If Saddleback’s Classic Briefcase Thin wrote a book it would be How to Win Friends & Influence People. Everywhere we go with it, this bag inspires conversation. People just want to look at it, feel it, know what the beautiful leather is all about. Even after several months, we’re still ogling it. It’s beautiful, yes. But it’s not perfect for everyone.
iPod accessories have taken a turn for the wireless since the introduction of the iPad, especially since it’s a bit bulky to prop up on a clock radio or speaker dock. The tide has shifted toward AirPlay or Bluetooth-enabled speakers that work with a wider range of smartphones, media players, and tablets. Logitech cuts the cord almost entirely with its $149.99 Logitech Wireless Boombox.
Wacom’s Inkling is a fabulous concept: draw in your own notebook, with a real pen, and easily download digital versions of those drawings onto your computer. In theory, it improves on existing digital tools--support for layers makes it more flexible than a scanner, and real ink and paper offer better feel and control than a tablet. The Inkling should be a perfect bridge between digital and analog art. Unfortunately, the product still has a few kinks to work out before we can truly sings its praises. The Inkling certainly does what it sets out to do--it effectively captures a digital likeness of anything you sketch. We just wish it did a better job.
A musician otherwise, I’m also a trained singer with decades of experience. I sight-read sheet music well enough to jump into something new on the fly. But I’m an absolute beginner when it comes to the guitar. Well, I was until I started learning and practicing with the Fretlight Guitar and software eight weeks ago. I’ve always thought of the guitar as that intimidating, too-beautiful woman--I’d never be able to connect, so I never approached. Could the Fretlight help me learn to play? Yes, but it’s a tumultuous romance.
With the rising cost of health care in the U.S., it’s no surprise that a small cottage industry has popped up for gadgets that allow us to skip costly doctor visits and monitor our health from home. One of the more intriguing devices is the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, a $129 solution for tracking weight, fat/lean mass, BMI, heart rate, and blood pressure daily through an iOS device.
Whether it’s cars, dog breeds, or plant species, it seems like there are hybrid versions of just about everything these days. It’s not a bad idea—why not mix two generally wonderful things to create something even better? That’s what Seagate hopes to accomplish with its next generation of hybrid drives. The Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Hard Drive packs the storage of a standard hard drive with the speed of an SSD. It’s totally worth it if you can’t afford a high-priced, low-capacity SSD, and are sick of the slow read and write speeds of the standard platter-based drive.
There are tons of audio docks for your iPhone or iPod touch, but models for your iPad are much harder to come by. The Sound Step from Soundfreaq is built to accommodate your iPad or any other dock connector–equipped device. But the connectivity doesn’t stop there. This small speaker dock is also Bluetooth-enabled, so you can stream wirelessly, and there’s also an auxiliary input, so you can connect with just about anything. But for those times when you just want to disconnect, the Sound Step Recharge also comes equipped with a rechargeable battery so that you can cut the cord and take your tunes on the road—or at least to the backyard.
People often ask us what the “best” camera is. While you can debate the merits of various pieces of hardware, when it comes down to it, the best camera is the one you have with you when you want to take a photograph. Which, for a lot of people, ends up being an iPhone. The iPhone camera is great for snapshots, but what if you could use all the glass from your SLR to push your iPhone to even greater creative possibilities? For that, you’ll need Turtleback’s iPhone SLR Mount.
Why is it that you can never find a pen when you need one? And though the iPad doesn’t ship with a stylus, if you do much sketching or digital note-taking, they’re handy to have around. But it’s annoying having to carry around a pen and a stylus at the same time, and constantly switching between the two. The Kensington Virtuoso Metro Stylus and Pen solves this conundrum by combining both into one handy do-everything writing utensil.
Apple launched its latest iteration of the MacBook Pro rather quietly, with no media event or even a press release. Instead, they quietly bumped up the specs in their flagship laptops. If you’ve recently bought a MacBook Pro, you’re not missing much. But if you’ve been mulling over a purchase, now might be the time. The improvements are modest, to be sure, but Apple has also brought back an option that we’ve been chomping at the bit to have for quite some time.