Elgato announced a pure-storage product on Thursday called Thunderbolt Drive+. It's an external drive using a "server-grade Plextor Solid State Drive" that supports Apple's and Intel's Thunderbolt, as well as USB 3.0. It comes in either 256GB or 512GB configurations, and includes a Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cable. It's bus-powered, and Elgato says it offers transfer speeds of up to 420 MB/s—that's on the Thunderbolt side—making it fast enough for just about anything. Using Plextor's controller chips and a high-end SSD means these babies aren't cheap, however; the 256GB unit is $499.95, while the 512GB model is $899.95.
If you've ever thought about building your own Death Star, but don't have the resources beyond your iPhone or iPad, Disney and Lucas Arts have you covered with Star Wars: Tiny Death Star. The game lets you build more than 80 levels in your Death Star where you can add shops and businesses to help generate revenue to build your Imperial battle station, make secret levels where you conduct clandestine operations against the Rebel Alliance, and try to capture Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and more. Tiny Death Star's graphics are all retro 8-bit, so your station of mass destruction won't feel quite so intimidating. The game is free for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and you can download it at Apple's iTunes-based App Store.
Passcodes are great for keeping prying eyes out of your Mac, but what if you could make unlocking your computer a stunningly cool experience and more convenient at the same time? You know, like maybe knock on your iPhone as if it were a door. That's exactly what Knock lets you do. Once the app is installed on your iPhone, and the companion app is running on your Mac, you can unlock your computer simply by knocking twice on your iPhone. The app uses Bluetooth LE, so you need an iPhone 4S or newer, and at least a 2011 MacBook Air Mac mini, a 2012 MacBook Pro, or the 2013 Mac Pro. Setup is wonderfully simple, as is knocking on your iPhone to unlock your Mac. The Mac app is a free download at the Knock website, and the iPhone app is a US$3.99 download at Apple's iTunes-based App Store.
Check out the Dungabunga unipod stand for iPhone, iPad, or Android devices. It's a flexible stand you can use in a variety of ways to hold your device just about anywhere. There's a video on the project's site that showing it on a table, around your neck, wrapped around a post, etc. It uses a magnetic holder to connect to your device that allows it to rotate in whatever orientation you want. The company is raising money on Indiegogo, and is looking for $10,000 to get going. There are actually multiple products available for fundraising, including two different stands designed for laptops that are based on the same flexible material.
Nike's new Nike+ Move app, first shown off during the iPhone 5 introduction in September, hit the App Store late on Monday. The app takes advantage of the iPhone's M7 motion coprocessor to turn your smartphone into a complete fitness tracking system. It monitors how active you are, much like the Nike Fuelband or Fitbit Flex, compares activity between days, and shows how you stack up against your friends in Game Center. You'll need an iPhone 5s because the app requires the M7 coprocessor to do its thing. The Nike+ Move app is free and is available at Apple's iTunes-based App Store.
iDevices announced on Monday iGRILLmini, a smaller Bluetooth meat thermometer that includes Bluetooth Smart technology for "highly efficient food monitoring," a proximity sensor for low energy consumption, and 150 hours of battery life. Like the original iGrill, iGRILLmini can measure and monitor your meats and relay that information to an app on your iPhone or iPad (an Android app will be released in 2014). The mini is much smaller than the original—roughly a quarter of the size, and that makes it easier to handle. It has an onboard temperature LED indicator, proximity wake-up, and a magnetic mount for your grill or oven. It's priced at US$39.99, and it's available for pre-order now. It will ship in time for the holidays.
Audioengine announced a new set of desktop speakers called A2+ Premium Powered Desktop Speakers. This is an updated version of the original A2 speakers, and improvements include a USB digital-to-audio converter (DAC), an improved power supply, better accessory cables, threaded inserts for wall mounts, and a variable audio output that allows you to connect a subwoofer or a wireless adapter. The A2+ are self-powered speakers, and are roughly a third of the size of the A5 (and A5+) speakers I've been raving about for years. The A2+ speakers are priced at US$249, and are available now.
Chcek out this keyboard holder and stand for the iPad, iPhone, or any other tablet and smartphone. It's called Nimblstand, and it's pretty cool. The keyboard holder is designed to work with Apple's wireless keyboard, while the stand mechanism is flexible enough to work with all of Apple's iPads and iPhones (including the new iPhone 5c and 5s and iPad Air). The company also told me it works with "99% of all Android tablets and smartphones." You can work with your iPad in either landscape or portrait mode, it has a holder for a stylus for you artists, and it can display your iPad at different angles. Oh, and it has a compact mode, too. It's priced at an introductory price of US$39.99, and the company's offering a bundle with a Wacom Bamboo Stylus for $56.99.
Cyan, creator of immersive-world games Myst and Riven, has been hard at work for the past few years bringing their existing library of games to iOS. But they've also had a few new ideas kicking around, and they're kicking one of them, Obduction, to Kickstarter. This isn't a sequel to the Myst storyline, but it does find them going back to what they do best: creating another world in which you play the game. They started with a question: "What happens to a person who is abducted?" You, the player, are taken to a faraway planet. In the middle of the bizarre landscape you find an old farmhouse with a white picket fence... and you find you're not the only one who's been abducted. You can fund Obduction via Kickstarter or PayPal (and they'll refund PayPal payments if the Kickstarter doesn't fund).
I have a very cool Kickstarter project for you called Python Cords, by Elliot Snyder. This is very easy to install protector for your Apple charging cords that, "displaces the stress point by spreading it over a greater distance." Its silicone tubing, "acts as a shock absorber preventing the common stress fracture from occurring." And it does all this without permanently altering your charger. If you've ever had to replace an Apple charger from cord-wear, you'll instantly recognize the value Python Cord offers. If you watch the video, you'll see at the end how easy it is to use, and if you look at the $8 price of the main funding option, you'll say giddy up!
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