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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
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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!
This case popped up recently and looked like it had a chance to be something unique. While it borrows heavily from the Zagg mate, it makes a few improvements and is a heck of a lot cheaper. Let’s take a look at the Aluminum Keyboard Buddy case for it iPad 2.
This keyboard for the iPad 2 is sold as a case, but it’s not truly a case. Rather, it is more of a smart-cover-enabled clam shell with a keyboard included. The iPad sets, face down, into the tray of the keyboard with the edges coming up to enclose the sides of the iPad. And here we see the first issue with this keyboard.
To place the iPad 2 into the case for storage, users need to wedge one wide side of the iPad under two tabs on the edge of the keyboard. Then, users close the iPad by easing it down over the keyboard. To get the iPad wedged under both of these tabs is not a super easy thing. And once the iPad is closed into the keyboard, it is not as secure as the iPad was in the Zagg keyboard. The friction seems a bit lacking – it easily works itself out when stored in a bag or carried in your hand. Perhaps a little forceful adjusting of the aluminum edge of the keyboard would help, but I’m not willing to risk breaking it to do so.
Using the actual keyboard is much better than expected. It’s a similar Bluetooth design to most other non-folio type keyboards. The iPad 2 wedges into a groove on the front of the keyboard and leans back either in portrait or landscape orientation. The keyboard base then becomes the platform to hold the iPad 2 and use as a keyboard. This works quite well and is in my opinion the best method for typing. The solid base allows you to use this on a table or even in your lap, though using it in your lap with the iPad in portrait mode can feel a bit unbalanced. The one issue with this keyboard in particular is that the iPad bounces considerably when touching on the screen. The tabs holding the iPad in place are perhaps a bit soft for this or the overall design is a bit less rigid than it needs to be.
What about the keyboard? Well this is where this device really shines. While it has very small keys, they have great separation from the other keys. This really has given me unparalleled accuracy in typing on an iPad keyboard device. Add to that my preferred double-width backspace, inverted T arrow keys, and the usual compliment of iPad quick access keys, and this could be my favorite small iPad keyboard.
When closed up, the keyboard adds very little bulk in comparison to other keyboard cases. The whole package is just under double the thickness of the iPad alone. This keyboard also includes the special iPad 2 magnet in just the right place to automatically wake up your iPad when you pull it out of the case. Perhaps this could be an issue for battery drain if the iPad is popping out of the case in your bag, however.
Overall, the Buddy iPad 2 case is a good specialized keyboard. While half the price and not nearly as good as the Zagg mate, it is half the price. While for pure typing pleasure you can’t beat the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, in a pinch this one will work and is considerably more portable. Add to that the rather cheap price at under $50, and it might be the perfect keyboard for some.
This iPad 2 keyboard shell is available for $49.90 from MIC Gadget in either white or black. Full specs from the manufacturer are below, or after the jump.
Here at 148apps.com we’re big fans of the iKlip and its ability to hold iPads and iPhone/iPod Touches (courtesy of the iKlip Mini) – now the manufacturer IK Multimedia has come up with another great tool.
Debuting at last week’s Summer 2011 NAMM show, it’s called the iRig MIDI and it provides iOS device users with the ability to connect MIDI keyboards, drum machines, drum pads and pedal boards, amongst others, to their device. There’s even the addition of a micro USB port that can connect to any standard USB power supply source thus ensuring that the iOS device can stay fully powered during sessions. iRIG Midi crucially ensures that users can use their instruments with apps such as the all mighty GarageBand.
As well as that, bundled with the device is IK’s new SampleTank app which is the mobile version of the software of the same name. It offers 20 studio-quality insert effects that can be applied to each individual instrument along with a master reverb-delay effect.
On paper, iRig MIDI looks to be an ideal tool for any musician who enjoys using their iOS device to create music.
iRig MIDI is coming soon and will be priced at $69.99.
148Apps editor, Rob LeFebvre, was quite impressed with his time with the iKlip back in April. It provided him with a great way to attach a first generation iPad to a microphone stand, thus making it easy to consult for everything from speeches to lyrics or music sheets.
