Life is a blur of cool gear here at the Cult of Mac offices. We put it all through rigorous trials, but it’s like living in a fast-spinning revolving door of flashy accessories, cool bags and high-end accoutrements. Some of it gets dropped like a lying girlfriend as soon as the next sexy thing comes along, but sometimes we develop long-term love affairs with certain bits of kit. The gear featured in our monthly Lust LIst roundups is the equipment that’s made the grade over the long haul: These are the items we couldn’t live without.
Ona’s The Chelsea
There’s something about all the smart compartments in camera bags that works even if you’re not actually toting around a camera. So Ona’s Chelsea ($370) is just the thing: This capacious bowler bag offers protected spaces for a DSLR, up to three lenses, your keys and stuff, plus an iPad or notebook. But I packed it with a 13-inch MacBook Pro, a pear (the lens dividers are perfect for keeping your snacks unbruised), The Economist and all the cords, headphones and chargers carried by a modern-day scribe. One thing: The size and saffiano leather (that’s the grainy type that Prada favors for long-wearing briefcases and the like) can be a little Insta-ma’am if you don’t dress it down. -- Nicole Martinelli
Apple Magic Trackpad
The name is ridiculous -- total Steve Jobs hyperbole. It’s actually embarrassing to say out loud. But the Magic Trackpad ($69) is actually kinda magical. Sitting on your desktop, it works better than any mouse. Tracking on it is intuitive and easy. But the magic is in the gestures. Once you get used to them (there’s a bit of a learning curve), you begin to wonder how you ever surfed the Web without two-finger swipes. -- Leander Kahney
Chrome Industries Excursion Rolltop 37
This giant duffel bag of a backpack grew on me, both literally and figuratively. I have to admit at first I was like, “Meh.” The Chrome Industries Excursion Rolltop 37 ($160) has no bells or whistles: no media pocket, no hidden compartments, no velco closures. It has a laptop sleeve and super-nice loop carrying straps, but it’s about as basic as a bag gets. What the lightweight bag lacks in features, though, it more than makes up for in massive gear-swallowing goodness. I keep tossing more and more stuff into this bag and it just keeps grinning back, always ready for more. -- Jim Merithew
When you have a high-pitched voice like mine that sounds silly and squeaky on any recording, you need all the help you can get. The Rode Podcaster microphone ($369) makes anyone’s voice sound rich and sonorous. OK, I made that up, but the Rode’s audio quality is not to be beat. The entire CultCast team uses Rode Podcasters to produce the best Apple conversation you’ll hear all week long. Since we switched from lesser microphones, soundcheck is a lot less painful. The Rode is a serious piece of pro-level audio equipment at a podcaster’s price. -- Leander Kahney
Mission Workshop’s The Orion
It was pouring buckets, but I didn’t care: I was pedaling with a huge smile on my face, because any time on the bike is way more fun than time spent on the bus or BART. Plus, I was protected. I was wearing Mission Workshop’s The Orion ($415): The hooded waterproof coat is seam-sealed, pit-zipped and cut perfect in the sleeves. No water was getting in and the bone-chilling wind was being held at bay. I don’t really think about getting my upper body wet anymore -- the jacket is just there, doing its job, while I go about grinning like a school boy. Ride on. -- Jim Merithew
Lacie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt Series
Simple. Elegant. Rugged. What more needs to be said? The Lacie Rugged series is the standard by which all other portable storage drives are judged, and now they’ve got Thunderbolt support ($229 for 1 TB model). If you are on the run and need to back up everything, this is a no-brainer. -- Jim Merithew
Teva Pivot MTB Shoe
Teva doesn’t make the Pivot MTB shoe ($150) anymore. They actually killed their entire bike line late last year. Find a pair. Buy them. Seriously. -- Jim Merithew
Ferrero Pocket Coffee
Smart people usually don’t stash espressos in their coat pockets, what with the stains and the blisters and all. But with the Ferrero Pocket Coffee, caffeine fiends are no longer tethered to the espresso bar. These thumb-size miracles wrap a satisfying liquid dose of inky Italian coffee inside a dark chocolate shell. Pop one and you’ll perk right up. Soon you’ll be buying them by the case ($38 for 60 pieces). -- Lewis Wallace
Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Chain
If the San Francisco bike thieves steal my whip, at least I’ll know they really wanted it. This will be a small consolation for me: I’ll cry a little less knowing I did everything I could to make those scumbags’ crime a difficult task. How to thwart the thievery? After visiting countless bike shops and online forums I settled on the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit ($175). It’s as close as I could get to a safe, for it is a well-known fact that if the bitches want to steal your steed there is nothing you can actually do to stop them. I am happy I can leave the beefy lock at the office, since I’m not sure I am man enough to haul this behemoth back and forth to work everyday. I still double-lock my bike with a u-lock and take my front wheel with me. Here’s to being safe and trying my best to get them to steal someone else’s chariot. -- Jim Merithew
BookBook for iPhone 5
There are only two things I carry with me every single day -- my phone and my wallet. Best of all, my wallet is also my phone case. The BookBook from Twelve South ($60) looks like an old, leather-bound pocket book. Slots inside hold several credit cards and my ID. My BookBook is totally beaten up -- I keep it in my back jeans pocket -- but it’s lasted really well. It protects my phone better than any case I’ve had and it gets tons of comments. Everyone says they wish they could ditch their wallet too, but they have too much stuff in it. I thought that too, until I jettisoned everything but a couple of cards. I haven’t looked back. -- Leander Kahney
Does your iPhone 5 suffer from a dodgy power button? If so, Apple will repair it free of charge, according to a new announcement made by the company.
