iPhone Life magazine

Power and Innovation on Display at CES 2011!

[Note: This article is based on edited posts from the iPhone Life blogs. You can read the full posts at iphonelife.com/blog. Special thanks to bloggers Hal Goldstein, Todd Bernhard, Phyllis Khare, Gary Abel, David Averbach, Tracy Sebastian, and Nate Adcock]

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was filled with innovation, excitement, and optimism. Preliminary figures show attendance numbers at roughly 140,000, with 30,000 attendees coming from outside the United States, a CES record. New tablets were introduced, appliances became smarter, wireless technology flourished, and Ford even unveiled its first electric car.

We sent a team of brave reporters and bloggers to cover the event on a daily basis. Their blogs and videos (available at our YouTube channel "iPhonelifemagazine") highlighted the best of the show relating to iOS products. As expected, power devices were heavily represented, with iSound's Portable Power destroying the competition with a 480-hour power supply. Other highlights included the wireless flash drive AirStash, the MiLi Pocket Projector, various futuristic-shaped audio docks, and Magic Cube, a projection keyboard that tracks your finger movements.

Our sincere thanks go out to our reporters and bloggers who tirelessly filled our blog pages with fun, wacky, and interesting events and products on a daily basis. Here for your enjoyment and pleasure, are our favorite products from this year's show.

Staying fully charged at CES

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the ultimate proving ground for cell phone technology. Over 100,000 visitors are vying for a limited supply of network connectivity, and the constant searching for a signal by your cell phone can drain battery power quickly. Fortunately, a number of solutions to this dilemma were on display at CES.

Rechargeable battery and AC power adapter in one device

PowerPakXTPowerPak XT ($49.99, store.technocel.com/PowerPakXT.aspx) combines a spare battery and AC power adapter in one device. This small, lightweight unit includes an integrated 1600mAh lithium battery that can be recharged by plugging it into a standard wall socket. It connects to your iPhone, iPod touch, and other mobile devices via a standard USB power port. You’ll need the cable that ships with your iOS device to use this. PowerPak XT won an Innovations Award at the 2011 CES. (Todd Bernhard)

Battery/case combo extends use time

 JuicePackJuice Pack Air ($49.95, mophie.com) and Juice Pack Plus ($99.95, mophie.com) are metallic slip-on cases that include built-in rechargeable batteries to power your iPhone 4 (models are available for other versions of the iPhone and iPod touch). Juice Pack Air delivers an extra 1500mAh and Juice Pack Plus an extra 2000mAh of power. You can use the included micro USB cable to sync your iPhone and charge both the case and iPhone. The company introduced several new case colors at this year’s CES. (Todd Bernhard)

Plenty of extra power with iSound portable batteries

 iSoundThe iSound Portable Power Max ($140, iSound.net) and iSound Portable Power ($90, iSound.net) deliver 16,000mAh and 8,000mAh respectively. In addition, they have 5 USB ports and even a built-in LED flashlight. You can use all of that power to repeatedly recharge your iOS device or charge five USB-powered devices at the same time. (Todd Bernhard)

Hang it over your shoulder or around your neck!

ModulR keeps your iPad handy and safe

ModulRWhile manning the booth and touring the show floor at CES, I carried my iPad with me using a case and shoulder strap from a company called ModulR (iPad case + cover: $49, shoulder strap: $14.99, modulrcase.com). It was a convenient arrangement, and the resulting "sandwich board" look got a lot of attention. ModulR wasn't at CES, but several other vendors offered interesting case solutions for iOS devices. (Todd Bernhard)

Hang Cases (Price not available, iholdtechnologies.com) are available for the iPhone 4/3G/3GS and come in black, white, smoke, or clear colors. They have a fold out clip that allows you to attach the case to an included neck strap. (Todd Bernhard)

 Universal Mobile Neklit ($14.99, clingo.com/on-the-go) is one of a distinctive line of Clingo products that stick to the back of an iPhone and most other mobile devices with a flat surface. Once the iPhone's stuck to the mount, you can use the neck strap to wear your phone around your neck. (Todd Bernhard)

