I had the opportunity to try a Wood and Leather iPhone Case ($129) from Grovemade, and I must say I came away impressed.
I liked the use of high-end materials and protective yet minimalist design. A wooden shell encompasses the iPhone and protects it, with openings in all the right places. The case opens up and can display the phone in landscape mode at three different angles. This case is beautiful and still functional.
As users migrate to tablets, in particular iPads, to replace their laptops, there has been speculation that Apple might bridge the gap between the iPad Air and the MacBook Air. An iPad Pro, at just over 12 inches, with some kind of a keyboard case or cover, like Microsoft's Surface has, could be just what the doctor ordered. There are also suggestions that a Pro version of the iPad might support USB 3.0 for faster data transfer and charging and even support for a wired keyboard. I had a Microsoft Surface with the magnetically-attached keyboard cover and that was a nice touch (no pun intended) that I'd like to see Apple mimic.
When the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 were announced, I wrote about the revolutionary shift in shipping one cellular model that supported all carriers. At the time, I speculated that Apple might get around to doing this with the iPhone. The latest rumors suggest that will be the case, with the iPhone 6s (presuming that naming convention sticks) and likely the iPhone 6s Plus (or iPhone 6 Plus S?)
Google, Microsoft, Pebble, and other smartwatch makers think there's room for them on the wrists of iPhone owners. Apple has left an opening by charging $349 minimum and compromising on battery life and other features. This means there may be an opportunity for other watch makers to sell to iPhone users, if only they could make their devices work with iOS. Microsoft already does, with their Microsoft Band, and Pebble always has. Pebble just launched a color version, called Pebble Time, that is attractive and offers a week or more of battery life, thanks to e-Paper display technology. They also launched a $250 steel version including the option of a gold color case, which is a lot more affordable than Apple's gold Edition will be!
Chocolate and Peanut Butter. Great on their own, but even better together. That appears to be the concept behind the JuicyPACK from LifeCharge ($69.99). I've written about LifeCharge's iPhone cases, but I was pleased to see that they also make a stand for iPads. They also make a battery pack for iPads. Actually, it's the same thing.
The iOS vs. Android story is old, but there is another dimension to the Apple vs. Google battle. Just as Samsung is both a competitor and a provider to Apple, Google has been providing search results for iOS users. Apple's Siri introduced another way to search, by voice, and Apple switched to Microsoft's Bing as a way to provide some Siri-based search results. This put a minor damper on Google's search volume, and therefore display ads, which is still their primary source of revenue.
The first thing a smart watch should do is tell time. Of course, the Apple Watch will do that, but given the concerns about sub-24-hour battery life, this could be a concern. The New York Times is reporting that Apple's watch will have "Power Reserve", a low-power mode that strictly displays the time. That's reassuring and understandable. Laptop makers have been offering low power modes for years, decreasing brightness, powering down disk drives, etc., to squeeze every last drop of power out of the battery.
Just as politicians are showing up in Iowa ahead of the upcoming Presidential election, the Apple Watch is starting to pop up in fashion magazines around the world as the Apple Watch announcement nears. Angela Ahrendts, Apple's new head of retail and former CEO of Burberry, is pulling strings (threads?) to get the watch seen in fashionable places. It's probably not much of a sales job... what fashion or style magazine wouldn't want early access to the most anticipated fashion accessory of 2015?
With the March 9 announcement date revealed, with the cheeky "Spring Forward" message indicative of turning clocks ahead, we can now look forward to what comes after the Apple Watch. Yes, there will be updates to the MacBook Air, with a 12-inch screen expected, and maybe a 12-inch iPad Pro as well. Others have written about the 200 engineers working on an Apple Car, although I think the likelihood of Apple shipping cars is still small.
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.