Even though it's still winter across much of the U.S., spring is just around the corner with its longer days, warming temperatures, and the promise of outdoor adventures. And after what has been such an intense winter for much of the country, playing in the beautiful spring air probably sounds pretty good to many of you right about now. To that end, we've rounded up some of the best, must-have gear for your spring and summertime fun.
I've been hearing a good deal of positive feedback from my peers in the tech press about the Blue Microphones' Mo-Fi headphones($349.98), so I was eager to spend some time sampling the audio performance and comfort that these oddly designed headphones offered. What I discovered was a pair of high-end, superior-quality headphones that manage to set themselves apart from a crowded field in a number of unique and distinguishing ways.
Bits&Coffee has released VideoSound 3, an iOS app that empowers users to create beautiful and engaging photo slideshows with music, add music to their video creations, and upload to Instagram, Vine, and Facebook.
New features in version 3 include Major interface update for iOS 8 with support for the latest iPhones (6 and 6+), the ability to create photo slideshows with music, and the option to share to Vine.
The Philips Fidelio NC1L on-ear headphones with Active Noise Cancellation ($299.00) made waves at this year's CES, touting a direct digital connection to your iDevice via Apple's Lightning port. Even though Apple (quietly) announced support for this headphone feature earlier last year, few companies have taken advantage of this connective potential, not even Apple's own headphone company, Beats by Dre. The ability of the NC1L to establish a direct, 24-bit, Digital to Analog Conversion (DAC) is impressive enough. Couple that with the fact that the NC1L draw power for their Active Noise Cancellation from your iPhone or iPad and it's no wonder that these amazing sounding cans are the recipients of iPhone Life Magazine's Best of CES award.
I loved the sound and comfort level of the new Wearhaus ARC headphones. I found theem over in the Sands Tech Expo area at CES 2015 (booth 75045). Though they do look cool with the flashing color-changing lights on the earpiece, the innovation extends beyond mere looks. Well-made material with smart wireless features set these $199 Kickstarted (and successfully funded) headphones apart.
A year ago, I bought our daughter an acoustic guitar, complete with instructional DVDs. That guitar has collected dust ever since. But now, I have the Zivix Jamstik which should change that. The Jamstik helps kids (and adults) learn how to play the guitar using tools they are already comfortable with, like an iPhone or iPad and apps. It connects wirelessly via Wi-Fi, or via USB to a Mac. The Jamstik works with over a dozen apps like GarageBand or other MIDI apps, as well as the included Jamstik Connect, JamMix, and JamTutor apps from Zivix.
If you already have made an investment in speakers and want to turn them into wireless ones, there are a few options. You could get a Bluetooth adapter, but you would have to deal with the latency and distance limitations of that technology. On the high-end, there are SONOS speakers which use Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, but they are expensive and don't take advantage of your existing speakers.
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.
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.
We know you've come to rely on the bloggers at iPhoneLife.com for helpful reviews of all the best offerings in the App Store. With over 1 million apps for your iPhone and over 475,000 apps for your iPad, deciding which apps to download can be overwhelming. That's why we asked all of our bloggers to vote for their favorite apps released or updated in 2014. Here are their top two apps in each of six categories!