Wahoo Fitness is terribly close to bringing their RFLKT+, the enhanced device that turns an iPhone into an advanced bike computer, to fruition thanks to Kickstarter. With the campaign over on Friday, September 20th, the team took time to answer my questions about the RFLKT+ and how it improves over the original RFLKT accessory.
148Apps: What are you trying to do with the RFLKT+? How are you trying to improve it over the RFLKT? Wahoo Fitness (WF): The RFLKT+ adds in ANT+ connectivity. ANT+ is used in over 60 million devices on the market and is the current standard for wireless technology in the cycling industry. Most cyclists are currently riding with some sort of ANT+ device, whether it be heart rate, speed and cadence, or power. RFLKT+ gathers all this info via ANT+ and then using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sends the data to the iPhone and integrates it into your cycling App. The iPhone combines the ANT data with GPS info and then BLE’s it back to your handlebar mounted RFLKT+.
148Apps: For those who aren’t well-versed in the specific protocols, why should cyclists, even those already using RFLKT, be excited about RFLKT+ and the ANT+ protocol? WF: It connects the iPhone to basically every cycling sensor on the market. Whether it be BLE or ANT+ the RFLKT+ will harness that data and put it to use in your app and on your handlebars. Makes it extremely easy to get everything you need pre, post, and during your ride all in one place on the iPhone. By allowing cyclists to leave the iPhone, screen off and in the jersey pocket, you keep it safe and save your battery.
148Apps: Why turn to Kickstarter to fund the RFLKT+? WF: It presents an amazing opportunity that you rarely have, to validate demand prior to hitting market. The Kickstarter community provides high level and immediate feedback for your product and your company. It’s one thing if Wahoo thinks they’ve come up with a great idea, it’s another for Wahoo to have thousands of outsiders say prior to the product hitting shelves ‘Yes we want that!’. Two, it also provided a chance for Wahoo to reach beyond the target consumer and out to a more broad group that will also have an important use for Wahoo products.
148Apps: How much does trying to promote and appeal to backers for a fitness Kickstarter compare to other types of Kickstarters, if you’ve researched this? Was the success of something like the Pebble an inspiration to go with crowdfunding? WF: Yes. The Pebble watch kind of put Kickstarter on the map. Its very enticing to think that something can just really hit like the Pebble. Definitely with being something specific to cyclist, you do limit yourself a little more than a smartwatch or say a Bluetooth speaker. But in general cool, smart technology seems to resonate with people on KS.
148Apps: As a company working in the field of fitness technology, how much has the market changed since you launched RFLKT, both in a business and a consumer sense? Where do you see the future going? WF: It’s changing everyday. Sleeker wearables, more data, and most importantly “valuable” data will shape the future. Its not tracking everything, its tracking the data that helps you reach your goals and tracking it in the most seamless way possible. Most people are already running and riding with their iPhone, why also have a $500+ bike computer? The iPhone is the most powerful bike computer on the market when paired with our tools. Harness that power and get your music, text, calls, fitness info, cycling data and run log all-in-one place. No need for syncing, transferring, etc. The iPhone is with you all the time anyway, might as well put it to work.
Thanks to the team at Wahoo Fitness for their time.
IK Multimedia is at it again with yet another device that fits the needs to musicians who are on the go. The iRig Pro is an all-in-one universal audio/MIDI interface for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Mac that allows musicians to connect their mics, guitars, line instruments, or MIDI devices while on the road. This means you can record vocals, harmonies, acoustic instruments, electric bass or guitar, and more without having to adjust the interface.
ActiveReplay is trying to provide “action sports” enthusiasts with the kind of data collection most runners and bikers have been making use of for years already. Their answer to the problem? A (almost fully-funded) Kickstarter campaign for Trace.
Think of Trace as a kind of advanced pedometer. It’s packed with all kinds of sensors that allow it to track complex movements such as a snowboarder catching air off a jump or surfer taking sharp turns in the water. The tiny device simply snaps on to a mount that can be installed on a skateboard, surfboard, snowboard, or skis. Then you just go out and do your thing while it collects all the data. Once you’re finished, just open up one of the three free apps for Skate, Surf, or Snow and all the information from your session will be displayed automatically. It even shares that info online so you can compare your own speed, height, and so on with other users from around the world.
As of now, Trace is well over two-thirds of the way to reaching its $150,000 goal with 9 days remaining. If you’re into any (or all) of these action sports, or if you know someone who is, it might not be a bad idea to stop by ActiveReplay’s Kickstarter page and contribute.
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 2.0 inches diameter, 0.86 inches tall
- 7 hour rechargeable battery
- Mounts to any hard surface
- Durable, Shockproof, Waterproof
- Ridiculously adhesive
- Exports GPX data
I have very fond memories of seeing the sights of the world through a View-Master, with its fancy stereoscopic imagery. In a way, that’s the sort of thing that Poppy is set to offer, with the added bonus of users being able to create and share their own 3D videos, rather than be constricted to pieces of cardboard acting as film.
It’s the brainchild of Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry. Both previously have a solid background in software, with Ethan having co-founded Urbanspoon, and Joe establishing Snapvine and MediaPiston, but this is their first step into physical products.
“I’ve always been interested in products that let people express themselves and be creative,” explained Ethan. “At the same time, I love how the Viewmaster lets you lose yourself in another world. Poppy really came out of a desire to let people capture and share their own experiences in that same immersive way.”
