Staff Writer (10:00 am PDT, Mar 29th)
SAN FRANCISCO — Cult of Mac is on the ground for Macworld/iWorld 2014 at the Moscone Center. We’ll be roaming the show floor and sitting in on workshops all day to bring you the coolest Apple-related stuff we can find.
You can follow us throughout Macworld on the liveblog below. No need to refresh the page; new posts will appear automatically!
Avegant’s Glyph headset looks like a typical set of headphones — until you flip the top down in front of your eyes. That simple maneuver turns the device into a sort of personal home theater, with high-def video displaying on the inside of the headset thanks to a micromirror array.
“It’s like having a screen right in front of your eyes,” said indie app developer Arun Karamcheti, pictured above, after he got a quick demo of the product on the Macworld show floor.
The alpha version of the Glyph is heavy and kind of clunky, so much so that Karamcheti held the visor in place with one hand while he played an iPhone racing game with the other. Still, he said he found the technology exciting and could imagine wearing the Glyph on a plane, or handing it to children so they could watch videos in the back of a car.
Avegant raised $1.5 million with the Glyph’s successful Kickstarter campaign. A rep said they will have an updated, lighter version of the product on shelves by the first quarter of 2015.
The dopest Mac fan on the planet searching for next level tech for his ablackonamac blog.
This Petcube cat lady is purfectly themed in a cute cat dress. The $199 Petcube is a baby monitor for pets, but better because it has a camera and cool laser.
Pet owners can video monitor their critters from affair using the Petcube app, and control the laser for virtual playtime. The app can record video or snap stills, and can be private or shared, so the crazy cat lady in your life can enjoy your pet too.
The Petcube is available for preorder and will ship in late May.
I’ve never wanted a wireless iPhone charger until I laid eyes on Glowdeck.
The beautiful wooden box doesn’t just juice up your depleted iPhone though. It’s armed with Bluetooth speakers, a noise canceling mic for speaker and voice commands, an LED display, a USB port, and it can turn your music into a light show with the LEDs under the box.
Glowdeck launched as a Kickstarter project just a few days ago and has already passed its funding goal. They’re aiming to ship units this August with the black Glowdeck running $195. The gorgeous cheery wood unit will cost you $250.
Check out these cool hackintoshes at the a.m.p booth!!
Right in the middle of the Macworld show floor, there’s a circle of 12 tables. They’re showing off a range of cool gadgets, like a combination battery/wall charger and a clever foldable iPhone stand.
The dozen products all started life as successful Kickstarter projects, and can be found for sale on BiteMyApple.co, an online store that sells Apple-related Kickstarter products.
Read the full story here.
We’ve written about Vox on Cult of Mac before. It’s a minimalistic alternative to iTunes that is tailored for audiophiles with support for HD music formats like FLAC.
While here at Macworld, Vox’s developers announced their plans to release an iOS version of the music player later this year. It looks just as sleek as the Mac version, and there are additional features like queuing that are compelling. It will also be the first iOS app that can play Lossless music files.
Like the Mac app, Vox for iOS will be totally free to use. The app’s developers tell me they have no plans to change that approach.
An update is also coming out to the existing Mac version with SoundCloud integration (time for an obligatory CultCast plug). Vox can pull music in from multiple sources already, including Grooveshark and Last.fm. A new collections feature will allow for easier organization.
The coolest thing Vox is working on right now is something that hasn’t been officially announced yet. They’ve building what will essentially be a cross-platform, competitively priced alternative to iTunes Match with unlimited storage.
Cloak is a VPN app that just hit version 2.0 on iOS and the Mac. It won the Macworld “Best In Show” award today, and for good reason—it looks like a great app.
If you’ve never heard of a VPN, it’s a way of connecting to the internet securely and anonymously. Lets just say that I could have used one during my recent trip to Russia.
Unlike most VPN tools, Cloak’s interface is actually quite nice. And thanks to new features for VPNs in iOS 7, it can automatically know when to turn on and off. You can add trusted networks so that all of your traffic won’t go through Cloak on your home WiFi, for example. Cloak can also be told to trust your cellular connection or not.
