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Expert Blogs

Add Some Color to Your Life with Elgato's Avea Smart Bulb

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Earlier I wrote a post about smart light bulbs from Connected By TCP. I'm really enjoying the ability to schedule the bulbs so that my porch and living room are lit up when I come home after dark on dreary winter evenings. The great utility of these bulbs is their flexibility in regard to scheduling. Plus, they're smart enough to know the time of dawn and dusk. Although I find the soft white LED light of the Connected by TCP bulbs appealing, I was eager to try one of the smart bulb options that offer color. Elgato was kind enough to send me their Avea bulb, and I've been having fun trying its different moods.



Review: Travelon Travel Gear

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I travel a lot. So does my family. When Travelon offered to provide some bags and other gear, I took them up on the offer and distributed the products across the family. Their bags went to Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Israel, and around the Mediterranean.



The best Compact Tripod Mount and Stand for the iPhone

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They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and since an iPhone is usually on hand for most photographers, professional or amateur, it's no wonder that so many photos are taken by iPhone. Still, there are times when a tripod is necessary, but who wants to carry around a bulky accessory?



ZAGG Slim Book for iPad Mini

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Slim Book ($119.99) is a sleek keyboard/case combo that works in multiple viewing configurations. The detachable case works with the iPad mini, and the Bluetooth keyboard has the same insanely long purported two-year battery life that the Rugged Book (see our review here) supports, but I found the review unit was not quite as rugged in other regards during my evaluation. It is "purty," but definitely not as tough.



Sony Looks for a Way to Stand Out in Wearables

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Sony made Walkmans for years. I owned several, and recently impressed my daughter when I dug out one of my trusty Walkmans after watching Guardians of the Galaxy, which featured one prominently. Then Apple introduced the iPod, and soon, the Walkman became irrelevant. Likewise, Sony, along with Ericsson, made cell phones, but Apple introduced the iPhone and Sony is losing money on their smartphones. Sony makes videogame consoles and handhelds like the PSP, which are threatened by mobile gaming on Apple and Android gadgets. And there's always the ongoing rumor of an Apple TV which could threaten Sony's bread and butter. Sony also made and still makes smartwatches, but with the Apple Watch on the horizon, that's another market that could slip out from under them. 



Ozobot Is the Future of Smart Toys

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At the last CES, iPhone Life awarded Best of Show to Ozobot, an emerging technology toy and educational robot system that had great promise. Ozobots ($49.99) are now shipping and we've had a chance to play (and learn) with them over an extended time. Ozobot is a programmable tiny cute robot that resembles the top half of everyone's favorite droid, R2D2. The domed robots can be customized with different color tops so kids can play with several at a time and still tell them apart. The robots get their programming not from a keyboard but via an optical sensor on their bottoms. The Ozobots "read" colors and commands that tell it to go straight, turn one way or the other, or reverse, etc. Kids can "program" the robots by literally drawing with markers on a page of paper. It's a fun way to program without ever touching a keyboard!



Sonos Offers Rare Gift Card Promotion This Holiday Season

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We have reviewed several Sonos wireless speakers and audio accessories at iPhone Life, and in this reviewer's opinion, there are few products that compare. The speakers sound astonishingly great, with solid wireless performance, and their streaming app and service library keeps getting richer and more refined. They don't often do sales or special offers, but the word on the street is they are offering gift cards and store promotions at select retailers for the Play family line. 



Big Savings for Cyber Monday at TYLT

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Black Friday has come and gone, but the Black Friday coupon code that TYLT emailed their customers for 50 percent off on in-stock items is still good for Cyber Monday. Just visit http://www.TYLT.com and add items to your shopping cart. Enter code CYBER2014 through Cyber Monday and get half off on some great items.



KoreaHallyu Offers a Wide Variety of Fashionable Cases

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They say the blondes have more fun. As a brown-haired guy, I cannot attest to that one way or another. But I can say that females in general have a lot more choices for fashionable iPhone cases, thanks to KoreaHallyu. And they're making a special deal for iPhone Life readers! Just use the coupon code IPHONELIFE to save 10 percent.



