How the mighty have fallen. Sapphire manufacturer GT was lauded as the next great investment based on their arrangement with Apple. The speculation was that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus would have sapphire screens, sourced from GT, and would result in payments of $578 million from Apple, in installments. Alas, the new iPhones still use glass screens, and while some of the Apple Watches will have sapphire screens, the expectations were too high. GT has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and their stock has plummeted 90 percent to around $1.
Without the screen, what is the mighty iPhone 6? Well, it could be a trendy paperweight. You could use it for a game of inter-cubicle catch, or possibly to throw at an attacker. Let's face it, an iPhone 6 without that fabulous screen, is a piece of expensive junk. I know there are plenty of users with cracked or scratched screens who might refute this, but every one of them wishes they had either used protection or bought insurance. So, it surprises me when I see someone with a snazzy new iPhone in a case, sans the screen protector. Huh? For the price of an oil change, ZAGG's InvisibleShield screen protection has your, erm, iPhone screen's back, or something like that..
Buyers remorse. We've all been there. On Black Friday, I wanted an iPad mini with Retina display, but the deal on the iPad Air, with the same specs but a larger screen, made it the best buy (at BestBuy, naturally.) But I knew from my previous ownership of iPad minis and earlier iPads, that I was going to prefer the smaller form factor. Not only is the iPad mini $100 less (normally, except on that Black Friday!) but it's easier to transport. You can throw it in just about any bag or purse, even if it's in a case, whereas an iPad means I need a Man Purse, messenger bag, or backpack. I've dealt with my decision for almost a year, and I was okay with it. Until the Knomad mini arrived.
I don't envy the life of a case manufacturer. On the plus side, when Apple redesigns their gear, millions of customers have to upgrade their cases. But when the old iPhone looks just like the new iPhone, such as the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5s, there isn't much need to get a new case. But now that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are out, with dramatically new form factors, new cases are a must.
You can never have enough chargers or Lightning cables. Inevitably, when you need one, you can't find one. Thinium has released a remarkably compact charging unit for Lightning devices that collapses into the size of a couple of credit cards. Through Transformer-like technology, the unit expands to reveal two prongs to plug into a wall outlet, as well as a Lightning connector, and a stand which can support the weight of an iPhone.
Ah the dilemma of an early adopter... We get the latest gear, but when Apple introduces an entirely new form factor, as with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, we lose out on some of our favorite cases. So I was very happy to see a new package from Alto Collective ($35-$45). They make beautiful etched-wood cases, by hand, in Canada. I've tried other wooden cases, but while they look and feel great, they don't have the protection and precision that Alto does. Alto combines a custom wood back with a rubberized, textured border. This provides grip and protection and it should last better than other wooden cases.
Relying on the built-in microphone on your iPhone or iPad for recording audio performances is fine for quick stream of consciousness captures. But if you’re serious about audio fidelity and capturing high-quality recordings, you need a serious microphone for the job. Does IK Multimedia’s iRig Mic HD meet this demanding requirement? Read on to find out.
It's that time of year again. Right after a new iPhone comes out there is the inevitable deluge of great cases to protect your new investment. This happens with every iPhone release, but perhaps never more markedly than with the introduction of the completely new form factors of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. If ever an iPhone needed a case, it is these larger models, with their increased real estate, slick, rounded edges, and extra weight. Rather than clump a bunch of individual cases together into one roundup I'll be focusing on one great iPhone 6/6 Plus case each week over the course of the coming months. This week's featured case is Pelican's ProGear Voyager.
Out of a crowded field, the Jabra Revo Bluetooth headphones ($199.99) get my vote as one of best pairs of Bluetooth headphones of this year. Specifically, within the on-ear category of headphones, the Revo's performance is unparalleled. They are masterfully designed and show a remarkable level of attention to all of the details that go into making an exceptional pair of 'phones; from their intuitive user interface to the extreme torture testing they go through before they are shipped. I realize Bluetooth headphones aren't everyone's cup of tea, but if you are looking for a top quality pair, the Revos are the best your money can buy.
There are a lot of tip calculators and bill-splitting apps, but many restaurants frown upon patrons pulling out their smartphones. And now that iPhones are getting larger and larger, I long for the days of a truly pocketable phone. The folks behind Tip 'n Split have come up with a handy, dedicated device that makes dining out a little easier, especially for seniors. This rugged little unit includes a 2.5X magnifying glass, which makes reading menus and bills easier. There's even a flashlight button to light things up. Of course, the main point of Tip 'n Split is to make it easier to figure out the tip, and to split the bill among multiple diners.