It’s certainly proven to be a wise idea, given that Poppy hit its Kickstarter goal of $40,000 in less than 9 hours. As Ethan told us, “The success on Kickstarter has definitely exceeded our expectations. We’re thrilled that there will be thousands of people with a Poppy. [We] can’t wait to see how they use it.”
Sketches of the Design’s Evolution
The excitement is understandable, too. Poppy is set to be an inexpensive solution for those who love the look of technology such as the Oculus Rift, but not the price. Currently, for Kickstarter backers, Poppy only costs $49 with the full retail price set to be a respectable $69.
Despite that low price, Poppy looks like it’s going to offer a lot of functionality. A matter of placing one’s iPhone inside the device, the Poppy’s mirrors capture two stereographic images with the iPhone’s camera, before combining them into a single 3D video. It’s clever stuff, indeed.
Besides the photographic potential, users will be able to take in 3D imagery, such as the 3D videos available on YouTube, with future possibilities in the realm of augmented reality and in the use of other 3D applications. Indeed, numerous game developers have expressed an interest in the technology, so there’s the hope that Poppy could be used as part of a virtual reality world game in the future.
Currently, there’s still a little time to order the Poppy at the Kickstarter promotional price of $49 plus shipping, but for those who miss out on the offer (the campaign ends on Friday), Ethan told us that a pre-order system should be up after it ends. Bear in mind though, the price will be higher at $69 and Kickstarter backers will be shipped to first. The current plan is that Poppys will be shipped to backers around November/December time, with pre-orders to be shipped after that time.
Learn more about the project at the campaign page, and we’ll be sure to keep an eye on the Poppy’s progress in the future.
Besides there being something intrinsically cool about having a projector and showing off imagery on a huge screen, it’s also immensely useful for a variety of different purposes. Portability isn’t a projector’s strong point, though. At least, that is until Bem Wireless came along with their new product: the Kickstand.
Currently, and rather appropriately, part of a Kickstarter campaign, the high-definition projector is both portable and packs quite a punch. It’s set to offer 720p resolution, with it possible to view media almost 96 inches across from 10 feet away. More conveniently, the light source used to project images will boast a 20,000+ hour lifespan, which should prove plenty of time for its users.
There’ll be an assimilated remote control too, doubling up as a lens cover for convenience and functionality. Connectivity is assured, as well, courtesy of an HDMI port, USB port and Auxiliary Audio Out.
The Kickstarter campaign has 17 days to go to reach its $100,000 goal. It’s a little distant at the moment, but for those keen to pledge, there’s quite a significant discount involved. Set to usually retail at $799, those who pledge now can get one for $750, along with a limited edition embroidered bag and a Bem t-shirt.
Mike Nakamura, co-founder of Bem Wireless, told us how going the Kickstarter route seemed like “a very interesting channel to speak to the consumer”, citing the “real passion” amongst those who get involved with the site. That passion is something that’s clearly come through in the design process at Bem, given the 5 months of “high energy” work it took to achieve the stylish look for the projector, and the strong focus on being inspired by what “made sense from a portability factor [as well as] ease of use”.
Bem Wireless seem pretty confident that regardless of what happens with the Kickstarter, the Kickstand will go ahead. As Mike put it, “One way or the other, I believe it will get to the consumer!” For those keen, though, I’d recommend taking the plunge now. The discounts available through pledging are quite good for a potentially invaluable device, both for business and personal purposes. Lower pledges can also reap users some great mobile speakers, as well as helping towards the Kickstand.
The Kickstarter currently has just over 2 weeks to run with plenty of useful backing options to consider. We just can’t resist cool looking product design here, so we’ll be sure to keep an eye on its progress. Check out the prototype testing video below.
In each case, the new iKlip models provide ways in which to mount and position the iPad or iPad mini, thereby enabling users to operate devices hands-free as well as set up the perfect viewing angle towards a microphone stand, tabletop or anything else of use in the studio. It’s the kind of solution that’s ideal for presentations as well as music studio work, or just around the home.
The iKlip 2 offers such a solution for iPad users, enabling them to attach any type of iPad (from the 2nd generation and later) to a microphone stand securely, as well as be able to adjust the device to just the right viewing angle. For iPad mini users, there’s the iKlip 2 for iPad mini, offering the same potential.
Tabletop stands are also available in separate iPad and iPad Mini versions, with the iKlip Stand making things much simpler. It’s the ideal stand for connecting the iPad above the desktop so that it’s easy to position equipment, such as a musical keyboard or mixer underneath, but it can also be used in the home. Too small an office desk to fit all the devices easily? Use the iKlip Stand to solve such a problem and revel in the extra space!
The iKlip Studio offers a similar solution but is specifically designed for use on flat surfaces, and aimed at those apps that require “energetic tapping and beat making”, tying in nicely with the many DJ based apps already out there. Non-slip rubber grip feet, as well as adjustable viewing angles keep the iPad safe and secure, plus it folds flat, lending itself perfectly to easy storage.
The iKlip 2 for iPad and iKlip 2 for iPad mini will be priced at $39.99 or €29.99 excluding tax, while the iKlip Stand for iPad and iKlip Stand for iPad mini will be $59.99/€49.99. The iKlip Studio for iPad mini is priced at $29.99/€24.99.
We’re big fans of IK Multimedia’s accessories and I suspect these new iKlips will be quite the hit when they ship during the first quarter of 2013.
