hardware - page 30

L5 Remote App + Dongle Turns Your iDevice Into A Universal Remote



First revealed back in January at CES, the L5 Remote is a useful little dongle that supplements the iPhone or iPod Touch’s already incredible remote abilities by turning your iDevice into a fully functional infrared universal remotes.

All you do is slap the infrared sensor into your iPhone and load the free L5 remote app. The app comes with presets for many popular devices, but failing that, it’s easy to program your iPhone with your existing remote by bumping them nose to nose and pushing the button on your existing remote you want to program in.

Conceptually, I love the idea of using my iPhone as a truly universal remote, but if you think losing a remote is an irritatingly commonplace occurrence, imagine losing a tiny dongle between the couch cushions. Worse, the L5 remote costs $50: way too expensive when a cheap universal remote can be picked up at Best Buy for half the price.

Until iPhones and iPod Touches come with a built-in IR receiver, I don’t really see the iPhone to squeeze existing universal remotes out of the market.

Sennheiser EZX-60 Bluetooth Headsets Offers Great iPhone Echo Cancellation



Sennheiser’s long been a name I trust when it comes to piping my iPod’s audio down into my cochleas, but I’ve never tried any of their Bluetooth headsets. That might change, though, with their new EZX 60, a sleek, light-weight Bluetooth headset featuring digital noise and echo cancellation.

I’ve long been frustrated by Bluetooth headsets’ tendency to amplify background noise and echo my voice, due to the close proximity of the microphone to the speaker, and I’ve found competing manufacturers’ echo-cancellation software to be a bit spotty. Sennheiser, though, rarely steers too far off the mark: I think they’ve probably done it right here.

Otherwise, the EZX 60 is a pretty standard headset, albeit more attractive than most. It features one-hand operation, a soft ear hook that flips and rotates for left ear use, up to 7.5 hours of talk and 300 hours of standby time. You can buy it now for just $80.

Cerulean RX Receiver Lets Your iPad Stream Music To Stereo Docks



In theory, the iPad can use the same 30-pin dock donnector to interface with any existing iPhone or iPod accessory, the practicality is that there’s simply no way you’re going to smash it into an existing speaker dock’s iPod port.

The Cerulean RX Stereo Bluetooth Receiver can help with that: it’s a simple wireless adapter that is small enough to fit in any iPod dock and, once connected to your iPad (or any other iPod product), it will happily stream music from across the room over A2DP, no batteries required. And if you’re using it with an iPhone, it’ll even pause and resume music during a call.

A cool accessory that would go a long way to making an iPad work well with a high-end speaker dock, but unfortunately, it’s not cheap: expect to pay $89.99.

Apple Updates Entry-Level MacBook With New Processor and GPU, Bigger Battery



Well, score one for the Vietnamese. As rumored yesterday, Apple has stealthily upgrade the entry level plastic unibody MacBook to bring it more up to line with the specs of the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Here’s what the new MacBook looks like: on the outside, it’s the same, but its electronic innards now contain a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, a 250GB 5400RPM hard drive and an NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated GPU.

The biggest update is actually the battery: it now gets the same 63.5 watt hour batter as the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which gives it up to 10 hours of wireless productivity. That’s actually netbook range, now.

The new MacBook is a better deal than ever, and as usual, it only costs $999.

Sony’s Music-Streaming Bluetooth Phone Headset Not For Chatterboxes [Review]


Sony dr-bt160as cover  83
Y’know how you’ll be watching a basketball game and your team’ll be winning fairly comfortably, and then, bam — they’ve suddenly lost the game and you’re not quite sure how it happened? So it goes with Sony’s somewhat aging DR-BT160AS Bluetooth headset: It hits the mark on many elements, misses slightly on a few — and then somehow drops the ball at one critical spot.

Old iMac Style iPod Speaker Dock Looks Great, But Probably Has Crummy Sound



At first blush, I absolutely loved this iPhone speaker dock, crafted in the GlaDOS style aesthetic of an old iMac arm. And, undeniably, it looks great.

