By Rheanne Taylor updated on 05/18/2016
Looking for a glimpse into the future? That's why hundreds of thousands of people flock to Las Vegas each year for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, where tech companies from all over the world debut their most innovative new products.
A dedicated team of iPhone Life writers combed the far reaches of every hall to find the coolest new tech for your iPhone or iPad. Our Best of CES 2016 awards went to the most forward-thinking, creative, and useful iOS-related gear coming to market this year. We couldn't have done it without our all-star crew, Becca Ludlum and Todd Bernhard.
This charging station by ChargeHub lets you to charge up to seven of your iDevices at a time, allowing you to keep your home and workspace tidy and free of excess wires. The charging station is available in seven colors and comes in two different shapes: round and square. You can even personalize it with your own artwork or logo.
Withings Thermo ($99.99)
We were so excited to see a smart alternative to today’s standard thermometer. The Withings Thermo lets you monitor your temperature simply by placing the device’s sensor on your forehead. It then syncs the data to its corresponding app, where you can keep track of your temperature readings and symptoms, as well as receive important reminders.
Parrot Disco Drone (TBA)
Drones are becoming increasingly popular among consumers, and we were definitely impressed by Parrot’s new fixed wing Disco drone. We loved its lightweight build and simple “ready-to-fly” design. Simply toss this baby in the air and get a birds-eye view of the world below using its corresponding app.
Speck Pocket VR (TBA)
We really enjoyed trying out Speck’s latest Pocket VR firsthand! This product works with your iPhone to create an immersive virtual reality experience that can be easily folded up and transported wherever you go. The viewer comes with a Speck CandyShell Grip case and can fold completely flat for easy storage.
We haven’t seen very many products designed for the Apple Watch that have managed to integrate their own magnetic charging puck, so we were pretty impressed by Belkin’s Watch Valet. It’s incredibly sleek-looking with its metal chrome finish armrest and weighted base, making it the perfect addition to your nightstand.
Outdoor Tech Chips Wireless Helmet Audio ($129.95)
These neat little guys are meant to easily fit into the helmets of skiers and snowboarders. Simply drop the Chips into the liner of your ski helmet and then make calls and listen to music to your heart’s content. The integration of its 2-button control system ensures you never have to remove your gloves to take a call.
Tylt Energi 2.0 Backpack ($169.99)
This backpack by Tylt immediately captured our attention with its removable 20,800 mAh battery pack and over 1,550 cubic inches of internal space. The Energi 2.0 can charge up to three of your devices at once, featuring charging pass-thrus leading to seven internal compartments—including a dedicated laptop and tablet compartment—so you can keep your gear as tidy and organized as possible.
Libratone Zipp ($299)
We’ve been fans of the sleek, portable design of Libratone’s speakers for a while so, naturally, we were excited to see our favorite speaker get an upgrade. The latest Zipp boasts a selection of mesh-fabric covers in a variety of new colors, as well as multi-room connectivity and a built-in digital amplifier meant to give your music an extra boost.
Incipio ClamCase+ Backlit Keyboard Case ($169.99)
Incipio came out with a ton of great new products this year, but we finally determined that the ClamCase+ was our top pick. It pairs perfectly with Apple’s new iPad Pro, transforming the tablet into a MacBook-style device. And the case, which sports ClamCase’s signature design and 360-degree hinge, features a full-sized backlit keyboard, sleep/awake functionality, and a built-in slot designed to hold your Apple Pencil.
We can’t believe we nearly passed by this hidden gem at CES! This tempered glass screen protector features an invisible touch-sensitive layer that allows you to easily activate functions located at the top corners of your screen (such as the Back, Edit, or Done button) from the bottom of your screen instead. No need for Apple’s Reachability anymore (and let’s face it—nobody likes Reachability).
Scosche boomBOTTLE H2O+
(This product is not available yet.)
The rugged boomBOTTLE H2O+ is the updated version of its predecessor (the boomBOTTLE H20) and sports a compact, waterproof design that makes it the ideal speaker for outdoor adventures or trips to the pool. The speaker floats when submerged in water, so you never have to worry about losing it, and it's small enough that you can easily stick it in a cup holder or in the water bottle cage of your bike. This newer speaker also offers 360-degree sound, 11+ hours of music playback, and dual pairing technology that allows you to pair two speakers together to offer stereo sound.
MESH Project by Sony ($199)
MESH Project is Sony’s way of bringing awesome tech into the hand of the common user. MESH is a tag that’s shaped like a block and can be attached to just about anything. Each tag has a different function. The Move Tag allows you to attach a sound to movement; attach this tag to your play swords or stuffed animals and when the object is moved you get sound. There are 6 more tags, each with their own function, Button, LED, Motion, Brightness, Temperature & Humidity, and GPIO. Accompanied by an app, you can give new life to old things.
