I love mechanical keyboards. I love the way my fingers spring off the keys, and I love the clickety-clack noise I make while I’m typing away--it’s the sound of productivity, as if I’m at The New York Times belting out a breaking story. Mechanical keyboards may not seem like they have a place in Apple’s scissor-key world, but once you start using the Das Keyboard, you’ll understand why it’s favored by gamers and programmers everywhere.
Long referred to as a hobby during Apple keynotes, Apple TV has evolved into one of the star peripherals of the iOS ecosystem. And no wonder--this slim 4-inch box turns your humble HDTV into a networked entertainment powerhouse. Apple TV’s HDMI and optical audio ports connect to your home theater, and it connects to your network via 802.11n Wi-Fi or 100Base-T Ethernet. Once you’re plugged in, you can buy or rent movies at up to 1080p, or buy TV shows at the same resolution, from iTunes.
For those of us who can’t afford pricey solid-state drives, but still need a speedy solution for storing data and transferring large files, RAIDs can fill the void--and provide much more storage capacity, dollar for dollar. When configured as a RAID 0, two drives working as one can offer impeccable performance for media, while a RAID 1 can offer a reliable backup solution as one hard drive mirrors the other. Now, hard drive manufacturers are offering Thunderbolt-compatible RAIDs to help bridge the gap between affordable storage solutions and Apple’s new high-speed technology, and both Western Digital and G-Technology have entered the market with their own Thunderbolt RAID offerings.
Sure, you could buy the same celeb-endorsed headphones that everyone else has. But for the ultimate in quality and personalization, a pair of custom-made in-ear earbuds is hard to beat. Custom buds used to be the exclusive province of musicians and sound engineers, but they’re becoming more affordable.
Travel speakers aren’t just for traveling, or at least not for going too far. The thoughtful design of iHome’s iDM11 makes it great for road warriors, but also for rocking out in the kitchen, the bathroom, the garage, or anywhere that isn’t already wired for sound.
With webOS down for the count and BlackBerry on life support, Microsoft is now the sole challenger to the smartphone domination of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Just in the nick of time, Windows Phone is finally receiving much-needed attention thanks to the Nokia Lumia 900, a handset as seductive as anything Cupertino has produced to date.
Call me crazy, but I’ve never been a big fan of the Apple mice. I’m a quick mover on the computer, constantly multitasking and clicking between different windows and Spaces, and even the wired Apple Mouse could never keep up with me. Logitech’s Anywhere MX is the only mouse that has been able to offer what I need, so I’m curious to see if the company’s two new offerings are just as effective.
Until recently, my ideal bag was big enough for my laptop, iPad, iPhone, chargers and cables, plus a sweatshirt, a sandwich--anything I could shove inside. And the more space I had, the more I shoved.
So what changed? I had a kid. Now when I leave the house I’ve got not only my laptop bag, but also a baby strapped into a bulky car seat, plus his giant diaper bag. When I got desperate to shave some of that weight, my own oversized bag had to go.
There’s fast, and then there’s really fast, and then there’s the disbelief that you’ve been driving in the slow lane for so long. After the debut of the Thunderbolt I/O, we were excited at the idea of syncing at 10Gb/s speeds, but the first batch of portable drives with Thunderbolt were all platter-based HDDs, and those internal discs can only spin so fast. Speedier solid-state drives can take better advantage of Thunderbolt’s potential, as Elgato’s Thunderbolt SSD clearly demonstrates.
Once you move beyond simple computer speakers and speaker docks, audio equipment can quickly get extremely complicated, not to mention expensive. Orb Audio’s line of modular products aims to bring audiophile-quality components at relatively affordable prices. And best of all, you can start with a small desktop system, then later expand into a full home theater setup using your existing speakers.