The problem is, it’s not a speaker, per se. Instead, it uses resonance to transmit the sound from your iPod, iPhone or other MP3 player into the hard surface of the table underneath it. The audio output is rated at 12W, with a built-in amp for a bit of a boost, but the inevitable result here is still going to be terrible sound.

What a pity. I always loved the lamp-style iMac. At $42, though, this is a waste of money as anything besides a conversation piece.

Vietnamese Site Leaks New MacBook



All hail Vietnam, new Xanadu of surprising Apple leaks! Vietnamese site Tinthe — the very same site that leaked video of the fourth generation iPhone last week — somehow managed to get their hands on pictures and specs of the next MacBook.

Don’t expect anything too boldly different from the case: the new MacBook appears to be identical to the old unibody plastic. This is mostly just a hardware refresh to make the MacBook more competitive with the baseline 13-inch MacBook Pro, and like the latter laptop, the new MacBook gets a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and an NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU.

Tivoli’s Connector Dock Is An Expensive Way to Pair Your iPhone With A Radio



To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Tivoli Audio has introduced an attractive new iPod Dock, the Connector, which allows you to hook your iPhone up to any radio… although the wood panel design of the Connector indicates that it is specifically meant to be paired with Tivoli’s own $199 Model 10 table radio.

A bit rich for our blood at $129, especially when you can hook an iPod fairly easily to any speaker system that accepts audio-in, but technology enthusiasts who have absorbed their sense of design from the aesthetics of Mike Brady’s living room might give the Connector a go.

Cheap Toshiba Film Makes iPhone Displays Truly Tactile



The iPhone and iPod Touch have the industry’s best touchscreens, but some people still find the lack of true tactile feedback a barrier to adoption. Various companies have been working for a solution to that problem, but Toshiba’s new Senseg E-Sense technology seems ready for prime time now: slapped as a film on top of the display of an iPod Touch radically amplifies the tactility of objects on screen.

The film works by producing weak field changes in the area of the touchscreen touched by a user. This allows, for example, a swipe of the screen to offer the slight feel of resistance, or for an on-screen button to feel like it is actually protruding.

That’s genuinely exciting, and better yet, it’s cheap: Toshiba says that the Senseg E-Sense film, available now, costs as little as $0.11 per unit. Would you be interested in this sort of technology on your iDevice?

Quickertek’s iPad Charge Monitor Tells You If Your USB Has 10 Watts



iPads don’t charge through USB ports that aren’t 10 watts, which is a bummer, especially if you’ve got a laptop that won’t juice your tablet. Enter Quickertek’s iPad Charge Monitor, perhaps the most useless accessory of all time. It’s a $29.95 dongle that tells you if your iPad isn’t getting enough juice to charge… a function already provided by your non-charging iPad. Who can put a price on confirmation of the obvious, though?

[via Gizmodo]

HyperMac Battery Juices Your iPad For 99 Hours



HyperMac already has a great range of MacBook battery juicers which can power your Apple laptop for up to 34 hours through an adapter attached to your default Apple power brick, but now they are getting into the iPad game with a range of batteries featuring 10 Watt USB ports that can power your tablet for more than four days.

Buy the most expensive HyperMac — a four-and-a-half pound, 222 watt hour monster battery costing $500 — and you’ll get up to 99 extra hours of battery life from your iPad. Of course, that battery costs about as much as the iPad itself, but for just $169 $200, you can get a smaller 60 watt hour battery that will still keep you going for another 34 hours.

