The Mac Observer's CES 2017 coverage sponsored by:

  • iMazing
  • The Omni Group
  • Merlin Project
  • MacPaw
  • Elgato

Reliefband Neurowave Controls Nausea with Current on Your Wrist

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LAS VEGAS – One of the more unusual devices I saw at CES was Reliefband Technologies‘ self-titled product. This device uses current to modulate the median nerve on the underside of the wrist to control nausea and motion sickness. This is the same spot you can rub for nausea, and it’s the spot targeted by acupuncturists. At this year’s show, the company introduced a new—and infinitely better looking—version called Reliefband Neurowave. While the original Reliefband was functional, it looked like it was designed by engineers in 1989 (you can see it on the company’s site). The new version shown below looks like a modern smartwatch. It adds a display and separates the electronic plates from that display, which means you wear it as a watch. The old version had to be worn so that the ugly interface was underneath your wrist like engineers and pilots sometimes wear watches. I don’t suffer from nausea or motion sickness, but Jeff Gamet is going to test it out for us. The new version is priced at $150 and will ship in the second quarter of 2017. The firm hasn’t yet added the new product to its website.

Reliefband Neurowave Controls Nausea with Current on Your Wrist

CES 2017 Wrap-up: Ellipse Bike Lock Is Smart and Solar Powered

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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.

CES 2017 Wrap-up: Ellipse Bike Lock Is Smart and Solar Powered

myCharge Gets its USB-C Portable Charger Game On at CES 2017

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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.

myCharge Gets its USB-C Portable Charger Game On at CES 2017

Energous WattUp Makes Wireless Charging Possible – CES 2017

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LAS VEGAS – More than anything else, the question I’m most asked regarding not-yet-existent technology is, “when are we going to get wireless charging?” The answer, thanks to Energous, is “likely this year.” Energous has developed a technology that supports three ranges of wireless charging: near-field contactless, two-to-four feet, and ten-to-fifteen feet. We’ve all seen contactless charging with (some) cell phones and the Apple Watch, but anything beyond that seems like magic. In this video, that’s exactly what you’ll see. I also got to experience the same remote control charging from ten feet away. That’s because devices with Energous’ WattUp receivers can be charged by transmitters of any of the three distances. Contactless is available for manufacturers to use now, and Energous is working to have the remaining distances approved and available within the next year. Power is only sent to the device when a charge is needed and Bluetooth is used to allow the transmitter and receiver to negotiate the connection. The future appears to be right around the corner.

Wake Up to Classic Mac Nostalgia with the Elago W3 Apple Watch Stand

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There’s no shortage of charging stands for Apple Watch, but the W3 Stand from Elago certainly has a unique appeal. Available in white or black, the W3 mimics the design of the original Apple Macintosh, first released back in 1984. It’s just non-functional plastic, of course, but it can give longtime Apple fans a jolt of nostalgia each morning. The Elago W3 is available now from Amazon for about $17 including shipping. Thanks to Apple Insider for the heads up.

Wake Up to Classic Mac Nostalgia with the Elago W3 Apple Watch Stand

This Dual-Battery Wireless Backlit Keyboard for Mac Has It All

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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.

This Dual-Battery Wireless Backlit Keyboard for Mac Has It All

JBL Pulse 3: Lava Lamp Effects and Full Portable Sound

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I’ve been a fan of JBL’s portable Pulse bluetooth speakers since the first one was released three years ago. The reason? Cool lighting effects, full sound and, of course, Bluetooth wireless portability. With the Pulse 3, though, the game steps up to a whole new level. Whereas its predecessors were covered by a mesh with a low-resolution display of lights, the Pulse 3 sports a clear, plastic enclosure and hi-res LEDs that really (finally?) give it that true Lava Lamp-of-the-future look. You can customize the light effects with your iOS or Android device, giving you full control over both your audio and visual experience. Additionally, the Pulse 3 is now IPX7 waterproof, has a 12-hour battery, and supports JBL’s new Connect+ allowing you to sync your audio with up to 100 devices simultaneously. Wanna truly light up your pool party or just enjoy the visuals while listening to your favorite tunes? The JBL Pulse 3 will be released this spring, MSRP of $199.95

Blue Microphones Launches Sadie Headphones, Ella Headphones with Planar Speakers

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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.

Blue Microphones Launches Sadie Headphones, Ella Headphones with Planar Speakers

Speck's Presidio CLEAR for MacBook Pro Has 4-Feet Drop Protection

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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.

Speck’s Presidio CLEAR for MacBook Pro Has 4-Feet Drop Protection

iDevices Introduces HomeKit Wall Switch, Wall Dimmer, Wall Outlet

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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.

iDevices Introduces HomeKit Wall Switch, Wall Dimmer, Wall Outlet

Track Your BAC With This Wearable Alcohol Monitor for Apple Watch

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Need to drive or operate heavy machinery? BACtrack, a company specializing in breathalyzers, wants to make sure you know when you’ve hit your limit. Introduced at CES and shipping later this year, the BACtrack Skyn is a strap that attaches to your Apple Watch band and provides real-time feedback of your blood alcohol content. Users can monitor the loss of their sobriety on demand, or configure the device to vibrate when you’re nearing the legal limit, allowing you to gracefully pass on that third glass of Champagne without causing a scene. BACtrack also hopes that the device’s real-time monitoring capabilities will present new opportunities for the research and treatment of alcoholism.

Track Your BAC With This Wearable Alcohol Monitor for Apple Watch