Ion Audio is getting a ton of press over the new iCades and my personal favorite their Guitar Apprentice, but Guitarlink Air looks pretty cool too. Announced at CES 2012, the system connects a guitar to Mac, PC, iPad or iPhone wirelessly. Guitarlink Air’s uses what it calls “high performance, low-latency technology.” The transmitter, a lightweight clip-on to a guitar strap funnels a 2.4 GHz signal that is amplified by an amp or digital output source without the annoyance or constraints of a cables.
Rockers can also use Guitarlink Air and an iOS device to practice with headphones or in conjunction with apps like AmpliTube and Garageband. and a free amp is included. The package, scheduled for a Q2 release, comes with Guitar Rig LE software that, according to Ion’s press release “shapes guitar sound with emulations of classic amplifiers and effects pedals.” No word yet on price, but its yet another one from Ion Audio for the wish list.
Remember April Fool’s day 2010? ThinkGeek showcased a retro-fied iPad cabinet, complete with 70’s Mork-suspender's striping as a gag. Well, the laugh was short-lived, as the product took hold and became a top seller. At CES 2012, as we reported, ION AUDIO, who make the real product, announced a new line-up of iOS gear including a line of streamlined iPad controllers with the same arcade style 8-point joystick and 8 buttons, and for the small iOS screens, a controller-case that most resembles the PSP.
But, as 148apps writer Jenifer Allen pointed out in her coverage of the Gametel Controller: There’s “no use [for add-on controllers] without good software support.”
Like many, I’ve been holding out for one very special arcade classic that screams joystick like no other: NAMCO BANDAI’s PAC-MAN for iPad. Actually I’m lying, I really want Ms PAC-MAN, which if the product shot from ION’s press release is any indication is coming soon, but I’ll more likely consider ponying up for just the little male yellow chomper. And now he and his ghostly nemeses are officially iCade compatible.
In the press release Fred Galpern, Brand Manager, at ION says. “It’s thrilling to add Pac-Man to the list of iCADE compatible games … adding this beloved classic is truly exciting.” Thrilling may be overstatement, but if this signals a general alliance with NAMCO BANDAI, and other old-school gamehouses, the exuberance on ION’s part, and mine, is well founded.
Griffin, well known accessory manufacturer, and Crayola, the preeminent name in kid's crafts, have teamed up before to offer young iPad users some neat stuff. At CES 2012, they are paired up again to showcase cases for iPod touch specifically as well as products for the whole iDevice line.
There are two new Crayola-branded headphones coming for kids: Crayola MyPhones Earbuds come in bright colors with padding for small canals, and MyPhones Headphones sport traditional over-the-head design, come in multicolored options with stickers for customization.
Also in the way of accessories are three new iPod touch cases. Crayola Case Creator sounds like the most fun. Slated to go on sale this spring, at a price of $29.99 the product is part app, part case. The child designs the skin using an app that allows for drawing and other creative tools and then prints out one-of-a-kind art that slides into a Griffin case that affords protection.
Crayola Color Clickers, at $24.99, will offer kids mix-and-match striped pieces, 28 in all, to create a protective and unique look every day. Crayola Crayon Classic Cases make iPods look like very wide flat crayons with the traditional Crayola striping available at the same price.
On the app front, Crayola Lights, Camera, Color HD is already on the app store for $1.99 – it allows kids to take photos and turn them into custom coloring pages, which can then be adorned digitally with crayons, colored pencils, markers, even stickers. Yet to be released, Crayola Sill Face Swaps HD will come with coloring pages, and kids can use existing photos or ones snapped with the iOS device to fill in faces for silly creative fun.
It's been an exceptionally busy first day at CES for music focused experts IK Multimedia with the announcement of 4 different products to come from their stable very soon. It's of particular interest for DJs of all skill levels with a number of products specifically aimed at that market.
The iRig Mix is one such product. It's the first mobile mixer for an iOS device, promising to offer the same controls that would be expected from a professional DJ mixer. Including a crossfader, cues, EQ and volume controls all in an impressively compact format, the hardware can be used with a number of different DJ mixing tools.
One of the more clever features behind the iRig Mix is that it can be used for mixing any type of audio source including but not limited to MP3 players or CD players, all supplemented with automatic tempo matching and beat-syncing. Other features within the hardware ensures that musicians as well as DJs can gain benefits from it thanks to the extra guitar/microphone input that can be processed by other aps such as AmpliTube and VocaLive.
The iRig Mix is powered easily via a regular phone charger as well as through a laptop's USB port for maxiumum convenience.
It's set for release in February and is priced at $99.99.
What better way of using the iRig Mix than by using IK Multimedia's DJ Rig app? Set for release soon, it's a feature rich, double-deck DJ mixing app for iOS devices. Professional functionality oozes throughout the app such as visual cue points, crossfader curves and an on-the-fly sampler with 4 banks of 9 pads. Most originally is the ability to automatically synchronize the app audio with any external audio source thanks to DJ Rig's ability to listen to the device's audio input and determine its BPM tempo.
DJ Rig is set to be available in two formats: a free version offering a reduced set of 6 effects and 1 pad sound bank and the full version priced at $9.99.
