I live in what’s called a “fringe coverage area” for AT&T. I get one or two bars on my iPhone 4 when I’m home. Calls sometimes drop, and callers often complain about the connection quality. Outside of moving or hoping AT&T builds a cell tower nearby, the best option to improve call quality is AT&T’s 3G MicroCell. Made by Cisco, the 3G MicroCell is a “femtocell”--a cellular base station that covers up to 5,000 square feet, according to AT&T. The device connects to your home broadband network, and it can tremendously improve cell phone reception in your house.
When Apple released a battery charger, it was something of a head-scratcher. After all, we’re used to Apple releasing interesting and innovative products that break new technological ground. But honestly, how much room for innovation is there in the field of rechargeable batteries? While the Battery Charger is hardly the game-changer that the iPad is, if you’ve got a desk full of the latest Apple gear, it actually makes quite a bit of sense to pick up a Battery Charger to support it.
Every year, Apple releases new iPods, forcing us all to consider whether its time to upgrade our music player. The 2010 crop of iPods--revamped shuffles and nanos, and a refreshed iPod touch--represent some of the biggest changes to the iPod lineup in recent times. Apple curiously left the classic out of this round of updates, and as the sole remaining hard drive-based iPod, we suspect that the venerable classic is on its way to being a relic remembered by music geeks alongside other forgotten audio tech like wax cylinders and, uh, those CD things.
It’s been less than a year since I acquired my trusty MacBook Pro, but it’s already filled to capacity with important documents and precious photos. Since I can’t physically expand the disk space within the computer, the search was on for a Mac-friendly hard drive that offers the holy trisect of features: speed, capacity, and reliability. I put three of the most promising new external drives to the test to see which one could live up to my demanding storage requirements.
The iPhone’s iPod functions replaced an actual iPod in my pocket long ago. But as great as it is to have one device I can use to tweet, listen to music, check my calendar, and make the occasional voice call, for me, the iPhone is a less than perfect music player. Without hard buttons for navigation, I can’t skip to my favorite tracks without having to look at the device. Luckily, Etymotic’s new hf3 headset has an inline remote for playback control (and taking calls), and this time around, they’ve added volume buttons as well for the ultimate in control.
If you were one of the Lost faithful that missed the series finale because of a scheduling faux pas--yes, we’re still mad about that--you’ll be glad to hear that Elgato’s EyeTV One can keep you on track with your favorite shows. This simple digital TV tuner can transform your Mac into a TV, and best of all, the included EyeTV 3 software schedules and records shows for later viewing.
Apple makes excellent pack-in keyboards--unlike the bizarro world of PCs and their cheap-as-possible extras. But even Apple’s standard can be beat, and Matias’ new Tactile Pro 3, a USB 2.0 keyboard with a decidedly old-school feel, does just that. Mechanical springs and switches let you feel the action as you type, subtly improving your accuracy and comfort while you’re in front of your Mac.
Since Apple bought Lala, the online music store that lets you upload and stream your computer’s music online, speculation has swirled about when Cupertino will bring the feature to iTunes. If you’re sick of waiting, mSpot lets you enjoy your Mac’s music from a browser on almost any computer. While the service has room for improvement, it also puts your music in the cloud with a minimum of fuss.