While all the attention in the smartwatch arena was on Apple, Microsoft snuck in a wearable that looks more like a fitness band, but offers some smart tricks. Most notably, while the Microsoft Band works (best) with Windows Phone, it also works with Android and iOS. When you're in third place, you have to acknowledge the leaders, and Microsoft made sure their wearable worked with the top two platforms. However, Cortana, Microsoft's answer (and some might say a superior one) to Siri is the only voice command option. This could be a Trojan horse to get people to try the band and then migrate to a Windows Phone to take full advantage. But the Apple Watch should be out soon enough.
When Apple preannounced their Apple Watch, some naysayers complained that the watch doesn't work as a standalone device. It requires an iPhone to be fully functional. But those critics should be careful what they wish for. There are competing smartwatches that can accept a SIM card and access the Internet directly via a cellular carrier, but those wearables may require a data contract, and that can cost as much as a phone or tablet would cost.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently spoke with The Wall Street Journal at their WSJD Live event and discussed the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, with a brief mention of Apple TV. He approved of HBO's plans to unbundle HBO GO from a cable subscription, allowing new customers to get HBO without requiring cable, similar to Netflix.
Backup batteries are big. At least most of them. The team at Go Design Group thought the world needed a smaller battery so they kicked out an idea into the world, the idea of a backup battery that would fit in a wallet.
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 large and larger models, with their increased real estate, slick, rounded edges, and extra weight. Rather than clump a bunch of individual cases together I'll be focusing on one great case each week over the course of the coming months. This week's featured case is STM's stylish and affordable Harbour.
This is really two mini reviews in one. A while back the folks at Parrot wanted me to check out their A.R. Drone remote controlled aerial vehicle. So I spent a couple of months doing some product testing. In the process I utilized the quadricopter's two onboard cameras along with Parrot's FreeFlight (Free) drone control app to shoot some video, which I wanted to include with my reviews. Then the dilemma arose of where the heck to find the time in my busy schedule to both write a review and edit about 25 minutes of aerial video down to a short snippet that I thought people might be interested in watching. Enter the remarkable video editing app, Replay, which I learned about during Apple's live presentation of the iPad Air 2.
Earlier this year, when Apple's Eddy Cue said that "we've got the best product pipeline that I've seen in my 25 years at Apple," he apparently wasn't exaggerating. This year has been nothing short of spectacular for Apple, with the release of one innovative and impressive product after another. It would seem the creative spirit of Steve Jobs is alive and well in Cupertino California. As Tim Cook reiterated today, this is the "strongest lineup of products that Apple has ever had." Congratulations Mr. Cook, job well done. Now as Apple wraps up itsr last major product announcement of 2014, let's take a quick look back at what a year it's been for this powerhouse company as it proves itself to be more cutting edge and more relevant than ever.
I love my iPhone 6, but this iPhone 5 battery case from LifeCharge makes me miss my iPhone 5s. There are a lot of battery cases out there, and there's only so many ways to differentiate themselves, but LifeCharge found two ways that I appreciate. First, it recharges wirelessly, using the included charging pad. Just place the iPhone, in the LifeCharge case, on top of the slim, silver pad, and it starts charging. It's like magic! Since Apple is unlikely to adopt Qi or PowerMat's charging standards, this may be the closest we come to induction charging.
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 large and larger models, with their increased real estate, slick, rounded edges and extra weight. Rather than clump a bunch of individual cases together I'll be focusing on one great case each week over the course of the coming months. This week's featured case is Otterbox's Defender.
Twelve South HoverBar 3 ($99.99)
3 out of 5 stars
Twelve South, the makers of one of my favorite bookish iPad and MacBook cases (the BookBook series) also sells other items, one of those being the HoverBar 3.
Here is the simple value proposition of the HoverBar: Screw down the adjustable arm to the edge of a desk, table, bed or to the neck of a monitor and when you attach your iPad, it will hover above whatever the bar is screwed down to.
AS far as that simple value proposition goes, the HoverBar does exactly what it says. It is a high-quality product, matching what I have come to expect from the Twelve South engineering team. But quality does not always make for a good design.
Here are my issues:
I love the changing of the seasons. In fact October is one of my favorite months here in the US. From coast to coast, temperatures are cooling down, trees are lighting up with brilliant colors, and there's a refreshing nip to the air. With the return of the cooler weather, many of us are rummaging through our closets, as we put away our warm weather gear and search for our winter wear. If you are in the market for a new winter jacket (or if you're contemplating giving a warm jacket to that special someone) have I got an amazing recommendation for you!
The iPhone 5s is still for sale, and many iPhone 6 owners may be handing down their older iPhones to family members. That's what I did, and, since it's still worth $200 to $300, I want to make sure my daughter keeps it protected! That means a waterproof, rugged case. And because it's an iPhone 5s, I'd like to keep the Touch ID functionality.
Monster headphones have been in the business of making premium audio accessories for over three decades now, and they have built up quite a reputation by developing high-end audio gear. Over the years I've heard a great deal about the amazing quality of the audio gear made by Monster, the company served as the launch pad for Apple-owned Beats by Dre. So when I had to opportunity to try a pair of the Monster Inspiration Lite on-ear headphones ($269.95), I was excited to see how these headphones from the company that helped shape the future of Beats would perform.
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 large and larger models, with their increased real estate, slick, rounded edges, and extra weight. Rather than clump a bunch of individual cases together I'll be focusing on one great case each week over the course of the coming months. This week's featured case is one of the best rugged cases on the market: Griffin's new Survivor All-Terrain ultra rugged, heavy-duty case.
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.
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