Tunefolio Urban for iPad ($59.95, tunewear.com) is available in vertical ("tall") and horizontal ("wide") formats, in white, black, and attention-getting orange. It looks like a traditional portfolio case, but Tunewear has added shoulder straps so you can wear your iPad over the shoulder or like a messenger bag. (Todd Bernhard)

iPhone Life videos from CES

2011 CES was an exciting and enlightening experience. It is impossible to show you everything we saw, but we can give you a glimpse into this year's event through our YouTube channel. Just go to youtube.com/user/iphonelifemagazine to see interviews and product demonstrations ranging from the revolutionary to the ultra-wacky. Straight from the showroom, here are just some of the videos and products you'll find:

  • Celluon infrared keyboard explanation
  • AirStash demonstration
  • DryCase Waterproof case presentation
  • Fling Game Controller demonstration for iPad
  • PenVey (Peavey) and Ampkit presentation
  • HatTV demonstration
  • miLi Pocket Projector demo for iPhone

DryCaseSturdy and stylish protection for iPhones

Waterproof case for iPhone & iPad

Dry Case ($19.99, drycase.com) is a waterproof, see-through case that lets you use your iPhone, iPod touch, and other mobile devices on or under the water. The vendor also offers waterproof earbuds ($59.99) and says that an iPad case will be available soon on their website. (Gary Abel)

Rugged cases from OtterBox

OtterBoxReflexOtterBox is known for cases that provide industrial strength protection for a variety of mobile devices. They announced their Reflex Series Case for the iPhone 4 ($44.95, otterbox.com) at CES this week. The new case features "crumple zones" which provide better protection in a lighter form factor. The bottom of the case slides off easily to allow dock connections. (Gary Abel)

BodyGuardzNLU skins and screen protectors

NLU Products (nluproducts.com) offers skins and screen protectors for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and other mobile devices. Their Bodyguardz product ($10-$30, bodyguardz.com) is a transparent film that covers the front, back, and sides of your device and protects without adding bulk. Screenguardz ($5-$15, screenguardz.com) protects your display. (For added security, the "Privacy" version hides what’s on the screen from oblique viewing angles.) They also offer Tat-Skinz ($7.50-$15, tatskinz.com), a line of customized and personalized skins. (Nate Adcock)

Stylish cases from Lux Mobile

I know the holiday season is over, but I have found the perfect gift for that special someone in your life. Lux Mobile (luxmobilegroup.com) carries several lines of iPhone and iPad cases that vary in price range. A wide variety of cases are available, including designs highlighting the works of M.C. Escher, Ed Hardy, Bruce Lee, and others. If you are on a more frugal budget, LUX MOBILE features a new line of all-natural, eco-friendly iPhone cases and another line of ultra-light cases. (Gary Abel)

GorillaMobile case/stand combos

 GmYogi GmOri1Joby (joby.com) had their "GorillaMobile" iPad stands on display. The Yogi (left) ($49.95) is a stand/case combo that includes twisty, adjustable legs. The Ori (below) ($79.95) is a fold-out wonder to behold. The Yogi includes a polycarbonate protective case with a rubberized bevel around the edges to the iPad’s glass case. The large flexible legs can be clipped to one of four points on the back of the case to hold the iPad in any orientation. The Ori lacks the adjustable legs. It's a composite aluminum case that adjusted for typing, laying flat, or viewing videos. A Joby rep informed us that they will soon be releasing a camera-oriented iPhone app that will give users the ability to stitch images and include advanced time lapse features. (Nate Adcock)

