It was Philips that managed to beat, err, Beats to the first Lightning headphones last year, and at CES the company has taken it to the next level: announcing a new $299 pair that also offers noise cancellation.
Called the Fidelio NC1L, the battery-free headphones plug straight into iOS devices using the Lightning connector, and boast their own integrated 24-bit digital-to-analog converter rather than the one Apple builds into its devices.
Each month, Cult of Mac's Lust List reveals the products we're reveling in right now.
Garmin Forerunner 920xt
Swim, bike and run your way over to your local Garmin dealer — the multisport watch you have been waiting for has finally arrived. Adding all the good stuff from the other new computers in the Garmin lineup, the Forerunner 920xt arrives with activity tracking, a color screen that actually shows colors, cycling VO2 max, a metronome and the ability for devs to create additional apps through Connect IQ. All in a package you could wear all day without feeling like a complete goober.
Unlike its predecessor the 910xt, the new watch can actually be worn and used as a watch. And if you are willing to carry your smartphone on your workouts, Bluetooth pairing can deliver real-time tracking and push notifications from your phone to the watch (although HealthKit compatibility remains limited at this time).
The Garmin Forerunner 920xt ($449.99 list) is packed full of features designed to help you track your data better; with third parties developing apps, at some point we might see heart-rate capability while in the pool. If you unlock half of this watch's capabilities, you might also start to unlock your own. — Jim Merithew
"Oooh, sweet toothbrush." Until recently, I could honestly say I'd never heard those unexpected words before. But that's exactly what my wife exclaimed when she spotted the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean rechargeable toothbrush sitting quietly on our bathroom counter.
It's easy to see why: The black matte finish looks and feels amazing, more like a high-end smartphone than a dental hygiene product. Luckily for our teeth and gums, the luxe brush is just as practical as it is beautiful. After my better half demanded that I hand over the spare brush head, she took the sleek sonic tooth-scrubber for a spin and declared her pearly whites felt cleaner than ever. She's hooked, and she still hasn't seen the cool travel case that holds the DiamondClean and cleverly recharges by USB.
I like the DiamondClean too, although it took a few sessions to get used to its high-pitched howl. Its polished bristles feel exceedingly gentle, and the at-home charging glass is unique (and dishwasher-safe, delivering us from the evil pool of drool that accumulates on pedestrian plastic chargers). All in all, the DiamondClean ($219.99 list) is more delightful than I thought a toothbrush could be. — Lewis Wallace
Strap these bad boys onto your head and use the included Xbox One wireless adapter to connect to your Microsoft gaming console, or just plug the standard 1/8-inch wire into any headphone jack on your iPhone, iPad or PlayStation 4 controller. The Strikers are comfortable, sound great and look pretty rad along the way. At $89.95 list, you won't have to break open your piggy bank to afford them. — Rob LeFebvre
The updated edition of Jonathan Zufi's coffee-table book Iconic costs a cool $250 — but it features a cool pulsating light!
The book, originally released to wide acclaim last year, is a photographic tribute to Apple's products that’s elegantly crammed with more than 150,000 glossy photos of every single piece of hardware out of Cupertino. It also includes practically everything else, from prototypes to packaging.
The updated version of Zufi's good-looking book — with 16 new pages — comes in plainer, cheaper editions (the Classic Edition costs $75, while the $99 Classic Plus Edition adds a black slipcase), but you’ll want the Ultimate Edition. That’s the one with the LED embedded in its classy Cromwell Aristo Grain-White clamshell case. When you pick up the book, the LED gently pulses in homage to MacBooks of yore. Now that’s iconic. — Leander Kahney
With Thanksgiving in the rear-view and Christmas eggnog in the offing, perhaps it's time to consider – just consider, mind you – a little dietary moderation. I've never been a giant fan of fruits and vegetables (especially the really healthy green stuff), and I certainly don't get as many daily servings as I should, but after seeing lard-ass fright flick Fact, Sick and Nearly Dead and taking a realistic look at my waistline, I got nudged in the direction of juicing.
And by "nudged" I mean my wife bought me a fantastic Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer ($240 from Amazon). This chrome-and-black masticating monster uses a single menacing augur to crush and squeeze every last delicious drop out of fruits and vegetables. I especially love what it does with carrots, turning a pile of orange root vegetables into a nutrient-rich thirst-quencher. Toss in a few bits of ginger or a couple handfuls of kale, and you've got a surprisingly delicious drink that's guaranteed to give you a boost.
It's not all about health, either. Fresh fruits like cantaloupe and pineapple make shockingly good additions to fanciful drink recipes. And that ginger juice? Unbelievably potent and awesome for kicking cocktails up a notch. I'm still fat, but I don't feel nearly as sick or dead. — Lewis Wallace
If you've ever tried to record your own vocals, you know that the built-in microphone in your Mac or iPad, while competent, isn't something you'd want to use to create a world-class song demo. IK Multimedia knows iOS audio, and their iRig Mic HD ($129.99) is an incredibly good condenser microphone that will let you unleash your inner rock star (or podcaster).