Sennheiser Urbanite On-Ear and Over-Ear Headphones

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I come across a great many headphones as a tech reporter; some are amazing, others not so much. With so many different models flooding the market, it can be hard for a pair to stand out from the crowd. Nonetheless, few accessories do more to enhance our experience and enjoyment of our iDevices. After all, even though our mobile computers have great speakers for their respective size, they can't match the audio delivered from a quality pair of headphones. Enter the Urbanite from Sennheiser. Available in either a compact on-ear model ($199.95), or a slightly larger, more noise isolating over-ear pair ($249.95), the Urbanite not only manages to successfully distinguish itself from the masses when it comes to sound quality and design build, it does so with a style and finesse that is rare in the industry. Read on to learn more about this phenomenal pair of cans.



Get Ready for That Glamour Shot with Glam Screen

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I'm probably not the target audience for Glam Screen, but boy is my daughter. When I showed her the screen protector that doubles as a mirror, she made the loudest, slowest "Aaawwwesooomme!" exclamation ever. And she's in some impressive company, as the screen can be found on phones owned by several Kardashians and other famous housewives and fashion icons. It's no wonder, since Glam Screen is an invention of Jonathan Cheban, fashionista and Kim Kardashian's BFF.



iPhone 6/6 Plus Case of the Week: The NakedTough by Case-Mate

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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. In this week's installment, we'll take a look at a simple and understated case that still manages to provide a dependable level of protection for your iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: the Case-Mate NakedTough.



Review: iBaby Monitor M6

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If you need a web-based camera that rocks, then this is a great choice, because it sort of, well, rocks. The iBaby Monitor M6 ($199.95) swivels and spins, but if you manipulate the controls the right way, you can also make it rock.



Apple Watch Distinguishes Between Short and Long Looks

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It's fun to see so many more details of the Apple Watch emerging as a result of Apple's releasing their WatchKit to developers who are creating apps. I summarized many of these details in a previous post, including the pixel dimensions of both sizes of the Apple Watch. An interesting article on The Verge also has a good summary, including some details that I missed. In particular, an interesting feature of the Apple Watch is that it will distinguish between "Short Look" and "Long Look" notifications. If it senses that you're just glancing at your watch, you'll get a single message, such as that your plane is boarding now. But if you keep looking at the notification, more information appears. In this case, the flight number, boarding time, and gate number.



iPhone 6/6 Plus Case of the Week: The Powerful by Love Mei. [Updated]

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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 the Powerful; a tremendously protective, extreme-duty iPhone case  of gargantuan proportions from Love Mei.



What to Expect from the Apple Watch Based on Apple's Release of WatchKit

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As my fellow blogger Todd Bernhard noted in this earlier post, Apple has now released WatchKit to developers, enabling them to develop apps for the forthcoming Apple Watch. This is of interest even if you're not a developer because it has revealed details about the watch that Apple hadn't yet announced. According to AppleInsider, the larger 42 mm watch will be 312 x 390 pixels and the smaller model 272 x 340 pixels. However, AppleInsider notes that the dimensions refer to the case rather than the display size, so the pixel density is unknown.



What to Watch for with Apple Watch Apps

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I had the opportunity to interview Sumit Mehra, CTO of Y Media Labs, whose clients include PayPal, Salesforce, and Sesame Street. Y Media Labs helps businesses with their mobile roadmap, artwork, programming, cloud services, testing, and maintainence. As a large digital agency, they keep a close eye on emerging technologies and markets. The Apple Watch is just such a device worth considering, so I asked him about it.



Apple Watch Sales of $10 Billion Expected in First Year

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There's a line from The Social Network where Justin Timberlake's character says "a million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A BILLION dollars." Apple could say the same thing to the makers of Pebble, the watch I wear, and the first to raise $10 million on Kickstarter. According to analysts, Apple should sell 20 million Apple Watches and earn $10 billion from those sales. That doesn't even count the inevitable apps that will be formatted and sold for the small screen. If you do the math (as I did) this requires an average sale of about $500, which assumes customers may choose more expensive bands, extra chargers, and of course, the $5,000 gold model. Plus, I've heard other analysts predicting 30 million sold, so this could be a conservative estimate.



Rumor: Production of Apple Watch Components Set to Begin

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According to the Taiwanese publication DigiTimes, which has fairly good sources but isn't always reliable, production of the custom-designed chip for the forthcoming Apple Watch is about to begin. This is a good sign, suggesting that this new accessory from Apple is on track for an early 2015 release. Some recent rumors have slated it for February 14, though an internal company video suggested it would arrive in the spring.



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