I wish I were at CES, but must be content with reading the news reports. One that caught my eye was an announcement by Philips of noise-canceling headphones that plug into the Lightning connector port and that don't need batteries. They're powered by the port itself. As you likely know, noise-canceling headphones use microphones to listen to ambient sounds and then generate sound waves to destructively interfere with the sound waves in the environment. The result is silence, giving you the full pleasure of hearing what's coming from your iPhone or iPad. The Fidelio NC1L headphones use Philips' own 24-bit digital-to-analog converter rather than the converter built into your iPhone or iPad. You can read a hands-on review and see a video on Digital Trends.
I loved the sound and comfort level of the new Wearhaus ARC headphones. I found theem over in the Sands Tech Expo area at CES 2015 (booth 75045). Though they do look cool with the flashing color-changing lights on the earpiece, the innovation extends beyond mere looks. Well-made material with smart wireless features set these $199 Kickstarted (and successfully funded) headphones apart.
You could do it the old way, of course. Water and monitor your garden and lawn health manually. You may also waste a lot of water, and potentially kill your newly planted hydrangeas in the process. GreenIQ ($249) purports to take some of the guesswork and dilemma out of the proper care and feeding of your outdoor environment by monitoring the weather and adjusting your irrigation to optimal levels while you get to sit back on the porch and enjoy your garden.
A bed with sensors that automatically adjust to your position while you sleep (and retails from between $7499-$9499 depending on mattress size) sounds a bit like a luxury science-fiction story, but it is a real technology on display this year at CES 2015. The ReST smart bed indeed alters the pressure areas from inside the mattress based on your movements and they even throw in an Android tablet (iOS app also available) that monitors and reports on your sleep activity.
If you know portable power, then you know Anker is a trusted source for affordable, reliable, and efficient portable power accessories. At CES 2015, we were able to get the rundown on the latest and greatest charging and ZOLO portable battery packs ($29.99–$59.99 MSRP), and even learn a little about PowerIQ: The excellent technology that speeds charge cycles to any device...
Users of Android devices have long had the option of using external memory to expand storage on other devices, and now that option has come to the iPhone and iPad. The iBridge Mobile Memory, made by Leef, is a thumb drive that plugs into the Lightning port and offers up to 256 GB of storage. As can be seen in the photo, the iBridge conveniently curls around the back of your device. It has a Lightning connector on one end and a USB connector on the other so that you can also connect it to your desktop computer. Prices range from $59.99 for 16 GB to $399.99 for 256 GB.
CES is a great showcase to find anything for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and TYLT is aiming to meet the demand for extended battery protection with their newest ENERGI cases. That's not all we found on display at their booth however. Read on for the full skinny on what these power pro specialists are featuring in 2015!
Too many iPhone cases, especially the rugged kind, obstruct the Lightning port and make it impossible to simply dock your phone. STM has gotten around this with their Harbour case in a clever way. First, the case has a wider opening around the Lightning dock than most cases do. I was able to dock my iPhone 6 in the STM Harbour case in several different docks that usually give me trouble with other cases.
Jabra has been at the forefront of noise cancelling Bluetooth headsets since the early days of the iPhone. Their most recent headset, the Jabra Stealth, is the culmination of years of experience in a remarkably tiny, comfortable earpiece. I don't normally like Bluetooth headsets because they interfere with my glasses or are uncomfortable inside my ear.
You just bought a new iPhone, or better, received one as a holiday gift. It comes in a perfectly wrappable white box, complete with headphone, a charger and a cable for charging and data interchange. It even comes with a bit of iCloud storage for backups and file access.
What more could you want?
The holidays are over, but if you didn't get what you want, don't fret. GeekFuel offers monthly surprise gifts in 3-, 6-, or 12-month increments. Each gift box is about the size of a shoebox, and promises $40 or more of value. You can expect a wide variety of items, but they are all geek-oriented items such as comics, science fiction, and technology. A t-shirt is in each box (you specify the size) but you can also expect things like Pez dispensers, comic books, stickers, posters, mini figures, action figures, downloadable content, and more.
A year ago, I bought our daughter an acoustic guitar, complete with instructional DVDs. That guitar has collected dust ever since. But now, I have the Zivix Jamstik which should change that. The Jamstik helps kids (and adults) learn how to play the guitar using tools they are already comfortable with, like an iPhone or iPad and apps. It connects wirelessly via Wi-Fi, or via USB to a Mac. The Jamstik works with over a dozen apps like GarageBand or other MIDI apps, as well as the included Jamstik Connect, JamMix, and JamTutor apps from Zivix.
If you already have made an investment in speakers and want to turn them into wireless ones, there are a few options. You could get a Bluetooth adapter, but you would have to deal with the latency and distance limitations of that technology. On the high-end, there are SONOS speakers which use Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, but they are expensive and don't take advantage of your existing speakers.
It never ceases to amaze me what you can do with an iPhone, especially when paired with add-on accessories. Case in point, Vaavud makes a Smartphone Wind Meter ($40) that attaches to an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone. Unlike most accessories that connect via Bluetooth or Lightning, this gadget connects via the audio-in jack, just like the Square credit card reader. Because newer iPhones have the audio jack on the bottom, you flip the phone upside down and run their companion app while holding the iPhone in the air.
With a slim and elegant phone like the new iPhone 6, you might not want to keep it in a case. But that leaves it exposed to scratches or worse. In that case you might want a slim case like the Tigris Shell Stand Case from Draco Designs. This soft polymer case covers the back and most of the edges of the iPhone 6 but what I like best about it is the leather back. It adds a touch of luxury, which is especially true of the white model.
There are earbuds, on-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones, but I was surprised to see the Open Ear wireless Bluetooth headphones from AfterShokz, dubbed BLUEZ 2 ($99.95). These attractive headphones use the bone conduction technology whose origins go back to Beethoven and you might find today in a Navy SEAL's communication system. The result is, you hear the music through the inside of your head, and more importantly, your ears are uncovered. If you're riding a bicycle, for example, you can safely hear traffic with the AfterShokz. They could even help some hearing impaired users the same way Cochlear Implants can help them "hear" the world around them.
There are a lot of portable battery packs out there, so to distinguish themselves, battery makers have to offer a combination of features that are unique. The TP-LINK 10400mAh Power Bank does so in a few areas. First, obviously, it offers 10,400mAh of power. That's a lot and rarely found in such a compact unit. The result is, you can recharge your iPhone up to five times. This is possible not just because of the battery size, but the energy efficiency of the charger.
You can never have enough power, or have a battery pack that's too thin, at least that seems to be the design methodology for the TravelCard Charger ($39), and I appreciate it. It's a simple concept, a battery charger the same size as a couple of credit cards. Many have tried, but to keep the size and weight down they don't include a Lightning cable and often use plastic which feels flimsy, and if it's to be kept in a wallet in the pocket, could break.
My kids wanted to setup the basement as the kid version of a Man Cave. Part of their wishlist included a disco ball and laser light show, along with a Bluetooth speaker. Fortunately, I was able to get the appropriately named ION Party Starter. At only $39.99, it provided the variety of effects we wanted in one very compact unit.
Your new iPhone or iPad is beautiful but it should be protected. If you didn't get a case this holiday season, Proporta has got you covered, literally. In addition to a wide array of cases and sleeves for iPhones and iPads, they have a 20 percent off sale going on to make those cases more affordable.
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