Creative Block: Roli’s expressive MIDI keyboard goes portable [Review]


Roll seaboard block review
That's the Seaboard sat on a 12-inch iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Imagine a piano keyboard that is also a multitouch surface, like the screen on an iPad. Now imagine that this is a tactile silicone surface with bumps and dips so you can feel the keys, just like a piano. Hold that image in your mind — you are currently imagining the Roli Seaboard Block, backpack-sized Bluetooth MIDI keyboard that will change the way you play music.

How to get the iPad’s keyboard shortcut cheat sheet on Mac


Press and hold…
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the iPad’s handiest features is its keyboard-shortcut cheatsheet. Whenever you have a USB or Bluetooth keyboard attached to your iPad, just hold down the Command key and wait for a second. An overlay will pop up showing you all the keyboard shortcuts available for the current app.

Did you ever wish you could do the same with the Mac? After all, you always have a keyboard connected the Mac, so a cheatsheet overlay should be even more useful. Then you need CheatSheet, an app that does exactly that.

iRig Keys IO is all you need to make music on iOS and Mac


irig keys on a beach
Totally practical.
Photo: IK Multimedia

IK Multimedia’s new iRig Keys is the single perfect accessory for an iOS musician. It combines everything you need into one box, but not in a Homer’s Car kind of way. It’s more like the iPhone itself, which managed to combine a computer with a camera with a mini touch-sensitive movie screen into something better than a mere collection of parts.

Lofree keyboard feels like a typewriter, looks spectacular


lofree keyboard
Who wouldn't want this beauty under their Mac?
Photo: Lofree

If you like mechanical keyboards, you love mechanical keyboards. Their clickety-clack action is way more positive than the soft, short travel of any MacBook or Magic Keyboard, and once you get used to them everything else seems squishy. It’s like driving a big American boat-like sedan after spending a week driving a hard-riding European sports car. The problem is, unlike a vintage Porsche or a Ferrari, the average mechanical keyboard has the looks of a corporate pool car. The Lofree keyboard, on the other hand, looks fantastic.

Matias Wired Aluminum Keyboard improves on the Apple original


Matias Wired Aluminum Keyboard
Wires make more sense than Bluetooth on the desktop.
Photo: Matias

If you want a wired Apple keyboard, you’re out of luck. The only Apple-made options for your Mac are the Magic Keyboard and the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, both of which connect via Bluetooth. Soon, though, excellent Mac keyboard maker Matias will sell you a replacement — the Matias Wired Aluminum Keyboard. And not only that, it beats out the Apple original in one key way.

How to use a USB hub to hook up multiple devices to your iPad


iPad usb hub
It's a mess, but it all works perfectly.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know how the Lightning cable that plugs into your iDevice has a USB plug on the other end? That’s because the Lightning port is a kind of fancy USB port itself. You already know that you can in plug a keyboard, or an audio interface, or a camera, using Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. But did you know that you can plug in all of those at once? That’s right — by using a powered USB hub, you can hook up as many accessories as you like to your iPad at once. If you ever use your iPad to work at your desk, with a keyboard, then you can use this tip to build your own iPad docking station.

Gadgets to make traveling easy [Tech Travel Tips]


roost stand
Travel is a time to leave things behind, but some gadgets will make your trips a lot easier.
Photo: Roost

tech travel tips Welcome to Tech Travel Tips, a week of travel tips for vacationers. This week we’ll show you how to keep your devices safe while traveling, what apps to download before you go, what settings you should change before leaving the house and — kicking off the week — the best travel gadgets to take with you. Let’s get started!


Apple has extended service on the Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro to address "functional issues."
Photo: Ally Kazmucha/The App Factor

How to unlock your iPhone’s secret emoticon powers


Send your friends these adorable text-based emoticons.
Send your friends these adorable text-based emoticons.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Emoji has sort of taken over my iMessage conversations on the iPhone lately, and I’m willing to bet you use a lot of the cute little pictures too.

What if I told you there was a hidden treasure trove of text-based emoticons that you can access in addition to your favorite emoji?

Even better — it’s easy to enable these iPhone secret emoticons. Here’s how.