Apple was on fire in 2012. Along with the incredible iPhone 5, we saw the first retina tablet and the pocketable iPad mini. This was also the year in which Apple let the iPod touch out to play, giving it features on a par with the iPhone 4S instead of using leftover components from Google’s leftover Nexus parts bin.
But not everything from Apple made it into our top ten. The Retina MacBook Pro, despite being an amazing machine, is still a laptop, albeit one with a hi-res screen and no DVD player. And the new iMac’s most interesting contribution to tech is the HDD/SSD Fusion Drive. Sure, it’s skinny, but who really cares about a thin desktop machine? It’s like making the world’s thinnest lawnmower.
Most of the rest of my picks reflect the fact that high-tech consumer electronics are now as utterly mainstream as the iron or the microwave oven. Sure, us nerds still love to play with the latest crap, and there will always be plenty of ill-informed consumers who are suckered into buying cheapo Android tablets, but these days gadgets generally Just Work, and the differences are in the little details.
That’s why we have fitness widgets alongside fancy portable speakers and implausibly good-for-the-price headphones.
So, should you be in the mood to read yet another end-of-year best-of list, carry on.
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 23 is here, and today, we’re talking about JamBox’s bulkier big bro: the Big JamBox.
Believe it or not, Black Friday has already come and gone. Pretty soon the Christmas season will begin, and we’ll mark this midwinter festival by getting together with friends and family and continuing to drink and eat far too much.
Meanwhile, we also buy gifts for those same friends and family members, whether they want them or not. Luckily, we’re here to help, and if you follow our festive advice, your gifts just might make it into the “wanted” category.
From now until Christmas, Cult of Mac will be putting together holiday gift guys full of ideas for the special ones in your life, no matter what their interests or your budget. Today, we’re looking at gifts for people who are like, totally into their iPads. Totally.
The little Jambox speaker isn’t the loudest, or even the best-sounding portable speaker out there, but somehow it is the most popular, and it’s probably the most portable. And it’s certainly the most cute.
I have one and I love it. Sometimes, though, you just need more. And that’s the idea of the Big Jambox, the best-named product of the year. Is it just a bigger version of its little brother? Kinda, but not quite.
The iPad Mini at the Apple Store in Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona. Photo Charlie Sorrel (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
The iPad Mini is here, and it is lying naked and vulnerable on your desk/bed/lap/passenger seat. And that’s ok, because today is all about tweaking and configuring your settings, installing apps and seeing which of your pants have back pockets big enough to carry it (don’t sit down!)
But what of tomorrow? Soon you’ll start searching for cases, speakers, docks and other accessories for the latest tiny addition to your family, and that’s where we come in. Yes, you can use most of your iPad and iPhone accessories with the new Mini, but here are some add-ons which work particularly well with Apple’s littlest tablet.
When it comes to Bluetooth speakers, there’s one company’s product against which all others are measured: Jawbone’s iconic Jambox.
There’s a reason for that. Jawbone entered a pretty much empty market segment with a new product that they polished to hell. The Jambox doesn’t sound like sonic nirvana, but it sounds pretty good, and the rest of the details — from the way it feels in the hand, to the way it’s boxed, to the Nintendo-like bleeps and bloops it makes when you pair it or skip a track — are just polished to hell.
Just like with Apple products, though, that polish comes at a premium: the MSRP of the Jambox is $199.99, which is a lot of money for most people. Enter the CUBEDGE EDGE.sound, a new Bluetooth speaker that attempts to do everything that the Jambox does for an MSRP of $50 less.
It’s rare that you can point to an accessory and say “Jony Ive” designed that, but with the Harman Kardon Soundsticks, that’s literally true.
Back in July 2000, Apple partnered with Harman Kardon to release an officially blessed subwoofer and speaker combo to perfectly accentuate the translucent iMac G3. One of the benefits of that partnership to Harman Kardon was that Jonathan Ive undertook the design of the product. The result — the iSub 2000 Subwoofer and SoundSticks — are a classic example of vintage Ive design, all bubble shaped and translucent.
If you aren’t Apple, it’s rare to be handed an Ive design every day, and so Harman Kardon has wisely kept the shape and look of the SoundSticks line pretty much the same for the last twelve years, only improving the technology inside as they can.
The new SoundSticks Wireless system is a further refinement of the classic year 2000 design. There’s one big difference, though: the SoundSticks now do Bluetooth.
Turn your iDevice into an arcade machine or PSP beater with these amazing accessories.
iOS is the gaming platform of the future. Just ask Nintendo, who this year posted its first annual loss (nearly half a billion dollars). And while Game Boy-esque portable playing is good enough most of the time, you only need to add a few accessories to turn the iPhone into a full-on be-buttoned handheld, and the iPad into the center of a big-screen home gaming system. Read on to find out our picks for the best iOS gaming accessories.
Jawbone’s wireless Jambox speaker has been a fan favorite among mobile users for quite some time, and while everything about it rocks, users have been begging for more color choices. Those prayers haven’t fallen on deaf ears, as Jawbone has teased its next iteration of the Jambox: Jambox the Remix.
Ever since I got a Jambox speaker, I have been looking for a way to mount it on my bike for some in-ride tunes. And here, made in the good old U.S of A, is the Jambox Case, a little $25 accessory which will strap the portable speaker to just about anything, including a bike.
So why haven’t I bought one? Why don’t you just watch the video and see for yourself.