As part of the new update, all settings are synced between iOS and the Mac. The way Cloak handles different subscription plans is great, too. Week, month, and year-long passes can be purchased inside the app for extremely reasonable prices. An unlimited plan costs $9.99 per month.
Check Cloak out on the developer’s website.
A lot of apps are trying to become the staple crowd-controlled playlist app for parties, but we ran into one in the Appalooza section of Macworld that has a killer feature that could best the rest.
Rather than unplugging your iPhone just so your friend can play that one song he totally loves, Crowdcast for iOS lets you send your music files to another device. Once the song has been played, it self-deletes off the new device and you don’t even need Wifi.
The app lets you create playlists from your songs in the Music app and then people at the party can up-vote and down-vote songs to influence the playlist. Soundcloud integration is coming soon, but don’t expect Spotify or Rdio support anytime soon thanks to their hefty fees.
The New York Times is launching a new iPhone app on April 2nd in the App Store. Called NYT Now, the app will aggregate news from the Times as well as other publications. All stories will be handpicked by a 10-person team of Times editors and complied in daily reports.
You can read the fully story here
Parenting is hard to do but Chore-inator is trying to make it fun and a bit easier by automating as much of the chore assigning process as possible.
Rather than leaving a scribbled list of choirs for the kids, Chore-inator coordinates everything from your iPhone or iPad. Your kids can come home, tap on the their picture to find assigned chores for the day, and then go about completing them.
Even if you aren’t home kids can take a picture to prove they’ve finished certain chores and then earn rewards. There’s even an allowance tracker that tells you when it comes due and gives feedback on whether the kiddos did enough chores to earn their full $10 a week salary.
It’s a cold and detached way to manage your bundles of joy, but if you’ve got a handful of children it could provide some valuable organization and sanity to managing the family.
Apple fans know the Refurbished Store is the best place to score deep discounts on Macs, but when you’re desperate for a certain model it can takes weeks or months before new refurb units come in. That’s where RefurbMe comes in.
The iOS app just launched here at Macworld and keeps tabs on the Apple refurb store so you don’t have too. Users can setup alerts for certain configurations of models down to the RAM configuration, video card, hard drive and more.
RefurbMe’s services check the Apple Store for you every 5 minutes for updated models and then sends a push notification or SMS text when the model you want is available so you can swoop in and grab it while supplies last.
Lightning accessories are still struggling to really take off, but Kanex is previewing their two nifty Lightning dongles that convert from Lightning to eSata or Ethernet, plus they add an extra USB 3.0 port – much needed for MacBook Air users.
They’re still waiting for Apple and Intel to approve the Lightning dongles, but Kanex told us they should be on sale later this summer.
That’s some heavy duty charging.
Meet the cutest battery packs at Macworld: the Cherro Power Plus.
It’s modeled after those cutsie Danboard models but packs a serious punch. The smaller model can give you two full recharges of your iPhone 5, while the bigger unit can get you 5 charges. Best of all they’re cheap, coming in with price tags of $35 & $40 that can be bought on Amazon.
The iPhone Passbook/iBeacon scavenger hunt is ON! In just one day, Tom Benson of Passjoy, a Passbook content engine which is exhibiting at Macworld and one of the organizers of the game, says “hundreds of people who had never touched Passbook, (were) now engaged for hours.” Passjoy also launched a new product at Macworld called Supertix, a dynamic engine for coupons and event tickets. The hunt continues through Saturday…
Look who we ran into on the Macworld floor — Raines Cohen — cofounder of the legendary BMUG (Berkeley Mac User Group) and a colorful character.
He is wearing a vintage BMUG shirt. Look what it says on the back.
Macs + Pastries = TLF
The iPad Sketch station has two of the best iPad artists – Luis Peso and Thierry Schiel – showing off their talents with live drawing sessions. Luis will be working on this dancer drawing for the next three hours and spilling tips to fans along the way.
Macworld doesn’t set the world on fire with new product announcements, but BearExtender revealed their newest WiFi extender at the show that promises to expand your WiFi signal to the darkest corners of your house.
