Apple haters love to trot out the fact that the iPhone and iPod touch lack a physical keyboard. And of course, the first feature iPhone users notice about any rival keyboard-equipped smartphone is usually the microscopic keys. 4iThumbs attempts to bridge that gap, offering some of the tactile feedback of a hard keyboard without giving up all the benefits of the iPhone’s virtual keys.
“’80s coke dealer.” That’s how one Mac|Life staffer libeled the Rotaliana Diva when trying to describe its visual statement. True enough, this multitalented iPod dock--brazenly slick and swoopy, unapologetic in its design flamboyance--does look like the kind of thing that Tony “Scarface” Montana might place on an end table in his Miami mansion. Are the Diva’s lines too over the top? That’s for you to decide. What we can tell you is that a host of interesting features make this ostentatious obelisk a compelling bundle of functionality.
Like X-ray glasses and sea monkeys, vacuum tubes are the stuff of 1950s
pulp-fiction cool. They even glow in the dark! And it turns out that
they can improve the sound of modern digital music--if you stick with
high-quality, lossless files, that is.
Fanny packs may have gone the way of mom jeans, but while they were in vogue, they were pretty darn useful. The modern equivalent is the Armpocket Sport 20, a Velcro-strapped pouch that enables you to carry your iPod touch or iPhone and other small items on your arm when you’re working out or just traveling light.
Great-sounding headphones that don’t cost an arm and a leg are kind of
like aliens--you’re pretty sure they’re out there somewhere, but
they’re really hard to find. Yamaha’s EPH-30 earbuds should come
packaged like a flying saucer--they offer a terrific listening
experience at an affordable price.
iPods are fantastic, but the most important part of any mobile music
experience is the earbuds or headphones that you connect to your
device. Plenty of people are happy to use the stock Apple iPod earbuds,
but many are less than thrilled by their sound quality--or the fact
that those hard plastic ’buds aren’t the most comfortable things to
stick in your ears. Yurbuds are soft rubber eartips meant to work with
your existing phones, offering better fit and improved performance.
The Zeppelin Mini from Bowers & Wilkins is certainly a sight to
behold. This elliptical iPod speaker dock slickly incorporates a pair
of three-inch drivers with a swiveling dock connector that allows you
to rotate your device 90 degrees, which makes it easy to take advantage
of Cover Flow navigation. It’s beautiful and well designed, and though
the sound performs equally well, the bass on this $400 dock is a bit
I love my iPod, and I use it every day. But between earbud cables,
straps for my laptop bag, and a jacket (even in summer… it’s San
Francisco), things can get pretty cumbersome. Dew Motion’s Quiver iPod
sash (for lack of a better term) aims to keep you from getting tangled
in your own wires and makes it easier to control your iPod.
Sure, the unibody MacBooks have longer-lasting batteries. But for many,
those improvements came at too high a cost--no swapping of spare
batteries can be a lethal limitation. But for the folks at Sanho, it
presented a dreamy business opportunity, and their line of batteries
delivers the plug-and-go power that many of you crave, though you’ll
pay a premium for it.
One of the big reasons we didn’t have a gadget-crush on the third-gen
iPod shuffle (3 out of 5 stars, Jun/09) is its reliance on Apple’s
earbuds to control the device. Without any buttons on the shuffle’s
chassis, the inline remote on the included ’buds is the only way to
navigate tracks, play, pause, or make volume adjustments. But now
Scosche’s tapSTICK aims to improve your shuffle experience by adding
back the third-gen shuffle’s missing buttons.