Now, IK Multimedia has announced the release of the iKlip for the iPad 2. It’s a similar device but geared towards the iPad 2 by offering a new mounting kit that sets to be just as effective but aimed at the new slimmer build of the iPad 2. It also works around the new back-facing camera on the iPad 2 ensuring that it never gets in the way of using it. As before, users can position the iPad to either portrait or landscape orientation. It’s worth noting that the new iKlip adaptors still allow for users to use it with the iPad 1 ensuring it works well for everyone.
The iKlip is available now for $39.99/€29.99 (excluding tax) from the IK online store as well as select music and electronic retailers across the world.
Any users who have already got an older version of the iKlip and require the iPad 2 adaptors can pick them up for $9.99/€7.99. Users who purchased the iKlip after May 1st 2011 can claim the iPad 2 adaptors for free by providing a proof of purchase to IK Multimedia.
Just in time for this holiday season Discovery Bay Games’ has introduced its newest iPad accessory, Duo ($40). By using physical game pieces in conjunction with the virtual interface of the iPad, Duo takes us one more step towards the Tron world of the tomorrow. To be anything more than a paper weight though Duo must be paired up with one of Discovery Bay Games’ specially made apps which currently only includes Yoomi, but more are promised to be coming soon.
Yoomi is a game where players take turns secretly answering questions like “would you prefer to fly to the moon or dive to the bottom of the ocean?” Once answered the other players attempt to guess which response the first chose. It’s a game very reminiscent of Apples to Apples but with a new and fresh feel that the whole family can enjoy. Explaining in writing how the pair works together would be an nightmare, so I’ve included a much more colorful video below to help keep everyone’s attention…you’re welcome. If you’re interested though Yoomi is currently free on the App Store while Duo is being sold exclusively through Toys “R” Us.
Since the iPad announcement a few weeks ago, a number of big giant questions marks have popped up about the device. There are so many fundemental things that just don’t seem to connect. So much that we don’t know.
Apple is, playing this as they do so well, the masterful marketing machine at Apple is running at full steam. Leaving out some of these details could lead up to a last minute One more thing… announcement by Apple, or could be a spin of the fact that Apple was left a little short on development of the next version of the OS for the device.
Either planned slow release of information or covering up for OS release delays, the result is whetting the appetite of the consumers and increasing the buzz and the demand for the device.
This last week, Chris, Tony and I made the trip to CES to take a look at some of the best new gadgets and accessories for the iPhone. After walking 743.9 miles, shaking 16,984 hands, and trading business cards with 3.5 gajillion people, here’s are some of the highlights of what we saw.
FloTV Mophie Battery Case – Mophie announced an interesting new version of their great juice pack. This new version will include a FloTV receiver allowing you to watch broadcast TV right on your iPhone. They include the FloTV receiver yet the unit is only 2mm thicker than the usual Juice Pack. So far the only downside we’ve heard is the price of the FloTV service which is expected to be about the same as it is for other devices. Full details are still short, but we’ll let you know more as soon as we find it out.
Tunebug – Tunebug is a tiny little interesting speaker for your iPhone. Not much larger than a couple matchbooks stacked on top of each other, this isn’t a normal speaker. Tunebug uses a patented technology called SurfaceSound that turns anything you set it on into a speaker. The coolest implementation is a Tunebug that straps to you bike helmet and connects to your iPhone using Bluetooth allowing you to listen to music while riding your bike without plugging up your ears and tuning out all of the sounds around you. Obviously a huge breakthrough for biker safety. The other implementation connects to your iPhone (or any device) with a normal speaker wire and sets on your desk, turning your desk into the speaker. The Tunebug will be available soon at $119 for the Bluetooth version, $69 for the wired version.