The BearExtender Edge is optimized to work with iPhones, iPads, Macs, and AirPort Extreme but you can connect PCs to it as well. All you do is plug it into an outlet, run through a quick setup – no app required – and you’ll be off and running with Wifi coming out your ears.
No word on a price yet, but BearExtender told us it will probably come in around $70 when it ships later this summer.
I convinced these brothers to pose with the MacKeeper robot. I told them to do the robot dance, but they weren’t very enthusiastic. The robot gets just as much attention as a booth babe — if not more. Plus it’s cheaper.
Macworld is done for the day, but The CultCast Live party is just getting started.
Buster and Erfon, looking cool at the Cult of Mac table during 6 About to Break earlier today.
Ergotron makes some of the best adjustable standing desks around. Their new WorkFit desk for the iMac is a doozy.
These two are hardcore Macworld fans. They’ve been attending the shows since 1983 and they’ve both worked at Apple. The gentleman on the left is related to Elmer Baum, the oldest employee at Apple who loaned $5000 to the two Steves to build the Apple I.
This IN1 case is the Swiss Army knife of iPhone cases. It’s gimmicky, but it’s still one of the cooler cases I’ve seen. Think Inspector Gadget with eight tiny, useful tools.
Taking bedtime reading to the next level.
Henge Docks has a seriously cool MacBook dock on display. The Horizontal Docking Station’s metal chassis hugs the MacBook and plugs itself into all 14 ports. I hate the cords that snake around all the corners of my desk now, but if I had this dock, everything would be run through the back and arranged beautifully.
There’s support for a Kensington lock in the back. The dock can power up to three external displays, and your windows are saved and automatically adjusted when you dock and undock.
Besides docking, the button in the front also acts as an added security measure. Pressing it to undock can trigger a password prompt on your MacBook.
Henge makes stuff that looks very Apple-like, and so they sell at a very Apple-like price. The Horizontal Docking Station will cost $300-$349. The biggest downside? No Thunderbolt. That will probably be a deal breaker for some.
Preorders are available now. Shipping starts sometime later this year.
iSkelter is showing off their Slate desks, one of which we’ve reviewed already. They look pretty nice. Not sure how I feel about all the holes, though.
Buster found something very special to giveaway during tonight’s CultCast Live.
What Apple fan conference would be complete without an iPad selfie stand?
This morning I went to a panel called, “Mac Gems: Meet the Developers.” Jennifer Bell from Prosoft Engineering, John Chaffee from BusyMac, Greg Scown from Smile, and David Teare from AgileBits talked about what it’s like to make apps for the Mac.
The most interesting part of the talk was how Mac development has changed over the years. The introduction of the Mac App Store was huge, and it has changed the landscape of selling OS X apps.
The panel seemed to agree that the Mac App Store is nice because it gives apps way more visibility to normal users, but it lacks the personal touch a developer can establish with a customer one their own. Many Mac devs sell their apps in the Mac App Store and on their own websites to try and find the right balance.
You never know when the urge to selfie will hit. Carrying a tripod is impractical, but you probably have room in your wallet for this collapsible tripod that’s the size of a credit card.
The Pocket Tripod can be quickly folded to act as a tripod for your iPhone, or pull it apart and watch a movie on your iPad in landscape. The product started on Kickstarter but is now in full production with units selling for 20 bucks a pop.
This is brother Gabriel Mosher, he comes to Macworld to explore the “crossroads where the Catholic nerds and the agnostic nerds meet.” He’s also on Twitter.
iOS 7 made organizing photos easier than ever, but if you’ve got hundreds of photos in your Camera Roll it can still take forever to find that one vacation pic from a few months ago.
Maybe iOS 8 will photo search to Spotlight, but in the meantime, ReKoMe is a dead simple app that intelligently analyze your photos and makes them easier to search—no tags required.
Once the app scans your library, you can search for photos based on location, time, or keywords to quickly locate that old selfie.
The app is pending App Store approval, but I took it for a spin and was surprised with how quick and easy-to-use it was. Expect it to hit the App Store for free within the next two weeks.
For those pained with guilt for leaving Fido home alone all day, Petcube lets you interact and play with your pet anywhere you have a data connection.