“Apple has determined that the sleep/wake button mechanism on a small percentage of iPhone 5 models may stop working or work intermittently,” Apple states. “iPhone 5 models manufactured through March 2013 may be affected by this issue.”
iPhone users experiencing the problem can visit Apple’s website, enter their phone’s serial number and — hey presto! — see if their device is one of the faulty ones Apple is referring to.
Charging cords get caught or tripped on all the time. It’s time to eliminate the tangled mess and start charging with a hassle free wireless alternative – and the WiQiQi wireless charger offers a new era of powering up your iPhone.
Like its predecessor, the new prototype Linkase Pro LTE iPhone case supposedly boosts your iPhone’s ability to connect to the Internet. But where the previous version was claimed to strengthen the iPhone’s wifi radio, this new LTE version is supposed to boost, you guessed it, your iPhone’s LTE data radio. Absolute Technology, the company behind the case, also claims it will add 20 percent to your battery life due to less power wasted while trying to send and receive data.
This Cult of Mac Deals offering has the following qualities: It’s a protective phone case, it’s a wallet, it’s killing two birds with one stone and looking classier than Burt Reynolds in a crushed-velvet suit while doing it. So if you like luxury and functionality in one sleek package, this deal is going to be for you.
The Windsor iPhone 5/5s Sleeve Case is made from genuine Italian leather and a luxurious micro-suede lining to keep your phone looking good while staying protected. It’s also a wallet that can hold 8 cards, so if you’re looking for sleek protection and space-saving functionality, this is it. And it’s just $39.99 through this Cult of Mac Deals special offer!
Thule’s Gauntlet case for the iPhone 5s is a slim, stylish snap-on cover that offers plenty of protection. Just like its big brother, a thin folio that will effectively protect an iPad Air, the Gauntlet employs a molded texture for grip and durability.
Gauntlet by Thule Category: Cases Works With: iPhone 5 & iPhone 5s Price: $27
The iPhone case provides plenty of access to all buttons, ports and cameras. It comes in black, turquoise or pink, and it will protect your device without making it too big and bulky.
One of the Gauntlet’s best features, however, is its slender price tag. Available from MyBanana, it costs less than £16 ($27) — and it’s worth every penny.
Everyone at Cult of Mac knows I’m a sucker for wood-paneling all of my gadgets. I wood-paneled my iPhone 4s, my iPhone 5, my iPad, my iPad mini, and even my MacBook Air.
I have to say, though, that as understated as they are, I love Richard Clarkson’s wood-panels for the iPhone 5 most of all. They replace the tiny glass accents on the upper and lower parts of the iPhone 5 with little wood slivers in a variety of accents that looks amazingly understated and lovely.
Currently only available for the iPhone 5, Clarkson’s wooden replacement accents cost $38 a pair. There’s cheaper and easier to apply options, but we love this none the less.
Meison Morgan by Meison Morgan Category: Cases Works With: iPhone 5 & iPhone 5s Price: €30/$46
Manufactured in Greece using the same bookbinding process that traditional notebook makers use, this case offers not only good looks, but also all-round protection that promises to withstand the test of time.
It’s available in black and denim (blue), and it’s super affordable at €30 ($46).
A Utah soldier has thanked Apple after his iPhone 5 helped save his life from a suicide bomb explosion while on tour in Afghanistan.
The metal ball bearings from the bomb ripped through the phone casing, but not Shaun Frank. While he suffered several superficial wounds from the blast, his sister claims that medics “did tell him when he got back to base that the iPhone probably saved his life.”