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.
It will be fun to see how the Apple Watch is received next year. Some reviews have been a bit negative, but I continue to be wowed by the many cool and innovative features. I've never liked wearing watches, so I doubt I'd ever get one, yet I'm excited by what Apple has done. It does seem like a very narrow market, though, since the Apple Watch only works in conjunction with an iPhone. In addition, most young people today don't wear watches. Details about the watch beyond what Apple said on Tuesday are emerging, as journalists write about their experience with the device and glean info from Apple employees. TUAW has helpfully assembled some of these details. The most interesting is how Apple ensures Apple Pay security when the device isn't on your wrist.
The Impact Folio from Tech21 ($79.99) combines a sturdy TPU shell with a masterfully crafted magnetic folio cover. This excellent mating of superior materials comes together to provide MIL STD certified protection for your iPad mini with Retina.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, he ushered in the Post-PC era. At the time, I remember thinking how we would no longer need a whole slew of accessories like laptop "pillow desks," monitor stands, keyboard drawers, mouse pads, or mice for that matter! For the most part, that prediction has come true. Many "must-have" accessories focused on desktop computing seem quaint now. Reading e-books in bed is great, but as great and light as the iPad is, it can be cumbersome to hold one for an extended amount of time.
Several retails are on top of the big Apple news, with impressive lineups of iPhone 6 cases to promote. Let's take a look at how you'll protect your shiny new investment.
To say I wasn't overly impressed by the Apple Watch would be an understatement. To say I don't like the Apple Watch would be an overstatement. I get it, the Apple Watch is a huge evolutionary step forward, especially for a company known for making shrewd and cautious moves when it comes to entering new product categories. However, history has led me to have what are perhaps unduly high expectations regarding Apple and their products. So when the Apple Watch was unveiled, and it looked almost identical to the Samsung Gear, and it was dependent on being within 30-feet or so of your iPhone in order to function properly (among many other shortcomings including lack of waterproofness and poor battery life) I was left with the awareness that I'd expected "more" from Apple in terms of what their new smartwatch delivered.
I love Apple products. They show great innovation, thought, attention to detail and practicality. So please don't get me wrong, I certainly appreciate the concept and technology inheret within the Apple Watch. It's a great device for what it is. That being said...
The smartwatch. Manufacturers have been trying to deliver on the promise of a full-featured wrist gadget for years. The pitfalls are plentiful: Battery Life. Charging. Water Resistance. Rugged Display. Comfort. Fashion. Features and interface. Price. With the Apple Watch, Tim Cook and Jony Ive’s team have addressed almost all of these areas of concern with Apple’s traditional attention to detail.
More. We were promised more by Apple and by the blogosphere, and today, we got it. The iPhone 6, a larger version of the iPhone 5, was a given, thanks to the success that Samsung and others have received by filling in that gap. But in addition to that, Apple didn't stop with just "one more thing" but gave us a lot more. Let's recap some of those "gifts."
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