Other musicians haven't been forgotten about with the iRig Mic Cast aiding those in need of a great means to record audio. It's a pocket-sized piece of hardware that can be attached to the audio port of the iOS device in order to provide crystal-clear audio quality. It's ideal for recording podcasts, interviews, lectures, speeches or just regular voice memos. Two different sensitivity settings ensure that the sound quality is always strong regardless of if the source is near or distant.
The iRig Mic Cast will be released this quarter, priced at $39.99.
Finally, in this plethora of announcements, is the iRig STOMP, the first stompbox guitar interface for iOS. Guitar and bass players can now integrate signal processing apps into their existing pedalboard setup for enhanced tone shaping and effects processing.
The device is compatible with any guitar/amp/instrument app for maximum flexibility and promises precise adjustments for guitar players who prefer to have ultimate control over the sound they produce.
Set for release in Q2 of this year, the iRig STOMP will cost $59.99.
We'll be sure to keep track of the developments of all these apps that are bound to revolutionize how musicians create music.
When looking back over some of the most exciting developments of the last two years, it would be hard to ignore the groundbreaking cloud gaming solution, OnLive. The company was founded around the idea of taking dated hardware and allowing gamers to play a high-end gaming experience, all through the streaming power of the internet.
The technology behind the service is impressive enough to provide a quality gaming experience, with very little lag time, which makes today's announcement a relative no-brainer. OnLive is planning to apply this streaming technology to desktop virtualization. All those crazy pipe dreams about being able to have a true desktop experience away from the keyboard may finally be coming to fruition.
iPad will be the first iOS device to be able to fully take advantage of this new technology, when they debut their free OnLive Desktop app soon. Among the pieces of software available for virtualization at launch will be Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, which are viewed by many as the holy trinity of office productivity.
Though the base application will be a free, there will be microtransations that can be used to add in additional storage space, applications and, you guessed it, games. There are also plans of releasing a professional tier application, for $9.99 a month. This second service would bump the storage space from a mere 2GBs to a hulking 50GBs, as well as add in even more applications and features.
If the technology works as well as their gaming service has, business folks will undoubtedly be lining up in droves to take part. Better yet, the company's use of cloud computing could put the need for purchasing a high end workhorse PC on the back burner, in exchange for an iPad. That seems like the kind of trade off that the mobile masses could strongly support. Plus, this sure makes it a whole lot easier to suggest expensing an iPad on the company's dime. THANK YOU ONLIVE!
Technology continues to amaze and surprise us with steady and fantastic moves to make life easier and more exciting. One crucial problem gets in the way of all of that, however - technology's kryptonite, if you will. That dastardly villain? Water.
As any poor soul who's dropped their iPhone into the bath or kitchen sink has discovered, iPhones do many things but swim is not one of them. It's a grim death and an expensive one at that. Luckily, there are some very clever people out there that are determined to make water damage a thing of the past. That idea? Liquipel.
Liquipel is a process that applies a waterproof coating to the device, thus protecting it from any damage. The coating is microscopically thin ensuring that it's not visible to the human eye and virtually undectable on the whole. It's applied to every surface outside and inside of the device to provide optimal protection against liquids.
To say it's potentially game changing is no exagaration. Such technology could be used very effectively for all manners of items. A YouTube video explains all as to how it works but it's the video we've included below this that truly demonstrates the technology. Pouring water onto an iPhone is something that will fill any owner with dread, yet it continues to work without any difficulty.
It's worth noting that Liquipel does recommend that such protection shouldn't encourage users to use their iOS devices purposefully underwater, such as for photography, but it's still very impressive.
Liquipel requires sending off the iPhone but it only takes a few days for the procedure to be completed. Standard pricing is set at $59 while a priority service is $69. For those worried about scratching, a scratch resistant film can be applied at the same time for a grand total of $79.
For the accident prone, this may well be an utter bargain.
Gaming on a touch screen is pretty effective. As our gaming review archives show, countless titles demonstrate what works so well for iOS devices. However, options are good and many gamers used to physical game controllers prefer to use input devices such as the iCade.
The iCade serves the arcade gaming market perfectly with its chunky, retro appearance but that doesn't mean there isn't room for a more traditional gaming controller. This is where Fructel's Gametel enters the picture and is set to provide plenty of great functionality to gamers.
Previously only compatible with Android smartphones and tablets, the Gametel clearly has the pedigree to be a great addition to the iOS peripheral market.
The device is smaller than other iOS focused controllers while still offering a 4 way joystick with 4 face buttons as well as 2 shoulder buttons on the back. Comfortable to use with a snug clamp to keep the iOS device steady while Bluetooth does its connectivity magic, the Gametel is looking great hardware wise. A nine hour battery life just goes to back up that idea.
That's no use without good software support, however. Fortunately, it's looking good for the console style controller with all iCade suite titles already supported as well as other iOS games such as No Gravity, Silverfish, Super Crossfire HD and Terra Noctis also covered. Regular 148apps readers will note that all these titles are great examples of quality iOS games making it an ideal starting point for such a device. It's looking pretty attractive to gamers in need of a more console style control system.
No solid release date has yet been given for the GameTel in the US. While it's available in selected European countries, at the moment it doesn't support iOS while the relevant app works its way through the approval process. We'll be sure to keep up to date on any release date for the device.