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.
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.
This login screen for a Quanta Computer database led to sensitive documents containing details on upcoming Apple products. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Incredibly sloppy security at one of Apple’s key suppliers exposed some of Cupertino’s most closely guarded secrets to anybody who could conduct a simple Google search.
For months, one of Quanta Computer‘s internal databases could be accessed using usernames and a default password published in a PowerPoint presentation easily found on the Web.
Quanta, based in Taiwan, is the world’s largest notebook manufacturer. In addition to Apple, Quanta assembles laptops and ultrabooks for dozens of companies, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sharp and Sony. The company is also supposedly assembling the upcoming Apple Watch and the long-rumored iPad Pro, though no official announcements have been made.
Plastc is a simple device that organizes credit and debit cards. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — Apple Pay is cool, but what if you don’t have the latest iPhone 6? The Plastc Card might be for you.
Plastc is a chameleon-like electronic card that stores up to 20 cards — debit, credit, gift and even security cards.
It’s the same size and shape as a regular card, but has a sharp and striking e-ink display. You simply swipe through the e-ink screen to choose the card you want, and swipe the mag stripe through the reader.
Instead of carrying 20 cards in your wallet, you carry just one.
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.
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.
Elio Motors’ three-wheeler is easy on the eyes — and the wallet. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — It’s hard to say what’s most amazing about Elio Motors’ three-wheeled car: its sexy frame, its extreme fuel efficiency or its jaw-dropping $6,800 price tag.
That princely sum — a little less than a 12-core Mac Pro costs — gets you a sleek two-seater that looks like something you’d see in a sci-fi flick. It’s got two wheels up front, one in back and a built-in holder for your iPad.
And on the International CES show floor here, Elio’s got a team of breezy boosters who tout its many forward-looking features with the quick-witted humor of the best car salesmen.
“For $6,800, we ought to charge you for the air in the tires,” Elio Motors rep Don Harris told Cult of Mac when we asked if the iPad was included in the purchase price.
Keith Nothacker fought long and hard to bring his BACtrack breathalyzers to boozers everywhere. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — Keith Nothacker is living proof that persistence pays off.
Nothacker is here at the giant International CES gadget show to introduce a key-size version of his pocket breathalyzer — the first personal, police-grade breathalyzer approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Connected by bluetooth to your iPhone, a quick puff into the $49 BACtrack Vio will tell you instantly if you’re too juiced to drive — or take part in any other activity best done sober.
But 13 years ago, Nothacker was fighting the FDA to bring the device to market.
The recent publishing of a patent for an iOS stylus — an accessory Jobs was vocal about opposing — got us thinking about other aspects of Apple, circa 2015, that likely would have rubbed the company’s late CEO the wrong way.
One person’s dirty car window is Scott Wade’s canvas. Wade created a museum mashup — The Mona Lisa and Starry Night — on this grimy glass. Photo courtesy Scott Wade
He is an Eagle Scout, a versatile bar-band drummer and a senior GUI designer for a company that creates mobile apps for the health care industry.
But Scott Wade is famous for drawing dirty pictures.
It’s not the content that raises eyebrows but the canvas on which Wade creates. Present him with a dirty car and see why some call him the “da Vinci of Dust.”
Who hasn’t walked by a car coated in dirt and used their finger to scrawl the message, “Wash me”? Wade, inspired by the dirt roads of his home state of Texas, uses a car’s dirty window as an opportunity to create elaborate landscapes, detailed portraiture with subtle shading and re-imagined classic works like The Mona Lisa or Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
UE Megaboom bluetooth speaker. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — It’s easy to see how the UE Megaboom could become your favorite way to listen to music. The new Bluetooth speaker packs great features into a rugged cylindrical package that won’t go tits up if you drop it or leave it out in the rain.
The UE Megaboom is bigger and louder than its predecessor, the similarly shaped UE Boom. It delivers glittering, precise highs and satisfying bass. It’s lightweight and boasts a 20-hour rechargeable battery. All in all, it’s a perfect device for the way we listen to music in the streaming era.