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Expert Blogs

Skylink Offers Home Security for the Do It Yourselfer

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Skylink allowed me to try its SK-200 Alarm System Starter Kit ($149.99). This is a compact, easily giftable solution for anyone looking for home security without the contract and monthly payments. Because it is mostly wireless and compact, it could be a great solution for apartment or dorm dwellers looking to add a little security without permanently installing a wired system.



Use Your Old Fashioned Watch for One More Thing

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If you still use an old-fashioned watch to set alarms, but plan to upgrade to an Apple Watch, you have one last alarm to set. At 12:01a.m. Pacific the morning of April 10, the Apple Watch will be available for preorders. I anticipated this, and had already set my iCal alarm for 3 a.m. EST, when the 10th was announced as the order date.



Review: The Trident Kraken Case

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This past weekend, during a long train trip (over six hours each way) I had the opportunity to try Kraken iPhone Case ($49.95). I appreciated the kickstand as it allowed me to flip down the tray table and catch up on some TV shows during the ride!



The Power of the Force Touch, and Emojis

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My colleague Jim Karpen has already revealed the rumor that Force Touch may find its way into the next iPhone. But what is Force Touch and why should we care? Apple Watch ambassador Christie Turlington-Burns has been blogging for four weeks now about her use of the Apple Watch in preparing for a marathon. Her latest missive discusses the use of Force Touch as she reveals her family has Apple Watches as well. She can send emoticons from her watch to theirs, and using Force Touch, change the image.



The Evolution of Bluetooth Speakers: A Review of Four Speakers From Mini to Mega

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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.



DNA pro: A Powerful Pair of Headphones from Monster

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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.



Make Your Own Apple Watch for April Fools Day

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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."



Power Your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and Car with Cyntur’s JumperPack Mini

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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.



Real or Fake? Get Ready for April Fools' Day Gadgets

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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.



Apple TV (Refurbished) Available for Just $59

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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.



iRig 2 Review: A Guitar Rig That Turns the iPhone into a Portable Studio!

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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!



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.



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