I only ended up with the Unicorn Beetle PRO ($19.99) by happenstance. I needed a rugged case for my iPhone 6 Plus as soon as possible, since I didn't want to use it without a case, but while most case makers had plenty of cases for the iPhone 6 ready to ship at launch, few were ready with cases for the 6 Plus, and even fewer had cases ready for the 6 Plus that were rugged options. With good reason I felt I needed a heavy duty case for this large and heavy iPhone 6 Plus, so I took to Amazon and before long these rugged cases from a manufacturer I hadn't heard of began coming up in the search results, and their rugged cases seemed, at first glance at least, to be almost on par with Griffin's Survivor All-Terrain ($59.99) or Otterbox's Defender ($69.90), two industry-leading, rugged case brands. So I took a chance and placed my order, figuring it was only $20 in the event that I hated it. I can now say that not only was I immediately impressed by the overall design and build of this sturdy case, I've been using it for almost two weeks now, and I've already drop-tested this case with hard falls from approximately three-feet high. It's safe to say that the way this case performs and feels in the hand is definitely reminiscent of the Otterbox Defender or the Survivor All-Terrain.
There are several trends in the consumer electronics industry. Smart home accessories are a big thing now. Bluetooth speakers are big. And convergence is big. So it was nice to see the convergence of both a Bluetooth speaker and an app-enabled lighting unit, all in one cool looking gadget from Yantouch.
Want to keep tabs on someone (or maybe someone wants to keep them on you?) Consider V.ALRT (on sale for $59.99) which requires no expensive monthly services. The V.ALRT mobile tracking application can detect a fall, and has a panic button that can be configured to automatically alert and send SMS texts to friends andfamily, but the open API means that new apps will become available for this interesting and versatile health accessory from VSN Mobil.
I recently had the opportunity to try the Pencil stylus from FiftyyThree along with Paper by FiftyThree (free). Just as Apple is able to provide a seamless integration of hardware and software, FiftyThree has done the same with their elegant stylus and equally elegant sketching app.
Congratulations to the winners of the iPhone Life magazine CTIA 2014 Best of Show awards!
I have to applaud Sprint for trying to deliver a multipurpose gadget that offers quite a lot in a compact 4.7" x 4.7" x 1.1" package. The Sprint LivePro is first and foremost a mini projector, useful for delivering presentations on the fly. Of course, since it comes from Sprint, you might expect it to offer something related to Internet connectivity, and indeed it does. The LivePro also acts as a password-protected Wi-Fi 3G and 4G LTE HotSpot, letting you go online with a non-cellular iPad for example. It supports up to eight Wi-Fi connected devices simultaneously.
Have you heard of Grovemade? this company has blown me away with the phenomenal quality and beautiful design of its products, and the fact that its products are all American-made is like icing on the cake.
Walnut iPhone 5/5s, 6/6 Plus Case (starts at $89)
Bayan Audio has a wireless speakerphone that you have to get your hands on called the Soundbook GO ($139.99). This amazing little mobile speaker is the real deal, producing 15 watts of crystal-clear sound with dynamic tones, and boasting an impressive set of extended features: NFC pairing, Bluetooth 4.0, Smart Cover—all contained in a sleek package that can be shoved into a travel bag.
Okidokeys Smart Lock (starting at $199) Everything is going digital, right? Thermostats, lights, and now locks. I can't think of anything more convenient than a house lock controlled with your iPhone. Need someone to stop by your home and grab something? Kids forget their key? No problem with Okidokeys.
Apple had so much to talk about on Tuesday that some new products didn't get mentioned. Apple first introduced bumpers with the iPhone 4, in part to help with the AntennaGate problem. Later, the iPhone 5c got a bunch of brightly colored cases. Now, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus customers can choose official silicone or leather cases from Apple. The cases also come in assorted colors, but they are more muted choices. There's a (PRODUCT)RED option with proceeds going to fight Aids in Africa. Silicone cases cost $35 for the iPhone 6 and $39 for the iPhone 6 Plus. For leather, expect to spend $45 or $49, respectively.
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