The tiny box is equipped with a camera to keep your eye on your kitties and features a motion detector that can alert you when your pet is rummaging around. And if you need some quality playtime, Petcube is armed with a laser that you can aim around the room with your iPhone for some feline fun.
Priced at $199 per unit, the Petcube is set to launch in late-May.
Olloclip showed us their new 4-in-1 iPad lens, which we previewed back at CES. It will sell for $69.99 and shipping is scheduled to begin around late April.
Olloclip’s iPad lens is identical to Olloclip’s iPhone 4-in-1, with a fisheye, wide-angle, 10x and 5x macro lenses. It will only fit the iPad Air and Retina Mini (the regular Mini is slightly thicker).
Olloclip CEO Patrick O’Neill said lots of iPad users take photos and video with their devices, especially video. “The big screen is great for framing,” he said.
However, the company was always nervous about the etiquette implications. They didn’t want to be responsible for iPad owners holding up their tablets at events and blocking other people’s views. “We didn’t want to be the brand that got blamed for that,” he said.
However, he thinks iPad owners are more aware of other people than they used to be, and besides, Apple is starting to make s big push promoting the iPad’s camera. Apple’s latest “Your Verse” campaign features a lot of creative iPad photography.
Olloclip is confident they have another hit. “The timing is perfect.”
The iRing is real! The crazy rumors that Apple is working on a powerful ring to control your Apple TV probably aren’t true, but a Kickstarter project is trying to bring the ring of power into reality.
Ring, a wearable input device that works on both iOS and Android, lets you use gestures to create text by drawing in the air. The input is fairly slow, but you can also use it to control your music, snap pictures, get alerts, or even control your Sphero ball.
The Kickstarter is open until April 4th for the price of $185, with shipping estimated to begin in the summer.
The press room is pretty vacant this morning. Everyone must be out on the show floor.
Macworld kicked off this morning with a panel titled, “The State of Apple Technology.” The panelists were Jason Snell, Editorial Director of IDG (company that owns Macworld magazine), Ben Bajarin, principal analyst for Creative Strategies, Christina Bonnington of Wired, and Rene Ritchie of iMore.
The talk covered a range of topics, including what everyone expects from Apple in 2014: bigger iPhones and Retina MacBook Airs.
For $99, Grip & Shoot gives iPhoneographers an external grip to mount your iPhone. Not only can it help you snap pictures as easily as pulling a trigger, but it also zooms in and out without touching the screen thanks to its included app. The bottom of the grip detaches to provide a quick tripod.
Apple fans are swarming at the gate, waiting for the Macworld Expo floor to open at 11AM.
Parallels 9 offered as part of the Macworld press packet.
Macworld has moved back to its traditional San Francisco venue, the main Moscone Center, rather than the newer Moscone West building. And we’re here on Wednesday night for a press preview from a handful of exhibitors.
This wireless speaker range from Korus caught my eye. This flagship V600 boombox was cranking out music loud and clear, filling the room with rich, punchy sound.
I was surprised until the rep told me it has a 100 watt amplifier and can run off six D batteries.
The Korus speaker range is wireless, multi-speaker that’s like a cross between a wireless speaker and a system like Sonos.
Using a dongle, it streams music from an iPhone, iPad or computer, but system supports multiple speakers (up to four).
Like Sonos, the speakers are pricey. The V600 lists for about $450. The company claims to have high-end audio roots, and it certainly sounds like it. “They are as good or better than Sonos,” one of the reps said.
MacPaw‘s Hider 2 is a secure porn hider… I mean, a secure file vault for all your most sensitive files.
Hider 2 is a $20 utility for keeping private data private. Unlike OS X’s built-in FileVault, the utility only hides certain files and folders. FileVault encrypts entire disks.
The utility (now in version 2) is best for hiding a handful of files or folders from prying eyes. Everything stored in Hider is password protected and locked using AES-256 encryption. None of the files are indexed by OS X’s Finder or Spotlight.
But is it any good for hiding porn? The rep was a little evasive. “We’re not sure,” she said, “But yes, we think some customers hide it from their spouses.”