If you are a parent, you already know how interested your kids are in your iOS devices. And as much as we may try limit and monitor their exposure to this touchscreen technology, it's hard to blame them for being interested in our iDevices. After all, they are by their very nature so observant of us and of how "plugged in" we can be at times, not to mention the abundance of great, child-appealing apps in the App Store. The thing is, gear and accessories that might be perfect for an adult might be less than ideal for little people. With that in mind, here's a list of some great iOS gear that is well-suited for both kids and their parents.
The iPad mini is perhaps the most powerful compact tablet available. You can leverage the thousands of full-size iPad apps yet still slip your iPad mini into just about any purse, bag, briefcase, or even coat pocket. That's why I traded in my original iPad Air for an iPad mini 3. I now leave my MacBook Pro at home and rely on the iPad mini when out of the office or out of town. The one thing that's missing is a mechanical keyboard.
At CES, several vendors offered "second screen" monitors either intended to be used as "accessory" screens to complement a larger monitor or to serve as a single purpose screen to keep tabs on specific content. It's a neat concept, with some neat designs, that is only possibly now because of lower costs, increased supply, and new technologies and concepts like the Internet of Things.
The latest news about the Apple Watch reveals unimpressive battery life, yet at the same time, AT&T and others are suggesting that a smart watch really needs to function as a cellphone, independent of a smartphone. This is a bit of a money grab by cell providers who want customers to pay yet another monthly fee for yet another smart device. But does it make sense for end users?
It's always a total bummer when you lose battery power on the go. I know it's not something I can handle at all because my phone is my life. I live and die by that thing and if it goes down, so do I. The good people at Patriot clearly know me very well and sent me two of their FUEL + chargers to review: The smaller 6000 mAh($49.99) and the larger and more powerful 12,000 mAh style ($79.99).
The UNU DX-6 ($79.95) is a fabulous looking (and feeling) iPhone 6 case that comes with a screen protector and a headphone extender cable. The tough and sturdy case can add up to 18 hours of talk time (or 63 hours of music playback or 313 hours of standby time) to your iPhone 6, at least according to the technical specs. The technical hype turned out to be quite accurate in my experience.
Angela Ahrendts, former CEO of Burberry, is now Apple's head of Retail and she's putting her stamp on things already. This February, instead of seeing gaggles of Apple employees in matching t-shirts, they may now be wearing matching polo shirts (and t-shirts.) Apple Insider has received an email with the new attire descriptions and photos. The changes are subtle, but intentional. Employees will still have choices like short sleeves or long sleeves, and if they want to wear a white long-sleeve shirt underneath, they can do so.
When the Apple Watch was announced, we were told it would ship in "Early 2015." At one point, signs pointed to a February 14 date, which would just barely make it for Valentine's Day gifts. It looks like my wife will have to find something else for me, as now not only will the Apple Watch not make its appearance in February, but it probably will skip March and wait until April. According to Tim Cook, the first four months of the year qualify as "early" and the next four are "mid" and the last four are "late."
We love our iPhones, and soon, our Apple Watches, but the biggest complaint with such devices is battery life. As these gadgets get smarter, bigger, and faster, the battery life has remained fairly constant. That means battery technology is improving, but only at a pace that matches the power-hungry new features. That accomplishment is, and should be, considered remarkable. But it's not enough. The Apple Watch is rumored to get between 2.5 to 4 hours of heavy use or 19 hours of light use. Can't we do better?
I've been hearing a good deal of positive feedback from my peers in the tech press about the Blue Microphones' Mo-Fi headphones($349.98), so I was eager to spend some time sampling the audio performance and comfort that these oddly designed headphones offered. What I discovered was a pair of high-end, superior-quality headphones that manage to set themselves apart from a crowded field in a number of unique and distinguishing ways.
Nowadays, it’s more common than not to own more than one device that can be charged via USB. If that’s the case, you probably have a jumbled mess of wall adapters and various cords in different plugs throughout your workspace. To help alleviate at least some of that mess is Truffol’s Station 5 ($39.99).
