The Bluetooth speaker market continues to evolve. But rather than delivering consumers a bunch of also-ran mid-sized speakers designed for adequacy, the speaker market is taking a cue from evolution. Bluetooth speakers are evolving to fill consumer niches. Like the beetle, a creature that has evolved from near microscopic forms to gargantuan entities, Bluetooth speakers range from tiny, pocket-sized offerings to huge, credenza-filling sizes.
I had the opportunity to try the DNA Pro 2.0 Over-Ear Headphones ($299.95) courtesy of Monster. I liked the use of high-end materials like carbon fiber and, most importantly, it does the job that headphones should do: produce great sound. I also liked that they are easily collapsible for travel, as I'm on the road a lot. The DNA Pro headphones offer Noise Isolation, which is like noise cancellation but no batteries are required. Again, as a frequent traveler, noise cancellation is great and no battery worries is terrific. I tried these on a six-hour train ride to New York City (and back) and they really helped cut out the background noise.
In honor of April Fools Day, and for those of us anxious to get our hands (wrists?) on an Apple Watch, here's an enterprising and entertaining story you can emulate. Hiné Matsushima makes objects out of felt... She calls them "Felt Sculptures." Hiné devised a clever way to make an "Apple Watch."
They say you can never have too much money. I don't know if that's true. Shakespeare had King Richard shouting "A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!" I don't ride a horse, but I do have a couple of old convertibles that have had the battery die on occassion, so I can relate. All the money in the world won't help you if your car and phone batteries are dead and nobody is around to help. That's why I was very excited to see the JumperPack mini from Cyntur.
Just as Black Friday sales have crept into Thanksgiving Day, it looks like April Fools' Day is starting a bit earlier. Or is it? Several press releases we have received here at iPhone Life m.gazine could go either way. Is a college really building a biodome over its campus? Not likely. Is Amazon offering a one-touch button that re-orders your favorite items? As unlikely as that one sounds, it's a real invitation-only service for Amazon Prime customers.
Just a quick note that refurbished Apple TV units are back in stock at Apple.com. Just a month ago, the Apple TV sold for $99, then dropped to $69. Now, for $59, you can pickup a refurbished one for almost half the original price, thanks to Apple's price drop oand the magic of refurb units! When Apple sells a refurbished device, it comes with a new warranty, and a new shell so there's no need to worry about scratches, fingerprints, etc. Considering that the Apple TV has no moving parts, there is really very little concern about buying a refurbished unit. I've bought three myself, so I can use AirPlay and send my iOS screen to just about any room in the house.
IK Multimedia made the iRig 2 ($39.99) product available last week and sent us a review unit to test out. The iRig is a guitar interface that allows you to process signals from any electric guitar and listen to the output on your headphones. It now can send signal out to an amp or PA. I tested the iRig with several of my guitars running into a Line 6 Flextone and a Roland guitar amp, as well as with headphones. I also tested it up against the iRig Pro HD model, and have to say it performed nearly on a par with the fancier iRig model!
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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