I travel frequently, both for work and for pleasure. Over the past few years I’ve found certain accessories I just can’t live without. Whether I’m walking out the door to a coffee shop or I am getting on a plane and need to pack more serious gear, these are the travel accessories I couldn’t live without when it comes to iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
We know all you good boys and girls have had your Mother’s Day gifts wrapped and hidden in the basement for weeks and weeks, but the staff here at Cult of Mac has been so busy covering all the Apple Watch that the holiday crept up on us. So we thought we would share our last-minute Mother’s Day gift guide with you, in case you’re in the same sad boat.
Let’s be honest, though, most of these items come straight from wish lists of the Cult of Mac wives, so even if you already picked out the perfect Mother’s Day gifts for mom, who doesn’t like a “just because you rock” gift?
Moshi Urbana briefcase (above) — $149.95
Smart, stylish and surprisingly spacious, Moshi’s Urbana briefcase will swallow a 15-inch MacBook and still have room for mom’s iPad, books and everything else she always seems to have on hand during a time of emergency. The Urbana offers plenty of pockets for organizing the essentials, plus water-resistant protection from the elements. Geeky enough to make a nerdy mom happy, while stylish enough to not be embarrassing.
Ever since Apple first unveiled the iPad, we’ve been hearing rumors about Apple switching to ARM-based Macs. Now, the rumor is back again, with a French website claiming that Apple is actively developing 64-bit, quad-core Mac variants with ARM-based chips. But we’re just as skeptical as we’ve ever been.
This week we look at docking stations for the MacBook. Docks let you stow your laptop out of the way. With its lid closed, and yet still use its brain to power a monitor and hook up to a mouse and keyboard.
Some docks are simple dumb stands, others offer hookups that the modern MacBook lacks, like HDMI and Ethernet ports.
Some materials have integrity. Consider aluminum, Jony Ive’s material of choice, and then compare it to plastic. Under the skin, plastic feels wholly artificial, a lump of congealed and polished chemicals; in feel and smell, there’s something unnatural and slightly impure about it. But aluminum feels clean. It has texture. It isn’t just a facade: It is true to itself, right on down through.
BookArc möd by Twelve South Category: Stands Works With: Any MacBook Price: $80
Another material with integrity is wood. It is true to itself, from the veneer to the grain. It has texture. It is clean. And it has history. Wood actually picks up the oils from your hands, and develops a patina. And because of its innate qualities, wood pairs exquisitely with Jony Ive’s chosen material of integrity: aluminum.
Which brings us to Twelve South’s latest product, the BookArc möd. An organic, well-crafted version of the accessory maker’s popular BookArc stand, it is a laptop dock that offers every bit as much integrity as the MacBook it is meant to house… both different and complementary at once.
Twelve South is at it again with the new Rutledge BookBook, a hand-finished leather creation that marks the company’s first MacBook case in three years. The Rutledge is designed for both MacBook Air display sizes, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and both Retina MacBook Pro display sizes.
It was only a matter of time, but here it is: TwelveSouth’s BookBook Case for the iPad Air, which makes your fifth-gen Apple tablet look the very model of some ancient, dusty tome, just plucked off of the shelf from the Library of the House of Usher.
Both obfuscating your iPad’s value from thieves and protecting it, the BookBook Case is a perpetual fave here at Cult of Mac.
Like previous models, it allows you to prop up your iPad at a 30 degree angle, both for typing and movie viewing. It comes in black and brown leather varieties — no red yet, sadly — and costs $79.99.
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.
The fine folks at Twelve South have brought the popular SurfacePad case to the iPad mini. The cover is made from Napa leather, and it bends to form a viewing stand or typing wedge.
One of the coolest design aspects of the new SurfacePad is how the iPad mini is held in place when upright. Instead of resting the iPad in little leather notches like most bendable cases, the edges of the iPad are secured by invisible magnets.