I've been a fan of UZBL since over two years ago, when I wrote about them here. Recently, I attended a conference for educators (NYSCATE) and was pleased to see them in their own booth. They've come a long way, and I got to try their newer Shockwave case, for my newest iPad mini 3. As expected, the three-piece design is quite rugged, thanks to a combination of air cells, thick rubber, and hard plastic. There's also a built-in screen protector.
There are a few certainties in life. Apple will change form factors, case makers will rush out new cases, and those cases won't fit in your old dock. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were anticipated, but case makers didn't get samples and had to rely on leaked schematics. The new iPad Air 2 is thinner and the sleep button has been relocated, so manufacturers have to develop all new cases. In their desire to ship as soon as possible, a lot of cases then and even now have issues. Sometimes they leave a big opening around the Lightning port, which offers little protection. Other times they leave too little room around the port, making it hard to insert non-Apple cables or fit in many docks. If you've bought an expensive speaker dock from Bose or another company, that's not what you want.
They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and since an iPhone is usually on hand for most photographers, professional or amateur, it's no wonder that so many photos are taken by iPhone. Still, there are times when a tripod is necessary, but who wants to carry around a bulky accessory?
Sony made Walkmans for years. I owned several, and recently impressed my daughter when I dug out one of my trusty Walkmans after watching Guardians of the Galaxy, which featured one prominently. Then Apple introduced the iPod, and soon, the Walkman became irrelevant. Likewise, Sony, along with Ericsson, made cell phones, but Apple introduced the iPhone and Sony is losing money on their smartphones. Sony makes videogame consoles and handhelds like the PSP, which are threatened by mobile gaming on Apple and Android gadgets. And there's always the ongoing rumor of an Apple TV which could threaten Sony's bread and butter. Sony also made and still makes smartwatches, but with the Apple Watch on the horizon, that's another market that could slip out from under them.
Apple has always been a strong player in education. They believed that if a student's first computer is an Apple, then that could influence their future purchases. It certainly did with me, as I first used an Apple ][ Bell & Howell (the black one) in high school, and while I purchased an Osborne 1, a Radio Shack Color Computer, a Sinclair ZX-80, and an IBM PC, I always had a special place in my heart for Apple. So when it was time to go to college, I picked a school (Carnegie Mellon University) that had a deal on Macs, and bought one the day I arrived on campus. I even applied for (and got) a job at the school's computer store, and became Apple's Campus Representative. I was at CMU when Steve Jobs came there to acquire the Mach Kernel for his NeXT Computer company, and I got to see him speak. So that first Apple computer set my career in motion.
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!
When the iPhone 6 came out, I knew I'd want a battery case for it, but was afraid I'd have to wait a while, until the manufacturers caught up with the new design. Ultimately, I didn't have to wait too long, and the case I found was the IPM iPhone 6 3200mAh Power Charging Case from Staples.com. It was reasonably priced and available in white, black, or gold. I ended up getting two, one in white and one in gold and I let my daughter choose (gold, of course) for her iPhone 6. I actually prefer the white one because it has a slick exterior and the gold one has a rubbery texture.
Black Friday is behind us, and thoughts turn to what's next to come out of Cupertino (and China) from Apple. Obviously, the Apple Watch is expected in early spring, but rumors are already swirling regarding the next iPad. A larger screen version has been discussed for some time, but it wasn't ready for this season. Sources in Japan, as reported by Apple Insider, have given us a peek at what to expect from such a device. They are calling it the iPad Air Plus, but I think that's too long a phrase and iPad Pro is a more likely moniker.
More iOS users are running iOS 8 than those that are on an older version, as reported by Apple Insider and Apple. It took a while, by Apple standards, but it was still a lot faster than Android. And with Black Friday upon us, the numbers should go up, as more users pick up the next generation of iPads and iPhones, which require iOS 8. Indeed I just added an iPad mini 3 to my stable thanks to BestBuy's early Black Friday offering.
Black Friday has come and gone, but the Black Friday coupon code that TYLT emailed their customers for 50 percent off on in-stock items is still good for Cyber Monday. Just visit http://www.TYLT.com and add items to your shopping cart. Enter code CYBER2014 through Cyber Monday and get half off on some great items.