iPhone Life magazine

CES

Prong is Back, with a Battery This Time

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The Prong case was one of the most promising cases when it debuted at CES 2014 a little over a year ago. It was the first, and only, case to include retractable prongs allowing it to plug directly into a wall socket. No need to carry a microUSB or Lightning cable.



Samson Combines Retro Style with Modern Tech

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If you want the latest technology, like I do, and you long for the old-school attention to detail of days gone by, as I do, you'll appreciate the line of microphones and speakers from Samson.  The Meteor M2 speakers remind me of drive-in movie theater speakers, but with much better sound. The speakers come as a pair, offering stereo sound unlike those old drive-in models. But their heft, thanks to the zinc die cast construction, harkens back to a day when things were built to last.



Add Natural Wood to Your High Tech Gear

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I love the juxtaposition of wood and high technology. I'm surrounded by the latest gear, so it's nice to have a little old-world influence in a gadget. Several examples of wooden "artisanal" gadgets arrived in my mail recently, and they are a pleasure to behold.



Counting Steps is Lame. Count Jumps with VERT!

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My daughter is participating in the American Heart Association Jumprope for Heart program. To prepare, I've had her try the VERT Jump Tracking Device ($124.99). While it's meant for professional and serious athletes, it gave her the feedback and encouragement needed to keep working. The VERT is a belt-clip wearable that's made in the U.S. and if you don't have an outfit that accommodates a belt-clip, they include an elastic belt as an option.



Valedo Makes Fitness Fun

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The fitness tracker movement reminds me of that saying about the weather. Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Pedometers and trackers are helpful, but they are observers. I discovered a cool gadget at CES that actually improves your health. The Valedo is a two-piece wearable that sticks to your chest and lower back using the 100 included disposable stickers. The two lightweight sensors work together to determine your posture and position, while you "play" a 3D interactive game.



Versatile Cases from Verus

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The hard part about choosing a case from Verus is that there are so many choices. And the difference between the cases are subtle but significant. I had the opportunity to try several of their cases, for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and it was quite difficult to pick a favorite. So let's start with what they all have in common. They offer all-around protection, which includes the bottom of the iPhone, where many cases leave the phone vulnerable.



Keep Your Phone Steady As She Goes While Driving With Airframe Vent Clip

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I've tried vent clips before as a way to keep my phone in place in my car, but many of them have springs or plastic clips that don't do a good job or break. If that leads to a phone falling, that could be an expensive problem. So my phone usually ends up in a cup holder, which makes it harder to access for GPS navigation, music control, or phone calls. Of course, make sure you don't drive when distracted, or let yourself be distracted while driving!



Second Screens in Several Sizes

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At CES, several vendors offered "second screen" monitors either intended to be used as "accessory" screens to complement a larger monitor or to serve as a single purpose screen to keep tabs on specific content. It's a neat concept, with some neat designs, that is only possibly now because of lower costs, increased supply, and new technologies and concepts like the Internet of Things.



CES Recap: Home (and Pet) Monitoring!

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This should be the year of home automation, as Apple's HomeKit specification starts to take root, and CES had a number of products in that arena. The Ring Video Doorbell is a novel product that can replace a doorbell, using the existing wiring. It lets you see who is at the door and communicate with them thanks to a microphone and speaker, all via the free companion app running on an iOS device. This means you can be thousands of miles away and see when a visitor, delivery person, or intruder approaches your door. It's a great idea and at $199, it's reasonably priced. The Ring can also be operated by battery, so you can add a video doorbell to a gate or just about anywhere, as long as it's within range of your home's Wi-Fi.



CES: Stands That Deliver

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The iPad introduced a new way to interface with our computers. Before tablets, our computers could rest on a desk, table, or lap. As iPads became thinner and thinner, they still put a strain on your hands when held for prolonged periods. This has caused an array of accessory makers to develop innovate stands for tablets and smartphones.  This year, at the Consumer Electronics Show, there were several notable stands on display.



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