my attention about an app called SimplePi ($1.99) for managing a Raspberry Pi from your iDevice. Since I have been eyeballing similarly geeky tech (for file sharing, etc.), I had to check it out. If you are a Raspberry Pi aficionado, and looking for a nice app experience to help you manage your Pi, today is your lucky day. Not sure what I'm talking about? Read on to learn how a Pi could help round up your stray media!
I'm on a train back from CE Week, blogging by iPad with a compact Bluetooth keyboard. While it's convenient to travel light, I will be glad to get back to my 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. In fact, I won't be using that Retina display all that much, because I now have my MacBook hooked up to a pair of 24-inch monitors and the MacBook is tucked away in the new Hengedock docking station.
My Macbook has a bunch of wires plugged in at any time: Lightning cables, USB hard drives, Ethernet, video and more. I'm always looking for anything that makes it easier to disconnect so I can take my laptop and work somewhere else. Plus, when the Macbook comes back to its home, it's nice to have an uncluttered desk.
At CE Week, olloclip, the makers of the original clip-on set of camera lenses for the iPhone, showed off a version for the iPad Air and iPad mini. While some frown upon taking photos with a tablet, olloclip has embraced the phenomenon, even creating a funny and useful pamphlet on the subject entitled "iPad Photography: An Etiquette Guide."
Summer is here, and that means festival season. I've had to demonstrate my apps at various outdoor events this week. Making sure I have power where there are no outlets is always a concern. I also have to bring a stand or case for my iPad for display purposes. This makes the Kanex GoPowerPack ideal, as it not only offers up to 11,000 mAh of power, it has a slide out stand built in! I can display my iPad at a convenient angle and keep it running for hours on end. A 6,000 mAh model is also offered.
I'm on an Amtrak train heading from Rochester, NY, to New York City to attend CE Week. CE Week is like a mini CES, with hundreds of vendors instead of thousands; but it's a nice way to see the latest technology, in one location, in a short time. I will be writing about many of the new products this week and next, but for now, I thought I'd write about some of the gear that makes it practical to work on the train.
Monoprice has made quite a name for themselves lately, with their high-quality, low-price tech gear. Recently I had the opportunity to try out their newest pair of Bluetooth headphones, the Monoprice 10585 ($89.50). To say that these are an awesome pair of headphones would be an understatement. These are definitely one of the most comfortable pair of on-ear headphones I've ever tried on, at any price, and for under $90 these affordable and great sounding headphones might be hard to pass up. The 10585 sets itself apart from the crowd with a very unique sonic signature and physical design. If you think I'm kidding, then check out these specs:
The Anker TC930 Ultra-Thin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air is very similar in style to the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. It's not exactly a knockoff, but it's close: black plastic keys and tray, metal back, and magnetic attachments. The Anker keyboard one ups the Logitech keyboard with a pop-up stand that activates when the iPad enters the mounting slot, rather than relying on gravity for stabilization.
I've consistently been impressed with Catalyst iPhone cases, ever since their first iteration of waterproof protective cases for the iPhone 4. Each version of the Catalyst protective case has gotten better, with marked improvements over the previous model. The Catalyst + Survivor case saw the company team up with Griffin to provide not only some of the best extreme-duty iPhone protection on the market, but also one of the most affordable, premium rugged cases available. Now with the new Catalyst case for the iPhone 5/5S with Touch ID ($64.99), the company has upped the ante and introduced their latest model of iPhone cases. How does this case compare to its predecessors, and to the other high-level protective cases that are also available? Read on after the break to find out!
When a company creates an input accessory for a device that isn't designed for one, they need to decide what the accessory is going to do that the device's normal input method doesn't. The iPad was designed to use a finger as an input device, and although it supports multi-touch, the iPad's sensors see the finger as a rather blunt instrument. So the stylus market developed with two main branches: The first aimed to be a different or better kind of finger and the second added a feature, usually pressure sensitivity, that the iPad was not designed to accept.
All signs point to an Apple iWatch being released around October. Apple's boosting their Sapphire manufacturing, which could make iPhone screens more durable, but more importantly, it could make an iWatch that handles the bumps and grinds common to watches. Indeed Sapphire is commonly used already for traditional watch screens, and unlike iPhones, most people don't put their watch in a protective case!
Adobe made the jump into hardware on Wednesday, and for iPad users that means a few more tools to hone your design skills. The Adobe Ink & Slide ($199.99) work in tandem as a stylus and ruler for creating digital works of art.
Adobe has been hinting at the stylus and ruler concepts for a little over a year. Dubbed Project Mighty in the early planning stages, the final product hopes to give design professionals "greater creative control."
Mobile games usually come in second behind console and PC titles at E3. Fortunately, iOS gamers weren't completely forgotten. And while the focus of this year's expo still didn't rely heavily on the iOS platform, there were a few gaming accessories on display that may be of interest to iOS gamers, including several MFi controllers. Companies like Mad Catz and Razer had styles that fit the iPhone, while others had controllers large enough for the iPad. Here's a look at a few of them:
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