Zoll PocketCPR – As amazing as the iDevices are, they really don’t do much in the ways of saving lives. Sure, there are some apps that are probably helpful in the medical community, but life saving isn’t quite the iDevice’s forte. The Zoll PocketCPR changes this with an app that shows how to perform CPR with accuracy by using the accelerometer to judge compression depth. At the booth, we heard a story or a doctor who used the app and was complimented by a nurse who hadn’t seen proper CPR done by a doctor in a long time. The app hasn’t been officially approved by the FDA yet, but Zoll expects the approval to come shortly. [More Info]
Blio Reader – we got a chance to get a demo of the iPhone version of the much talked about Blio Reader. A multi-platform ebook reader announced at CES. Blio does a few things that other ebook readers don’t do. For one, there’s text to speech technology. Also included are some pretty good options for different ways to read text on the device including both as printed and text versions. Obviously this will be a much more interesting app if the rumored tablet/slate is released. Blio is still a few weeks off, but it looks to be a great platform. We’ll bring you more as soon as we can.
L5 Universal Remote – The L5 Universal Remote, while not quite as universal as the Logitech Harmony due to its lack of bluetooth connectivity (PS3), but is quite an amazing remote replacement unit. With the included IR attachment, the L5 Universal Remote instantly learns your remotes features without needing to plug in those pesky product codes. To me, there’s really nothing that excites me quite as much as the prospect of controlling my entire house with my iDevice. The L5 will be available soon. Continue reading The Best and Worst of CES for iPhone Lovers »
I’m an iPhone purist, I’ll admit it, I love my phone just how it is, stable, fast, non-glitchy. Sure from time to time I’ve wished I could customize my text message tone or set a new wallpaper behind my icons, but in the end it’s not worth it. At least that’s what I tell people most days. I confess however that today, for the first time since 1.1.2, I gave serious consideration to jailbreaking my iPhone. What could lead me down this dark path again? How about controlling a game on my iPhone using a Wii Remote!?! The BTstack project has managed to pull it off!
If you’re not familiar with what the BTstack Project is, it’s an open source project focused on expanding bluetooth device support far beyond what Apple is currently allowing. A lot of the above information comes to us from this article via Zodttd.com which also includes a statement from the developer saying his next target is the PS3 controller. Upon reading, I was almost giddy with anticipation and immediately started spreading the word. But one of my colleagues, being the glass is half empty type that he is, quickly pointed out why I shouldn’t get too excited.
“For one,” he said “theres nothing comfortable about hunching over a table, looking straight down, just to keep your hands free for use on a controller…”
I quickly pointed out that an iBend would be a quick, easy, and cheap solution to that. He conceded this point but continued.
“Secondly and much more importantly [BTstack] is hacking their iPhone to use them, no major developer is ever going to spend the time and money making a game that needs a hack to be used fully.”
I hated to admit it but he had a point, however it may not be a relevant one for much longer as I know of at least one legitimate controller being developed for the iPhone, the GameBone Pro.
The GameBone Pro has amazing potential as 22Moo states it will be fully compatible via bluetooth or dock connector, fully functional D-pad with 4+ action buttons, and a built in speaker/mic, etc. While there is no official price listing or release date yet, we know they are targeting an early 2010 release. Gratefully they are making their developer’s kit free to anyone who wants it.
The free SDK is an important point I’d like to touch on momentarily. While I’m certain more than one developer has a controller under development, it’s my hope that in some circle somewhere there is a committee working on a set standard of controller code. Without a set basic standard we will end up in a market where a game may work with one joystick but not another. Resulting in another BlueRay vs. HD DVD war, only with more players. A war that would most likely end up with game developers ignoring the idea of external controllers all together simply because of inconvenience.
With a set standard though I can already see what the future may hold for iPhone gamers. I can imagine sitting at an airport with a friend waiting for our redeye flight to arrive and needing something to do. Out of my pockets I pull three things, my iPhone, GameBone Pro, and a Pico Pocket projector. Out of his pocket he grabs his controller and within a minute we are playing Marvel vs. Capcom (not currently released for the iPhone) dreamcast style on a 60″ while being totally portable and wireless…I’m getting giddy again.
A new expansion pack is now available for The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth. The Desolations of Smaug is available for free and features new campaign maps and bosses for players to strategize against, along with new armor and weapons for them to collect and equip.