The folks at Focusrite have released another cool recording product for iOS device owners, the iTrack Dock. This is a docking station for your Lightning-connector iPads (4th gen iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina Display) that has built-in audio inputs for recording multiple sources at once. It includes dual Focusrite microphone preamps plus two line inputs and an instrument DI, independent stereo monitor and headphone outputs, and a USB port for class-compliant MIDI instruments and controllers. It then works with any Core Audio-enabled digital audio workstation app, where you can use the iPad itself as a control surface coupled with the hardware controllers on the iTrack Dock. Come on, that's way cool! it's priced at US$199 at dealers, and will ship after the NAMM show later this month. The video below shows the device in use by Gavin Smith.
Hopping into a TARDIS and crossing out own time stream may be limited to science fiction today, but that hasn't stopped Chino Otsuka from at least making it look like that's exactly what she's done. Chino has taken several photos of herself as a child and added her adult version in so it looks like she's standing beside herself, quite literally. Her image editing is so good that it looks as if her current and younger self really were together in the photos. After marveling at the incredible image editing we're drawn to powerful imagery of seeing the innocent child version of Chino standing next to the grown up version of herself standing side by side. You can check out all of the time traveling shots at Chino Otsuka's website.
Apple’s laptops are smaller and more portable than ever, but their power adapters haven’t changed much in years. Even on the smaller models, the power adapter “brick” is relatively large to carry and might not fit into tight outlet spaces. Now FINsix wants to take laptop charging to a new level with its remarkably tiny power adapter. Dubbed the “world’s smallest laptop adapter,” the FINsix is up to four times smaller and six times lighter than your traditional adapter, while still providing 65 watts of power for modern MacBooks. It’s also flexible, with swappable tips for charging PC laptops and USB devices.
Pricing has yet to be set, but look for the FINsix to be available for pre-order around March with shipping in the middle of the year. Product image via DigitalTrends.
LAS VEGAS - I saw a very interesting TV settop box called HAL at CES. This is a device that sits between you and your cable or satellite box, taking over the interface. It then allows you to control your TV with voice and/or gestures. Think: "Turn it to CNN" or "Find an Episode of Castle" levels of control. You can also use your hands to swipe through menus and play shows, or use a combination of both. It also streams movies from Netflix and music from Pandora. Using Bluetooth, it can also display incoming phone calls from your iPhone or Android device. And check this out: it does all this without collecting our data and watching habits to be sold to advertisers. I talked to the CEO of the company about that, and he was adamantly against such practices, so kudos to him and his company, but it's going to be interesting to see if they get snapped up by a larger company. I should also note that what they're doing is a lot like what we've heard Apple wants to do, which was why I checked them out in the first place.
LAS VEGAS - Sennheiser announced the Momentum over-the-ear headphones this week at CES. At $349.95, they're competing towards the high end of the headphone market, but they looked and sounded great. I have a big caveat there—listening to headphones on a trade show floor is all but meaningless, but I took my V-Moda Crossfade m100s with me to do some A/B listening right there on the show floor. Sennheiser's Momentum headphone sounded good enough in comparison for me to be comfortable mentioning them to you, and there they only headphones I agreed to review after the show. The band is metal all the way across, and the trim on the band is leather. The headphones adjust via a slide that you then screw down, and the cups are replaceable. They're US$349.95, and they're shipping this month.
3D printing had its presence in quite a few places at CES this year, and 3D Systems booth may have been the most impressive of all. The highlight was a four-piece band with each of the instruments – keyboard, bass, guitar and drums – being made primarily out of 3D-printed parts. As you can see from the video, the drum shells and bass are entirely made from 3D printing, and each is printed as a single piece. This is especially impressive on the bass where you can see the New York City skyline embedded in the body. The musicians all said the instruments played very easily, though obviously the non-solid drum shells caused more of the tone to come from the head than anywhere else. Definintely Cool Stuff Found!
LAS VEGAS - The Mac Observer had a chance to talk with iPort about their Charging Case and Stand for the iPad Air and Retina Display iPad mini during CES 2014 in Las Vegas. Watch our video to see its features in action.
Parrot, long known for their AR.Drone, was showing off their new products at CES this year, including the MiniDrone and humorously named Jumping Sumo. Both products are remote-controllable with your iPhone (or Android device), with the MiniDrone using Bluetooth Smart and the Jumping Sumo using 802.11ac. The MiniDrone literally will fit in the palms of your hands, and includes (removable) wheels to both help protect the blades as well as to let you drive around the floor. The Jumping Sumo is a hyper-agile device, mainly built to drive around the floor, but it can also jump (by way of a plunger-type device) over two-and-a-half feet in the air. The Jumping Sumo also includes an on-board video camera that streams back to your remote. Check out their quick demo in the attached video we filmed on the show-floor. Pricing has not yet been set and both products will be released sometime in 2014.
LAS VEGAS - LandingZone launched a new dock for the MacBook Pro with Retina Display this week at CES. The device clamps on to your MacBook Pro giving you a wide variety of ports that can always be plugged in, even when you take your laptop on the go. It includes five USB ports (three 3.0 and two 2.0), an HDMI port for an external display, a Mini DisplayPort for Thunderbolt displays and external peripherals, and a security slot for third party locks. It also has a built-in Ethernet adapter that passes through to USB giving you an easy way to plug into a wired network. Similarly, it has a headphone jack that does the heavy lifting of passing the sound through USB for you. The device is priced at US$229 [corrected], but the company has it on sale right now for $199.
LAS VEGAS - Anker introduced the 2nd Gen. Astro 6000mAh portable external battery this week at CES. Anker has been in the external battery business for a while, but the company also rolled out its PowerIQ technology that allows its chargers to recognize all your devices and send them a full charge. That means your iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Nexus, or Samsung device will all get a proper charge without you having to think about it. This is especially important for larger devices like the iPad and many Android tablets that want 2.1 amps—if an external battery doesn't know how to properly handshake with those devices, they'll only get some of the juice they need. I should also mention that Anker's Astro is a good looking device with a nice feel to it. It retails for US$59.99, but Amazon has it on sale for $29.99 for Prime members.
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