When a week starts off with New Year’s Eve, it’s bound to be a good one, and this week was no exception at 148Apps.com. Site founder Jeff Scott started us off with a bang by saying, “We are proud to announce the nominees for the fifth annual Best App Ever Awards. The awards that celebrate the best apps available, not just the best selling. This year we saw an amazing response with over 715,000 nominations submitted for 6,755 unique apps!
Voting is now open and will remain open through January 31st, 2013. Winners will be announced in February and details on that are to come.”
Over at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon took a closer look at Hansel & Gretel: Lost, saying, “Hansel & Gretel: Lost is a well crafted re-telling of this classic story for iPad, wonderfully illustrated with animations as well as including top-notch narration, music and sound effects. Auto-play is also an option as well as silencing the narration to read this book by oneself.
It is easy to tell from the first page that this app is something special. The illustrations are lush with color and beautiful to look at with a marbled textured style that I always find appealing. Every element in this book is at a superlative level of quality that adults will greatly appreciate, as will their children.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-10-05 :: Category: Books
Finally, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson took on the establishment and challenged the conventional wisdom about “iPhone Killer” hardware: “Well, it took a bit longer than expected, but it seems like Google is finally going to use their Motorola acquisition to actually make a standout phone for themselves, the “X Phone.” Or whatever the next Nexus device will be called.
The immediate speculation swirling around is that this is finally Google’s “iPhone Killer.” You know, like the other Nexus devices that were iPhone killers. I don’t think that anything at this point will be an iPhone killer. It just isn’t going to happen.”
And so begins 2013! Keep track of all the latest happenings, including developments in the Best App Ever Awards, by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and following us on Pinterest. And from all of us across the 148Apps network of sites, have a Happy New Year!
So iWALK came out with a useful little external battery pack recently, the iWALK Link 1700i. It claims to offer just about a full phone charge in an adapter that could fit on a keychain. It’s more convenient than lugging around a separate power brick with USB cable, or using one of those bulky Mophie cases. For iPhone 4S and earlier owners, it promises to be an extremely useful device. Just one problem: it’s got the “old” 30-pin dock connector, not Lightning. So, iPhone 5 owners are out of the loop with the Link1700i, right?
Well, not necessarily. Apple does make a 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter, which provides charging and audio support to the iPhone 5. Which means that the Link 1700i may just be useful for iPhone 5 owners just yet.
Using it with the adapter on the iPhone 5 gives it one big advantage: it’s actually more comfortable to use it in portrait versus on a 30-pin device, as the Lightning adapter provides enough space to grip the phone and do things like typing and scrolling with the Link 1700i safely out of the way. Landscape is a different story, as the i-Walk already provides a bit of an uncomfortable barrier; it’s ludicrously bigger on the iPhone 5. I’d suggest not playing games while charging with this thing, though I could hold it in a way where my thumb was not reaching over the battery. Still, I don’t recommend it.
While the box claims that it has 1700 mAh battery capacity power, in practical circumstances, I could rely on it to recharge about 3/5 of my battery, particularly with it being used occasionally in that time. Part of the problem could be the connection: I noticed that the iPhone would act as if the Link 1700i was being occasionally disconnected and reconnected when unlocking the screen, or even just periodically while it was in my pocket. I haven’t noticed this when using the adapter otherwise, and haven’t seen it in testing on my iPod touch 4th gen either. Using it with the dock adapter does leave some space for headphones, but it’s a tight fit, and would likely cause damaged headphone connectors.
The Link 1700i comes with two lids by default: one with a slot for the loop to be put on a keychain and one without. As well, it comes with the micro-USB cable to recharge it, the port being conveniently located on the side of the battery.
While it’s hard to measure the device’s actual effectiveness because it’s working in a roundabout way on the iPhone 5, it is far from an ideal solution. However, this is in part thanks to Apple: by using a new proprietary connector and then only selectively licensing it and not giving it to peripheral manufacturers before its unveiling, those looking for a convenient external battery are forced to turn to less-than-ideal options. Have an iPhone 4S or earlier? This seems like a perfectly fine solution. iPhone 5? Be prepared to deal with the imperfections thanks to Apple.
This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre reviewed some exciting new printer technology for everyone with an iOS device: “The Lantronix xPrintServer is one of those rare bits of networking/printing hardware that just…works. I can’t be more effusive in my praise for this device, having been an IT coordinator for a small office in which printers and the network printing thereof was a weekly headache for my staff and I.
The tiny little plastic xPrintServer comes in a nicely packaged box, which includes a plug with several adapters for various national plug configurations, an ethernet cable, and the device itself: a cute little white plastic rectangle that isn’t much bigger than an iPhone 5. One of the short ends of this device has a port for the ethernet cable, the power adapter and a USB port.”
Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon took a closer look at Toca Tailor, saying, “Toca Tailor is the new, highly anticipated universal app that allows children to create their own clothing from a plethora of options.
Toca Boca is well known for what they call “digital toys,” wonderfully themed apps that children can play with in the same fashion as their other classic toys.
Toca Tailor reminds me of my old toy “Fashion Plates” where one could select from a series of plastic head, top and bottom plates, be it skirt or pants choices to create different fashions as one would make a relief, rubbing a crayon on paper placed over these plates with their raised designs. I have very fond memories of this toy, yet I was well aware even as a child that the different outfits one could make were not unlimited.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-25 :: Category: Education
Finally, Carter Dotson explored a paradox at 148Apps.biz: “Thursdays are all hype. Despite being the big release day for many new apps, there’s actually very little benefit to marketing or downloads in this period, according to ad firm Chartboost, and every other day has different benefits versus Thursday.
