The Mac Observer's CES 2019 coverage sponsored by:

  • TextExpander
  • Bombich Software
  • Other World Computing
  • CES

A CES 2014 Flashback: The Folly of Curved TV Screens

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Curved TV display

At one time, five years ago, curved TV screens were all the rage. Every TV manufacturer jumped on the bandwagon, fearful of being left out. Today, we know it was a fad. A folly. A technical dead end. Recently, ars technica took us back in time, via Twitter, to their prescient analysis. After a good technical roundup, “The flat-out truth on curved TVs” ars concluded:

The mishmash of arguments for a curved TV isn’t necessarily an indictment of the value of curved TV. This would not be the first time that manufacturers obscured the technical or scientific reasons for a decision because they think it’s too hard to explain to consumers. It may be easier to latch onto words like “immersive” and “theatrical” and hope no one asks the hard questions.

But, it would also not be the first time that manufacturers assigned value to some spec based on the idea that it qualitatively improved a viewing experience in some way, only for consumers to find the end result is underwhelming and, more importantly, not worth paying for.

CES - JBL's Flip 5 Adds USB-C Charging, Increased Sound Output, Larger Battery

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JBL unveiled the Flip 5 Bluetooth speaker at CES this week, with some notable enhancements over the Flip 4. The most visually-obvious thing they’ve done is moved to a waterproof USB-C connector for charging, eschewing the rubber cover that protected its predecessor’s micro-USB port. This means the Flip 5 is fully submergible without having to first check to ensure the waterproof charge cover is in place. Additionally, JBL has remodeled the acoustic design, now using a racetrack-shaped driver that should increase the speaker’s bass response. Battery life is also increased to a full 12-hours of playtime. The JBL Flip 5 will be available this spring for US$99.95.

CES – JBL’s Flip 5 Adds USB-C Charging, Increased Sound Output, Larger Battery

TMO CES 2019 Coverage Sponsor: Other World Computing

· · Weekly Sponsorship

OWC's USB-C Hub and Envoy Portable SSD

Please join me in giving a huge round of thanks to Other World Computing for being on board with us again and helping to sponsor TMO’s CES 2019 coverage. Making the trek out to – and around! – Las Vegas each year to cover CES for you all is no small feat (and that’s not to mention how our feet feel after walking Vegas!). The costs associated with it all are large, and with sponsors like OWC helping to support that we’re able to take our time and mine CES for just the stuff you want to learn about.

CES - Scosche BaseLynx Modular Wireless Charging Station Organizes and Charges Your Devices

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Scosche’s CES booth was again full of great new devices for managing your devices in both your home and car, and the highlight to us was their new BaseLynx modular wireless charging station. Available modules include a Qi fast-charge dock, an Apple Watch dock, powered end-cap, and a vertical power station which holds three wired devices. The end-cap has a 12V USB-A and 18W USB-C PD outlet, and the power station has that plus a second USB-A port. You can mix-and-match modules to serve your needs – including just using one if you like – and BaseLynx is engineered to prevent over- or under-voltage, surging, and overheating. Pricing has not yet been announced, and BaseLynx is due to be available this coming spring.

CES – Scosche BaseLynx Modular Wireless Charging Station Organizes and Charges Your Devices

CES - Satechi's USB Docking Stand For All Models of Apple iMac

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At their CES booth, Satetchi was showing off their latest: the Satechi Aluminum Stand for iMac. Priced at $89.99 and available in Space Grey or Silver, this combination stand and dock provides three USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB-C data port, micro/SD card slots, and an audio jack, all conveniently-placed on the front of the stand. Capable of supporting up to 50lbs, the stand can easily support the weight of any iMac and most displays, and would also fit a Mac Mini quite well, too. The Satechi Stand for iMac is built with a USB-C connector on the cable to the computer, but also comes with a USB-A to USB-C adapter for use with any existing iMac. It’s a sharp way to free up some space on your desk while adding a few easy-access ports on the front.

CES – Satechi’s USB Docking Stand For All Models of Apple iMac

CES - TiVo Demos Upcoming Apple TV App

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TiVo on Apple TV

At CES this week TiVo announced and was demoing an in-progress build of their upcoming Apple TV app. Once launched, the app essentially makes your Apple TV a TiVo Mini, allowing you to stream content from your existing TiVo box throughout the house. In our demo things worked quite smoothly, and the app seemed to be pretty far along in its progress. Both live TV and pre-recorded shows are available, making for a seamless experience moving from room-to-room without having to add more TiVo Mini boxes. TiVo’s Apple TV app is due later this year, along with similar apps for Roku and Amazon Fire Stick. All three will be available free-of-charge.

LG's CES 2019 Curved OLED Screen Booth Display [Video]

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Every year at CES one of my favorite things is to visit the Central Hall to see all the new TV technology. This year LG again won my vote for most impressive display (no pun intended!) with its array of curved OLED screens. Showing a rotating series of nature videos, this array of curved displays was both immersive and astounding. The video doesn’t do it justice, of course, but it’s worth a quick look just to get an idea of what the future looks like. Enjoy!

CES - Yale Assure Lever Lock and EMPowered Smart Lock Support HomeKit

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Two new smartlocks with HomeKit support were announced at CES this week, the Yale Assure Lever Lock and EMPowered Smart Lock from Emtek and August. All three companies are owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy, and both will be welcome additions to the HomeKit market. The Yale Assure Lever Lock comes with a keypad and works with a smartphone app, too. Pricing is between $149 and $299. The Emtek lock features that company’s locking mechanism, while the smartlock technology inside is provided by August. A keyed version is priced at $370, while a version with a keypad is priced at $440. The Emtek locks haven’t been added to its website yet.

CES – Yale Assure Lever Lock and EMPowered Smart Lock Support HomeKit

CES - QDOS Infinity Glass Encases your iPhone in Tempered Glass

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At CES Wednesday, QDOS was showing off Infinity Glass, a case unlike any I’ve ever seen: both the front and the back are made entirely of tempered glass, and the two halves fit together with magnets to completely encase your iPhone. The case snaps on quickly and without any alignment required, and the metal edging fits perfectly together around your phone. Once on your iPhone, the seams between the two halves disappear, and everything feels smooth and silky, just as you’d expect from tempered glass. QDOS Infinity Glass cases are priced at $49.99 and are available for all current iPhones.

CES – QDOS Infinity Glass Encases your iPhone in Tempered Glass

CES - Hyper's New Wireless AirPods Charging Case

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At CES 2019 on Wednesday, Hyper was showing off the new version of their AirPods charging case. Due to be made available imminently, the case completely encompasses your current AirPods charging case, and contains a Lightning connector in the bottom. Simply place your existing AirPods charger inside the Hyper case and lay that down on a Qi pad (or mat, like the one coming in Q2 shown in the picture here) and, boom, your AirPods wirelessly charge. Retail price is said to be just US$20.

CES – Hyper’s New Wireless AirPods Charging Case