I'm on a train back from CE Week, blogging by iPad with a compact Bluetooth keyboard. While it's convenient to travel light, I will be glad to get back to my 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. In fact, I won't be using that Retina display all that much, because I now have my MacBook hooked up to a pair of 24-inch monitors and the MacBook is tucked away in the new Hengedock docking station.
My Macbook has a bunch of wires plugged in at any time: Lightning cables, USB hard drives, Ethernet, video and more. I'm always looking for anything that makes it easier to disconnect so I can take my laptop and work somewhere else. Plus, when the Macbook comes back to its home, it's nice to have an uncluttered desk.
At CE Week, olloclip, the makers of the original clip-on set of camera lenses for the iPhone, showed off a version for the iPad Air and iPad mini. While some frown upon taking photos with a tablet, olloclip has embraced the phenomenon, even creating a funny and useful pamphlet on the subject entitled "iPad Photography: An Etiquette Guide."
Summer is here, and that means festival season. I've had to demonstrate my apps at various outdoor events this week. Making sure I have power where there are no outlets is always a concern. I also have to bring a stand or case for my iPad for display purposes. This makes the Kanex GoPowerPack ideal, as it not only offers up to 11,000 mAh of power, it has a slide out stand built in! I can display my iPad at a convenient angle and keep it running for hours on end. A 6,000 mAh model is also offered.
I'm on an Amtrak train heading from Rochester, NY, to New York City to attend CE Week. CE Week is like a mini CES, with hundreds of vendors instead of thousands; but it's a nice way to see the latest technology, in one location, in a short time. I will be writing about many of the new products this week and next, but for now, I thought I'd write about some of the gear that makes it practical to work on the train.
Monoprice has made quite a name for themselves lately, with their high-quality, low-price tech gear. Recently I had the opportunity to try out their newest pair of Bluetooth headphones, the Monoprice 10585 ($89.50). To say that these are an awesome pair of headphones would be an understatement. These are definitely one of the most comfortable pair of on-ear headphones I've ever tried on, at any price, and for under $90 these affordable and great sounding headphones might be hard to pass up. The 10585 sets itself apart from the crowd with a very unique sonic signature and physical design. If you think I'm kidding, then check out these specs:
The Anker TC930 Ultra-Thin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air is very similar in style to the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. It's not exactly a knockoff, but it's close: black plastic keys and tray, metal back, and magnetic attachments. The Anker keyboard one ups the Logitech keyboard with a pop-up stand that activates when the iPad enters the mounting slot, rather than relying on gravity for stabilization.
I've consistently been impressed with Catalyst iPhone cases, ever since their first iteration of waterproof protective cases for the iPhone 4. Each version of the Catalyst protective case has gotten better, with marked improvements over the previous model. The Catalyst + Survivor case saw the company team up with Griffin to provide not only some of the best extreme-duty iPhone protection on the market, but also one of the most affordable, premium rugged cases available. Now with the new Catalyst case for the iPhone 5/5S with Touch ID ($64.99), the company has upped the ante and introduced their latest model of iPhone cases. How does this case compare to its predecessors, and to the other high-level protective cases that are also available? Read on after the break to find out!
When a company creates an input accessory for a device that isn't designed for one, they need to decide what the accessory is going to do that the device's normal input method doesn't. The iPad was designed to use a finger as an input device, and although it supports multi-touch, the iPad's sensors see the finger as a rather blunt instrument. So the stylus market developed with two main branches: The first aimed to be a different or better kind of finger and the second added a feature, usually pressure sensitivity, that the iPad was not designed to accept.
All signs point to an Apple iWatch being released around October. Apple's boosting their Sapphire manufacturing, which could make iPhone screens more durable, but more importantly, it could make an iWatch that handles the bumps and grinds common to watches. Indeed Sapphire is commonly used already for traditional watch screens, and unlike iPhones, most people don't put their watch in a protective case!
Adobe made the jump into hardware on Wednesday, and for iPad users that means a few more tools to hone your design skills. The Adobe Ink & Slide ($199.99) work in tandem as a stylus and ruler for creating digital works of art.
Adobe has been hinting at the stylus and ruler concepts for a little over a year. Dubbed Project Mighty in the early planning stages, the final product hopes to give design professionals "greater creative control."
Mobile games usually come in second behind console and PC titles at E3. Fortunately, iOS gamers weren't completely forgotten. And while the focus of this year's expo still didn't rely heavily on the iOS platform, there were a few gaming accessories on display that may be of interest to iOS gamers, including several MFi controllers. Companies like Mad Catz and Razer had styles that fit the iPhone, while others had controllers large enough for the iPad. Here's a look at a few of them:
Case manufacturers use mockups in order to make cases and have them ready when new iPhones become available. Those mockups are dummy iPhones based on the specs of the actual device. Which means they can give a sense for what the new iPhones will look like. According to AppleInsider, over the weekend, Sonny Dickson, who has in the past been the first to post leaked photos of new iOS devices, posted to Twitter photos of mockups for the expected 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones. This is yet one more bit of evidence that larger phones are coming, with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 expected to be announced in September. The mockups show styling continuity with the iPad Air and iPad mini, with the same sort of rounded edges. The similar shape of the two mockups suggests that the new larger phones will share the same aspect ratio—which would be expected from Apple, as they typically try to make it easy for developers to port their apps to differently sized models.
I just bought a mophie charge case that turned my slim, light iPhone into a river rock that pulls my pants down and barely fits in my back pocket (I have loose pants)! No slap at mophie, as I love their chargers (the space pack case is insanely cool)! You could say I'm looking for something a bit less bulky that doesn't heat my phone up hot enough to fry an egg (I exaggerate).
An interesting article on 9To5Mac outlines how many of the new features in iOS 8 are well suited to the small display of an iWatch or other wearable device that Apple is expected to announce in October. The article says that the small app-associated widgets that developers will be able to create for the new Notification Center are just the sort of applets that would work well on an iWatch. The app could push the same content to both the Notification Center widget and to the wearable. In addition, the quick interactive notifications in iOS 8, without your having to go to the respective app, is just the sort of feature you'd expect in an iWatch. When a text message arrives, you'd like to be able to respond right from your wrist. And features such as QuickType and audio and voice messaging will make quick responses easy.
Apple’s so-called iWatch is still just a rumor, but at least one analyst thinks such a device would be a best-seller when released, with 21 million units expected to sell in the first year alone.
The blogosphere was buzzing with rumors about the so-called iWatch on Friday, with a news report on Nikkei Asian Review saying Apple was planning to come out with a wearable device and a report on Re/Code saying Apple's tentative launch date for the device will be October. In addition, the Nikkei report, citing industry sources, also said that Apple is confident in the market for the device and is planning to manufacture 3–5 million units per month. The design is currently being finalized and it will likely have a curved LED display. Plus, it's expected to have a focus on health, and will be able to track things such as calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose, and blood oxygen levels.
As expected, Apple introduced HomeKit, a platform to standardize new and existing home automation systems. They didn't announce any new hardware, but that's probably for the best. Rather than stifle competition, HomeKit can help encourage competing vendors like Lowes, Schlage, Google's Nest and others by making it easy to work together. Lights, locks, thermostats, garage door openers from different manufacturers can now be controlled by Siri or third-party apps, as long as the devices leverage iOS 8 and HealthKit.
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