First, according to Chartboost, Wednesday is actually the most popular release day, because it’s the day right before Apple updates their featured lists on the iPhone and iPad App Stores. In reality, what’s happening is that developers are scheduling releases for midnight (0:00) on Thursday, and because apps get released at that time worldwide, which winds up being 11pm eastern in North America due to the Atlantic Time Zone, these apps start appearing on Wednesday.
But here’s the thing: that Thursday is actually a lousy day to be promoting apps.”
And that brings us one week closer to Thanksgiving here in the US. Be sure to follow us right here, or on Twitter or Facebook for the latest news, reviews and holiday sales. See you next week, smart shoppers!
Developer: IK Multimedia
Device Reviewed With: new iPad, iPhone 5
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IK Multimedia might be trying to take over the music peripheral world. The company has a wide range of apps, instruments, and support items that could, in theory, be used to build a band entirely out of iOS instruments. The latest offering from this prolific manufacturer is titled iRig Keys, a super portable iOS keyboard with 37 velocity-sensitive keys, modulation and pitch wheels, low power consumption, and core MIDI compliance. The iRig is aimed at the portable musician, the composer on the go, the backpack virtuoso, and as such, it succeeds brilliantly.
The manufacturer offers the free version of iGrand Piano or SampleTank, both IK Multimedia, as the apps to use with the iRig Keys, but this unit will work with any MIDI app on the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. It comes with an included USB cable to plug into a Mac or PC as well, opening up the use of any core MIDI compliant app on a laptop. I was able to make the keyboard work with iGrand, SampleTank, and GarageBand. The setup was as simple as plugging in the keyboard via the 30-pin dock connector and firing up any one of the keyboard apps on my iPad 3. I didn’t notice a significant battery drain while using the iRig Keys unit, either.
The small size of the iRig Keys is the killer feature, of course, as it can easily fit into a backpack or even just carried by hand. It’s small, light, and the controls and keyboard keys all feel well-made. The keys are indeed velocity sensitive, and the handy data send/volume knob feels solidly attached. The octave up/down buttons don’t feel chintzy at all, and the two expression wheels don’t wobble when used. All in all, the iRig Keys shows a superior build quality that should help it hold up over time as it moves from place to place, in and out of backpacks and shoulder bags.
For on-the-go composition, song recording, or piano practice, iRig Keys works well for an attractive price. The unit is powered by the included iOS or USB cables, but does not draw excessive amounts of power to drain the iPad or iPhone attached to it. The keys are easy to play, feel solid enough for mobile use, and will allow musicians at any level to create and record music as inspiration strikes.
Price: $329 for 16G WiFi
Device Reviewed: iPad mini 16G Black
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When I first heard of the iPad mini, I was fairly underwhelmed with its technical specifications, of course, with its A5 processor (same as an iPad 2, now two generations “old”) and its non-retina display (163 pixels per inch? Huh?).
I was underwhelmed by the price, as well. $329 for an underpowered, low-resolution mini tablet in a market that supports $199 as the standard point of entry?
Then I got it into my hands. The feel of the thing, the warmth of the design, and the fact that this is an iPad, through and through, has changed my mind about the iPad mini. I love the way it sits in my hand, I love the cute little smart cover, I dig the fact that I can sit and read comics for an hour or so without really remembering that I’m using a piece of technology. I can download any number of apps that I already own to it, and run them in this new size and format. Simply put, the iPad mini fills a (small) spot in my gadget bag that I hadn’t been able to previously.
Let’s put it in perspective. I have a Macbook Air 11-inch laptop, an iPhone 5, and an iPad 3 in between. I use each device quite a bit, depending on the situation. The iPad, specifically, has become my laptop at home, unless I’m working. It’s fantastic to check news via Flipboard, social networks with Facebook and Twitter, and look through email. I play games on it quite a bit, of course, as the iPhone is just on the small side for me when I want to immerse myself into a game like Order and Chaos, thrill to the retina display on something like Infinity Blade II, or see the screen in better detail in Fieldrunners 2 HD. As a device I never thought I needed, the iPad has quickly found a place in my daily life.
And now, so has the iPad mini. In just a few short days, I find myself grabbing it when moving from room to room more often than I do my iPhone. I can do all of the social networking, game playing, streaming music, voice chatting, and email checking that I previously did on the iPhone around the house, only now I use the iPad mini so as to not deplete my iPhone 5’s battery, leaving it free to be available for phone calls and texts from non-iOS using friends.
This is a delicious device. It begs to be touched, used, played with. Here’s why.
The design of this thing is pure Apple. The black version of the iPad mini has the look and feel of the iPhone 5 in terms of the slate aluminum chassis on the back case. The smoothly rounded edges feel good in the hand, and the metal feels good to the touch, grippy, even. There’s not a sharp edge on the iPad mini, which invites it into the hand, welcomes human touch.
The shape of the screen itself is luxurious, allowing an immersive experience that I’ve never felt with other smaller tablets. The length to width ratio feels just right in portrait or landscape mode—it makes typing with two thumbs viable in portrait mode and a more cramped touch typing available in landscape. Games look and feel GOOD on the iPad mini, perhaps due only to the fact that I’m used to them in this ratio.