Dr Dre’s “Studio” Headphones Are Music To My Ears [Review]



It’s not easy to buy good headphones these days. There are so many companies that produce good stuff. Choosing is impossible. Especially when you are OCD and everything has to be perfect. Well, I’ve discovered the perfect headphones: The Beats By Dre ‘Studio’ Headphones, which cost $229. I previously owned a pair of plain old Apple earphones. But after listening to a friend’s Sennheisers one day, I couldn’t tolerate the crappy Apple earphones any more. I have been testing the Beats rigorously for the past three months, and now my friend’s Sennheisers sound like those Apple earphones. ;)

iWatch Concept Design Makes Our Hearts Patter



ADR Studio, an Italian design house, posted this great render of what an Apple iWatch might look like. It’s just a concept design, but I’d buy this product: think of what Apple could do with it!

For one, the iWatch concept realizes the promise of Microsoft’s own SPOT operating system in that it would bring widget-distillable information to your wrist in the form of apps. You could pair it with Bluetooth to your phone to display incoming calls, instant messages or text messages. An iWatch could also pretty much replace the iPod Shuffle and Nike+ for joggers: strapped around your wrist, it could easily keep track of the distance traveled or your heart rate.

Wishful thinking? Definitely. But I still want one, and think Apple should make it: if Cuptertino’s ultimate goal is for everyone to have an iDevice on them at all times, no accessory is as ubiquitous as the wristwatch.

Report: HP Cancels Windows 7 Slate, Readies webOS Tablet To Counter iPad



Before the iPad was officially announced, Steve Ballmer took the stage at CES and unveiled the HP Slate, a Windows 7 running tablet PC to be released later this year. According to Ballmer, the device was proof that Microsoft could do a multitouch operating system just as well as Apple.

On their part, though, HP seems to disagree. Their recent acquisition of Palm puts them in control of webOS, a fantastic mobile operating system designed from the ground up for mobile phones and tablets. As a result, it looks like they’ve canceled Slate in favor of a forthcoming, webOS-based tablet codenamed the Hurricane.

According to The Examiner, the Hurricane could be released in Q3 of 2010. HP’s acquisition deal isn’t due to be finalized until July 31st, so that’s the earliest possible date we could see a webOS tablet.

Ultimate Ears 700 Earphones: More Proof That Dynamite Comes In Small Packages [Review]


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image: Logitech

Things sure have changed for music-lovers in a big way over the last decade; I still remember balking at paying $50 for a pair of Sony earbuds not so long ago. Then the iPod ushered in the age of the portable MP3-player revolution, and things would never be the same — the earbud market exploded, and a wealth of hi-fi earbuds roared onto store walls.

The $200 Ultimate Ears 700s, with their phenomenal performance, compact, whisper-light profile and no-frills approach, could be considered the two-seater sports car in this mass of earbuds; right down to their lack of tolerance for abuse.

iPad Camera Connection Kit Used To Hook Jailbroken iPad To External USB HDD




The iPad Camera Connection Kit has always been an intriguing accessory, not just because it allows the iPad to directly interface with cameras and SD cards, but because it seemed like a ripe target for hackers to add third-party support for other USB accessories once the jailbreaks were in. In fact, when it was first announced, I wondered how long it would take someone to figure out how to get their iPad reading data off a USB hard drive.

Not very long, it turns out. Max Shay has just posted an in depth walkthrough on how to hook up an external hard drive to your jailbroken iPad.

It’s not simple: you need a split USB cable to supply enough juice to the hard drive and an external computer with a terminal application to fool the iPad into mounting the external storage. But as a proof of concept, it’s pretty interesting stuff: I wonder how long its going to take hackers to figure out how to use the SD dongle in the iPad Camera Connection Kit to give the iPad expandable storage.

iHome Updates Flagship iP90 Alarm Clock Docking Station With Better Sound and Time Sync



iHome’s pantheon of docks, clocks, and speakers for the iPhone and iPod are pretty hard to keep straight, but their flagship iP90 alarm clock docking station has always been one of their more visible products… and now they’ve updated it with a host of new features that make the iP90 a better buy than before.

Like its previous incarnation, the iP90 will charge and play music from the iPhone and iPod, and functions as a speaker dock, a dual alarm clock and an AM/FM radio. The new iP90’s most immediately obvious improvement, though, is a larger and more clear display, as well as improved sound quality thanks to Reson8 stereo speaker chambers as well as adjustable bass and treble.

