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iPhone Life's 2014 Rugged Gear Gift Guide

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In this day and age it's become commonplace for us to do just about everything with our iDevices, which means that we need gear that can keep up with us on any outlandish escapades, as well as on our day to day grind. The items featured here represent some of the best in their respective categories; built tough and designed with integrity and durability to handle the  adventures that lie ahead. Many of the products featured here have impressive MIL-STD or IP ratings, which you can learn more about by clicking HERE.

Here at iPhone Life we love turning people on to great gear that fits their specific purpose and need and we're hoping that these reviews will make your holiday shopping that much easier. Whether as a present for yourself, or as gift idea for family or friends, this list of exceptional products will help you find the perfect accessories.



Is the Plinth the Best Tablet Stand?

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The claim was pretty outlandish: "The Best Tablet Stand in the world." Well, I had to try it. And for the most part, that claim was pretty much on target. One exception is the name, "Plinth," which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. And the fact that it ships from the U.K. making it a little harder to get. But that could be remedied if Plinth ($32) gets a U.S. distributor or retail outlet.



Game Review: C.H.O.P.S.

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After all this time I still don’t get the Flappy Bird phenomenon. Not only was the game a mess, but most of the clones have been even worse. Thankfully every now and again one of the progeny not only rises above the pack but is actually quite playable, and such is the case with C.H.O.P.S. (Free with IAP) This game takes the simple “touch to fly, let go to fall” mechanism and adds some depth with power ups, level ups, and unlockables. It even sports one of the best examples I’ve ever seen on how to implement IAP in a game. This gets my ultimate stamp of approval in the “Thanks For Not Being Flappy Bird” category.In 



Get Close to the Cosmos with Redshift Discover Astronomy!

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There are a few astronomy sims on the App Store, and none are quite as comprehensive as the amazing Redshift, which has 100,000-plus celestial objects in its imagery database. Redshift turns your iPad into an intergalactic portal so you can fly to another galaxy or take a tour of the Jovian moons. People who want to explore the universe, but don't want to spend $10.99, will be happy to know you can instead get Redshift Discover Astronomya scaled down version for just $2.99.



CloudOn Adds On-Device Document Editing

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CloudOn was one of the early, free, mobile-editing solutions to come to iOS (see our previous review here). The software provided access to a virtualized office suite of editors, which meant that you had to be exclusively online to use it. In terms of document editing, however, it was full featured and could sync docs to several popular cloud services like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. In October the app was updated markedly, adding the ability to locally edit documents. Kudos are in order— it's a big plus for iOS users, but the other editors still need a bit more work.



Game Centered Special Edition: Top iOS Games for Console Gamers

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The following dozen games are either ports of popular console titles, or iOS games that shine in their own right as being console quality. To be included on this list, a game must either be a new release as of this year, or it must have been updated recently to support iOS 8 and Apple's advanced new programming interface known as Metal. With the introduction of iOS 8 and Metal, alongside the powerful A8 and A8X processors that are inside the latest iDevices, Apple has leveled the virtual playing field. It would be ignoring the facts for a core console gamer to say that iOS can't support video games that are on par with console or PC titles, especially if you indulge in iOS' streaming capabilities that allow us to play these great games on a large screened TV. With the graphic capabilities of iOS 8 and the exciting titles currently available for the platform, it's easy to see how Apple's iOS is leading the way in a mobile eSport industry that is on track to bring in a revenue of over 24 billion dollars this year, and set to overtake PC and console gaming's revenue in 2015. As the holidays are upon us again, don't forget that you can gift any of these apps to your favorite gamer via the App Store.

 



ZAGG Slim Book for iPad Mini

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Slim Book ($119.99) is a sleek keyboard/case combo that works in multiple viewing configurations. The detachable case works with the iPad mini, and the Bluetooth keyboard has the same insanely long purported two-year battery life that the Rugged Book (see our review here) supports, but I found the review unit was not quite as rugged in other regards during my evaluation. It is "purty," but definitely not as tough.



Ozobot Is the Future of Smart Toys

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At the last CES, iPhone Life awarded Best of Show to Ozobot, an emerging technology toy and educational robot system that had great promise. Ozobots ($49.99) are now shipping and we've had a chance to play (and learn) with them over an extended time. Ozobot is a programmable tiny cute robot that resembles the top half of everyone's favorite droid, R2D2. The domed robots can be customized with different color tops so kids can play with several at a time and still tell them apart. The robots get their programming not from a keyboard but via an optical sensor on their bottoms. The Ozobots "read" colors and commands that tell it to go straight, turn one way or the other, or reverse, etc. Kids can "program" the robots by literally drawing with markers on a page of paper. It's a fun way to program without ever touching a keyboard!



Sonos Offers Rare Gift Card Promotion This Holiday Season

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We have reviewed several Sonos wireless speakers and audio accessories at iPhone Life, and in this reviewer's opinion, there are few products that compare. The speakers sound astonishingly great, with solid wireless performance, and their streaming app and service library keeps getting richer and more refined. They don't often do sales or special offers, but the word on the street is they are offering gift cards and store promotions at select retailers for the Play family line. 



Sennheiser Urbanite On-Ear and Over-Ear Headphones

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I come across a great many headphones as a tech reporter; some are amazing, others not so much. With so many different models flooding the market, it can be hard for a pair to stand out from the crowd. Nonetheless, few accessories do more to enhance our experience and enjoyment of our iDevices. After all, even though our mobile computers have great speakers for their respective size, they can't match the audio delivered from a quality pair of headphones. Enter the Urbanite from Sennheiser. Available in either a compact on-ear model ($199.95), or a slightly larger, more noise isolating over-ear pair ($249.95), the Urbanite not only manages to successfully distinguish itself from the masses when it comes to sound quality and design build, it does so with a style and finesse that is rare in the industry. Read on to learn more about this phenomenal pair of cans.



iPad Reviews, News, Tips and Tricks

Searching for the best iPad reviews, news or tips and tricks on accessories, apps, gadgets and more is just as important as figuring which apple product you should get in the first place. iPad reviews and news on different products allow you to make a more conscientious decision, but where should you look.  Here at iPhone Life Magazine we work towards answering these very questions.  This page is dedicated to iPad reviews, news, tips and tricks.  This is just one example of a review that we have online (The Green Figure iHolder iPad Stand).

Another great thing about doing research is that sometimes you will find something that you weren't looking for and that can help you.  For example, our page on The Best of 2011 shows our reviews for some of the best products that came out this past year.  This link gives you just a taste of some of the concrete examples of reviews that we do.

Now, the iPad 2 has been around for several months and there have been several companies that have based themselves around the needs of this tablet.  However, it is still a competitive world in the market of accessories.  Anyone could be easily overwhelmed by all the available stands, apps, cases or any of the other niche markets.  We would definitely recommend doing some research and checking out some iPad reviews to get an idea of whats available and how you are going to use your device. The market has several options to choose from today.

Such examples as IK Multimedia, have been on a roll lately, with a slew of hardware and software products tailored for amateur and prosumer musicians. Whether its stands and clips for iPhones and iPads or multitrack recording and sampling software for the iOS platform, IK has been expanding their catalog at a prodigious rate. Their latest releases include a MIDI hardware connector for the iOS platform, a sound sampler app and a iPad version of their popular VocaLive software. These iPad reviews will take a closer look at each.

Whatever you may be searching for, we too are looking for answers and want to help you find them.