Time to come clean: I play guitar and sing in a disco band. I know, I know, the backlash against that kind of music has been going on since 1977. Trust me, I know.
But the way people respond to this still-valid, we-use-real-instruments form of music is so much better than the way they used to when I played guitar in modern or classic rock bands. In those days, the most reaction I’d see in an audience was a foot tap, or maybe–if I was lucky–a head bob or two. Happy, gorgeous people dancing their butts off? So much more fun.
iKlip 2 by IK Multimedia Category: iPad Cases & Accessories Works With: iPad 2, 3, 4 Price: $39.99
Now, playing in a cover band requires knowing a lot of music, like the chords for the 50 plus songs that we play. As I also take on half the lead singing duties, so I’m required to know the lyrics as well. I don’t do this for a living; I do it for fun and some beer and gear money. I don’t have tons of time to memorize all those songs, let alone the new ones we learn every few months. So I use lyric sheets. I used to use them on paper, but boy is that annoyingly old school and easily lost.
Now I use my iPad (and an amazing app called GigBook) to organize and keep track of my lyric sheets. And I also use the incomparable iKlip 2 iPad holder to attach that iPad to the microphone stand right in front of me.
NeatConnect by Neat Category: Scanners Works With:Anything with Wi-Fi Price: $500
I’ve been using Neat products for the past couple of years. I’ve got a NeatDesk for Mac and an active NeatCloud account. So when the folks at Neat reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in putting the company’s latest piece of hardware – NeatConnect – through the paces, I jumped at the chance.
When I received the UE Boom in the mail and opened the mailing box, I thought maybe the PR rep had secretly slipped me a bottle of Scotch. Not that I would have minded, of course.
UE Boom by Ultimate Ears/Logitech Category: Bluetooth Speaker Works With: Any Bluetooth Audio Source Price: $199.99
It turns out that this ruggedized little portable Bluetooth speaker by Logitech-owned Ultimate Ears (UE) comes in some slick packaging that I’m loathe to get rid of, it’s that cool. The cylindrical speaker fits snugly in the center portion of the box, and each side has a cute little compartment where the bright yellow power plug and flat premium micro USB cable fit in, each with its respective symbol printed on a little flag. It’s striking packaging, which should go over well with consumers.
Luckily, the actual speaker here, a smallish cylinder made to be set on end vertically as well as on its side horizontally, is a fantastic sounding Bluetooth speaker, with a full, clear tonal spectrum that’s surprising in something so small. The bass response could be a bit punchier, but I don’t find that to be an issue at all, and actually prefer the more balanced tonal approach.
There’s an argument in the platform wars, and also on Wall Street, that goes something like this: “Apple doesn’t innovate anymore. It moves too slowly, and is being taken over by more nimble, more innovative rivals.”
Any success Apple has is the result of slick marketing, rather than the newest technology. But now, Apple is a laggard and is being overtaken by more nimble companies.
Apple is working on the use of flexible-glass touch displays. Which products will Apple use flexible displays in?
The answer is: all of them.
When people think about flexible displays, they think about small-screen gadgets like iWatches and curved-glass iPhones. What most don’t realize is that flexible displays can bring some amazing benefits to a device, even if the display itself isn’t curved.
And Apple has patents on all of it.
Here’s how Apple might deploy flexible displays to transform every product they make.
Zipp by Libratone Category: Airplay Speakers Works With: iPhone, iPad, Mac Price: $450 as tested
I thought I’d heard everything there was to hear from wireless speakers. I have tested everything from the smallest, crappiest pocket speaker to the big booming Big Jambox. Then I “hooked” the Libratone Zipp up to my iPhone, and I started to enjoy music again.
Apple was caught last year selling Apple Certified refurbished hardware on eBay using the pseudonym Refurbished-Outlet. Allegedly.
The prices and details of these products were generally the same as refurbished products sold on the apple.com site. The products come with a one-year warranty and mobile devices contain a new battery.
But this week it emerged that Apple is lowering the prices on eBay, sometimes by quite a bit. For example, Apple normally charges $999 for a refurbed MacBook Air with 128 GB. But that same system with the same Apple inspection and one-year warranty went on sale in the eBay store for $899. Prices on other hardware products were slashed similarly.
(In addition, we learned, the company as been apparently working with “power sellers” on eBay to sell Apple hardware. For example, until they ran out of the 500 units put up for sale of 13-inch MacBook Pros selling for $999. These are new devices, not refurbished, and Apple is probably using the “channel” to clear out inventory.)
It seems to me that Apple is working behind the scenes to experiment with different models for selling refurbished and excess inventory. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple was also trying other channels for doing the same thing that we don’t know about. And I also wouldn’t be surprised if refurbished gadgets vanished from the Apple site altogether, and for those items to be sold in the darker alleys of the Internet (like eBay) exclusively instead.
But I think there’s a ginormous opportunity here for embracing “used” in a big way — and it’s something only Apple could pull off.
Have you ever tried to do any serious videography with an iPad? I don’t recommend it casually, but the iPad can be a great HD video tool, combining high resolution video capture abilities with a large screen for monitoring. Connecting it to a tripod, however, can be a trial.
SerialKickers aim to solve this problem with a new product for iPad, the ArchMount, an ultra-portable mounting system that will let you attach your iPad to a camera tripod for use in video, tele-prompter, or music applications.