It’s been a couple of months since Apple released Lightning, and in two months, Apple has refreshed every iDevice that uses the old 30-Pin Dock Connector short of the iPod Classic. Despite this aggressive move to ditch the connector of the past, though, there has yet to be a single third-party accessory that supports Lightning.
Why? Because third-parties need to go through Apple for MFi (or Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) certification, and the guidelines for getting that certification didn’t get announced until very recently at a secret meeting between Apple and accessory-makers in Shenzhen, China.
What’s going on at that meeting? According to a new intriguing report, Apple is making any accessory-maker who signs on for MFi certification to embrace their own supplier code, which should force accessory makers to manufacture their devices a lot more ethically.
Unlike some of the other newcomers to the quickly growing action-cam party (Sony, we’re looking at you), Drift has been making robust little video cameras for a while now. Their latest incarnation is the 1080p Drift HD Ghost, which looks like it’s been packaged with everything but the kitchen sink — including a large built-in screen and a wearable remote.
I have a plan for trouble. When it rears its ugly head again, I’m grabbing my all-hell-has-broken-loose list, dumping the items on the list into my trusty backpack and hauling ass. I figure there’s still the zombie apocalypse and the Mayan whatsit (which may well be the same thing) to worry about, so I might as well be prepared.
I’ve populated the list with things I would need in a disaster scenario: things like a sleeping bag, first-aid kit and rum. Of course, my iPad is also on the list. Oh, I’ll be taking my phone for sure — but the iPad’s large screen will be invaluable in any disaster situation as a navigation tool, for work (yes, even in a zombie apocalypse, blogs must be updated) or just keeping up with current news; mine’s a wifi+cellular, so I suppose wifi-only versions would be somewhat less useful in that last role.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “A disaster zone, Eli, is no place for an iPad.” That’s true only if you don’t have the right gear to accompany it. The following list will show you how to turn your iPad from a liability into an asset when things go very wrong.
The Patagonia MiniMass commuter bag ($69) is my first taste of Patagonia’s gear, and I’ve always wondered if their stuff was worth the hype. The company has a bit of a reputation — perhaps fair, perhas not — as the outdoor industry’s bourgeois player, probably due to generally higher prices than the competition, an innovative design ethic and the use of green materials throughout their line.
But Patagonia has also spawned a fanatical following. I once worked with someone who literally camped outside the company’s Southern California headquarters (it sits literally right aross the road from the beach) in the hopes she’d be hired. She wasn’t, but toting around my tablet in the the fantastic little MiniMass let me grasp why she tried.
The MiniMass is the smallest sibling in Patagonia’s family of courier bags (all of which end in “Mass” — a nod to the Critical Mass bicycle movement). This makes the MiniMass a perfect tablet carrier. And even though it isn’t explicitly to ferry tablets, it excels in the task.
Journalists and PR folk, or hacks and flacks, are supposed to fight like cats and, uh, laser pointers shone onto walls. But like Jedis and ninjas, there are good ones and bad ones. And today, I got the best product tagline from one of the good ones, regarding the ECOXBT Bluetooth speaker:
Think Jambox…if Jambox wasn’t scared of the water and a wimp.
LifeProof has definitely made an impact with the digital outdoors; seems I run into their sleek, modular, waterproof iPhone cases everywhere (we love them, btw). Now, the company is focusing on their new Nüüd iPad case, and the second available accessory for the case is the LifeJacket, a flotation device that fits around the waterproof Nüüd case and keeps the iPad from sinking into the murky depths after you’ve, say, calculated your dive profile.
I’m one of those people that loves background noise. I like listening to podcasts when I cook; I love a running telly while I’m doing chores; and even when I’m in the shower, I’ve either got Spotify or those podcasts going again.
Previously, this love of shower-time bluegrass meant bringing my iPhone into the bathroom, cranking up the volume on its little speakers, then straining to hear its tinny audio through the whir of water and intense loofahing. But the iShower ($100) Bluetooth speaker fixes this problem simply and wonderfully. It brings your iDevice’s audio anywhere where water would usually kill it, like your bathtub, shower, or sink, and works so well, it’s quickly becoming my favorite new iPhone accessory.
Sony says they’re getting ready to ship two drool-inducing new toys. The first is a new addition to its compact NEX series, the NEX-5R, equipped with wifi, an ultra-quick (according to Sony), hybrid phase-detection/contrast detection autofocus system and — here’s where it gets really interesting — the ability to download specialized apps.
The second is Sony’s entry into the exploding action-cam market; the aptly named Action Cam is a really tiny, 3-ounce (with battery) video camera that comes with a variety of outdoor-enthusiast mounting options and the ability to use a smartphone’s screen as a viewfinder.
With a built-in waterproof headphone jack, BioLogic says their $20 Dry Bag will keep your iPhone safe, clean, and dry in dirty conditions and in water up to three feet deep — all while letting you use your iPhone like you normally would.
I was wary of the claim, so decided to put it to the test.