Vertigore Games’ Pacific Defense puts you in the role of a World War II anti-aircraft gunner as you fight ever-increasing waves of Japanese fighters and torpedo assaults working to destroy your ship. As in a first-person arcade game, you focus on a heads-up display and tap the sides of the iPad to fire your machine guns. Combined with the vintage radio clips and grainy, grayscale graphics, this creates an immersive feels that pulls you in over the course of the game. When you’re overwhelmed, power-ups such as additional health and smart bombs that clear all the enemies from the screen help even the odds and clear the level in the designated amount of time.
Don’t insult the Fitbit by calling it a pedometer--it does so much more. Beyond step counting, it’s a sleep tracker, calorie-burn estimator, and healthy-living tool. Combined with features on the Fitbit website, you can log nutritional information about everything you eat, manually plot your weight, and record activities beyond walking and running. Unfortunately, all of these extras are poorly organized and get in the way as much as they’re helpful. We wish the Fitbit’s software components matched the hardware’s elegant, minimal design.
The original Chumby, which mixes stuffed animal with internet appliance, was nothing if not memorable. Version two, the illogically named Chumby One, continues its mission of moving the good bits of the internet--streaming music, news, LOLcats, and more--off your Mac and onto its dedicated screen. A touch-interface drives this Wi-Fi-connected unit, so you can put it anywhere you need a lightweight internet station.
Keyboards are highly personal items. Some folks like huge, clackety, old-school keyboards with tactile feedback, while others go for small and light. And if small and light is what you’re after, Microsoft’s new Arc is a decent, portable, chiclet-style keyboard that works well alongside your Mac--provided you can put up with the indignity of backward function keys.
The name says it all. The one thing that Star Wars games hadn’t done before is let you go hog-wild with the Force, but this videogame port takes the handcuffs all the way off. Romping through that far-away galaxy while fully exploring the power of the Dark Side is such a blast that it almost overshadows Force Unleashed’s shortcomings. Almost.
Who else is getting tired of portable drives that are enclosed in the kind of bland black or silver case that just begs to be hidden? If you’re reaching for some sky, Verbatim’s slick InSight is a USB drive you’ll enjoy having on your desk. Its lovely piano-like finish and curvy lines are just plain classy, and at 5.99x3.37x 0.66 inches and 5.8 ounces, it’s very slim and light.
It’s a law of the universe: As soon as you find the perfect iPhone case, one of your friends will buy the exact same one. Mix up your iPhones at a bar, and the next thing you know, you’re sexting the wrong person. Plus, all of your carefully selected hardcore punk tunes are gone and you’re stuck listening to Miley Cyrus on the way home. Life can be so cruel. But Uncommon and Trexta have you--and your iPhone--covered with their custom case solutions.
Internet trolls and obnoxious PC owners know that the quickest way to annoy a Mac user is to claim that the only reason people buy Apple stuff is because they “want to look cool.” And smart Mac fans dismiss this criticism as quickly as it comes, easily recognizing it as little more than baiting. We love our Apple gear for tons of reasons, most having to do with functionality and ease of use. But it’s true that Apple designs great-looking devices, and that’s certainly part of the appeal--it’s not our fault that the other guys insist on making such ugly stuff. So it’s no wonder that we often gravitate toward equally good-looking accessories.
Created by San Francisco–based designer Joey Roth, the simply named Ceramic Speakers are exactly that: speakers built from handmade ceramic enclosures, cork, and wood.
Many have tried--and failed--to reinvent the book in digital form. It took the powerhouse that is Amazon to reinvigorate the idea of e-books, and when it released the Kindle, gadget nerds and book lovers rejoiced. But let’s not forget that Amazon’s roots are in selling stuff (books in particular), not building hardware. That’s why the company is piggybacking on the infrastructure it built to sell e-books to Kindle owners, first with an app for iPhone users and now with Kindle for your Mac desktop. It’s all about selling virtual books by the truckload.