We just got back from Macworld in San Francisco. Here are the 10 coolest hardware items and accessories for iPad and iPhone that we saw.
1. iTrack Solo
This device allows you to plug a microphone, guitar, or other instrument into it, and record the audio to your iPad, to be used in Garage Band or any other app of your choice. (It can also record to your Mac.) Attractive and simple to use, even for a novice musician. And portable for recording anywhere.
This cross-body bag converts in 2 seconds to a flat surface on which to use your iPad with 2 hands while standing up. It includes a special iPad plastic cover with magnets, so you can use the iPad without fear of it falling off. The company also has an iPad-only model (no space to store anything else) called Across for $55.
3. Belkin Wemo
$50 for wall switch
Plug this piece of hardware into any wall socket, and then plug any item into the Wemo, and then you can control power from anywhere, using your iPhone. So turn on the light from 3000 miles away, or turn on the coffee machine from upstairs. You can also replace your wall light switch with a Wemo switch, or buy a Wemo motion detector to make things happen when the detector senses movement.
$14, available at TinyLightbulbs.com
This simple, small piece of plastic amplifies the sound coming out of your iPhone or iPad (any generation) when you clip it on over the speaker. Yes this device does one thing but does it super well.
$16, made by Nice, available at TinyLightbulbs.com
Gimmicky but cute–Keeps your iPhone, iPad, or Mac charger cable from getting tangled. And the iPhone charger lets you perch your iPhone on it while it’s charging, too (so your phone isn’t lying on the floor). Comes in 5 colors.
$20, available at TinyLightbulbs.com
Holds any smartphone (including any generation iPhone) so you can take better pictures and videos, by adding stabilization–no matter whether you want to go handheld or tripod.
7. Slope (no longer available)
Very simple and elegant metal stand for iPad or iPad Mini. No screws or bolts or snaps required–it holds the iPad through simple suction to its specialized surface.
8. GoalZero Mobile Kit
This solar power mat unfolds to charge a battery pack in about 2 hours. Then use the battery pack to charge up your iPhone (or any other device) anyime, even later when the sun has gone down. Or you can charge up the battery pack using USB and a wall outlet. The batteries are standard NiMH, so once they lose their charge, go to any Radio Shack to get replacements for about $10. (There is a bigger version for charging up a laptop.)
9. MyFC PowerTrekk (no longer available)
Using their proprietary pucks (which cost about $4 each) and a few tablespoons of water, you can charge your cel phone. One puck is good for one charge. Not sure exactly what situation would make this more useful than just stocking up on AA batteries for a camping trip or in case of natural disaster, but it’s an interesting alternative. (It can also charge up on wall power, for when you’re not in an extreme situation.)
10. Double Robotics iPad robot
about $2500; shipping later this year
It’s a stick with wheels, with an iPad mounted on the top. But what it can be, with a little imagination, is your virtual self, going to any meeting even when you’re out of the office, or staying with your ill relative. You remotely control the robot and can see what’s on the screen from your own iPad–while the person at the other end sees your face on the mounted iPad.