It connects easily to your Mac or iOS device via the included standard USB or Lightning cable. And it's serious business, as the iRig Mic HD has a 24-bit audio-to-digital converter, a 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate and a fantastic pre-amp to reproduce your vocal performances at a rate of stunningly high fidelity. — Rob LeFebvre
If you are going to cover up your beautifully sleek new iPad mini, it might as well be with Italian leather and microfibers. The Nodus Access case (89.99 pounds) exudes an elegance and simplicity that can’t be overstated. Or is that understated. Either way, it is beautiful.
Using micro-suction technology to hold your iPad firmly in place, the case couldn’t be any simpler. — Jim Merithew
If you play darts, you know it's all about the doubles and triples. Landing your pointy projectile in those choice slivers of bristle board real estate make all the difference when you are playing to win.
The Bandit Plus ProTrainer ($65 from A-ZDarts.com) can help. On this fiendish and well-constructed training tool, the double and treble beds are just half the size of a regulation steel-tip dartboard. Practicing with this demanding mistress is the darting equivalent of running in ankle weights or sliding a doughnut on your bat while taking a few cuts in the on-deck circle. Spend some quality time with the ProTrainer at home, and those precious moneymaker slots will look gigantic when you step up to the oche during your next pub match. — Lewis Wallace
Available just in time for the holiday gift-giving season, the SteelSeries Stratus XL is the first full-size wireless controller for iOS. It mimics larger home controllers, with a button layout that will be familiar to most console gamers and a 40-hour window of battery life eked from only two AA batteries.
The build quality is insanely good, making this an ideal choice for anyone who wants the comfort and style of a full-on gaming controller for the hundreds of iOS games that utilize Apple’s new made for iPhone (MFi) controller system. The Stratus XL will be available starting December 9 from the SteelSeries website and other fine retailers. — Rob LeFebvre
Custom LED suits and a small fortune in equipment to make a 12 minute movie: so worth it. Photo: Philips Ambilight TV
Filmed on location at the Alyeska resort in Alaska, the Alaskan wilderness, and the Golden Alpine lodges in Canada, this incredible film of extreme skiing will light up your screens on October 19.
The 12-minute video was created to show off the color and light technology of Phillips Ambilight TV. To do so, the filmmakers created LED ski suits and let loose their pro skiers in the Alaskan and Canadian mountains.
Check out the gorgeous preview in the short teaser below.
Update: False alarm. As we suggested was a possibility, Philips was misunderstood by a reporter. They are actually just bundling Apple TV’s with new televisions, not building in the hardware.
We don’t know exactly what Apple plans on announcing next Thursday, but one thing’s for sure: It’s not just new iPads.
The tagline for the event — “It’s been far too long” — implies that we’re about to see a new version of a product that hasn’t been updated for a while.
One strong candidate is the Apple TV. But if a (possibly premature) announcement by consumer electronics company Philips is anything to go by, Apple might not just be giving the Apple TV a spec bump. Cupertino might announce instead that it will be integrating Apple TV hardware into third-party television sets!
Ever since the Lightning Connector was first announced two years ago, we’ve known it could do more than just sync-and-charge: it could also play music. So when Apple bought Beats earlier this year, many assumed that it would be Apple’s new in-house headphone brand who would release the first Lightning-connected cans to market.
But nope. As it turns out, the first headphones to connect via a Lightning port to an iPhone, iPod, or iPad won’t come from Beats. It’ll come from Philips, who have just introduced their Fidelio M2L headphones featuring the funtionality.
Craig Federighi unveils Apple’s HomeKit home-automation initiative. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
In the not-so-distant future, we’ll use smartphones to control nearly everything around our homes. We already have smart light bulbs, thermostats, locks and appliances, but we lack a central platform for all these devices.
That’s all going to change this fall when Apple releases iOS 8 with HomeKit, an important new protocol for developers. This will create the kind of universal platform that could revolutionize home automation.
We’re big fans of the Philips Hue line of smart lightbulbs controllable with a slick, full-featured iOS app, but there’s no doubt it’s a pricey proposition for most people, with a single Hue bulb costing as much as $60.
If you want smart lighting in your home for about half the price, then, pay attention to what LG is doing. They have just announced their own smart bulb system called the LG Smart Lighting system, and each bulb will cost just $32.
Here at Cult of Mac, we’re huge fans of Philips Hue LED lightbulbs and Minecraft. Any hack, then, that mashes together the two and we’re in… especially if there’s a father delighting his ten year old, Minecraft-obsessed son at the end!
Which is why Jim Rutherford’s Hue/Minecraft hack is so awesome. It uses the Hue, Minecraft and an iPad to make the lights around you correspond to the game’s pixellated day cycles.