The weight, or lack thereof, of the iPad mini is mind boggling. I’m hard pressed to tell whether it’s any heavier than my iPhone 5 when holding one in each hand and doing the “pretend scales” thing. It’s light and airy, yet satisfyingly tactile. This is a device that I can hold in my hands for the hours that a good novel or immersive gaming experience calls for. My only nitpick here is the smaller matte area on the sides of the screen when holding the iPad mini in portrait view. Adding a smart case helps, but it’s still awkward to hold on the side of the screen without activating something on the screen at the same time. Rotating the iPad mini to landscape is a decent stopgap, as the matte area on the “top” and “bottom” of the iPad is thick enough to keep my fat thumbs off of the touch screen.
The camera is pretty good. It takes great photos in good lighting conditions, and decent ones in low light. Facetime and Skype video chats are well served by the front facing camera, though still images and videos suffer a bit in quality when viewed on other, higher resolution devices. For quick snapshots that can be connected to your Photostream, then, the iPad mini’s camera is great. Though, please, don’t take too many photos in public with your iPad mini. It’s only marginally cooler than taking them with a full sized iPad tablet. If you need high-quality, high-resolution pictures, use a real camera, ok?
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The Mophie Juice Pack PRO is a big, rubberized, super protective case that provides military-grade sand and dust protection, light splash and rain protection, and impact protection in a huge, can-barely-fit-in-a-pocket case that includes its own belt clip.
I’ve long been a fan of the Mophie line of products, enjoying their minimalist design and higher-end battery charge capabilities in an integrated case. The Juice Pack Pro also promises 150 percent extra battery charge, but what that number refers to is not clear, as I got about as much extra charge from the Juice Pack PRO during my testing as I do from my original Juice Pack Plus. Both need to be recharged after about one to one and a half full iPhone 4 battery charges with regular usage.
The Juice Pack Pro does seem pretty sturdy, though. The ports are covered with heavy duty rubber, which also acts as a shock or drop protector. The included belt clip is sturdy, and the encased iPhone snaps into it solidly, without a worry that it’ll drop out in the out of doors. The entire case snaps around the iPhone 4 or 4S like an Otterbox, a competing rugged case that does not include a battery pack. With a case this rugged, though, I kind of expect much more water-proofing, a lack that mophie actually has to point out in the included manual. If they have to point it out, it’s an obvious lack.
I took the case camping with me and it did very well, though I would love to have had an extra iPhone charge for my last day. Some lint and dirt did get under the top screen protector plastic, therefore getting stuck between it and the iPhone screen proper. In addition, the extra plastic film takes some getting used to and did hamper easy selection of icons at times.
Ultimately, whether a purchase is warranted will come down to preference. If there’s a need for a rugged, solidly built iPhone case that includes a battery pack, the Mophie Juice Pack Pro is the way to go. The case is too big for everyday use, however, and the battery pack doesn’t provide any more life than the $30 less expensive Juice Pack Plus (these names are confusing!). The case is extremely difficult to take off and on, so once the iPhone is in, it’s staying there.
As someone who’s played lots of iOS games and by extension sampled lots of virtual control schemes, external control attachments such as the iCade intrigue me. Tapping the screen is fine and all, but sometimes having physical buttons to press can make a world of difference. Lots of other people seem to think so, too, which aeis why these kinds of peripherals have a place in the market. It’s all well and good for portable play, but what about when I’m at home? Sure AirPlay allows users to game on their TV, but the iOS device is still the primary control. Which is exactly why we have brilliant entrepreneurs like the folks at Cascadia Games (the creators of Cavorite) creating stuff like the GameDock.
The GameDock will essentially be an iOS console, with all the awesomeness that implies. Users simply have to plug their iPhone or iPad into the dock, which is in-turn connected to the TV via an HDMI cable, and start playing any iCade supported titles on the big small screen. The handy dashboard app allows users to select their desired game via the connected controller, so they don’t even have to get off the couch. And just in case anyone wants to use the GameDock but doesn’t have a TV (or at least one with HDMI inputs), everything can be played right on the connected iOS device.
Cascadia Games’ Kickstarter for this most glorious of add-ons is just past the halfway mark for its $50,000 goal. With 35 days to go, there’s plenty of room for more backers. Come on, you know this is an awesome idea.
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The iHealth Blood Pressure Dock is a fantastic piece of tech that will allow anyone, regardless of experience, ability, or consciousness to have their blood pressure taken and monitored over time.
The free app that works alongside the actual blood pressure dock and arm cuff is simple, easy to use, and can be set up with multiple users. This allows families to keep track of more than one family member who might want or need to do so.
While high blood pressure is no laughing matter and should be monitored by a doctor or licensed health care provider, the iHealth blood pressure dock is ideal for tracking blood pressure in between doctor visits.
To use, I just placed my iPad into the docking connector, leaning it up against the back of the dock, placed the cuff around my arm, fastened the velcro-like closure and launched the app. Tapping the big, yellow Start button makes sense. I could have swiped to the right and entered my own data manually to the app if I wasn’t using the iHealth dock – a great feature to include and track doctor’s office measurements.
The cuff squeezed my arm in a professional manner, took my blood pressure, and left me with a result screen. I couldn’t ask for more. Tapping on the Share button at the bottom of the screen allows me to share my blood pressure to Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, or another total health tracking app, TargetWeight PRO. I can delete the results, read a little FAQ that helps me define Blood Pressure, high blood pressure, and what to expect from the monitoring system (app and hardware). The FAQ covers topics like how to prepare for the tes, how it will feel, and how to understand the results.
Bottom line, the well-designed plastic iHealth blood pressure dock is a solid piece of tech for anyone who wants to monitor their blood pressure at home. It works with iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch devices, and a large cuff version is available for the same price.
