Recently, I wrote about the XSPIN, a handy gadget that connects to your stationary bicycle (or traditional bicycle on a stationary mount) but I wanted an expert opinion. My colleague, Dennis Wurster, is both an avid cycler and a Mac and iPhone expert. Here is his expert review:
Whether you want a tiny speaker to boost the volume of your iPhone or you want to wirelessly share your music with others, X-Mini has a speaker for you. Introduced at CES, they offer the X-Mini Me which has an audio jack for connecting to your phone via cable, or the X-Mini We which adds a wireless Bluetooth option.
Updated Article 1/25/14:
WOW. I had to update this previously glowing article of what had been a well-made app and service to reflect the poor business decisions made by LogMeIn. First, they had one of the more expensive apps at $20 to $30, and more recently, it was as much as $130. But I still recommended it because it connected to their FREE service, making the up-front investment worthwhile.
Now, the Free service is gone, and the app has been pulled and is useless. Users have seven days to convert to a paid account of $50 to $100 or more. When that happens to a free or even $0.99 app, it's one thing and understandable, but with $30 to $130 app, that's a bad investment and bad policy.
Apple has improved the camera in their iPhone with each iteration, but the microphone hadn't changed much. Sure, there's noise cancelation, but the position of the microphone is problematic, and it certainly doesn't pick up stereo audio.
I had the opportunity to preview Nommons: Math Universe before it was released, at a press event in Los Angeles, during the App Developers Conference where I was speaking. I'm glad I got the chance, because as it turned out, my daughter was struggling with math at that very time. I knew an app ought to help her somehow, as it can be much more interactive than flash cards.
There are so many phone and tablet cases out there that you have to do something special to stand out, especially at CES. Nuevue thinks they've hit on something different with their cases that clean each time you insert or remove your device. This is possible thanks to the antimicrobial microfiber lining on both sides of the case's interior. A notch at the bottom makes it easy to push the phone out when needed.
What's better than one cool item? Two cool items. And what's better than that? Two-in-one! And that's what you get with the Nomad brush mini 2 ($35). It's a traditional stylus on one end, and on the other, a paintbrush-style tip. You can even retract the paintbrush tip, adjusting the length of the brush for the desired control.
Forget that BlackBerry is suing Typo Products, the company that makes the TYPO Keyboard. Forget that Ryan Seacrest is a backer of Typo Products. Forget that their initial production run has sold out. I picked up one of the keyboard cases at CES and was able to try it out.
My colleagues and I at iPhone Life have written about the OlloClip several times, and it's a great clip-on accessory that adds different lenses for your iPhone camera. The fatal flaw, however, has been that it requires a naked iPhone, and I like to keep my iPhone in a case.
As you can imagine, there are plenty of docks and cables at CES, so it's hard to stand out. Yet, three vendors were able to do so.
First, HengeDocks offered the massive Gravitas. This is a great dock and a great name for it, as the first thing you will notice is the weight. This is a dock that is meant to stay put, and allow for undocking even an iPad with one hand.