The claim was pretty outlandish: "The Best Tablet Stand in the world." Well, I had to try it. And for the most part, that claim was pretty much on target. One exception is the name, "Plinth," which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. And the fact that it ships from the U.K. making it a little harder to get. But that could be remedied if Plinth ($32) gets a U.S. distributor or retail outlet.
The Apple Watch isn't shipping until early next year, but it's already having an impact. Existing smartwatches are dropping in price and trying to carve out a niche before the $349 version from Apple ships. Case in point, Pebble, the one that arguably started it all. The $10 million Kickstarter-backed project offered a smartwatch for the masses, at $100 for backers (including myself) and eventually retailed for $150. The higher-end Steel model sold for $250. Now the original Pebble is back to $100 (and $80 at some outlets) and the Steel is a more reasonable $200 (and only $150 at some outlets.) I appreciate the long battery life, magnetic charging, and waterproof capabilities of my Pebble, but I also like my Martian Watch which offers Voice Command via a Siri button. That watch was $300 but can now be picked up for as little as $230 at Staples. They also have a cheaper Notifier product line that doesn't include the speakerphone and voice capabilities but still provides notifications.
Many traditional watch makers sat on the sideline while smartwatches from Pebble, Motorola, Samsung, LG, and others were released. But now that Apple is about to release their Apple Watch, with heavy emphasis on fashion and the high-end market, those luxury watch makers no longer have the luxury of waiting. With the Apple Watch starting at $350, and rumored to stretch to $5,000 or more for the gold models, this is a shot across the bow for Rolex and others.
A year and a month ago, I reviewed the iPhone 5/5s Ducati bumper case by Draco, and sure enough, they have a new model for the iPhone 6. It's just as elegant, robust, and light as last year's model, just a bit slimmer to match Apple's latest iPhone. The bumpers are available in black, red, silver and gold, and if you don't need the Ducati branding, there's a non-licensed version as well. The Ducati models include an adhesive Ducati logo and matching lanyard, which you can use with your iPhone thanks to the tiny slot in the Draco bumper.
This is part two of my Holiday Gift Guide. Part one covered headphones and today's topic is Wireless Speakers. For the low-end "Good" selection, I like the Boombotix REX. The sound is good and it comes from a compact yet robust package. It's durable and water resistant, with all ports sealed by rubber flaps. There's a strong belt clip so you can take the Boombotix with you and not worry about the weather.
Every year, around this time, people ask me what they should get as a gift for some tech lover in their life. So I put together a presentation entitled Todd's Holiday Gift Guide: Good/Better/Best. This way, purchasers can decide what their budget is and pick out an appropriate gift! The categories I addressed include Headphones, Wireless Speakers, Stylus, Chargers, Docks, Smart Home Devices, and Smart Watches.
Ever since I started using computer back in 1982, with my first Apple ][ Bell & Howell Edition, I have needed to wear glasses. Staring for hours at tiny screens didn't help matters and I've worn prescription lenses ever since. It's just a necessary evil, with my job requiring so much computer interaction. However, Scientific American tells us about future phones that could do the vision correction on their own, allowing users to view the screen without glasses.
United Airlines is purchasing 23,000 iPhone 6 Plus phones for their flight attendants. I thought my family had a lot of iPhones but that's ridiculous! Seriously, each flight attendant will get the large iPhone for official use.
The Apple Watch is supposed to arrive "in early 2015" and some have even tried to nail down the date as February 14. While that would make for an excellent Valentine's Day gift for my wife to get me (hint hint) it would require a massive production operation in January. And that appears to be exactly what is happening, according to reports from observers of manufacturers in China.
The "official" Steve Jobs movie, based on his approved biography by Walt Isaacson, has had its share of turmoil. The Ashton Kutcher movie was rushed out, whereas this version has stumbled a bit. It has changed movie studios and lead actors. Now it looks like one of the supporting roles has been cast, with Jeff Daniels, star of critically-acclaimed projects like The Newsroom, may take on the role of John Sculley. They share similarities in appearance, so that's a good casting choice. But what I can't get over is Daniels is still in theaters in Dumb and Dumber To. I don't know if they are sending a message, but pushing Steve Jobs out of Apple was a dumb move.