The folks at Stack Commerce have brought back our deal on the KlickR. This device serves as a go-between for your iPhone and any device with an infrared receiver. Put it onto or next to the receiver and you’ll be able to control it from the companion app on your iPhone or Android device. You can also use voice controls, designate rooms and multiple devices (if you have multiple KlikRs), and more. It’s the kind of device that helps bridge legacy electronics with the Internet of Things, and we have a deal on KlikR for $19.99.
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LAS VEGAS – Blue Microphones announced two new high-end headphones at CES, Sadie and Ella. Sadie is essentially the next iteration of the company’s Mo-Fi headphones that I like so much. Sadie dumps the tension controls in the top band to make them lighter, and the company lightened and tightened other physical elements of the design, too. The company told me the sound profile has been tweaked, too, but until I can test them out, I won’t offer any judgement. Sadie is priced at $399.99. Ella features planar magnetic speakers, but Blue says they’ve been tuned to deliver both the detail inherent to planar magnetic speakers and the kind of impact you get from dynamic drivers. Ella also features the swing arm and hinged band that makes the Mo-Fi (and Sadie) headphones such a pleasure to wear. Ella is priced at $699.99. I’ll be covering these headphones in more detail when I review them. In the photo below, Ella is in the foreground, while Sadie is in the background.
LAS VEGAS – Speck announced a new case for MacBook Pro (13-inch) that features 4-feet drop protection. Considering the lack of a MagSafe connector for charging on Apple’s new MacBook Pro models, drop protection may be on the minds of lots of folks. Speck said the case is made from its Impactium Clear material originally used for iPhone cases. As the name suggests, Presidio CLEAR is see-through, and it has a “no-slip grip” feel to it. It ships in later in the first quarter of 2017 and is priced at US$99.95—it hasn’t yet been added to the Speck website. I’ve never been a fan of cases on MacBooks, but drop protection? Come on, that’s cool.
LAS VEGAS – iDevices introduced Wall Switch, Wall Dimmer, and Wall Outlet at CES. These Wi-Fi-enabled devices support Apple’s HomeKit, as well as Amazon Echo. They don’t need a hub, and company reps told me they meet all of Apple’s and Amazon’s security (and other) requirements. Folks looking to build a HomeKit-specific smarthome should take a good look at these devices.
LAS VEGAS – I’ve seen a lot of pet tracking devices over the years, but haven’t taken any of them very seriously, but I’m giving Kyon a definite look. Here’s the quick and dirty, starting with the fact that it works with a hub. You set up a 300 foot geofence with that hub, and inside the fence, the tracker collar communicates via Bluetooth. Outside the fence, Kyon Tracker’s built-in SIM activates and you can track your dog via cellular networks. And of course, it talks to a smartphone app. It does some other smart things, like having a built-in LED display for simple messages. Like, “Hi, I’m lost.” Or the dog’s name. But it also has 12 sensors that measure things like temperature, and the collar can then tell you, “I’m hot,” or “I’m cold.” There’s a water-sensing sensor. You can also have it emit a dog-only frequency when your dog barks. It’s thin, the battery lasts for 30 days, and it’s priced at $249 and shipping later this year.
LAS VEGAS – I don’t often talk about Bluetooth speakers, but Lemon Tech caught my eye with its California Roll during Tuesday night’s CES Unveiled. That’s because it’s solar powered. It has a 5,000mAh battery in it and 32 solar cells on the back. 7 hours of sunlight will get about 20 hours of playback time. That’s handy, but it also has a USB port on it so you can use that battery to charge your mobile devices. And while you’re charging your mobile devices, it will be recharging the battery if it’s getting light. Right? So, rock on. Plus, it’s water and dust proof, making it suitable for the beach and other messy environments. It’s $249, and it ships in March. There’s a coupon code for 20% off (“5W20”), making it just under $200. It’s available in many different colors.
LAS VEGAS – Join Bryan and Jeff as they lounge at CES 2017. On deck for this week’s episode are Q.RAD, the super computer that heats your home, smart clothes (for Android only?), and Eugene, the smart trash can thingy.
Iran is in the process of banning Clash of Clans, a move that epitomizes that country’s attempts to control culture clash and behavior. According to TechCrunch, the game has been pulled from a popular third party app store in Iran called Cafe Bazaar and will soon be pulled from its other legitimate source. Here’s what’s interesting to me: Clash of Clans has only officially been available for a month in Iran, and it’s being played by two-thirds of the mobile gaming community. Iran’s religious leaders have deemed it to too addictive and promotes both violence and tribal conflict. At the same time, the game was being played on the black market before its release, where it will still be available. It will be interesting to see if there’s any kind of backlash from the country’s mobile gamers. I’m far from an expert on Iran, but it’s hard to see how the country could possibly stop the world at its borders forever. Don’t get me wrong. Clash of Clans—like Game of War and every other successful MMO—are addictive. But I’ve yet to see a successful attempt to legislate addictive behavior. Below is the SuperBowl 2015 commercial for the game that is pretty darned amusing.
