We wrote last year about how Element's swanky $79.99 Vapor Case was becoming something of a vanity case for iPhone 4 owners. That said, while the case looked sleek, some users complained it was less than perfect and experienced reception issues when using it. Element claims to have fixed those issues, and has now added a new, improved, redesigned Vapor Pro iPhone 4 case that's being released first in a special collectors' edition that costs a whopping $149.99.
What makes it worth $149.99? We're not sure, but we're told it's made out of expensive materials and some parts are hand-tooled. Read these marketing bullet points from the company to get a sense of its value:… Read more
We're used to seeing smartphone accessories geared toward certain platforms, so it's nice to come across something like The Zhip (pronounced "zip"), which can be used with a variety of smartphones, as well as the iPod Touch.… Read more
Headphones aimed at the fashionable consumer are not in short supply these days, but one would think the last place people are concerned about gadget style would be the gym. However, plenty of manufacturers are banking on the belief that you want good-looking tech no matter how sweaty you are, hence the Powerbeats by Dr. Dre Sport Headphones from Monster. These $150 earphones offer a secure fit, integrated iPhone controls, and a sleek look--but they're also pricey for workout headphones, and they don't seem particularly durable or sweat-resistant.
Many would say Macworld has lost some of its luster since Apple decided to pull out of the annual trade show. Indeed, what once took up two entire exhibition halls at San Francisco's Moscone Center is now reduced to a much smaller show floor. The 2011 exhibitor list also lacked a number of big-name brands that used to be mainstays--Microsoft, Adobe, Canon, and Logitech, just to name a few.
Despite that, however, the show was absolutely buzzing with people this year. When I walked the exhibition hall, I was surprised by the sheer number of attendees--I was definitely bumping elbows as I tried to get from booth to booth. Even more surprising was the fact that the show wasn't all about boring accessories and cases--there were also a few innovative gadgets on display, if you cared enough to pay attention. In fact, I saw at least two gadgets that might be on my gift wishlist. Here are five of the coolest things I saw at the show:
1. McTiVia--This tops my list as the most exciting product I saw at Macworld 2011. It's essentially a wireless router that will let you stream all of the content on your Mac or PC to your big-screen TV via Wi-Fi.
It has a very small footprint and has two antennae like most wireless routers--in fact, it also acts as a home wireless access point. No longer do you need an AppleTV, Google TV box, Boxee box, or even a Roku if you think about it (you can just watch Hulu or Netflix in the browser!). You can also use your iPhone or Android phone as a remote for controlling your computer. The downside? It's $199.99, which is rather expensive. Also, it has a somewhat unfortunate name--it reminds me of a certain probiotic yogurt brand.… Read more
A new portable device will soon be able to help people make cell phone calls in other countries without relying on local 3G networks.
That bit of technical magic comes courtesy of a new device called an attocell, or a personal femotcell. Created by U.K.-based femtocell company Ubiquisys, the device is a small base station that can provide broadband Internet access to an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android phone, and virtually any other 3G mobile phone. But since it's smaller than a traditional femtocell, the attocell is designed to be portable.
The attocell from Ubiquisys connects to a laptop through a USB port, providing both the juice and the Internet access, according to Ubiquisys. From there, the device figures out which country it's in so it can determine the allowable 3G power consumption, which then dictates the range of the attocell to the phone. Depending on the country, the 3G range of the device could be as small as a fraction of an inch or as large as an entire room.
If the range is small, the user can place the phone on top of the device and make calls via a headset or speaker. Otherwise, the caller is free to roam around the room.… Read more
The Monster iMotion CarPlay 3000 connects to an iPod or iPhone via its dock connector, providing power through a 12-volt car charger and sending line-level audio through a 3.5mm patch cable to the host vehicle's auxiliary input. However, the iMotion's most interesting feature is the way it enables the user to control the connected iPod by waving a hand near it.
Placing a hand in front of the sensor lets you toggle between play and pause. Swiping a hand from left to right in front of the device causes the attached iPod to skip forward. Swiping the other direction triggers a backward skip. Calmly stating that "these are not the Droids you want" as you do this has no effect whatsoever.
The controls are quite intuitive--enough so that we were able to figure everything out without an instruction manual. With a bit of practice, we were able to skip through tracks as fast as the attached iPod would let us with effortless and casual hand waves, showing off for passengers and--most importantly--keeping our eyes on the road.… Read more
A user from a Hong Kong-based message board posted pictures of his iPhone 4 mod, which replaces the front and back covers with transparent versions. This exposes components typically not seen, such as the battery and lots of screws. No important parts like the processor and memory chip are visible, though, as those are hidden inside.
According to the owner, the original replacement parts were not transparent--he scraped the paint off to achieve the effect. Those who thought they were going "naked" by simply not using a protective case could perhaps go a step further with this mod. … Read more
If you're constantly fighting the low-battery blues, you might want to consider switching to a case that provides supplemental power.
The Tekkeon MyPower MP1280 for iPhone 4 is one such case. It provides not only protection, but also 1200 mAh' worth of extra juice--enough to nearly double your iPhone's talk time.
Just one problem: it's crazy-expensive.
The MyPower arrived almost fully charged, which I appreciated. It's a two-piece case, with Tekkeon's impossibly lightweight battery squeezed into the upper section. I say "impossibly lightweight" because the entire thing weighs just 1.8 ounces.
The Satarii Star is a docking accessory for your iPhone 4, iPod Touch, or mini camcorder (6 ounces or less) that allows you to shoot videos without anyone having to man the camera. It's not just a tripod (like the Gorillapod), though.
Once the device is placed in the battery-powered cradle, a "marker" is attached to whoever's being photographed, allowing the base to track and stay focused on the wearer using infrared technology. It has the ability to rotate 180 degrees and follow the subject of the photo for a range of about 26 feet, inside or outside. … Read more
When traveling abroad, one of the most important things to consider is how you will charge your Apple devices. Apple's World Travel Adapter Kit provides the most elegant approach to doing just that.
Power issues can be detrimental to electronic devices and Apple's devices are no exception. Ensuring that your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod has proper power while traveling abroad is essential to the longevity of your battery.
Apple's World Travel Adapter Kit is the perfect precautionary purchase when planning your trip. It is compatible with every Apple MagSafe Power Adapter, including those provided with iPhones, … Read more