This tiny black brick adds a layer of backup to your regular Apple charger [Deals]

NomadPlus mounts the regular white Apple USB hub, turning it into a portable 1800mAh battery.
NomadPlus mounts the regular white Apple USB hub, turning it into a portable 1800mAh battery.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

All of us iPhone users know the feeling of having to pull the plug and get out the door before the battery’s done charging. The sleek white charging block that comes with our phone channels the charge but can’t carry it, but with the NomadPlus it can. Designed to snugly fit Apple’s USB hub, it’s a great way to turn your average wall charger into a portable battery for just $24.99.

Gorgeous leather Apple Watch strap will make you feel like a grownup again


This leather strap will class up your wrist.
This leather strap will class up your wrist.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Nomad Apple Watch Strap

Let’s face it: The green plastic band I have for my Apple Watch Sport is useful and comfortable, but it’s not classy. I wear it to the gym with no reservations, but a night out on the town? Maybe if I were an adolescent.

When I strap Nomad’s new Italian leather replacement band to my wrist, however, I finally feel like a grownup. This is one beautiful Apple Watch strap.

Gadget Watch: Keyboards, skateboards, duck heads and drones


Gadget Watch: June 20, 2014

A bamboo bay for your Beats by Dre? A cellphone-charging carabiner? A creepy drone that follows you around? What about an iPhone case that looks like a (tiny) broken skateboard? If you were looking for any of these, you’re in luck.

AirDog Drone

‘sup dawg? No – literally. What’s up? Dog? This is the AirDog, a drone/RC ‘copter that follows you around. Hang a camera from the mount under the hovering doggy and strap the AirLeash to your wrist. Sensors beam info to the drone and it will follow your exact trajectory, only up in the air. Launch and landing are automatic, and an iPhone app can be used to tweak the flight path for, say, a continuous loop. $1,195

Beats by Dre Station

Possibly most notable for introducing the term “DreStation,” this bamboo stand is much more affordable than the headphones it holds. And you don’t even have to use Beats cans – any over-the-ear headphones will hang just as easily from this dumb wooden desk tidy.

It’s not all good though: The lack of a hole on the base means you can’t charge the iPhone or iPod while it stands in there. $40

Nomad Clip

Who doesn’t love a carabiner? And who doesn’t find themself in need of a Lightning cable from time to time? Nobody, that’s who. And that’s who will buy the Nomad Clip, a carabiner that unfurls to become a charger for you iDevice. Made from steel and polycarbonate, and not suitable for climbing, you can also choose a microUSB version. $39

Adonit Jot

If you like the look of Adobe’s new Creative Cloud apps Sketch and Line, but don’t fancy buying the $200 official stylus to use with them, you should pick up Adonit's new Jot Touch instead. It has a tiny “Pixelpoint” tip instead of a disk or fat rubbery point, and it works just like Adobe’s Ink stylus, letting you copy and paste to/from the Creative Cloud as well as access files and Kuler color palettes. Best of all, it’s just $120.

Duck Head Saver

What’s a duck head? It’s the little interchangeable block of power plug prongs that slots onto every Apple power adapter from MacBook Pro to iPad. And the Duck Head Saver from DenVog is a widget that sticks onto the side of your AC adapter and adds a prong onto which the unused duck head can slip whenever you use a foreign duck head or the long adapter cable. $35


The cedar used to make the barrel of the Timbrr stylus contains lots of natural resins. Not only will this make it smell as good as a humidor full of Cuban cigars, but that resin also helps conduct the special human waves that are required by a capacitive screen to detect a touch. Otherwise the Timbrr is a regular ol’ stylus, with a rubber tip and a fat, easy-to-hold barrel. $34


Belkin wired iPad keyboard

How about a nice safe wired keyboard for your iPad? This Lightning-equipped number from Belkin doesn’t need batteries and doesn’t even require that Bluetooth be switched on on your iPad. It’s also thin, Apple-certified and comes with all the usual media keys for controlling your tablet. And with the wired connection, nobody can snoop on the keystrokes you’re sending over the airwaves. $60

Bowerbag modular bag

Can’t decide what kind of bag to buy? Then buy the Bowerbag, a modular system that takes five (5!) separate sacks and joins them together with a modular system. Each bag, complete with its straps, connects to all the others in a huge compromise of buckles and webbing. Who cares how much it weighs? You have choice! $360

Skate Deck iPhone Case

It’s an iPhone case. It’s fashioned from silicone. It looks like somebody snapped a skateboard in half. What’s not to like? Apart from the fact it won’t ever fit your pocket thanks to those wheels sticking out the back? Or the fact that you can’t reach the iPhone’s power button? Nothing, that’s what. Oh, maybe the price tag: $45

iPad Accessories For Artists


The NeoLucida lets you trace images from real life.

