ReSound’s LiNX hearing aid pairs with iPhones to add surprisingly useful functionality. Photo: ReSound
LAS VEGAS — Hearing aids aren’t sexy, so a lot of journalists here at International CES breezed right by ReSound’s booth.
The Danish company has been in the hearing aid business for 75 years, and launched the first iPhone-connected hearing aid at CES last year. Now the company is a back with a full lineup of iPhone-compatible LiNX hearing aids. The devices address the whole range of hearing loss, from the mild to severe.
As I approach 50, I’m wondering if I need a pair myself, so I went to check them out. I was impressed. Connecting a hearing aid to an iPhone adds a lot of very useful functionality.
Casper mattresses come in boxes. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — Bryan Chaffin loves his Casper mattress.
“I don’t even know where to start,” effused the Mac Observer executive vice president. “It’s the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever slept on. It was dead-easy to set up. It’s just incredibly comfortable.”
Chaffin is a satisfied customer of Casper, a New York startup shaking up the tired old mattress industry. Casper is doing everything differently, from the design of its all-foam mattress to the way it sells and ships direct to customers.
Garmin’s chunky new Fenix 3 Sapphire sport watch faces stiff competition from Apple Watch. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — When Garmin launches a $600 smartwatch just a few weeks before Apple is about to introduce its category killer, the company must be pretty confident.
Here at International CES, Garmin is showing off its new line of Fenix 3 Sports Watches — multisport fitness trackers with built-in GPS that can pair with a smartphone to show various alerts and notifications. It comes in three models, including the handsome Sapphire, which has a hard sapphire crystal face. It’s a beauty, but surely doomed, right?
When asked if Garmin was worried about the Apple Watch, due to be launched sometime this spring, a spokeswoman confidently said absolutely not. She explained that Garmin’s watches are unapologetically outdoor fitness devices built for sportspeople who want a watch to do very specific things — track workouts – and aren’t interested in beaming heartbeats or sending emojis.
“They are purpose-built,” she said, gesturing at the display. “They’re built for hiking, biking and running. Garmin has been in the wearables market for 10 years. We’re not worried at all.”
These motorized skates cut walking time in half. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — For eight years, Paul Chavand been working hard to bring the world a pair of motorized skates. Why? To revolutionize the simple act of walking. Chavand’s dream is turn a simple stroll into an effortless glide on motorized wheels.
But don’t call them skates. Chavand, a mathematics teacher from France’s Burgundy region, gets rather upset at that. Skates imply imbalance, falling over and wildly flailing arms. Chavand’s Rollkers require no “skating.” You just stand still and the motorized wheels zip you along. Balancing is as simple as standing up, the inventor says.
So instead of “skates,” he calls his invention, rather comically, “under shoes.”
Although the Apple Watch isn’t out yet, mobile-marketing firm TapSense is taking advantage of CES mania to unveil its plans to release an Apple Watch ad-buying service, aimed at developers. This service will let businesses create ads targeted at individual users of Apple’s upcoming wearables device.
These ads would use “push notifications” to alert customers of specific deals they may be interested in, although only inside apps that have already been opened.
While Korean electronics giants like Samsung will dominate the show floor, Apple is laying the future path for the entire tech industry.
In the coming year, the tech industry’s big battlegrounds will be your body, your home and your car. At CES, thousands of companies will showing off new and prototype products to do battle in these arenas. But Apple is the company to beat. With the upcoming Apple Watch, in addition to HealthKit, HomeKit and CarPlay, Apple is setting the agenda for the entire tech industry, and it’s not even there.
This time on The CultCast: we’re live from Las Vegas and ready to report the best and worst tech from the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show! We’ll call out some of our favorite Apple accessories too, and some will surprise you. Plus, did you hear about the Michael Bay meltdown at the Samsung keynote? Well we were in the room when things got weird… let us regale you with the whole story.
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Android-powered video game consoles like the Ouya haven’t exactly been a huge success, but Chinese electronics maker Huawei is hoping to change that with Tron, a device that looks remarkably similar to Apple’s new Mac Pro — albeit a lot smaller. It’s powered by a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor and 2GB of RAM, and it’s expected to cost less than $150.