As laptop speakers go, those built into Apple’s MacBooks aren’t bad — particularly if you have a MacBook Pro. But they can be so much better. Plug Twelve South’s BassJump 2 into one of your USB ports and you have a mini sound-system that dramatically improves your MacBook’s audio performance.
BassJump 2 by Twelve South Category: Audio Works With: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro Price: $69.99
Whether you’re listening to music, watching a movie, or just enjoying a podcast, the BassJump 2 subwoofer gives you significantly richer and fuller sound that you won’t believe is coming from your MacBook. There’s no need for expensive external speakers that take up too much room in your bag, or headphones that limit the experience to just one person.
The BassJump 2 is priced at $69.99, and Twelve South calls it “an essential road tool for listening to and editing tracks on the tour bus, hotel room or anyplace else your music takes you.” Now, I’m no musician or music producer — but I definitely agree.
PhotoProX byOptrix Category: Cases/photography Works With: iPhone 5/S Price: $150
A waterproof case for your iPhone is more fun than you might think – especially one that is designed to fit onto any of a zillion different action mounts. And a waterproof case for your iPhone that also comes with a box of interchangeable lenses is even better.
Last summer I used a Griffin case to take photos in the pool, kayaking at the lake and in many other places I would never usually take a phone, let alone a camera. That case broke (thankfully not when it was submerged), and also took bad pictures thanks to the cheap plastic window over the iPhone lens.
The Optrix PhotoProX has no such problem, thanks to the proper, screw-on lenses. And its no slouch as a case, either. In fact, I’d say that not only is it the best waterproof iPhone case I’ve tested, it’s the best rugged iPhone case I’ve tried, too.
KoolPuck Wireless Charger by FoneSalesman Category: Charger Works With: iPhone 5 and up, 5th generation iPod Touch Price: £26.99 ($45.05)
Steve Jobs famously argued that if five million people used the Mac, cutting its boot time down by 10 seconds would save the equivalent of at least 100 lifetimes per year.
Taken on an individual basis, it’s difficult to know how many minutes of your life will be saved by using the KoolPuck Wireless Charger — but it’s almost certainly less than an hour over the lifespan of your typical iPhone.
That doesn’t really matter, though. In an age of convenience, the idea that you can charge your iPhone by simply placing it down on a massively wireless charger is a tempting one. Straightforward, attractive, and tiny, FoneSalesman’s iQi solution seems to tick all the boxes.
If you have a soft spot for beautiful book bound notebooks like the famous Oxford Black n’ Red, then you’re going to love the SLIMS for iPad mini from BUKcase. Made using traditional book binding techniques, it’s almost identical at first glance — but when you open it up you find its pages have been replaced by a handmade wooden frame that lovingly cradles your iPad mini.
SLIMS by BUKcase Category: Cases Works With: iPad mini Price: £30 ($50)
Born in the U.K., and also available for the iPad Air, SLIMS isn’t just a protective case, but also a stand for typing and watching movies. It accommodates all of your iPad’s buttons, ports, and cameras — so you never need to take it out — and it has built-in magnets that automatically wake your device up and put it to sleep.
SLIMS comes in black with a grey, blue, or red interior, and BUKcase will even emboss your name on the front.
How many times have you had to replace an iPod because you dropped it in water? Almost all of us have suffered the agony of liquid damaged devices at least once — but this is something you never have to worry about if you buy your iPod shuffle from Underwater Audio.
iPod shuffle by Underwater Audio Category: iPod Price: $149
Every unit the company sells is protected by an invisible coating that allows you to get your iPod shuffle wet. And we’re not talking about a few splashes here; you can literally take it swimming, wear it in the shower, and forget about having to keep it covered up when you’re out jogging in the rain — and it will continue to work just as it should.
“Our waterproof iPod shuffle will go with you from land to sea and everywhere in between,” Underwater Audio says — so of course, I jumped at the chance to put those claims to the test.
Apple is starting to crack down on apps that request a user’s unique advertising identifier, but not actually show any ads within the app… and Apple may be doing it to put its own iAd network on better competitive footing.
If you’re shopping for a new iPhone wallet case, you’ll be hard pushed to find one as suave and as strongly-built as the Fulki Pocket for iPhone 5 and 5s. Handmade from thick, belt-grade Italian leather, it’s the kind of case that’ll still be looking good and going strong long after the iPhone you slip into it has died out.
Pocket by Fulki Category: Cases Works With: iPhone 5 & 5s Price: €85
The Fulki Pocket is designed to provide your iPhone with protection from scratches, scrapes, and bumps at almost every angle. It also has a small pocket that’ll carry your credit card or some cash, and the v-shaped cutout in its top edge will allow you to grip your iPhone with your thumb and forefinger when you’re pulling it out of the case.
The Fulki Pocket is available in tan, coffee, and cognac colors, and it’s priced at €85 ($116). It’s pretty pricey, but it’s worth it.
If you upgraded your old iPad for an iPad Air late last year, you probably did so for several reasons — but I’ll bet one of the biggest was its new form factor, which is substantially thinner and lighter than any of its predecessors. The last thing you want to do with it, then, is slap a big chunky case on it that makes it even bigger than the iPad you owned before it.
Gauntlet by Thule Category: Case Works With: iPad Air Price: $54
Thule took that into consideration when designing its new Gauntlet folio case for the iPad Air. Although its main focus is clearly on protection, so the case is tough and robust and ready to absorb any impact, it’s also surprisingly light, and much thinner than you’d expect a case of this ilk to be.
It’s also practical, with rubber grips that provide a built-in stand for typing or watching movies, and a “stability clip” that keeps its front cover securely closed when your iPad’s not in use. There’s a soft interior lining that prevents scratching, and the Gauntlet provides easy access to all of your iPad’s buttons and ports.
WorkFit-A by Ergotron Category: Desks Works With:iMac Price: $650
If you own a laptop, it’s pretty easy to up and move to a more comfortable workplace when your joints start to stiffen. But if you have a giant 27-inch iMac or Cinema Display, you’re kinda stuck at your desk. You could opt for a standing desk, but what if you want to sit? Or you could go for one of those adjustable numbers, but what about the perfectly good desk you have already? That’s where the WorkFit-A comes in. It’s a big robot arm that lets you swing around even a 27-inch (2013 model) iMac as if it were an iPad. A really, really big iPad.
Lollipod by Lollipod Category: Tripods Works With:iPhone, cameras Price: $50
The Lollipod is a lightweight lighting stand masquerading as a camera and iPhone tripod. And this is – in almost every way – a good thing. A light stand isn’t nearly as sturdy as a camera tripod, but it is a lot lighter, a lot more likely to be in your bag when you need it, and is roughly 1,000% better than no tripod at all, aka a sharp rock propping up your delicate iPhone.