In addition, the iP90 now has a Time Sync feature that automatically sets the time on your clock to the more trustworthy time on your iPhone or iPod. A switch for changing the clock to daylight savings time is also there, although if your phone is setting the time for you, I don’t really see the point.

Like the earlier model, the iP90 looks like a good addition to any iPhone owners bedside table. It will cost $99.

Apple Patents Embedded Heart Rate Monitor For iPhone Shells



Apple’s always experimenting with new ways to interact with their devices, and their latest patent takes that experiment one step further into turning your iPhone into a programmable heart rate monitor.

The patent describes a design in which a series of electrodes are seamlessly embedded into the iPhone’s shell in such a way that they are not “visibly or haptically distinguishable on the device.”

You may not be able to see or feel these electrodes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do anything: instead, they’ll constantly measure your heart rate, with the data used to do anything from measure burned calories to change your music depending on your mood to automatically discharge the battery as a “paddle shock” when your heart suddenly explodes. Win!

The Clamcase Turns Your iPad Into A Netbook




This promotional video for the Clamcase may seem like it was helmed by a directorial alum from the CSi: Miami school of film making, but don’t let the swooping camera angles and the blaring AC/DC fool you: the Clamcase looks like a must have accessory for the iPad. It’s a laptop-like shell for the iPad that combines a case, a stand and a Bluetooth keyboard in one slim form factor.

The video and product images are pretty clearly just product renders, but none the less, if the Clamcase ever becomes a real product — and it certainly looks like it will — this is going to be an easy buy to recommend for iPad road warriors.

[via Mac Rumors

Brando’s iPhone-Sized Bluetooth Keyboard For iPad



Infamous crap-gadget house Brando’s latest dispensable accessory is a compact Bluetooth keyboard that they claim is perfect for the iPad, which crams 52 keys into a form factor no larger than the iPhone in a device only half-an-inch thick. It costs $37.

I don’t get it. If you want to type on your iPad, you can use the on-screen software keyboard or connect a Bluetooth keyboard if you prefer a more physical and tactile typing solution. How is using a physical keypad the size of an iPhone easier than either of those options? The keyboard’s cheaper than Apple’s own alternatives, but not cheap enough to be so useless.

Seagate GoFlex Drives Are Future Proof, Can Be NTFS Formatted Even On Macs



It’s a bad time to invest in a portable USB hard drive as a Mac fan. Apple’s dropped Firewire support on many of their notebooks, but have yet to adopt the USB 3.0 standard, leaving Apple customers stuck using aging and slow USB 2.0 hardware.

If you’re looking for a new hard drive, then, it’s easy to recommend Seagate’s new FreeAgent GoFlex line which can connect to most interfaces, including USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800 and eSATA.

Bill Gates: Pen-Based Tablets Will Beat the iPad, At Least With Students



Apple’s iPad might have sold one million units in just a month, but that’s not impressing Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who thinks that the iPad’s touch-only input approach will ultimately lose to pen-based tablets… at least with students:

“Microsoft has a lot of different tablet projects that we’re pursuing. We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create documents at the same time.

While I agree there’s a place for styluses with tablet computers (and, in fact, wish Apple would officially release a pressure-sensitive one for use with the iPad), Jobs is ultimately right: if uses have to reach for a stylus then a touchscreen device is a failure. I don’t think that changes whether you’re a casual user or a student.

The real reason Gates is saying styluyses are necessary for touchscreen devices has more to do with the fact that Windows 7, the operating system Microsoft would like tablets to run, was designed with mouse input in mind. A stylus does a better job at simulating a mouse than a finger, and Windows 7’s stylus support is more robust than its hatchet job multitouch. I wonder if Gates will change his tune when Windows 7 catches up with the iPhone OS, at least when it comes to touch.