(You're reading all posts by 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.
About Alex Heath
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: