It never ceases to amaze me what you can do with an iPhone, especially when paired with add-on accessories. Case in point, Vaavud makes a Smartphone Wind Meter ($40) that attaches to an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone. Unlike most accessories that connect via Bluetooth or Lightning, this gadget connects via the audio-in jack, just like the Square credit card reader. Because newer iPhones have the audio jack on the bottom, you flip the phone upside down and run their companion app while holding the iPhone in the air.
With a slim and elegant phone like the new iPhone 6, you might not want to keep it in a case. But that leaves it exposed to scratches or worse. In that case you might want a slim case like the Tigris Shell Stand Case from Draco Designs. This soft polymer case covers the back and most of the edges of the iPhone 6 but what I like best about it is the leather back. It adds a touch of luxury, which is especially true of the white model.
There are earbuds, on-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones, but I was surprised to see the Open Ear wireless Bluetooth headphones from AfterShokz, dubbed BLUEZ 2 ($99.95). These attractive headphones use the bone conduction technology whose origins go back to Beethoven and you might find today in a Navy SEAL's communication system. The result is, you hear the music through the inside of your head, and more importantly, your ears are uncovered. If you're riding a bicycle, for example, you can safely hear traffic with the AfterShokz. They could even help some hearing impaired users the same way Cochlear Implants can help them "hear" the world around them.
There are a lot of portable battery packs out there, so to distinguish themselves, battery makers have to offer a combination of features that are unique. The TP-LINK 10400mAh Power Bank does so in a few areas. First, obviously, it offers 10,400mAh of power. That's a lot and rarely found in such a compact unit. The result is, you can recharge your iPhone up to five times. This is possible not just because of the battery size, but the energy efficiency of the charger.
You can never have enough power, or have a battery pack that's too thin, at least that seems to be the design methodology for the TravelCard Charger ($39), and I appreciate it. It's a simple concept, a battery charger the same size as a couple of credit cards. Many have tried, but to keep the size and weight down they don't include a Lightning cable and often use plastic which feels flimsy, and if it's to be kept in a wallet in the pocket, could break.
My kids wanted to setup the basement as the kid version of a Man Cave. Part of their wishlist included a disco ball and laser light show, along with a Bluetooth speaker. Fortunately, I was able to get the appropriately named ION Party Starter. At only $39.99, it provided the variety of effects we wanted in one very compact unit.
Your new iPhone or iPad is beautiful but it should be protected. If you didn't get a case this holiday season, Proporta has got you covered, literally. In addition to a wide array of cases and sleeves for iPhones and iPads, they have a 20 percent off sale going on to make those cases more affordable.
Life n Soul has a Bluetooth speaker that is like a mullet...business up front, party in the back. That's because the BM211 Bluetooth Speaker ($79.99) has a no-nonsense speakerphone, suitable for conference calls with multidirectional speakers, so the whole office can participate. There's a clever slot that lets you rest a phone or tablet so you can control your VoIP, phone call, Facetime, or, when it's time to party, your music playlist. I could also see using the stand, and speaker, at trade shows.
When it comes to Action Cams, there's more than GoPro to consider. Polaroid has an absolutely adorable little camera called the Polaroid CUBE ($99.99), which is a perfectly named product. The Polaroid CUBE has Polaroid's trademark rainbow pattern along the sides; the uninitiated might think it's a rip off of Instagram, but the truth is Polaroid had that look decades earlier—I still have my Polaroid 600 Sun camera to prove it.
You're probably familiar with those MedicAlert bracelets. If you're not, at least it's good to know that the EMT's, doctors, nurses, and other first responders are. Those are the metal bracelets that list any allergies or medical conditions a person might have so they can quickly and appropriately perform first aid. For example, my father-in-law's bracelet said he had a pacemaker.
OlloClip is the category-defining lens maker that lets users add wide angle, zoom, fisheye capabilities, and more to their iPhone and even iPad cameras. As the iPhone has become the world's most popular camera, it's no wonder that OlloClip has become so popular as well. It's also no wonder that they came out with the OlloClip 4-IN-1 Photo Lens model ($79.99) for Apple's latest iPhones.
Selfies are all the rage, but that doesn't mean they are great to look at. When you hold your arm out and try to snap a photo, it's never going to be as good as if someone else took the shot. There are some apps and Bluetooth gadgets like the iStabilizer Shutter Remote that make it easier to snap the picture, either by clapping or touching a button, but unless the phone is positioned properly, you're still going to get a dud of a photo.
While the world waits for the Apple Watch, you can "wear" your iPhone and other gear today, thanks to the FlipBelt. The FlipBelt is a stylish, remarkably expandable, stretchable fabric belt with hidden compartments. You could store an MP3 player, headphones, keys, a wallet, etc., and it wouldn't add much bulk at all. This makes the FlipBelt great for jogging or working out. Thanks to the wide variety of color choices, it's also a great fashion accessory.
If you live an active lifestyle and you're the kind of person who carries all kinds of stuff in your pocket, I have two nifty products for you: the Buddy Pouch mini ($13.99) and the Buddy Pouch for iPhone 6 & 6+ ($23.99). There's no limit to the adventures you can have with these revolutionary designs.
If you just received a new iPad or iPhone for the holidays, congratulations. But you'll probably notice that the sound from the built-in speakers isn't that great. Apple's emphasis on design and looks means that they put the speaker grill at the bottom of the device, facing down. It's hardly optimal for quality sound. If sound matters to you, you should consider the Soundmatters line of speakers.
Apple TV's AirPlay mirroring feature has been a great reason to own an Apple TV. Users can launch videos on a portable iOS device and "throw" the display to the big screen. Games can be shared with an audience as well. It's a great tool for education, as teachers can find a video on their iPad or iPhone and share it with the classroom.
Videography and the iPad don't usually go together. And that's a shame because the large screen of the iPad and even the iPad mini make for a great video editing tool. Without a USB port or SD card slot, transferring video files to the iPad is a hassle, even with AirDrop. Ideally, you could easily record quality video on the iPad and edit it immediately using iMovie or third party apps.
If you've been waiting patiently, or impatiently, for an Apple Watch but just can't wait any longer, or if you can't justify the $349+ price tag, I have good news for you. You can get an "Apple Watch" today, in the same way that I once bought a "Rolex" for $50 on the streets of Taipei, Taiwan. A Chinese gadget site called Everbuying.com offers a $40 clone of the Apple Watch that is available today.
To make it onto this list, headphones must shine in the following areas: They must be exceptionally comfortable, they must be well built and they must have superior sonic quality. No earphones that have to be inserted into the ear are included in this list and any Bluetooth headphones featured have to include a microphone for convenient conversing. Sounds simple enough right? Well, it would be, except for the fact that there are so many great headphone options out there. Coming up with a condensed list of 20 headphones to highlight out of the hundreds of great choices on the market was no easy task, but after a year spent studying the intricacies and nuances of a great many headphones, this list represents 2014's cream of the crop.
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