You know what I hate? Detangling the cables, chargers, headphones, and other electronic accoutrements that always weave themselves into a ball while stored in my backpack.
Cocoon, makers of the Grid-It “ultimate organizer,” want to solve that problem. The Grid-It ($20), stows your accessories against a flat surface, all held tidily in place with a series of interwoven elastic bands. That sounds a heckuvalot better than what I’m doing. So with Earpods, chargers, and lightning cables in hand, I put one to the test to see how well it works.
As an Apple guy with a whole lot of photography gear, I’m usually forced to slug my computing devices in one bag and DSLR and accoutrements in another while traveling. I hate doing that.
Think Tank’s new rolling camera bag, the Airport Navigator ($249), with two wheels, a telescoping handle, and space for a DSLR, lenses, and an iPad and Macbook Pro, seemed to be the perfect portable home for all my devices to live. But how well would it perform on the road? I decided to pack it full, take it to Vegas, and cart it around with me on the over-crowded floors one of the world’s biggest technology shows, CES 2013, and find out.
I have an admiration for very simple solutions, and while the CardNinja — a new iPhone accessory that was on display last night at Showstoppers! — isn’t going to light anyone’s world on fire, it’s a “why didn’t I think of that?” kind of product that makes it a lot easier to treat your iPhone like a real wallet.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – With irritating regularity, my girlfriend and I dance the same dance. She, or I, go to bed with our iPhones. She, or I, lose it somewhere within the ocean of the bedfolds. She, or I, find ourselves apoplectic. She, or I, demands that the other calls the phone to locate. And then she, or I, realize that we’ve lost our phone too. And then we murder each other into a spattering of bloody chunks in our festering rage, somehow to reconstitute ourselves, temporarily find our iPhones and begin this amphisbaena dance anew.
But no longer! At Digital Experience, I talked with a wonderful little outfit selling a gadget called the Hipkey, which creates a sort of blood bond between a dongle and your iPhone. The possibilities after that are pretty rich: not only can it help you find a lost iPhone, or a lost set of keys, but you can even do things like help find a missing child or be alerted by a pickpocketed smartphone with it.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – The iPhone has many hardware advantages over the competition, but it sucks at LED alerts. Smartphones like the ones offered by RIM have a dedicated LED that flashes when you get a message; on Android, you can even dictate the pattern of the LED flashes per contact with a staccato rhythm applied on the touchscreen with your index finger.
Your iPhone? Nothing. The LED can flash if you get a message, but it’s messy and unrefined. But that’s where the Endliss Hybrid Battery Case for the iPhone 5 by uNu comes in. It gives the back of your iPhone just as much information to display as the front.
A lot of people want both an iPhone and a physical QWERTY keyboard, but they don’t want the extra bulk. Similarly, some people want a physical control pad, but they don’t want to ensconce their device in a massive case to get one.
That’s the genius of the EX Hybrid Controller for iPhone 5. It’s a Bluetooth controller that magnetically attaches to a special shell on the back of your device: flip it one way and it’s a keyboard, flip it another and it’s a gamepad. And when you’re not using it? Another magnetic backplate snaps on top of it to keep it protected and tidy.
The EX Hybrid Controller is on sale now for $49.90.
I wish it wasn’t two days after Christmas, because the Chisel 5 is the iPhone 5 dock I want. Designed by iSkelter, it’s just a slab of beautiful bambo, carved out to perfectly ensconce the iPhone 5 and prop it up in landscape or portrait mode with the Lightning cable snaking through. $39. What’s not to like?
In my line of work, I see a lot of plastic-y, rubbery, or other kinds of cheaply-made iPhone cases. So when I saw Crimson’s new iPhone 5 case ($45), looking all svelte and made from the same aluminum they bolt into Boeing planes, I just had to see if it was truly first class, or just another case made for coach.
One of the better Yuletide traditions is the venerable holiday Advent Calendar, in which each day of December leading up to Christmas is marked off on a special calendar by opening its corresponding door to find a small gift, toy or chocolate squirreled away inside.
This year, we here at Cult of Mac decided we wanted to give our readers their very own Apple-themed advent calendar, filled with the year’s best apps, gadgets, stories and other curios. So each day in December, we’re going to lovingly peel back the door on the Cult of Mac 2012 Advent Calendar to reveal another delicious morsel, something really special that came out this year that we think every one of you should enjoy.
Day 16’s a day late, which just means you get to open two squares today instead of one. Behind the first? Monolith’s excellent wood backs for the iPhone.