iPhone 6 Plus is the best phablet ever made. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
After claiming no one would buy big phones during his iPhone 4 reveal in 2010, Steve Jobs made it pretty clear Apple had no interest in making a substantially larger smartphone anytime soon. But fast-forward to 2014, and the company Jobs founded in his parents’ garage has been forced to do just that.
Having watched customers flock to Android in pursuit of bigger screens, Apple could no longer ignore our demands. It had to build new iPhones that would win back users it lost, and prevent any more from wandering.
Two models of iKlip XPand will hold iPhones, iPads or most other mobile devices. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
If you use your iPad or iPhone (or both!) onstage when you perform, you know how hard it can be to find a good place to put them. Putting your iPad on a flimsy music stand just won’t cut it, and leaving your iPhone on the floor near your guitar pedals is just asking for a stomped-on smartphone.
The solution, for me, has always been iKlip iPad stands, which connect right to my mic stand. The new versions, including a sweet new iPhone mount, keep my iPad and iPhone safe from all musician-based harm, and always at the right height and angle to get at my lyric sheets, set lists and guitar effects.
Apple’s EarPods aren’t too bad for gaming, what with their in-line microphone capabilities, but they’re really not the best for long game sessions; honestly, they just end up hurting the inside of my ears.
And as far as gaming mice are concerned, you really do need one with a second button at the very least.
While you’re at it, of course, you want your gaming peripherals to match your Apple style. Razer’s Taipan ambidextrous gaming mouse and matching Kraken-pro headset are exactly that – quality peripherals that make your gaming life easier and your style just that much more put together.
This thing fits a lot of stuff. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
I’m all about minimalist bags; paring down my kit to the bare essentials so I’m not bogged down when traipsing from place to place is a daily goal of mine. I’ve gone minimal with my wallet, my MacBook and the various digital and analog ephemera I need to carry with me as I go about daily tasks for work and at home.
There is a time, however, when you need to have a larger subset of your general kit. You might need that extra battery pack (or two), your MacBook Pro, both your iPads, a couple of backup hard drives, an external keyboard, a gaming mouse, a PlayStation Vita, headphones and (of course) all the associated wires and plugins that these items require. Oh, and maybe a water bottle, a wallet, an iPhone and a set of keys.
That’s the exact stuff I’ve got packed into an STM Quantum Messenger bag — and it fits handily, with room to spare.
Up, up up! The Roost elevates your MacBook experience. Photos Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
I was supposed to get a Roost to review last year after the successful Kickstarter went into production. I didn’t, but we fixed that at the beginning of this summer, and think God we did – this stand will change the way you use your MacBook.
The Roost is a crazy collapsible scaffold that unfolds from nothing to become a sturdy stand the holds the MacBook at eye-level. Assuming you combine it with regular breaks, and set your keyboard at the right height, you will never have to experience neck, arm or back pain ever again.
If you line them up right, you can make the Pump headphones look like a Cyberman. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
BlueAnt’s Pump wireless headphones caught my eye at Mobile World Congress. Sports gear that also looks cool? Count me in!
I’ve been giving theses waterproof Bluetooth headphones a workout since they arrived last week, and I love them. That’s not to say they’re perfect – they’re not. But they have a job to do, and they get on and do it.
Apple is finally giving iOS developers the opportunity to provide promotional codes for in-app purchases. EA will be one of the first to take advantage of the new scheme with a Real Racing 3 promotion that will allow players to redeem free in-game gold that would usually cost $1.99.
I don’t really like using iPad cases; I tend to put one on just before I hand my device over to my kids, and then it comes off again as soon as they’re done. One of the best things about the iPad mini is its form factor, but that’s lost when you slap on a big, bulky case.
COTE by BUKcase Category: Sleeve Works With: iPad mini Price: $133
But although I like my iPad to be naked when I use it, I need some protection when I’m on the go and carrying it around. That’s when I’m most likely to drop it — and when it’s most susceptible to getting scratched up in the bottom of my bag.
An expanded view of my road-ready coffee rig. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
John Gruber’s three keys to Internet success are:
A fussy way to make coffee
A clicky keyboard
I’m no longer 12 years old, so I’ll skip No. 3, but I’m so deep into Nos. 1 and 2 that it more than makes up for my aversion to carbonated drinks. The keyboard is the majestic Filco Majestouch 2. And the fussy coffee method is the AeroPress.
The CAZLET from KYNEZ is an iPhone wallet case like no other. It’s the only one I know of that provides military-grade protection for your beloved smartphone, and it’s one of the few that allows you to use your device — and almost all of its features and functions — without having to open the wallet up.
CAZLET by KYNEZ Category: Wallet case Works With: iPhone 5 & iPhone 5s Price: $65
CAZLET’s design leaves your iPhone’s display exposed yet protected, so as soon as you pull it out of your pocket, your device is ready to be used. It’s made from gorgeous leather sourced from boutique tanneries in France and Southern Germany, and it boasts some nifty features you don’t normally get with smartphone wallet cases — including dedicated pockets for a spare nanoSIM and SIM eject tool.
KYNEZ also offers a number of add-ons that you can buy separately, including a coin pocket, a card band, a hand strap, and an ID sleeve. The wallet itself comes with a $65 price tag, which I think is very reasonable. Let me tell you why.