 Speck cases—variety of designs and colors

 Speck1I'm excited about Speck cases (speckproducts.com) and stopped by their booth to check them out. Their Pixel Skin HD is one of my top picks for simple rubberized protection. Speck had a wide variety of cases on display at CES, including the Candy Shell Card (includes a slot for business/credit cards), Candy Shell View (no card slots, but a pop-out stand), and the Tough Skin (includes a hard plastic shell, thick rubberized interior and a belt clip…a geek's delight). Speck even has a case for the new Samsung Galaxy tablet and a line of cases for Android devices as well. Finally, plenty of cases for the MacBook and iPad were also on display. (Nate Adcock)

Super-strength stands for iPad or iPhone

3FeetThe 3feet Stand ($14.99, 3feet.com) is rugged, flexible, and compact. You can use it with an iPad, iPhone, iPod, Kindle, Nook, or similar device. (Todd Bernhard)

Cases with added features

Dexim case with integrated keyboard:

DeximCase A number of case makers have integrated Bluetooth keyboards into their design, but the resulting cases tend to be bulky and the keyboards too constraining when typing for a long stretch. Dexim's upcoming iPad case is something special (Price not available, dexim.net). It holds the keyboard in place with strong magnets, allowing you to remove it for a more streamlined case or to use the keyboard in a more comfortable position. It looks to be the best of both worlds. (Todd Bernhard)

Case improves audio quality

Audioglove  Audioglove ($34.99, fadigear.com) is designed in such a way that the user can open the retractable audio drawer on the case to redirect, enhance, and amplify the volume and improve the quality of sound emitted by the iPhone. As an added bonus, Audioglove makes the speaker and phone sound warm and full for people on both ends of the call. (Tracy Sebastian)

Kapok case protects and improves photos

 Kapok ($65.95, canopyco.com) is a case for the iPhone 4 that not only protects the device, but also improves the quality of the photos you take. You can stand it on edge vertically or horizontally to line up a shot or attach it to a tripod for extra stability. The case includes a pair of buttons that will interface with a yet-to-be-released camera app from Canopy. You will be able to use the buttons to take a photo. In fact, the Canopy rep said that you'd even be able to take a photo while recording a video— without interrupting the video recording! (Todd Bernhard)

Enhance your audio and video experience

Stream iTunes music wirelessly

iHomeIDM12 iHome (ihomeaudio.com) is coming out with a wireless audio streaming product based on AirPlay. The iHome iW1 (approx. $300, available this summer) will let you wirelessly stream music from iTunes and online services such as Pandora, Last.FM, etc. In addition to playing tunes from iTunes, the iW1 will allow you to charge and sync your iPhone, iPod or iPad. The speaker itself features a rechargeable battery so that you can carry it to any room of the house. (Nate Adcock)

iHome has a plethora of great docks this year, but two BT portable models caught my eye. The iDM12 (left) (Price not available) can be broken down into a kind of iPad station, while the iDM15 (Price not available) also functions as a BT speaker for incoming calls. Many of iHome's docks are now iPad capable and feature a springy 30-pin connector and recessed dock design to accommodate cases and the larger iPad. This includes their stable of alarm clock docks, many of which now support iPad connections and allow use of the iHome+ app (free, app2.me/3418).

Other than the higher-end iW1 model listed at the beginning, most of the latest iHome docks will be available in the $50-$150 range later this summer. (Nate Adcock)

iLuv—a one-stop accessory shop

iLuvIMM747 iLuv (i-luv.com) makes just about any type of accessory you can think of for your iOS device, and many of them were on display at CES. Their new iMM747 Audio Cube is a desktop or bedside speaker dock that works with the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and is controlled by the iLuv App (free, app2.me/3420). I also noticed their new iEP 525 headphones, which won the show’s 2011 Innovation award. (Nate Adcock)

Speakal docks on display

Speakal (speakal.com) had several new docks on display. Most of these were not commercially available at the time of CES, but should be shortly.

