Beefy iPad Pro case is worth its weight in protection [Reviews]

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As a working iPad, the Pro needs protection like Gumdrop's DropTech Case for iPad Pro.
As a working iPad, the Pro needs protection like Gumdrop's DropTech Case for iPad Pro.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Lust List: DropTech protective case for Apple iPad Pro by Gumdrop

Apple charges a whopping $599 to repair a broken screen on an iPad Pro. With its 13-inch screen, yeah, the Pro has a lot of glass, but 600 bucks is nearly as much as it costs to buy a new one. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either.

So I’m grateful that my iPad Pro is safely ensconced in the equivalent of a big, rubbery safety blanket. Gumdrop’s DropTech Case looks like a flattened tractor tire, with big ridges on the back for maintaining a grip. It’s not elegant by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m confident it’ll save me a trip to the Genius Bar.

Sony’s pico projector makes a big, bright picture

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Sony's $350 MP-CL1 Pico Projector is small and easy to use.
Sony's $350 MP-CL1 Pico Projector is small and easy to use.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

You should never take a video projector camping — it completely defeats the object of the great outdoors. Unless you have kids. Then it’s handy to beam a movie onto the side of a tent to keep them quiet while you drink.

Perfect for the job is Sony’s $350 MP-CL1 — a small, battery-powered pico projector. Not much bigger than an iPhone 6+, it beams a surprisingly sharp and bright image that belies it’s small size.

Hook it up to your iPhone via a HDMI cable and adapter, and you’re off to the woods.

Steel Apple Watch bracelet rivals Apple’s, but costs half the price

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Juuk Revo Apple Watch band
Juuk's stainless steel Revo wristband for the Apple Watch is a beauty.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Revo brushed stainless steel Apple Watch bracelet by Juuk

For nearly 20 years, watchmaker Eugene Ho has been making luxury timepieces for the likes of Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, Ecko and Reebok. Now he’s branched out on his own. His startup, Juuk (pronounced “juke”), makes beautiful, high-end bracelets for Apple Watches.

Juuk’s wristbands rival Cupertino’s aesthetics and quality — but cost half the price.

CES Day 3: Hoverboards, doggie ‘brain puzzles’ and beer

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This Hoverboard is hot at  CES 2016.
This Hoverboard is hot at CES 2016.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac CES 2016 full coverage LAS VEGAS — CES is the tech world equivalent of an all-you-can-eat dim sum buffet. Your eyes boggle at all the tantalizing-looking options, but you’re never really sure what you’re about to sink your teeth into.

Sometimes an exhibitor at this sprawling electronics show serves up the tech equivalent of a delicious shrimp dumpling. Other times you end up politely nodding and searching for the nearest napkin.

In today’s Cult of Mac CES 2016 roundup, we’ve got hoverboards, a game console for dogs, robots and other exotic offerings on the menu.

Cool connected footballs, distributed speaker systems, Bluetooth routers and more at CES

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Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac CES 2016 full coverageLAS VEGAS — Who says everything at CES is rubbish?

Well, yeah, there’s a lot crap, but that’s why we’re here — to rummage through the rubbish and find the best stuff.

And we found plenty: smart footballs and running shorts that improve your game and gait; a coffee mug that instantly cools coffee that’s too hot; and a speaker system that uses all the iPhones in a room to create a distributed, shared sound system that sounds better than you’d imagine.

Check it out:

Kia pledges to fully automate all vehicles by 2030

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Kia's concept for a fully autonomous car, which we'll all NOT be driving in 2030. Plus, we'll all be living in gleaming Sky Discs.
Kia's concept for a fully autonomous car, which we'll all NOT be driving in 2030. Plus, we'll all be living in gleaming Sky Discs.
Photo: Kia

Cult of Mac CES 2016 full coverage LAS VEGAS — It’s not gadgets that are making the news here at CES 2016, but cars.

For example, at a press event this afternoon the Korean car giant Kia said all of its cars will be fully autonomous by 2030. Not just its high-end vehicles — all the cars it makes. And that’s just 14 years away.

That means you be able to curl up in the back and sleep while the robot drives — or not be in the car at all. It’ll drive itself to the airport to pick you up.

Kia is joined by dozens of other companies with futuristic visions of the car. Both Detroit and Silicon Valley are here at CES 2016 to talk up future cars, which are mostly electric and autonomous. It includes Ford, VW, Toyota and lots of others.

It’s all good news for Apple, which is widely believed to be working on its own car.

Booze bots, badass routers, high-flyin’ drones and more at CES

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The Vuze is a VR camera that captures scenes in 360-degrees. It'll be sold as a kit that includes a headset, and it's pretty cool.
The Vuze is a VR camera that captures scenes in 360-degrees. It'll be sold as a kit that includes a headset, and it's pretty cool.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac CES 2016 full coverage LAS VEGAS — CES 2016 is about to kick off. The world’s biggest consumer electronics show, which is held each January in Las Vegas, starts this week. At a press preview Monday night, we got a peek at some of the industry’s latest, greatest offerings.

Here’s some of the stuff we think is pretty cool. Check out a cocktail robot, a monster Wi-Fi router that promises to eliminate dead spots, and a fixed-wing drone that flies like a hawk.

Happy holidays from Cult of Mac

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Happy holidays everyone, however you celebrate it: Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, kickin’ Kwanzaa and a tipsy New Year!

We trust you’re in the company of family and friends, stuffing your faces and giving and receiving in the best spirit of the holidays.

Things are going be quiet around here for a few days while we enjoy a short break. We have a great Mighty Mac Freebies giveaway and several more “best-of-the-year” posts coming up.

We’ll be back in the New Year with a bang from Las Vegas! We have a crew heading to CES 2016, bringing you all the best in tech.

Meanwhile, take it easy on the eggnog.

Leander Kahney
Editor & publisher

How Apple’s super-secret Industrial Design team really works

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Apple's Industrial Design team at the Apple Watch unveiling.
Apple's Industrial Design team at the Apple Watch unveiling.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

This feature is adapted from my book, Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products. It offers a rare look inside one of Apple’s most secretive institutions: the Industrial Design studio.

Where do Apple’s great products come from?

For the last 18 years — since Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997 — most of them have come out of Apple’s Industrial Design studio, a small and secretive group of creatives headed up by celebrated British designer Sir Jony Ive.

Take a video tour of Apple’s secret design studio

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Take a peek inside Jony Ive's design lab.
Apple's secretive Industrial Design Studio is on the ground floor of Infinite Loop II, one of the main buildings on the Cupertino campus.

Very few outsiders have been inside Apple’s Industrial Design Studio, the amazingly creative product lab behind the company’s blockbuster hardware.

That may change this weekend, when 60 Minutes broadcasts a tour of the design lab. Apple’s lead designer, Jony Ive, gave journalist Charlie Rose a peek at the facility earlier this year — and his report airs this Sunday.

But you can take a tour of Apple’s secret Industrial Design studio right now. A virtual one, anyway.