I didn't expect to like the Paick Noble Power Bank portable charger at first. It is crafted out of aluminum, resembling an iPhone-sized MacBook Air and certainly looks like it could have come from Apple. I was worried that the makers might have put an emphasis on form over function. For example, the two USB ports weren't even visible, no matter how hard I looked. It was like one of those flying saucers in a 1950s science fiction film, such a The Day the Earth Stood Still, where the door isn't obvious until it opens!
I get to try a lot of cases, and I'm rarely impressed, but one case maker at CES hit the right mix with their wood-backed cases that use a polymer interior. The problem with 100 percent wood or bamboo cases is they can chip, crack, or respond to humidity and lose their ability to safely hold your iPhone.
I was already impressed by Liquipel's nanotechnology that lets them take your existing technology and make it waterproof, but at CES, I was able to see a demonstrating of their new SKINS Impact Screen Protector ($24.99-$34.99). While most screen protectors are designed to prevent scratches, this protector is designed to take the brunt of serious impacts and keep your phone safe.
While GoPro gets all the attention, I've found a better way to record action-packed video. Instead of paying $300 or more for a dedicated camera and accessories, why not use your existing iPhone? That way you can edit your video right on the device that recorded it, using iMovie and other video FX apps. And of course you can share your video using iMessage, Mail, AirDrop, and more.
I have a love-hate relationship with In-App Purchases (IAPs.) As a developer, Apple has been encouraging me to adopt IAPs. In theory, IAPs seem like a way to make a living off apps while giving users a free taste. As a user, I don't like them. I think when you download an app, you should own it and all the promised features. So in the PRO versions of my apps, there are no IAPs. And in the past, my free apps had advertisements with the only "upsell" being a link to the PRO version for unlimited features without ads. But Apple representatives told me personally at the Worldwide Developers Conference and at their Tech Talk Tours that I really should be using IAPs. When Apple talks, I listen. So some of my apps now have such purchase options. But on the IAP selling page, I rebel against the machine and tell users that the best deal is to buy the PRO version!
I've written about Buqu's wireless charging cases before, so I was excited to see their latest offering, the Mobile Battery Pack. As expected, they offer wireless charging when the phone is placed on their charging stand, but now this external battery pack also leverages the magnetic charging design.
iOS 7 was a major departure from the previous generations, offering a fresh new take on what Apple thinks a mobile operating system should look like. But that doesn't mean it can't be tweaked further. The first significant update, iOS 7.1, was just released and it takes the O.S. further down the road.
The rumor mills pegged iOS 7.1 coming out any day now, to support an updated iTunes Festival app (free). However, that app update was released and did not require a new version of iOS after all. The app lets iOS users stream live video from the SXSW (South by Southwest) conference in Austin, Texas, as well as other Apple events.
UPDATE: Apple already released iTunes Festival as an app/button for those of us with Apple TV! This is a great way to enjoy the concerts at SXSW this week!
As rumors of the next iPhone swirl (do they ever stop?) it's fitting to look back at what happens to older iPhones. I've found great success in selling older iPhone's via services like SellYourMac.com, as long as I keep my iPhone in good condition. So I was intrigued by some just released research from ProtectCell.
Anticipation has been mounting for an update to iOS 7 for several reasons. There are still some outstanding bugs that cause Safari or the iOS device to crash, and betas have been available since November. The latest rumors indicate iOS 7.1 will ship any day now because a certain app from Apple will require it.