If you are still on the lookout for a late holiday gift or gadget, check out the iBN26 from iHome ($79.99). This small portable speakerphone allows you to stream and play your favorite music, as well as make and take calls through the surprisingly peppy Reson8 speakers. With aux-in support, you can also use it to play input from almost any external source.
There's a buzz over Angry Birds Go (free), and 'freemium" titles in general to discuss in this edition of WIPTW. I was not aware that computer bits were being subjected to such draconian work conditions on our devices that they needed to rest; but Angry Birds Go introduces the "energy" concept to the Rovio game chest: a union break for overworked player characters, I suppose. Otherwise, ABG has plenty of good graphics, and is mostly goofy and fun like a cart race should be. Also played this week is the jam-packed action pinball slam of the season called Quantic Pinball ($2.99). If you like pinball, you will gorge yourself on this version.
You probably already knew that iHome has cool audio gear to accessorize your smartphone or mobile computing platform of choice. I had been eagerly awaiting the iB75 since getting a brief demo at CES last January, having scoured the earth for a good pair of active-wear Bluetooth headphones. In this review, I'll go over why the iB75s will make a great stocking stuffer for that on-the-go person on your list.
Three cool titles helped me to overcome a triptophan and carb coma this past week. One of them was an actual zombie-style turkey shoot called Gunner Z (free with many IAPs). The second was a free tunnel race called Boost 2 ($1.99). Finally a platform defense hybrid called Forces of Nature ($0.99). All three made for a delicious gobble weekend of time killing fun!
Several of us blogger musician types have raved about IK Multimedia gear over the years, and with good reason (see Mike Riley's recent reviews here.) Early this year at CES, I was able to get an up close and personal preview of the latest music creation gadgets, but only recently was able to check out the production versions of IK's iRig Pro and Blueboard. If you are wondering what in the world to get your favorite musician this holiday (with a Mac, iPad, or iPhone), look no further. You can check out the rocking guitar demo above for a taste!
Toymail is a cute, child-safe toy that can send and receive wireless audio messages. There is a ton of coolness about this idea. Imagine tucking the kids into bed from anywhere in the world, or enjoying an impromptu playtime while taking a break at work.
Self improvement and self help apps/books are legion in the app store. Typically an array of boiled-down quotes or ideas (from some guru's book) arranged in course-like tabulated views. Boring squared is usually my first impression. In contrast, the Rich Dad Poor Dad app powered by Clutch brings fresh presentation and snappy interface features to the old self-help saw...
Before there was Xbox and PlayStation, and way back before even Nintendo and Atari 2600 (think waaay back), there was a world domination strategy game (played with tiny plastic pieces on a flat game-board) that was so earth shatteringly cool that it defied description. No computer screen rendering was required to imagine the massing of superior firepower to encircle and destroy your enemies. That game was the legendary game of Risk (still sold by Hasbro today), and it was nothing less than epic (if you actually had friends to play it with). If one could have imagined the real combat coordination and visualization that was missing from Risk, I believe Machines at War 3 ($6.99) would not have been far off the mark!
You have to go check out this quick review over at CNET announcing (with a brief hands on) the new iPad mini. What amounts to a near-flame war erupts between anti and pro Apple fans in the comments section below (quite humorous as most flames quickly become.) The arguments against the new tablet mostly go something along the line of why Apple lovers would pay so much more (than for a Kindle Fire or Nexus 7, for example). I will attempt to explain my upgrade logic in this post. If you are considering a new lightweight, small. and snappy tablet this holiday season, I would definitely give the new iPad mini with Retina a long and hard look...
In-ear headphones are not my favorite, but the SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro Headset ($49.99/$129.99) has a tangle resistant, top-of-ear design that works better than most others I have tried. Once you get these lightweight earphones situated comfortably, they will fill your head with an immersive, full-bodied sound that many in-ear headphones just can't muster. However, the trick really is getting them to seat in your ear properly. Good thing plenty of tip options are provided in the kit.