CoolIPig Cool iPig ($119.95, amazon.com), is a stereo speaker dock that looks like a... pig (see image). Not only can you play and charge your iPod touch/iPhone on it, you can also control playback with its front and side-facing motion sensors—simply wave your hand over the sensors to change tracks, adjust volume or pause/play your music. (Nate Adcock)

The iKurv (Price not available) is another one of Speakal's radical designs. This futuristic looking dock pushes 20 watts of high-quality digital sound, features video-out, and includes a remote control. (Nate Adcock)

MiGolfballHidden within miGolfball (Price not available) are Bluetooth stereo speakers and a rechargeable battery. The whole thing rests on a stylish base that acts as a charging unit...cool! (Nate Adcock)

iTower Speakal's iTower (Price not available) features USB playback. Simply pop in a memory stick into the USB port on the speaker, set the input, and it plays music directly from the stick. It also features video-out ports for use with an external display. (Nate Adcock)

Cruise smoothly with iSimple car connection kits

iSimple offers a variety of their Gateway kits to connect your iPhone or iPod into your vehicle's existing factory or aftermarket stereo system. I enjoyed a brief demo of their IS713 WiFli transmitter ($99.95, isimplesolutions.com/ipod-adapter/wifli.asp). The WiFli is an iPhone/iPod FM transmitter with a remote control that is attached to the steering wheel. It works via a free iPhone app that makes the transmitter search for an optimal radio frequency to transmit on and achieve maximum noise reduction. It also has a mini USB charging port and includes text and browse features when used with RDS-capable radios. (Nate Adcock)

Rock out with this MIDI interface to your iOS device

iConnectMIDI The iConnectMIDI ($179.99, iconnectmidi.com) is a hi-speed interface for Apple's iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone. You can control MIDI-related devices through this interface, and it can do some pretty amazing things on either the iPhone or iPad. (Nate Adcock)

Control home entertainment system

Griffin Technology displayed their new Beacon Universal Remote Control System ($79.99, yet to be released). The device looks like Zen living room decor—a polished river stone on a platform—but hidden within it is an IR transmitter to control your TV, stereo, and other home entertainment accessories. Beacon interfaces with your iOS device via Bluetooth and will be controlled by a yet-to-be-released app. (Nate Adcock)

Headsets and earphones

Custom fitted earbuds from Etymotic

EtymoticCustom I'm a fan of Etymotic earphones (etymotic.com) and have a pair of hf3 earphones that I love because they stay secure in my ears and have amazing sound isolation. I stopped by their booth at CES to check out what they're up to. They have instituted a new program that allows customers to get custom fitted earbuds for any of their earphones for around $100. (Gary Abel)

Innovative headphones from Westone

Westone (westonemusicproducts.com) launched their new line of high-quality headphones at CES. The headphones come with a range of tips to ensure that the listening experience is not only clear, but also comfortable. However, with prices starting at around $450, they cost more than my iPhone. (David Averbach)

Earbuds for athletes

yurbudsYurbuds' Ironman Performance Series ($49.99, yurbuds.com) has a unique shape designed to prevent the buds from falling out of your ear when you’re exercising. They're sweatproof, very comfortable, and a very good value. If the headphones don't fit just right, Yurbuds will make a custom pair for you. (David Averbach)

From the "Interesting and Unusual" files

iPhone Radar Detector

iRadar Cobra (cobrairadar.com), a leading name in radar detection products, has come up with a radar detector/app combo that provides you with constant updates of active radar and cameras in the area in which you are driving. The iRadar iRAD-100 unit (approx. $100, amazon.com) communicates with your iPhone via Bluetooth. The Cobra iRadar app (free, app2.me/3419) presents the radar and camera info on your phone when new information is available about surveillance areas. This, combined with their extensive database of information that they've gathered about radar around the country, provides you with a new level of security (not that you’ll need it because you always drive within the speed limit). (Gary Abel)

Receive broadcast TV on your iPhone

CydleCydle announced their new i30 Mobile TV Cradle (approx. $150, cydle.com) that connects to the iPhone and allows it to receive ATSC broadcast TV signals—no subscription required. No more missing Modern Family or Glee. (Gary Abel)

