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CES 2015 Recap: Creative Cases

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After a long week at the Consumer Electronics Show, it's time to reflect on what we just experienced. CES isn't really just a show anymore; it's a show of shows, each with its own theme. When I get back each year, my friends and family ask me what was "The Big Thing?" Because the show is so big, I've decided to break down the "theme" into multiple themes. This year, the different "big things" were as follows:



STM Harbour Bends Over Backwards to Accommodate Your Dock or Cable

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Too many iPhone cases, especially the rugged kind, obstruct the Lightning port and make it impossible to simply dock your phone. STM has gotten around this with their Harbour case in a clever way. First, the case has a wider opening around the Lightning dock than most cases do. I was able to dock my iPhone 6 in the STM Harbour case in several different docks that usually give me trouble with other cases.



ROCKI Makes Your Existing Speakers Wireless Without Bluetooth

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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.



OlloClip Magnifies Images and Their Product Line

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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.



Holiday Gift Guide: Smart Gifts for a Smarter Home

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The best part about buying a gift for family members is you get to enjoy the gift yourself, if you play your cards right! So gifts that make your home smarter are perfect for those who share a home with you! Here are some smart home tools that I use to make our home smarter.



The future of printing is 3D according to Sculpteo

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Forget 3D movies and television, the real future is 3D printing! It's not cheap, yet, but the folks at Sculpteo are trying to pioneer a new way to create truly personalized items from ceramic and other materials. Naturally, they have an app for that, and it supports the iPad as well. It lets you choose from an existing collection of designer-created 3D printable objects or create a personalized item like a mug with your child's silhouette built-in or an iPhone case with your custom message. I'm tempted to say the custom images or text are embossed, but that's technically inaccurate. The item is crafted in 3D with your edits. You have to see it to understand, and you can download the app for free and play with it.


Look to Livio to make your next car more iOS friendly

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Our readers know of Livio Radio (see my review here) for their Bluetooth in car radio hardware kit, available at your local Radio Shack, but you may not know that they have created Livio Connect, an API targeted at hardware makers and app developers. I had the opportunity to speak with Jake Sigal, CEO of Radio.



Bring a Bag of Rhythm to Your Next Jammin' Party this Summer

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Phil Spector gave us the Wall of Sound. Julie Andrews gave us the Sound of Music. Now, Bob Marley's family wants to give us the Bag of Rhythm. I've written about the House of Marley before, and their commitment to both quality audio equipment and charitable efforts through their 1love foundation, named after Bob Marley's classic song.



VIP Orbit: Groups, circles and orbits, oh my!

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I wrote about VIP Orbit a while ago, but they've made some enhancements that leverage the real estate of the iPad, and address some of the cosmetic concerns I raised in my initial review. As Hannibal used to say on the A Team, I love it when a plan comes together. Well, Mike Muhney, the creator of both VIP Orbit and of the highly popular ACT database program must love how the world has migrated to both circles in the case of Google and the cloud in the case of Apple and others.



Protect that new iPad

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If you're like me, you ordered the new iPad as soon as Apple's servers allowed, and you are waiting patiently (or perhaps impatiently) for it to arrive. Now is the time to think about protection. In fact, I sold my old iPad at SellYourMac.com and got full price because it was in such good shape. I keep my iPads and iPhones in cases pretty much full time and they look brand new. Now keep in mind, the new iPad is slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, and has a bigger opening for the camera, so there's a chance your old case might not work.


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