There’s a project on Kickstarter that I thought was pretty neat called Moonlite. It uses your iPhone flashlight to project stories onto the wall or ceiling. The projections come in the form of a ViewMaster-like reel of images. The words from the story appear on your screen, and each time you click the reel, the app turns the page with new words. It’s a clever marriage of the physical to an app, and I definitely applaud anything that helps parents tell bedtime stories to kids. A lot of folks seem to agree as the project has already raised $294,842, more than 14 times the original goal of $20,000. There’re 53 hours to go in the campaign as of this writing. The video below tells more about the project, and you can read more on the Kickstarter page, too. Funding options that get you a Moonlite start at $35.
Smile’s TextExpander got a nice update on Monday, assuming you’re a Touch Bar MacBook Pro user. The 6.1.3 update adds Touch Bar support so you can add, organize or delete snippets with a tap, filter snippets, and check your snippet statistics, too. The update also includes better VoiceOver access and fixes a few bugs because everyone else deserves a little something in the download. TextExpander 6.1.3 is a free download and works with Smile’s TextExpander subscription service.
Robert Scoble said Monday that Apple is working with lens powerhouse Carl Zeiss AG on “mixed reality optics.” That’s one of the many terms used for augmented reality, for those keeping score at home. His evidence is circumstantial, at best, but I approve of his reasoning. While at the the Zeiss booth at CES, he learned the company was, “NOT showing off its mixed reality optics.” He then added, “I said ‘Tim Cook didn’t let you,’ and the employees around me smiled nervously.” Again, that’s circumstantial, but Mr. Scoble’s instincts have a good track record. To add further circumstantial speculation, Zeiss is the sort of company Apple might work with on any kind of lens-related product or technology. And we already knew that Apple has at least a thousand people working on augmented reality. So…I buy it.
LAS VEGAS – Lattis unveiled the Ellipse Smart Bike Lock at CES last week. In addition to being app-controlled and having a programmable combination lock, this bike lock is solar powered. That makes batteries a non-issue as long as the device sees at least one hour of sunlight per week of usage. It has a built-in accelerometer which the app harnesses for crash alerts with HPS coordinates it can send out to a designated contact. The accelerometer is also used for theft detection alerts. Another nifty feature is the ability to give a friend access through a one-time code you can send out from the app. The shackle is made from chromoly steel, and the lock is substantial. I liked the fit and finish, and the “smart” functions seem to be smart, rather than an attempt to merely bolt an app onto a lock. The device is priced at US$199, and it’s available now.
LAS VEGAS – Kensington is stepping up to the plate with their new Thunderbolt 3 dock for the Touch Bar MacBook Pro. Louie Yao shows its features to Jeff Gamet at CES 2017.
LAS VEGAS – myCharge is well known for their portable batteries for recharging our smartphones and more, and now they’re making sure even the USB-C MacBook and MacBook Pro are covered, too. The company’s RazorPlatinum can juice up your laptop, iPhone, or iPad for US$99.99. The RazorUltra is coming soon and handles your smartphone and tablet for about $60, plus both have USB-A ports for everything else you need to power up. It’s great seeing USB-C batteries hitting the market because we’re going to see the connector showing up even more places—something that’s very clear at this year’s CES.
LAS VEGAS – Elgato’s new Thunderbolt 3 dock loads up your Touch Bar MacBook Pro with all the ports you need. Tim Böth highlights the features for Jeff Gamet at CES 2017.
LAS VEGAS – Garmin wants to keep you looking fashionable when you’re exploring outdoors or just around town with its fenix 5 watches. Cesar Palacios shows Jeff Gamet what you can do with Garmin’s latest smartwatches at CES 2017.
We like backlit keyboards. We also like wireless keyboards. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many options that feature both, especially when it comes to Mac-specific models. But accessory firm Matias is looking to change that with the CES announcement of the Wireless Aluminum Keyboard with Backlight. It’s a sleek Apple-style Bluetooth keyboard with support for up to four devices and, here’s the kicker, separate batteries for the keyboard and the backlight. That means when your energy-hogging backlight goes out, you can keep on typing without skipping a beat. The keyboard ships in June in Silver and Space Gray color options, but you can pre-order now for $139.
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.