Technology continues to amaze and impress with how it can improve people’s lives. A perfect example is that of Glooko and its mobile health services. The company offers a way for diabetes sufferers to monitor their disease through the use of an iPhone logbook app.
The app and accompanying cable based hardware is FDA compliant and automatically syncs with the user’s blood glucose meter. Users can then track their readings easily with the information simple to inform healthcare professionals, either in person or via an email based PDF summary.
The app offers further functionality with the ability to add meal tags and notes to readings, giving users a convenient way of checking out exactly what is influencing their blood sugar levels and how. There’s even a food database that stores nutritional information for all the user’s favorite food.
Ultimately though, the true benefit stems from the ability to track everything on the move and without having to worry about where else to store such information. After all, iPhone users tend to have their iPhone on them at all times, right?
The app is compatible with many popular blood glucose meters so should prove useful to plenty of diabetes sufferers.
Price: $99.99 (retail), around $80 on discount
Hardware Tested On: iPad AKA new iPad AKA iPad 3
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While the Logitech Mini Speakers won’t fill a concert hall with sound, they aren’t meant to. They are meant to be a great option to carry with you and use at the office, in a hotel room, the car, etc. For that, we are very impressed with the Logitech Mini Speakers.
With their compact size comes surprisingly great sound. This makes the Logitech mini speakers a great, convenient, and cheap way to broadcast sound from your iPhone or iPad.
Using Bluetooth to receive sound from your iOS or other compatible device, it’s an easy setup. Once paired, you can select the Mini Speakers for sound output like you would any Bluetooth or AirPlay output device. You can control these speakers either from your device or from the capacitive buttons on the top of the speakers. Volume, next/previous track, play/pause and a speakerphone feature are available. Using this for a Bluetooth speakerphone is a secondary, yet very useful feature.
The size is great and not indicative of the sound these speakers produce. A little bigger than a slightly squished baseball, these red and black or all black speakers are easy to toss in a bag or drawer. They charge via USB and can hold a charge for up to 10 hours of playback. Also impressive for the size.
While there are other options for small Bluetooth speakers, these easily come in on the low end of the price scale at only $99 retail. A great deal when other small portable speakers of this quality are up to twice the price.
If you are looking for a good set of portable, personal, Bluetooth speakers, the Logitech Mini Speakers are a great, and cheap option. Give them a shot.
The iPhone looks pretty attractive the moment it’s purchased but sometimes it’s nice to add that personal touch. It’s easy enough to adjust the home screen image and general background, but how about a whole new personalized cover for the device? That’s what CaseApp provides.
The app enables users to import images from their camera roll and position them on a case from within the app. 20 different themes are available to create a great effect and it’s possible to tilt and resize images appropriately. Once happy with the design, tap order and the case can be shipped straight away.
CaseApp promises a delivery date of 3-5 business days with prices under $30 + shipping and handling.
The kind folks at CaseApp have given 148apps readers 30% off any order they make between now and May 23rd though so it’s the ideal time to purchase. Just use the promo code caseapppc30 to get the discount.
Developer: Ion Audio
Price: $69.99 MSRP
Hardware Tested On: iPod touch 4
Re-use Value Rating:
One of the new iCade models that ION Audio is putting out is the iPhone and iPod touch version of the iCade, the iCade Mobile. The controller repurposes the iCade’s joystick into a d-pad, the left 4 buttons into face buttons, and the right 4 buttons into shoulder buttons. The controller is overall about as wide as the iPad’s screen without the bezel. It fits both the iPhone and iPod touch, though it isn’t wide enough to fit even a thin case. All device keys and buttons (except for the home button) become inaccessible due to the hardware design. The holder can be spun around to be viewable in both landscape and portrait though.
The important thing to understand is that the iCade Mobile is technically the same as the iCade, so developers do not need to add specific support for their games to make the iCade Mobile work. Two issues that pop up though are that first, some games do not have iCade enabled on the iPhone side despite supporting it on the iPad, such as Super Crate Box.
Second, games that have chosen non-protocol uses for the buttons have odd control schemes on the iCade Mobile. For example, Mystery of the Japanese Werewolf, a fun platformer that has iCade support, has controls configured for the original iCade where the right 6 buttons alternate between jump and attack, and the red buttons on the left column are pause. On the iCade Mobile, this means that the bottom and left buttons are pause, and the top and right face buttons are jump and attack respectively. These issues are ones that will need to be addressed by developers via simple configuration tweaks.
The iCade Mobile succeeds not in that it makes the iPhone into an arcade machine, but that it makes it into a capable handheld system. It feels like now I’m playing some lost Game Boy Advance games, especially in landscape mode. The d-pad and buttons work very well for platforming and action games, especially the kinds of retro games that beg for controllers. While it’s a wide controller, it’s still ergonomic. The controller handily still turns off after a few minutes of inactivity, and it actually has a dedicated on/off switch.
The inaccessible hardware buttons would be a problem solved by the addition of Bluetooth system keys like the ones on Bluetooth keyboards. This would make it possible to adjust volume, and call up the soft keyboard. The latter functionality would be perfect for downloading more iCade-compatible games.
That’s the great thing about the iCade: it’s become the de facto standard for external controllers with a wide array of support. There are more games coming on a regular basis with iCade compatibility. Heck, this could even be used as a controller for an iPad. This is definitely the iOS external controller to get.