So you have your iPad and your apps, and you even arranged a bowl of fruit/nude model (delete as applicable). But what about hardware? After all, only stupid babies fingerpaint, right?

If you’re doing a lot of iPad painting, you should pick some kind or drawing tool. But what kind? Styluses can be had as dumb pencils, as brushes or even in Bluetooth pressure-sensitive versions.

And then there are the other accessories that’ll make painting a little easier.

Wacom ICS

fig 1wacom-fall-07

Wacom makes the best graphics tablets for Mac and PC and now it wants to do the same for the iPad. The Bamboo stylus is already my favorite iPad stylus, but the ICS, or Intuos Creative Stylus goes one better with pressure sensitivity.

The iPad’s screen is binary in terms of touches: It might detect multiple fingers, but they’re either touching or not. So the pen itself has to measure how hard you’re pressing and send that info to the iPad. In the case of the ICS, this is done via a low-power Bluetooth 4 connection, with the pen communicating 2048 levels of pressure. This wireless connection also means you can use the button on the side to control various functions: undo/redo for example, or to pop up a color picker.

The ICS uses a single AAA battery, has a replaceable nib, and comes in a natty box which carries extra batteries and nibs.

This, as they say, is the Rolls Royce of styluses.

Price $100

Jot Tote Case

jot tote

You have your pens and pencil, but what about somewhere to keep them? A pencil case is traditional, and the Wacom comes with one. But Adonit’s Jot Tote case is made to hold your iPad and also let you clip on a stylus. And while it’s designed for Adonit’s own Jot, you can use it with pretty much any pen-shaped object.

The case is a rear shell with a grippy finish, and on the back is a steel strip which slides out of the side and grabs onto the pen, holding it both safe and handy until you need it. This might not be strictly necessary, but for serial pen-losers it’ll be sure to save you some cash.

Price: $50

Nomad Brushes

fig 3 nomad

While a pen is nice and all, nothing quite beats the feel of a good hogs-hair brush when you’re smearing on the oils. When I first saw a Nomad capacitive brush years ago, I thought it was just a gimmick. Then I tried one, and I loved it. You can’t really scrub and stipple the paint of course – the iPad sees the brush as just another pink digit – but that doesn’t mean that the action of stippling, scrubbing or stabbing isn’t more pleasing to the brain. It really does feel like you’re painting on canvas. Well, not canvas, as canvas has a stretch and give that the glass screen lacks, but it is like painting on wood or card.

Now nomad has a range of brushes, but my advice would be to go for a set of whole brushes. The kits with the single handle and screw-on tip look good in theory, but these things take up so little space it’s nicer to have the convenience of quickly grabbing the brush you want without dicking around changing the tips.

Price: From $20

Your iPhone

fig 4 remote palette

One thing that was essential to me when I painted in oils was a palette. I went the traditional route with a thin plywood board in the familiar shape, which is easy to hold in one hand, but I know people who just mixed their paint on tabletops or any nearby flat surface (including one of my own paintings).

Remote Palette is an app which lets you use your iPhone as a palette to mix paints. You can swoosh your colors around until you have the exact hue you need and the color will be automatically loaded into your brush in the iPad app. It works via Bluetooth so you can use it anywhere.

The only downside is that you have to paint using the Remote Palette app on the iPad, which is pretty limited. It’s not MS Paint, but neither does it come anywhere close to something like Procreate. Still, it’s cheap and fun.

Remote Palette
Price: $1


fif 5 neolucida

The NeoLucida isn’t really an iPad accessory, but it can certainly be used as one. It’s a modern version of the camera lucida, an optical device used by artists throughout history (well, since the mid–1800s anyway) to make their drawings more accurate.

The principle is simple: the unit has a prism on the end of a flexible arm, and this lets you see both your paper and your subject at the same time. This allows you to “trace” the image from real life as if it were projected onto your paper.

And of course when I say “paper” I also mean “iPad.”

The NeoLucida was made by university art professors Pablo Garcia and Golan Levin because antique versions are too expensive for working artists and students to afford. Their Kickstarter was super successful, raising almost half a million on a target of just $15,000, and they’ll be back in 2014 with a retail version. Until then you might want to speak to your bank manager before hitting Ebay.

Price: Around $40

Nomad Is A Stubby Lightning Cable That Hangs Off Your Keychanin


One of the unsung advantages of the iPhone’s crazy popularity is that you can almost always find a charger for it, whether from the lost property box at a hotel or from the guy at the next desk in your office.

But now that Lightning exists, things are more complicated, and a lot of the old 30-pin cables people were willing to lend out are now useless. So how about carrying your own? That’s the idea behind the Nomad cable, a three-inch stub which attaches to your keychain.