We have a deal for you today on a set of Clip & Snap Smartphone Camera Lenses. There are five lenses, a wide angle lens, macro closeup lens, fish eye lens, 2x telephoto lens, and a polarizing lens. They’re also available in Red, Blue, and Black, with a price of $23.99.
Apple is being sued by a family after the tragic loss of their daughters. According to Patently Apple, James and Bethany Modisette have sued Apple for not including a patented technology on iPhones that could keep FaceTime from being used by a driver. Bryan Chaffin believes such lawsuits are philosophically repugnant.
Quick show of hands: who here is a Sharpie fanatic? OK, that’s what I thought. We’re all Sharpie fanatics! Did you know you can order personalized Sharpies? It’s Kelly Guimont’s fault. She told me about this. And now I’m telling you. And now we’re all going to be spending all our disposable income not already being sent to Apple on personalized Sharpies…anyway. There’s a list of things you can’t do, and personalized colors are limited to black, red, green, blue, magenta, turquoise, purple and lime green. You can preview your personalizations, and each pen will also have the Sharpie logo. There are a variety of fonts you can choose from, and you also have the option of adding clipart, as shown below, in addition to your personalized message. Warning: the personalization engine uses Flash.
We have a deal for you today on Disk Drill PRO 3, a data recovery utility for the Mac. According to the company, you can “scan and recover data from virtually any storage device with just the click of a button.” Our deal is for a lifetime license for $34.99. You can find more information about the software on the deal listing.
Human ingenuity! I love it. Check out these Aussie bricklayers (via Gizmodo). They built a falling-dominos thing out of bricks. The slow motion pace and clunk of the brinks is satisfying to watch and hear, but boom! The finishing move is way cool. It’s only 52 seconds, but it’s the final few seconds that are the really, really cool part of this video. Hats off, Aussie bricklayers. The beers are on me next time I’m Down Under.
Bryan is totally paranoid about the Internet of Things, and he isn’t at all happy about the idea of having an Amazon Echo or Google Home listening in on everything in his house. Jeff laughs at him. Once the guffaws die down, they talk about how and why Apple is getting crushed by these good enough devices.
We have a deal for you today on the NomadPlus Smartphone Wall Charger and Battery Pack. It’s designed to be used with your Apple wall charger, turning it into both a wall charger and an 1,800mAh portable battery. You can get it through us for $18.99.
Sylvania announced Tuesday it was launching an LED smartbulb in its LEDVANCE product line with support for Apple’s HomeKit (yay!). Better yet, the Smart Multicolor A19 doesn’t require a hub—just plug it in, find it with Apple’s Home app, and you’re good to go. Sylvania said the device will be sold through Amazon and ship in “early 2017.” This will be a great addition to the HomeKit ecosystem. To that end, I’ve been seeing more HomeKit stuff in my inbox during the last few weeks for CES 2017. It’s almost as if Apple’s smarthome platform is finally coming alive. Let’s hope, at any rate. I’ve left messages with Sylvania reps asking about pricing, which wasn’t announced. Sylvania also didn’t release images of the new bulb—the image below is of current products in the company’s smartbulb line. [Update: Sylvania’s PR folks got back to me—pricing is definitely unannounced. I also added a rendered image of the A19. We’ll be visiting with the company next week at CES. – Bryan]
BusinessInsider did a roundup of Apple’s first ten employees: Gary Martin, Sherry Livingston, Chris Espinosa, Michael “Scotty” Scott, Randy Wigginton, Rod Holt, Bill Fernandez, Mike Markkula, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak. That’s in reverse order of their employee number, with a bonus segment on cofounder Ron Wayne. The publication billed it as a “where are they now” piece, but there’s very little about where most of them are now. Really it’s more of a roundup with information about what they did while they were at Apple. I love history and lore, especially about Apple. And as much as I know about the company, there were a couple of tidbits that were new to me. Michael Scott, Apple’s first CEO, helped fill in some of the details for article, and there are photographs of everyone, as well as a bonus photo of some early Apple files (because [Apple]!).
We have a deal for you on a video editing suite called the Movavi Multimedia Editing Bundle for Mac. It’s comprised of three apps, Movavi Video Editor for Mac, Movavi Video Converter for Mac, and Movavi Screen Capture for Mac. You get all three for $43.95 through us. Check out the deal listing for details.
The Congressional Encryption Working Group (EWG) released a year-end report this week stating specifically that, “strong encryption is essential to both individual privacy and national security.” This leaves Bryan Chaffin with hope, even though the report contained a few mixed messages.
Apple has a new support document encouraging customers to verify encrypted emails, especially security emails from Apple. The document includes Apple’s own public PGP key for those verifications. Apple noted that its current PGP key will be valid until May of 2018. PGP, or “pretty good privacy” is one of the most popular encryption schemes in general use today, through both the PGP Corporation and the open source GnuPGP. Apple posted links to both. You can subscribe to Apple’s Security-announce emails at Apple’s website.