Apple and Bose have an interesting relationship, to say the least. Apple bought Beats by Dre this summer for $3 billion, their largest acquisition ever. Bose products, which had been available in Apple stores were recently pulled from shelves. Bose had sued Beats over noise cancellation patents, and Apple inherited that mess, but that matter has been settled.
Did you miss out on a great iPad deal during the Cyber Monday madness? Have no fear, Best Buy is here, and the savings are from $50 to $100 on the new iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2. The more expensive the device, the better the savings, so Apple's newest, most powerful tablets cost about as much as last year's models. For example, a 128 GB iPad mini 3 costs about $500, which is the same as a 128 GB iPad mini 2. Going big is a no-brainer.
When asked what's the best camera, professional photographers will often say "the one you have with you." That's why iPhones are increasingly being used, even by pros, for photography. But what if there was a way to make DSLRs more portable, so they were always handy? That's the concept behind Miggo's Strap & Wrap. This novel invention was demonstrated at the New York City CE Week show and, following a successful Kickstarter campaign, I was able to try it with my Canon EOS Rebel.
I've been a fan of UZBL since over two years ago, when I wrote about them here. Recently, I attended a conference for educators (NYSCATE) and was pleased to see them in their own booth. They've come a long way, and I got to try their newer Shockwave case, for my newest iPad mini 3. As expected, the three-piece design is quite rugged, thanks to a combination of air cells, thick rubber, and hard plastic. There's also a built-in screen protector.
There are a few certainties in life. Apple will change form factors, case makers will rush out new cases, and those cases won't fit in your old dock. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were anticipated, but case makers didn't get samples and had to rely on leaked schematics. The new iPad Air 2 is thinner and the sleep button has been relocated, so manufacturers have to develop all new cases. In their desire to ship as soon as possible, a lot of cases then and even now have issues. Sometimes they leave a big opening around the Lightning port, which offers little protection. Other times they leave too little room around the port, making it hard to insert non-Apple cables or fit in many docks. If you've bought an expensive speaker dock from Bose or another company, that's not what you want.
They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and since an iPhone is usually on hand for most photographers, professional or amateur, it's no wonder that so many photos are taken by iPhone. Still, there are times when a tripod is necessary, but who wants to carry around a bulky accessory?
Sony made Walkmans for years. I owned several, and recently impressed my daughter when I dug out one of my trusty Walkmans after watching Guardians of the Galaxy, which featured one prominently. Then Apple introduced the iPod, and soon, the Walkman became irrelevant. Likewise, Sony, along with Ericsson, made cell phones, but Apple introduced the iPhone and Sony is losing money on their smartphones. Sony makes videogame consoles and handhelds like the PSP, which are threatened by mobile gaming on Apple and Android gadgets. And there's always the ongoing rumor of an Apple TV which could threaten Sony's bread and butter. Sony also made and still makes smartwatches, but with the Apple Watch on the horizon, that's another market that could slip out from under them.
Apple has always been a strong player in education. They believed that if a student's first computer is an Apple, then that could influence their future purchases. It certainly did with me, as I first used an Apple ][ Bell & Howell (the black one) in high school, and while I purchased an Osborne 1, a Radio Shack Color Computer, a Sinclair ZX-80, and an IBM PC, I always had a special place in my heart for Apple. So when it was time to go to college, I picked a school (Carnegie Mellon University) that had a deal on Macs, and bought one the day I arrived on campus. I even applied for (and got) a job at the school's computer store, and became Apple's Campus Representative. I was at CMU when Steve Jobs came there to acquire the Mach Kernel for his NeXT Computer company, and I got to see him speak. So that first Apple computer set my career in motion.
At the last CES, iPhone Life awarded Best of Show to Ozobot, an emerging technology toy and educational robot system that had great promise. Ozobots ($49.99) are now shipping and we've had a chance to play (and learn) with them over an extended time. Ozobot is a programmable tiny cute robot that resembles the top half of everyone's favorite droid, R2D2. The domed robots can be customized with different color tops so kids can play with several at a time and still tell them apart. The robots get their programming not from a keyboard but via an optical sensor on their bottoms. The Ozobots "read" colors and commands that tell it to go straight, turn one way or the other, or reverse, etc. Kids can "program" the robots by literally drawing with markers on a page of paper. It's a fun way to program without ever touching a keyboard!