The Jot 8.5 eWriter brings notepads into the digital age [Reviews]

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Still better than a "smart" refrigerator.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

Nowadays it seems like we’re ready to replace just about every standalone device with a smartphone app or add a Wi-Fi connection to it, when the reality is that plenty of these devices work perfectly fine already. (I’m looking at you, Wi-Fi-enabled refrigerators.) So it was refreshing to be able to review a product that’s confident in what it is and what it isn’t: the Boogie Board Jot 8.5 eWriter.

The Jot 8.5 is an ultra-thin display that lets you write or draw whatever you want on it, then instantly erase all the contents at the push of a button. Think of it as a practical Etch-A-Sketch that doesn’t suck.

Versatile leather iPhone case lets you stow your earbuds [Reviews]

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This wallet case holds more than just cards and cash.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

Touted as “the ultimate iPhone leather case” by its creators, the Guardian Leather case for iPhone 6 and 6s is a new wallet-style accessory with a campaign that just launched on Indiegogo. It’s designed with various functions in mind, but the focus on music takes the cake: You can control the volume from the outside of the case and even store your earbuds along the side of it.

I spent some time with the Guardian Leather to test the various functions it promises to deliver and the overall quality of the case. If you’re a fan, you have plenty of time to back the Indiegogo project — just under one month left.

Bluetooth LED makes iPhone camera even flashier [Reviews]

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This portable Bluetooth flash is perfect for those who thrive on nightlife.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

As far as smartphone cameras have come with improved low-light shooting and intelligent LED flash, there will always be some situations in which you could use just a bit more light. This is especially true for photographers who want to make smart adjustments for their photos, or people who tend to do most of their socializing at night. So it’s worth shining a light on iblazr 2, a fantastic Bluetooth LED flash.

This successor to Concepter’s original iblazr isn’t just your ordinary wireless LED flash. It’s equipped with tons of features that let me fine-tune the way I want my photo to come out. The most important feature for me is that it works with the native camera apps on iOS and Android. In fact, according to Concepter’s website, it’s the only wireless LED flash that does.

Beloved iPod shuffle is reborn for the Spotify era

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The new Mighty wants to bring Spotify to those with an active lifestyle.
Photo: Mighty Audio

Today, the iPod shuffle you’ve been hoping for is getting a shot at life — no thanks to Apple. Mighty Audio is launching its Kickstarter campaign for the new Mighty streaming music player, a small clip-on device that can stream Spotify wherever you go without having to use your smartphone. A portable, affordable music player with streaming capabilities? Yes please.

Best iPhone camera accessories for iPhone 6s

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If you want to take your iPhone photography to the next level, these accessories will help you get the job done.
If you want to take your iPhone photography to the next level, these accessories will help you get the job done.
Photo: Ally Kazmucha/The App Factor

Voice-boosting TV speaker makes sure you never miss a word

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This TV speaker could Grace your living room or bedroom.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

Grace Digital’s Voice Enhanced TV Speaker promises to enhance the sound of your television and potentially give it a volume boost. The sound was engineered with voices in mind because, more than anything when watching TV, dialogue is what you need to hear. As a bonus, a Bluetooth connection lets the speaker work with any Bluetooth-enabled computer or smartphone.

I hooked up Grace Digital’s Voice Enhanced TV Speaker to my television and gave it a whirl.

How knockoff Apple Watch bands are nearly as good as the real thing

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Spot the difference. On the left is Apple's $450 Link Bracelet for Apple Watch. On the right, a $90 knockoff that gets 4.5 stars on Amazon.
Spot the difference. On the left is Apple's $450 Link Bracelet for Apple Watch. On the right, a $90 knockoff that gets 4.5 stars on Amazon.
Photo: Apple

The internet is awash with knockoff bands for the Apple Watch that are almost as good as the genuine articles.

Knockoff products are traditionally cheap and nasty, but tons of these replica Apple Watch bands are so good, they rival Apple’s own products — at a fraction of the price.

We’ve taken a tour of knockoff band land, and found that there are lots of cheap, inexpensive bands on eBay and Amazon that are high in quality and are getting glowing reviews from customers.

“My black Apple Sport band has started flaking off, while the third-party knock-offs still look brand new,” said Neven Mrgan, a designer for Panic software in Portland, Oregon who bought a less-than-half-price band on Amazon.

Apple Stores to start stocking accessibility products in 2016

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Apple's focus on accessibility isn't going unrecognized.
Apple is stepping up its focus on accessibility.
Photo: Apple

Apple is reportedly set to start selling new accessibility-related peripherals and accessories for both Mac and iOS in its brick-and-mortar Apple Stores as well as online.

The accessories, which are reported to be going on sale in the first quarter of calendar year 2016, are designed to help users with disabilities to better engage with Apple products.

Innovative sleeve will protect (and prop up) your iPad or MacBook

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Inateck's sleeve works with more than one device and serves more than one purpose.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

Just in time for the holidays is an impressive sleeve cover from Inateck that fits both the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and all 13.3-inch models of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It’s up to you which one you pick to keep close when you’re moseying around.

If you were quick to get on board with the iPad Pro, you’re probably loyal enough to Apple that you own a MacBook too. With this sleeve you don’t have to worry about swapping out cases and accessories when you have to choose just one to accompany you on your travels.

It gets better: the sleeve transforms into a stand that accommodates either the iPad or laptop. Made from synthetic felt, the sleeve manages to be multipurpose while also extremely affordable.