Anyone as remotely geeky as I am has been immediately drawn to this post because of the picture of this obviously awesome iPhone mount. This mount, the Galileo, functions in even cooler ways than it looks. The Galileo is an iOS-controlled, robotic, tilting, 360-turning mount for the iPhone.
This crazy thing is perfect for photographers, cinematographers, and just any gadget crazy techie (me) who wants to play with this thing. It can turn at 200 degrees per second and is controlled by another iOS device (I’m already imagining the possibilities of using this thing with my iPad). Its function is basically up to the user’s imagination. There’s an image on the Galileo’s Kickstarter page showing the mount on a skateboard about to go under a car (and an iPad to watch what it sees). There will even be an SDK for app developers!
The Kickstarter page has already raised over $250,000 (the goal was $100,000) and has 21 more days to go. The most popular pledge is $85 (the lowest to receive the product when it’s released). The Galileo is set to retail at $129.95 when it’s released (estimated June 2012) so pledging for $85 (along with the other 1400 backers) is a steal. Check out the Kickstarter page here and the video below for a demonstration.
Noted synthesizer and keyboard manufacturer Korg has announced a new iPad-compatible MIDI keyboard for use with various iPad music apps. The microKEY25 is a 25-key MIDI keyboard with a joystick, octave adjustment buttons, arpeggiator and sustain buttons. The keys themselves are velocity-sensing, designed to play chords, and to be customizable using Korg KONTROL Editor software for PC and Mac.
The keyboard connects to the iPad by way of its USB output to the Camera Connection Kit’s USB adapter. When used with MIDI-compatible apps, like Korg’s own iMS-20, it can send keyboard commands to play music and use its key functions to adjust various commands. It is compatible with GarageBand and its built-in MIDI keyboard support. Use VidRhythm to remix videos with the microKEY25. Cross the streams, and use a Korg keyboard to control Animoog! Any app that supports the iOS CoreMIDI framework introduced in iOS 4.2 can be used with a MIDI controller such as this, making it a portable and low-cost option for on-the-go musicians. The keyboard will be available from select music retailers for $69.99.
This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre took an in-depth look at the new Logitech Wireless Boombox. LeFebvre writes, “Logitech’s newest addition to the device genre is by far the best I’ve played with. The sound is amazing for such a small footprint; the lows are deep and rich, the highs successfully bright without becoming too brittle.
The hardware itself is smooth, sleek and rounded. The dip in the middle, where an old school boombox would have held a tape deck, is just right for a hand to grasp it, obviating the need for an extruded handle. The unit feels solid, like it would hold up to some roughness in handling. The plug and line-in jacks are thoughtfully covered with a rubber flap, protecting from dust or mist. In the back of the unit sits a flip out stand, one that folds flat against the boombox for easy travel.”
GiggleApps.com celebrated what’s left of winter with Amy Solomon’s review of Into the Snow: A Stella and Sam Adventure. Solomon states, “Not only are these puzzles fun and interactive, but I appreciate how Stella creates a motif around each puzzle once created, also showing as a faint gray drawing in the snow, demonstrating what one can do with one’s imagination, as the stick man turns into a soccer player or as the additional details are added to the sailboat which are also made from sticks. They then include an ocean full of waves and a “show shark” that moves with the tap of a finger as well as birds seen in the distance. I really enjoy the basic style of art used in these snow drawings, childlike and reminiscent of the illustrations found in Harold and the Purple Crayon.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-10 :: Category: Games
That’s a wrap on another week that was. Join us next week for another week that has passed….or something like that. In the meantime, keep up to date on the latest app reviews, news and contests by following us on Twitter or liking our page on Facebook. Bye now!
Dead phones are a problem that just won’t go away. Mobile technology is advancing faster than battery technology can keep up, and our phones are dying faster than ever. Sure, external batteries exist, but what happens when those die, especially for those who are away from power sources for extended periods of time? There are solar chargers, but that relies, quite obviously, on there being sunlight. In my best infomercial voice, I exclaim, “There’s got to be a better way!” Meet the Powertrekk, the charging solution that’s unlike any that have come before it.
This is because the Powertrekk comes with a fuel cell that can be used to power USB devices. Fuel cells work by converting by a fuel’s chemical energy, from a source such as hydrogen, into electricity through reactions with elements like oxygen. So, for those who paid attention in chemistry, what’s a common liquid source of oxygen that could be added to a hydrogen fuel cell in order to be converted into electricity? Water! Yes, by simply adding water to the Powertrekk’s fuel cell puck, it can be used to charge a device over USB. The Powertrekk also comes with a 1500 mAh internal battery that can be charged over USB, or through the internal fuel cell. The fuel cell itself has a storage capacity of 4 watt-hours, which means that at its maximum output of 5 volts, it has a total 8000 mAh capacity, using Amperage X Voltage = Wattage. In layman’s terms, that’s about enough to charge the iPhone completely about 4 times, assuming maximum battery efficiency. Also, the 5 volt output means that the iPad cannot be charged with the Powertrekk.
Now, the Powertrekk is not an inexpensive solution; the charger is expected to sell for US$229 when it is released, and 3 extra fuel cell pucks will cost $12. Still, this could be a useful accessory for those who spend a lot of time away from electrical sources, find solar chargers inefficient, and/or want an environmentally-conscious way to charge their USB devices. The Powertrekk will go on sale in the spring, available from both the Powertrekk website and worldwide through a variety of distributors.
