CES 2013: ASpotter’s Best of Show
We saw a lot of stuff at the Consumer Electronics Show. We also learned a few things: 1) Bring comfortable shoes 2) You will never see it all. We focus on mobile accessories, so that helps us weed out some of the things we don’t need to check out on the floor. Even then, there is a lot. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites from the show.
Dropcam HD is definitely one of the coolest toys we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. It’s a camera that allows you to monitor any room or area of your home. For instance, I have mine set up in the living room, and it watches my front door. If anyone should happen to walk in unexpected, it detects their movement, and sends me a push notification to your iPhone, iPad or Android device. What’s cool is that this camera also has night vision, so it can monitor day or night.
There are also public Dropcams for those who want to watch kitties at a pet shop or cute animals at the zoo. That’s really just for fun, but the real use can mean a great step in home security. The camera records when it detects motion (and can be set to do the same with audio), and the Dropcam folks offer 7 days of DVR-style playback. This means you can review video if anything unexpected should be caught on camera.
Magic Feet by Mobee Technology definitely won us over as one of the coolest products on the show floor. It’s designed to work with Apple’s keyboard and Magic Mouse. iMac owners, this is for you. I have an iMac at home, and one concern over time becomes batteries. You need to stock up on AA’s if you don’t want to eat up all your USB ports. This helps alleviate that problem by acting as a charging surface for your Magic Mouse and wireless keyboard. We have a video here.
The folks at BodyGuardz have the screen protector down. They have slight the edge over rivals based on the fact that theirs is made of glass. Yes, it’s much pricier than other screen protectors, but it feels like there’s nothing there. That’s truly the best part of this accessory. Most screen protectors are noticeable in some way. There is either a bit more friction between your finger and the screen (it just doesn’t slide as smoothly) or it can become misshapen or catch an air bubble. Because this tiny slab of glass is so solid, there is little need to worry about anything like that. Check out the video here.
Amzer’s ShatterProof is definitely a close second. It’s made of a thin film, and it works by dispersing impact. Most of the time, pressure isn’t what breaks your screen. That’s why those videos showing the iPhone glass can show the screen getting bent without breaking. It’s sudden impact that shatters a screen. This stuff helps protect your device. You will likely need to replace the protector if it takes a hit, but that’s much better than replacing the screen. We’ve seen this thing get hit with a hammer, and the phone is still okay. These are obviously controlled conditions, but it definitely takes a hit.
We liked the ruggedness of Braven’s portable speakers. They are designed to resist the elements, which makes them ideal for camping trips or biking through the wilderness. The design protects connections and ports from moisture with a rubber gasket. It’s also made to float if it falls into water. In other words, you won’t be diving in or reaching through water trying to find it if it should happen to drop. We got a video here.
Matrix audio has a portable speaker called the Qube (Cube) because it’s shaped like–you guessed it, a cube. Given it’s size, (which is just a bit smaller than a golf ball) it sounded surprisingly loud. Keep in mind that we were on the showroom floor at CES. There was a lot of background noise, and this little guy cut right through all that. We were impressed with what we heard, and we’d definitely want to check it out under more ideal conditions. That said, it’s perfect for stowing in your pocket or bag with no hassle, and that’s what makes it a winner for us.
Battery Packs and Chargers
myCharge showed us a charger for the iPhone 5 called the Freedom Case. It offers the protection of a case while giving you the benefits of a charger. When your iPhone is running low on juice, you simply grab the small Lightning connector and plug it into your handset. This begins the charging process. It’s almost like having a second iPhone available when the other’s battery dies. We got a video demonstration that uses a giant iPhone 5 to show us how it works.
We love having portable chargers. The Magicstick is just that. It’s not a case, but it will charge any USB device. It’s small, but it’s enough to give you an extra charge if you need it. Size and versatility are the winner with this charger. It may not have the capacity of larger (and more expensive) chargers, but it fits in your pocket, messenger bag or purse quite easily. We have a video of this one.
iConnectMIDI is a great little accessory for iOS devices. It acts as a midi interface between your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch and a controller or midi device. That’s not unheard of, but the cool bonus here was that the new model it lets us directly record audio into the computer. This is idea if you work in a DAW like Cubase, Digital Performer or Logic, and need a way to record that iPad synth into your software.
We love IK Multimedia’s iRig line. We have reviewed several of their products and they never fail to satisfy us. It’s because they make things for professional musicians, and do it in a way that integrates them with our iOS devices. As a musician, this is a very useful tool for my. I play live shows from time-to-time and I often use Apple MainStage as my vocal effects processor (IK also has their own vocal effects processor for iOS called VocalLive. However, my iPhone is usually handling backing tracks.) using the BlueBoard, I will be able to switch effects on and off according to the song on my setlist. This is all without having to run back to my laptop to bypass or enable effects. It works via MIDI and connects to your device with Bluetooth. Less wires on the stage is always a good thing.
Health and Fitness
iHealth is probably the top name in health-related products for iOS devices. They have the Wireless Body Analysis Scale. It’s similar to the bathroom scales you’re used to, but it adds additional functionality. It measures body fat, muscle mass and your body water. It also helps you set your fitness and calorie intake goals. It comes with a free app to help you track these results, and share them with friends and family.
I’ve been getting into exercise lately. Over the past several months I’ve started some cardio and weight training. It’s paying off. I can see when I look at myself, and I can feel it when I can walk around Las Vegas for three days and not be the least bit sore. However, there is a very important element: a pulse monitor. This is a watch-like device that tracks your pulse. By doing that, you can know how hard you are working, and if you are reaching your target heart rate. This is very important for cardio work. These monitors also give you a good sense of how many calories you are burning based on how hard you are working. That’s another important part of any diet and exercise routine. The Rhythm integrates directly with your iOS device (and a free app) to track all that information. It also has iPod controls for those who want to listen to music when they work out, but don’t want to have to pull it out of their pocket as they run or jog through the neighborhood.
This is great for children. It’s the Crayola Light Marker for iPad. They teamed up with accessory maker Griffin to create a marker that allows children (or anybody, really) to draw in the air and watch it magically appear on their iPad. It uses technology similar to Sony’s PlayStation move. That is, it makes use of the iPad’s front-facing camera to track a small light at the end of the marker. We have a video of it in action.
This one wasn’t an accessory, but it showed off some cool tech. It’s also a great way to teach kids how to read and spell. We handed it off to our good friends at iSmashPhone, because they cover apps among other things. We just thought this application deserved a mention.
There you have it
Our favorite of CES 2013. It was a fun ride, and there was a lot to check out. It was truly hard to choose our favorites. We will definitely be on the lookout for when some of the unreleased products hit the market. We will also be sure to give our readers a heads-up as they are released.
We also have some less conventional awards. You can see those at Accessory Spotter’s Other Awards.