At CES, Toffee cofounder Natasha Sullivan (left) and Tegan Ledford show off one of the company's popular leather briefcases. The lightweight briefcase has a pair of retractable handles and elastic straps inside to hold the MacBook in place.
LAS VEGAS — I’ve never paid much attention to laptop sleeves, but as they get fancier and fancier, they are becoming perhaps the most popular MacBook accessory out there.
At least, that’s according to one high-end sleeve and case maker from Australia.
LAS VEGAS – Pineapple Electronics’ Rumble KW Headphones have an unusual design, which makes them 100 percent waterproof. Unlike most other earbuds, the Rumble KW Headphones are good for swimming laps, snorkeling, or just taking a shower.
The in-ear style buds create sound not through sound waves, like traditional headphones and earbuds, but through bone conduction. The Rumble KWs vibrate bones in the listener’s skull, creating sound in the inner-ear.
“See, it has no holes whatsoever,” said Pineapple’s Philip Kye, as the Rumble Headphones played in a glass of water.
On the show floor of CES, the KW’s sibling headphones — Pineapple’s Rumble K Headphones, which aren’t waterproof — sounded pretty good, if a little muddy. The bass is outstanding, and they create a freaky buzzing and thumping in your ear.”The technology is tuned for lower frequencies, more bass,” Kye said.
The KWs are limited to 100 decibels, so can’t damage the listener’s hearing. They seemed well-suited for gaming — or listening to music while cleaning the hull of a boat.
LAS VEGAS — Out of the seven (!!) new Cyber-shot models on display at the sprawling Sony “booth,” the two at the very top end grabbed my attention and shook it vigorously. The 14mp, $400 DSC-TX7 and the 10mp, $350 DSC-HX5 are quite different from each other, but share four really cool features.
Speakerball, anyone? The G-Note 14's wireless speakers.
LAS VEGAS — I’d never heard of Florida-based Augen before running into the tiny, gadget-strewn booth at this year’s CES.
That’s because, says VP of Product Dev Daniel Gofman, they’ve been working to produce tech for other companies the last few years; 2010’s CES marks the first year they’re striking out on their own into the already over-saturated iPod/iPhone dock market. But Augen has a trick or three up their sleeves worth looking at.
Ivyskin's Federa Hedayatnia with the SmartCase. The iPhone case has a removable backplate that can be swapped for a rechargeable battery or a card carrier.
Of all the cases at CES, Ivyskin’s SmartCase looked to be one of the best. Made from tough polycarbonate in a range of colors, the SmartCase is a nice-looking iPhone/iPod case with a removable back plate that can be swapped out for an interchangeable battery pack (hit the jump for more photos of Ivskin’s Federa Hedayatnia showing how it works).
Computing legend and former Apple Fellow Alan Kay has kindly written a detailed note explaining a comment he made at CES, facetiously reported here. Looking for a newsy nugget from Kay’s complex talk, I was trying to make a joke about something profound being revealed at the CES gadget orgy. (“We all thought it was pretty funny too,” said Kay in a separate email).
Kay’s note explains a comment he made about the logical expression NOT BOTH underlying all human thinking.
“What I said was that all human symbol/logical REPRESENTATION systems and all computers past present and future can be made from NOT BOTH,” Kay says.
LAS VEGAS — The audio fanatics over at Blue Microphones have popped out the second-gen Mikey, a major overhaul to their plug-n-play iPod microphone.
The original Mikey was a plug-n-play, $80 microphone with on-board software that turned any iPod into a recording device. But it had several drawbacks: It didn’t play well with the iPhone unless you switched on airplane mode and it was only adjustable in one direction (it didn’t swivel). The second-gen Mikey is now $100, swivels, has a USB pass-through and works seamlessly with the iPhone; and like the original, it’s equipped with a three-way sensitivity switch. It’s also even lighter than its predecessor.
As a bonus, Blue Microphones has introduced Blue Fire, a free, feature-rich recording app available from the App Store that can be paired with Mikey to maximize performance.
LAS VEGAS — Finally, someone is going to turn iPhones everywhere into tiny, portable TV receivers. I found this little guy tucked away in a corner at a booth manned by Cydle, a young South Korean company better known for their car gadgetry. It’s a receiver/tuner that plugs neatly into an iPhone and pulls in digital ATSC broadcasts.
Why not sooner? A few months back, in October to be exact, the way was finally cleared (according to Macworld) for mobile devices to receive broadcasts from the new digital ATSC standard. South Korea is one of only two countries — the other being Taiwan — outside North America using the ATSC system.
I wasn’t able to use the system, but Cydle says it’s ready to go and will be priced at $150 — just don’t break out the mini-kegs quite yet in anticipation of watching the Saints claim their first Superbowl victory (yes, I just stamped my prediction here in this post) on the iPhone’s glorious 3.5-inch screen — the little tuner won’t ship until March.
LAS VEGAS — Most video camera makers concentrate on the video, then poke one (or if you’re really lucky, two) tiny pinholes in it to record sound through. Yeah, like that’s enough.
So Zoom’s approach is to take a honking great, smurf-colored stereo microphone and stick a vidcam, screen and controls on it.
While sound from the mic seemed pretty darn impressive, the $250 Q3’s video capability is bare-bones, recording in 640×480 at 30 fps (but in a Mac-friendly Quicktime format) with only a 2x digital zoom.
But that’s the idea — to put sound first. The guys at the Zoom booth said the idea behind the Q3 was to give sound recordings a little video accompaniment, like say as a way to record what guitar chords sound like for a music student, along with accompanying video of technique.