External hard drive for iPad

HyperDrive HyperDrive iPad Hard Drive ($250-$600, hypershop.com) add up to 750 GB of additional media storage to your iPad. All you need is the Apple Camera Connection Kit, a USB-to-Mini USB cable, and the HyperDrive. The unit also allows you to import data from memory cards to the unit then to your iPad. (Gary Abel)

Share media wirelessly with the AirStash

AirStash As a mom, photographer, writer, and CEO of my home— this is a product worth getting. The AirStash ($99.99, airstash.com) acts as a wireless flash drive, wireless SD card adapter, and all-in-one media-streaming device. It uses a built-in lithium polymer battery and connects to your device via Wi-Fi. This is a must-have if you own an iPad and want different ways to transfer files besides using an Internet connection. (Tracy Sebastian)

Mini projector displays iPhone screen on a wall

MiLi Off to the side of the main hall at CES, I saw a bunch of people staring at the wall. On closer inspection, I saw that they were using a device called the MiLi Pico Power Projector HI-P60 for iPhone ($369.99, milipower.com/audio-video.html) to project iPhone games on the wall. They all looked pretty happy with it. (Phyllis Khare)

Realistic gaming grip

HelixThe Helix Gaming Grip (posimotion.com) is ideal for racing games, first-person shooters, action RPGs, flight simulators, side-scrollers, and pretty much any game that uses the iPhone's built-in accelerometer. It can also come in handy while recording video, since the gaming grip can act as an impromptu steadycam. (Tracy Sebastian)

A joystick for your iPad

flingThe Fling Game Controller ($24.95, tenonedesign.com/fling) is a neat little analog joystick that attaches to your iPad. The see-through body gets illuminated by the action on the screen so the Fling never blocks what’s happening on the game. (Tracy Sebastian)

Projected keyboard tracks your finger movements

MagicCubeCelluon (celluon.com) has come up with Magic Cube, a small device that sits near your iPad or iPod touch and projects a virtual keyboard onto the surface of your work area. It also sends out an invisible IR light that "reads" you finger movements and translates them into keystrokes on your device. (Gary Abel)

Griffin/Crayola keeps kids happy

ColorStudioGriffin partnered with Crayola to create ColorStudio HD, an iPad app/digital stylus combo that "allows young artists to color and interact with special live animated coloring book pages…" The product will be available soon; find out more on their website: griffintechnology.com/crayola-colorstudiohd. (Phyllis Khare)

Use touch screen with these gloves

TelefingersURBAN gloves (below) ($19.99, telefingers.com) have three conductive fingers on each hand, making it easier to perform more sophisticated multi-touch gestures and still keep your hands warm in the winter. (Todd Bernhard)

TThumb keyboard overlay for iPhone

4iThumbsThe iPhone or iPod touch soft keyboard lacks tactile feedback, which annoys Crackberry addicts like me. Fortunately, the 4i company developed 4iThumbs2 ($12.95, 4iconcepts.com), a clear plastic face cover with little plastic nubs that protrude where the soft keys are displayed. (Nate Adcock)

Solar charger for mobile devices

Joos Solar Components won an innovation award at CES for their JOOS Orange solar charger ($99.95, solarjoos.com/products). The product includes a solar panel and a 5,400mAh replaceable battery pack that holds enough energy when fully charged to charge most smartphones at least 4 times over. (Nate Adcock)

V Show Guide/social network

YapTVYap.TV Show Guide (free, app2.me/3417) uses your mobile device as a smart companion for TV viewing. Thanks to yap's built-in social network, you can see what your friends are watching, make new friends that like the shows you like, link to your Twitter and Facebook accounts to read and post messages, create and participate in interactive polls, and more. (Todd Bernhard) 

Much more coming in 2011

The big news is the Verizon iPhone, which was announced three days after CES ended. That's going to mean many more iPhone users in 2011, and more opportunities for third party developers. Expect to see many more new and innovative apps and accessories in the coming year.