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About Alex Heath

Alex Heath Alex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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Withings’ new Activité Pop is a smartwatch you’ll actually want to wear

Withings smart watch. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Activité Pop is a smartwatch for people who don’t like smartwatches. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — The problem with the state of smartwatches, beyond the sucky software, is that they’re all ugly. The Apple Watch might very well be the first wearable that not only works, but looks good too, although we won’t know for sure until the finished product is on our wrists this spring.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 There were dozens and dozens of smartwatches displayed on the sprawling show floor at International CES last week, but the only one that looked good enough to adorn my wrist was the new Withings Activité Pop.

It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of fancier watches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, but it’s not your average dumb watch either. And for now, just a smidgen smarter is smart enough.

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Awesome MacBook dock looks like it was designed by Apple

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The horizontal docking station from Henge Docks just rocks. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Laptop docks aren’t usually the sexiest things in the world, but the latest hardware from Henge Docks could be considered somewhat titillating.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 Henge’s upcoming horizontal docking station is a beauty. Its sleek, metallic profile looks like an extension of Apple’s unibody MacBook design. But this thing doesn’t only have good looks; it boasts robust port expansion, helpful cable management and automatic docking.

A small company based in San Francisco, Henge Docks is already known for its vertical MacBook dock and Gravitas dock for iOS devices. Customers clamored for a horizontal MacBook dock that didn’t require a secondary display, and the finalized version is being displayed for the first time at International CES here this week.

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The only Apple Watch accessory at CES is an unfinished prototype

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The first Apple Watch dock still needs work. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — In a sea of iPhone cases and other Apple-related gizmos, one would expect to find at least a few Apple Watch accessories at CES.

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Sure, the Watch itself won’t come out for probably a few more months, but we already know what it looks like and a lot about how its apps will work. Where are the companies looking to hitch their wagons to Apple’s next big thing?

Out of the 3,679 exhibitors spread across the 2.06 million square feet of show floor at International CES this year, there is only one Apple Watch accessory, and it’s an unfinished prototype.

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YubiKey wants to be like Touch ID for your Internet life

YubiKey opens the way to online security. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

YubiKey can make online security easy — if it gains widespread adoption. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Nobody wants to get hacked like Jennifer Lawrence’s iCloud account. Everyone, including Apple, is pushing two-factor authentication in the wake of the high-profile hack that exposed dozens of celebrities nude selfies, but verifying an account login with a code sent to your phone is a total pain.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 In the not-so-distant future, we might all be storing two-factor authentication on our keychains.

Yubico is already providing eight out of 10 Silicon Valley companies with a tiny USB dongle called YubiKey that securely verifies an employee’s online identity. You just plug it into a computer and tap it when it’s time to log in. Now that Gmail has started supporting YubiKey on the front end, anyone can use it as the second verification step for getting into their inbox.

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Leef’s iBridge expands your iPhone’s storage by 256GB, for a price

The Leef iBridge is a Lightning-equipped storage wonder. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Leef iBridge is a Lightning-equipped storage wonder. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — On the surface, there’s nothing very exciting about a portable flash drive. It doesn’t excite me at all. But make that drive a sleek, Lightning-equipped, 256GB beast of a thing, and now we’re talking.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 The Leef iBridge, on display here at International CES, packs the most storage of any iOS-compatible hard drive on the market. But all that space comes at a steep price.

$399.99, to be exact. Certainly jaw-dropping, but something in me, and obviously in the Leef team, believes there’s at least a few people out there who will buy it. If not, the cheaper 128GB ($200), 64GB ($120), 32GB ($80) and 16GB ($60) models should appeal to the layman.

There’s a nice companion iOS app that reads what you’ve stored and even lets you shoot photos/video directly to the drive. Not a bad thing to have for a photo adventure in the wilderness. Or if you still don’t have enough storage available to install iOS 8.

iPhone 6 battery cases are finally a thing

Otterbox finally has your iPhone 6 and 6 plus covered. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Otterbox finally has your iPhone 6 covered — and charged. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — An iPhone battery case is kinda like insurance: You don’t really want it, but you know you need it. It’s been months since Apple started selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but we have yet to see any battery cases from established brands … until now.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 Otterbox unveiled its Resurgence power case for the iPhone 6 at International CES this week. The case packs a 2,600-mAh battery that will charge your iPhone’s battery twice over. And, like everything Otterbox makes, it’s designed with military-grade drop protection.

The case charges itself via a micro-USB connector, and it has a button on the back that needs to be pressed when your iPhone requires more life. Otterbox is offering four colors, and the case should be available in a couple weeks for $100.

Sengled lights are smarter than your average bulb

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Candyland-themed stands not included. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — It seems like everyone is selling some kind of smart light bulb these days, but Sengled is setting itself apart by incorporating wild add-ons like Bluetooth speakers and Wi-Fi repeaters.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015That’s right, a light bulb with a speaker.

At a demo during CES Unveiled here, the company showed me its lineup of four smart bulbs, all of which have their own gimmick beyond the to-be-expected remote control functionality through an app.

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Narrative Clip is like a Russian dash cam for your body

Embrace the lifelogging lifestyle. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Embrace the lifelogging lifestyle. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — What if your entire life was like a Russian dash cam? Our phones already know where we are and what we’re doing every moment of the day, but the Narrative Clip takes things to the next level.

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This tiny little square clips onto your person and takes a 5 megapixel photo every 30 seconds. Apparently wearing such a thing makes you a “lifelogger,” which sounds like a great term to drop on a first date. Then again, once you admit that you’re wearing an always-on camera during a date, it won’t really matter if you call it lifelogging or not. You’re not getting a second shot.

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Smart home war heats up as Nest adds new partners

One of the fathers of the iPod, Tony Fadell, made smart homes a reality with the turn of this beautiful clickwheel thermostat. Nest is so easy and responsive that one weekend with using it while dogsitting at a friend’s place made me never want to leave. It’s one thing to feel comfortable in a home, but another to feel like the home is making itself comfortable for you. Google broke out the piggy bank to buy it for $3.2 billion early this year, making Apple’s quest to rule the Internet of Things that much more challenging.

The Nest thermostat just got a lot smarter. Photo: Nest

LAS VEGAS — When it comes to the smart home, there are two key players right now: Apple and Nest, the latter of which is owned by Google. While plenty of smart lock and thermostat makers are starting to support Apple’s HomeKit, the “Works with Nest” family is also growing.

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Rewind: Best viral videos of 2014

Animated gif: Buster Hein

A shot from the video that started #bendgate. GIF: Buster Hein

There were more viral videos in 2014 than you can shake a stick at, and you could spend weeks watching them all. From John Oliver to the Ice Bucket Challenge, we were absolutely inundated with stuff to watch throughout the year, and that’s a great thing.

Wishing you could relive some of the best viral video moments of 2014? We’ve collected some of the best for your enjoyment:

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