LG Portable & Wireless Rolly Keyboard ($119.99)
LG’s new Rolly Keyboard allows for comfort and portability in ways you may not have seen before. This tactile keyboard has physical keys like you’re used to using, and a dock that allows you to connect your smartphone or tablet to it as well. The best part? The Rolly Keyboard by LG actually rolls up and can be stored anywhere.
Olloclip Active Lens ($99.99)
We've been fans of Olloclip's lenses for a long time, so we were excited to see that they had added a few more lens options to their collection. The Active Lens in particular caught our attenion. This professional-quality lens is the perfect accessory for your outdoor adventures or other activities, allowing you to use the Ultra-Wide lens to capture a wide range of those picturesque mountain scenes you love, or the Telephoto lens to zoom in on far-away subjects.
As if this hearing aid’s discreet size and comfortable design isn’t already great enough, it also works with a companion iOS app that lets you adjust its volume and bass all from your iPhone and Apple Watch, making it an obvious winner for our Best of Show award. The hearing aids are made of high-quality material, ensuring that they are protected from sweat and dust.
Sphero BB-8 Droid ($149.99)
Remember that cute little spherical droid in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Well, Sphero has created a replica of the droid (known as BB-8) that you can control from your iPhone. The free companion app not only lets you control the robot's movement, but you can also project hologram videos, just like in the film. And soon, the company will release a Force Control wristband which will translate arm movements into commands so you can use the "force" to control BB-8!
PlusUs LifeCard Portable Charger ($59.95)
It's hard to impress us with something as mundane as a portable charger, but the LifeCard is thin enough to fit in your wallet and it's also incredibly well built, sporting a solid metal exterior in colors designed to match your latest iPhone. And the integrated Lightning cable makes the charger much more convenient to travel with.
mJoose 3-in-1 Case for iPhone ($149.99)
Although a little hard to believe, the mJoose case can actually add bars to your iPhone's otherwise wireless connection. That feature alone makes the product worthwhile, but it's also a battery pack with quick-charge functionality. And since this case can help boost your signal, your iPhone doesn't need to use as much power to stay connected.
Griffin Travel Power Bank ($69.99)
As great as the Apple Watch is, it can't go two days without a recharge. Rather than buying a spare Apple Watch Charging Cable, you can use the Griffin Travel Power Bank to charge your Apple Watch anywhere without being tethered to a USB plug.
There are plenty of plastic and glass screen protector options available; unfortunately, they usually trap bubbles and dirt and ruin the design of your sleek iPhone. Kristall takes a different approach with a nanotechnology liquid that microscopically fills in the gaps in your screen, coating it to a hardness level comparable to sapphire. Your screen will resist fingerprints and scratches, while looking as good as new.
Lifeproof LIFEACTIVE QuickMount Accessories (Starting at $29.99)
Lifeproof’s QuickMount Adapter allows you to attach any case you own to Lifeproof’s various mounting systems—which include armbands, belt clips, and bike + bar mounts. That means you don’t have to ditch your favorite case just for the sake of functionality!
iHome iBT3 Wireless Speaker ($39.99)
These speakers were on display at CES under a makeshift waterfall to demonstrate how splash-resistant they were, and we were pretty impressed by how well they held up considering their lightweight design. These speakers are just durable enough to hold up against light rain or splashes, and because the iBT3 is so compact and can be easily attached to your backpack using the included attachment, it's perfect for your next hiking trip.
Fitbit Blaze ($199.95)
We saw a variety of new smartwatches unveiled this year at CES, but none of them were quite as impressive as the new Fitbit Blaze. Although it's difficult not to compare the Blaze to the Apple Watch, Fitbit's latest wearable is unique in that its focus is primarily health and fitness. Sure, it will notify you of incoming calls, texts, and calendar events, but for the most part, Fitbit sticks to what it knows best: fitness tracking. Along with the usual step counting, the blaze tracks your heart rate, allows you to create workout goals, and features on-screen workouts and a beautiful color touchscreen.
Nite Ize Gear Tie Cordable (Starting at $4.99)
Sometimes it's the simple things can offer us just what we need. These reusable rubber twist ties by Nite Ize are a convenient way to secure your collection of cords and wires, featuring a strong metal wiring on the inside that allows the ties to keep their form.
Lander Neve Lightning Cable ($29.99)
This Lightning cable by Lander is the perfect accessory for your next camping trip. Its reflective jacket material makes it easy to find in the dark, and its sturdy, tangle-free design prevents it from fraying.