Are you among the "Gold is Best" crowd? When Apple launched the gold iPhone 5s, did you scour the web and retailers in your area to find your own "golden ticket?" If you prefer gold but think the Apple version is too "champagne" for you and not gold enough, there is another option. As long as you don't mind spending $3,000 or more!
This should be the year of home automation, as Apple's HomeKit specification starts to take root, and CES had a number of products in that arena. The Ring Video Doorbell is a novel product that can replace a doorbell, using the existing wiring. It lets you see who is at the door and communicate with them thanks to a microphone and speaker, all via the free companion app running on an iOS device. This means you can be thousands of miles away and see when a visitor, delivery person, or intruder approaches your door. It's a great idea and at $199, it's reasonably priced. The Ring can also be operated by battery, so you can add a video doorbell to a gate or just about anywhere, as long as it's within range of your home's Wi-Fi.
The iPad introduced a new way to interface with our computers. Before tablets, our computers could rest on a desk, table, or lap. As iPads became thinner and thinner, they still put a strain on your hands when held for prolonged periods. This has caused an array of accessory makers to develop innovate stands for tablets and smartphones. This year, at the Consumer Electronics Show, there were several notable stands on display.
The Apple Watch is Apple's next big (or little) thing and new details are starting to leak out. According to 9to5mac, the battery life could be as low as 2.5 to 4 hours for active application use and up to 19 hours of combined active and passive use. Standby mode could last for two to three days, but it's hard to expect early adopters will shell out $349 to $1000 to leave their watch in standby mode. To make the battery last longer, don't expect it to constantly display the time. Like many Android devices, it will blank the screen to save power and turn on when the sensors detect you're glancing at your watch.
Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition, and we have a lot to cover in this, the first installment of Game Centered in 2015! After a brief period of relative quiet on the iOS game front, things are picking up, with 2015 widely expected to be the year that mobile games overtake console games for revenue generated, and many big name titles coming down the pipeline. Read on after the break for some of the latest and greatest iOS-related gaming news and info.
Drones, drones and more drones. Pardon the pun, but drones were all the buzz at this year's CES. Along with the iPhone-Life-award-winning, high-end, HEXO + drone ($1,149.00), and the ultra portable and more affordable ZANO drone (approximately $200.00), which received honorable mention and which you can read more about here, CES also featured several other excellent entries in the iOS-controlled drone category. Even though CES has come and gone, the excitement over the plethora of drones exhibited on the CES show floor lingers on.
I remember interviewing Oculus co-founder and VP, Nate Mitchell at CES 2013, back when his company was barely more than a humble crowd-funded campaign demoing a chunky, duct-taped box that strapped precariously on to your head. We talked optimistically about the future of virtual reality (VR), agreeing that the potential was great, even though consumer interest in this fledgling platform hadn't had a chance to gather much steam. Fast forward three years and Oculus is now a division of the Facebook empire, and we have Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighing in on the impact that this emerging technology will have on the world.
CES is over but the products that were presented are just hitting the markets or in some cases, aren't available yet. One of my perennial favorite product categories at CES is headphones and there were some distinctive sets introduced. Anyone can make headphones and make them loud, but Kidz Gear takes a different approach. Instead of trying to make them loud, they make them safe for kids' sensitive ears. After all, damage to the ear canal can be bad enough for old rockers like Pete Townshend, but for kids with their whole future ahead of them, it's an even bigger deal.
Every year, Apple updates their "A" series of chips that power the iPhone and iPad, prompting speculation that such a chip might find its way into the Mac product line. There are a lot of compelling reasons why that could happen, but there are usually more compelling reasons against it. Which is probably why it hasn't happened yet. However, the buzz is growing around an A-series chip in Apple's next low-end MacBook Air. Apple could control their destiny, using their own chip instead of relying on (and paying) Intel.