The Tinké plugs directly into an iOS device, and users touch its sensor directly with their finger. By touching this, the device claims that it can measure heart rate, respiratory rate, and the oxygen level in a person’s blood, making it essentially a pulse oximeter for an iOS device. It measures these then rates the person on its “Vita Index”, which is based on the quality of the measured information. Tinké also can track this information over time, so people can see how their health is changing, and preferably for the better! People can share this information with friends and family, with the ability to comment on Vita Indices, to share tips and encouragement. As well, users can share their Vita Scores anonymously, with the ability to compare their scores with other people in their age group.
The Tinké will come in four colors: black, red, white and an aqua blue. Zensorium is currently taking reservations, with a target price of $99, although there is no planned release date for the hardware. As well, there is no indication if this will officially support the iPad. Will the information be cloud-based, or device-based, so users could potentially use the Tinké dongle on their other iOS devices, like iPod touch or iPad, and will the network be available through the web? Plus, will it work? Will all the measurements, especially oxygen measurement, really be accurate based on just using a dongle? Other pulse oximeters are intrusion free, but use a closed design; will the open ended design of Tinké negatively affect measurement? These are important questions to be answered as Tinké reaches its release date in the indefinite future.
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.
Developer: Seven45 Studios
App Price: Free
Hardware Price: Wired Mic: $69.99, Wireless Mic: $99.99
Version Reviewed: 2.4
Device Reviewed On: iPad 1, Wired Mic
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Soulo Karaoke is a sing along app with a library of popular and public domain songs to rock out to. It can be used with the iPhone 3GS and up, and both iPad devices. It’s possible to record using the built in microphone on these devices, but the company (and our testing) deosn’t recommend it. Instead, they also sell the Soulo Mic, a $70 – $100 microphone accessory made to be used with the app.
The microphone plugs into the headphone port and has a little headphone jack to connect headphones or an external speaker. The app also allows video to be output to an external screen, like a TV, but not currently through AirPlay; the wireless version of the Soulo mic has a video adapter that can be used. According to the support website, “audio out through HDMI is not currently supported while in recording mode, but the audio will work through an HDMI connection to play back your finished recordings.”
The microphone hardware is solid, if a bit light in the hand, and is fairly sensitive picking up vocal sounds. The only issue I had with the microphone is the fact that, because it uses the headphone port, the audio out MUST be via headphone or external speaker. No using the iPad or iPhone speakers. In addition, everytime I used the app, it reminded me to use the Soulo mic, as all mics would not work as well as that one. This is when I was using the Soulo Mic.
Using the app is straight forward. Users simply tap the large “Start Singing” button on the Home screen, choose a song (it can be previewed as well), and start singing along. The volume of the backing music and the original vocals can be set, as can the level of Pitch Enhancement, Tone, Reverb and Echo. Soulo records all the performances, allowing users to share the recording via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Email. If a performance isn’t good enough to share, it can be deleted or saved to work on later without sharing. Users can also sing along to any song in their device’s iTunes library, though resulting performances cannot be recorded or shared.
Soulo comes with a fairly robust library of pop, rock, country, hip hop, and dance tunes, with a ton able to be purchased in the in-app Music Store for $0.99 each.
Bottom line, Soulo Karaoke is a great Karaoke app. My daughter and I had a ton of fun singing along to the songs we downloaded, and being able to share the tracks is a nice bonus feature. It would be great if AirPlay was an option for larger parties, but even without it, I’d use this instead of a big fancy Karaoke machine most days.
Want a one stop solution for transforming an iOS device into an all-in-one fitness training partner? Then why not consider Wahoo Fitness’s Wahoo Run/Gym Pack?
For $119.99, it offers everything an exercise fan could want. Using ANT+ technology, the pack combines GPS, heart rate, music playing and phone facilities all into one package. Connect an iOS device up to heart rate monitors, foot pods and other fitness sensors all through this piece of kit.
As CEO of Wahoo Fitness, Chip Hawkins, puts it: “You no longer have to purchase a designated fitness watch. You’re already carrying your iPhone or iPod Touch with you for music and safety; might as well have it track your workout too.”
The Wahoo Run/Gym Pack includes a Wahoo Soft Heart Rate Strap and Wahoo Key which links the iOS device to the most popular heart rate monitors and other ANT+ sensors. It’s all compatible with over 100 of the most popular fitness apps like RunKeeper, MapMyRun+ and more, with the kit coming bundled with Wahoo Fitness’ own app.
The Wahoo Run/Gym Pack is available now for $129.99 at Best Buy stores across the country as well as on the Wahoo website.
Aren’t iPad docks predictable? Always looking roughly the same and not very exciting to show off to friends and family? So how about this one for a change? It’s called the Bentley Mulsanne. Oh yeah, and it’s a car.
Yup, one of the world’s most luxurious cars, the Bentley Mulsanne, has a new interior that includes two iPads in the back. Built in the UK, the interior in all costs an extra £85,000 on top of the basic price of £205,000 for the car alone. That makes the whole thing around $457,000.
It’ll be worth it to someone, though, with the iPad area including full internet access and the possibility to stream TV shows or movies to a large drop down LED screen. Each iPad also comes fully equipped with a bluetooth keyboard dock and the devices fold away into the back of the seat when not in use. It’s very cool stuff indeed with even a Mac Mini thrown in and an iPod Touch controlling the audio system for the car.
If you’ve got a spare half a million lying down the back of the sofa, this could be the ideal media solution with a neat car thrown in. Oh and mind if I come along for the ride? Thank you in advance!