Cameras, chargers, cycle helmets and saddles. Yes, it’s another edition of Cult of Mac's Gadget Watch, and again we’re heading outdoors to snap photos and enjoy the sun. Take a look at this week’s death-defying gear.
Nikon’s update to the full-frame D800 is all about image quality. It ditches the anti-aliasing “blur” filter in front of the sensor and adds an option for an electronic first curtain on the shutter, both to increase sharpness. It also adds a new “flat” tone setting that squeezes in the most dynamic range possible. This makes for flat photos, but is perfect for post-processing images later, whether still or video. $3,300
Did you ever fall into a box of drinking straws and marvel at how soft the landing was? Well I have, back when I had a cocktail bar in London, and let me tell you – those suckers are impact-absorbing m*therfuckers. Smith Optics has welded these straws together and fashioned them into an ultralight bike helmet that doesn’t block airflow (straws, remember?). Add in top-line aerodynamics and a slot for keeping your sunglasses safe and you have a sweet racing helmet. $TBA
GoPro’s new Dual HERO packs two lenses instead of one, letting you capture either 3-D footage or simultaneous stills and video. Now when you strap on your squirrel suit, jump out of a plane over Rio de Janeiro and swoop through a gap on top of a skyscraper, your audience will feel the same gut-crushing fear you did. Only they’ll be sitting at a desk eating Cheetos and wearing dorky 3-D glasses instead of, you know, trying to get themselves killed. $200
It’s a towel! It’s a miniature pic-a-nic blanket! It’s a sheet of handy food-photography tips! Yes, it’s the Photo ParTEA Towel from Photojojo, and it puts your food photo tips right where you need them – in the kitchen (or under your picnic). Water-based ink on the flour-sack cotton cloth offers up handy tips like “No flash ever!” (and also dries hands and dishes). The price? $20
Another skid lid for cyclists, although this one almost sounds like a Dickensian stuntman. Made for dorky road cyclists, the Synthe is light, fast and cool. And by “cool” I mean it stops your head from overheating, not that it is in any way stylish. That said, it does feature what Giro calls the Therminator, a special “headform” that keeps you almost as cool as not wearing your helmet. $TBA
One time my dad lent a neighbor his car battery charger and jump cables. I visited the neighbor’s kids and saw that the big dummy had hooked it up all wrong, and was just minutes from inducing a reverse-polarity tragedy of stream-crossing proportions. Thankfully, that’ll never happen with the Jump, an 800mAh battery pack and Lightning cable combined. That’s because a) it can only plug in one way – the right way – and b) my dad no longer lends anything to any of his damn fool neighbors. Especially not his sweet, retro-styled iPhone charger. $50
iPad styluses seem to be making a comeback this summer, just like Birkenstocks and socks with sandals (although when did socks with sandals ever go out of fashion, amirite?). The new Just Mobile AluPen Digital uses power to offer a thinner tip than regular dumb styluses, amplifying your human touch-waves so they still go through its tiny 1.8mm tip. Best of all, this keeps the price down to a reasonable €50.
When you’re camping or bike touring, nothing beats a big backup battery for electronic peace of mind. I should know: I once lost my maps, my camera and my bedtime story because I didn’t charge my iPad properly. The Braven BRV-Bank is a 6,000 mAh battery pack for outdoors. It’s waterproof, comes with a plug-in USB flashlight, charges gadgets with its two USB ports and even has a Bluetooth connection to your phone. This lets you find the Bank when you lose it (and you will, because it’s black) and also connect the iPhone and the battery together as a motion alarm system. $130
The C15 joins Brooks' C17 saddle as a kind of modern update to the fantastic line of leather bike seats. The Cambium saddles look (and apparently feel) like the old B-series, only they’re made from canvas and vulcanized rubber, and constructed in Italy instead of England. The C15 is the sporty version of the comfort-not-speed C17. I’ve checked out (but not ridden) the C17, and I have Brooks leather seats on all my bikes. But I have my eye on this for one good reason: Unlike leather, it’s waterproof, and here in Germany it rains. A lot. $225
If the new iPad Air or Mini with Retina display is on your or a loved one’s list this holiday season – this bundle from the award-winning designers at Just Mobile is a deal that’s too good to pass up.
The Slide iPad stand and the AluPen stylus are winners of nearly a dozen prestigious awards, including Best of Show, Design, and other Category awards from the likes of MacWorld, iF International Forum, Reddot, iLounge, Computex, Spark, and others. And Cult of Mac Deals has them packaged together for just $59.99 for a limited time.
I like the direction iPhone docks are headed in, post-Lightning. It seems that making a dock with the little connector is too hard, or manufacturers have already been stung once by the switch from 30-pin connectors, or that they’ve just gotten sick of paying Apple’s Made For iPhone fees.
The upshot is that they’ve gone back to basics. Instead of making a dock, they’re making things that do the job of a dock. And what is a dock’s job? To hold your iPhone, and to (optionally) charge it.
The Alupocket does both, but it does it on the form of an aluminum taco which is stuck to the wall.
Believe it or not, Christmas is almost here, 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 that cost less than $30. Yes, that means you are cheap, and — seeing as you still haven’t bought anything despite it being almost Christmas — lazy.
Sometimes it’s the little luxuries in life that make a difference. Don’t have a place to store your headphones at your desk? You may need Just Mobile’s new HeadStand. Well, you probably don’t need it, but you’ll want it.
Sculpted from polished aluminum in a way that would probably make Jony Ive shed a tear of joy, the HeadStand suspends your plush headphones gracefully in the air.
The AluRack mounts your MacBook in style and out of sight.
Just Mobile is one of my favorite third-party accessory makers for Apple products. They make beautifully minimal stands, chargers, styluses, and other random accessories for iPhone, iPad and Mac. What makes Just Mobile’s stuff great is that most of their products look like they were designed by Apple itself, and that’s no exaggeration—just take a look at their catalog. It’s all great.
A couple of the newest products to be announced by Just Mobile include the AluBase and AluRack MacBook mounts.
This tiny backup battery is small enough to take anywhere.
“You can’t take it with you.” This is a saying usually uttered by those people who are bitterly jealous of their richer friends' and relatives' success. It refers to the fact that your money is no good when you’re dead.
But it could equally apply to many external battery packs for the iPhone, which you can’t take with you because they’re too big, and you’re not carrying a bag.
Enter the Gum, a tiny 2200mAH battery pack which fits in your pocket, and while it won’t help you in the afterlife, it will help you where it counts: in the actual real world of too-short battery life.
Just Mobile, purveyor of high-design aluminum objects to the not-so-rich, makes what seems at first to be a pointless little gadget. It’s called the Horizon, and its sole purpose is to let you hang your iPad on the wall. I was skeptical when I received the review unit, but it turns out to be pretty great, and full of Just Mobile’s trademark clever design touches.
I was a big fan of the Alupen when it launched — so much so that I went out and bought my own. It was chunky, looked like a metal pencil and felt pretty good in my big hands. Then came the Wacom Bamboo stylus and our love affair was over.
Now, though, the newer skinnier, cleverer Alupen Pro has got me two-timing the svelte Bamboo. Why? Because it has a biro built in.