CES: Lots of toys and goodies for iPhone and iPod
You can almost hear the other smart phones wailing: Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Although the devices such as BlackBerry and Android phones have a decent and growing user base, in terms of accessories, the rest mostly rank as Jans and Cindys.
Here's enough of a sampling of iPhone and iPod accessories at the Consumer Electronics Show for each Brady kid.
I Make My Case: There are rows of
different cases for iPhones and every mobile device under the sun here.
This one stood out, though, because you can have a hand in designing
it. Launched a few days ago by Case-Mate, I Make My Case
offers the styles and designs of 10 artists from around the world and
lets users sample and remix. The case is engraved with the name of the
artist and your name as the designer. These run $39.99. If you just
can't think of what to do with the elements or simply admire what the
artist has done, you can order the unaltered version for $35.99.
Designing these things is actually kind of fun.
Although orders made now won't ship until the end of the month, Case-Mate is aiming for a seven-to-10-day turnaround.
IWavit: With more devices finding their way into the living room, that means a bouquet of the related remote controls brightens the room as well. We saw a few options to supplant the remotes and allow you to sock them away in a drawer. One coming to market is iWavit by ThinkOptics.
It promises to turn your iPod and iPhone into a customizable, touch-screen direct-pointing remote control for TV, movies, computers and the Internet. It's described as using technology similar to Wii remotes. Wherever you point on the screen, the cursor will go. And to zoom the screen, you can just move the iPhone or iPod toward you or adjust the volume by turning the device with a slight flick of the wrist.
The setup includes the iPhone/iPod attachment, a USB dongle to plug into a computer or set-top box and a POD tracker similar to the bar that sits in front of the TV for a Wii system.
In addition to being a remote control, iWavit can turn an iPhone or iPod into a 3-D mouse, full RF keyboard, PowerPoint device. It also has a built-in RF microphone, so it can be used to talk directly to a PC for voice control or VoIP calls. ThinkOptics said it plans to eventually expand to Android and BlackBerry.
Pricing for the system is still being worked out, but the company expects it to be in the range of $80 to $100.
Of course, all of this assumes your iPhone would remain charged long enough to comply for more than just a single sitcom.
IPig: There are tons of clever and cute speakers out there in the shape of everything for iPods and iPhones. This one caught my ear. Speakal's little piggy is quite the sound hog. It sports a subwoofer underneath, two midrange speakers, two tweeters, two sound diffusers and air bass reflex. In the demo I saw, the iPig snorted out sound with no noticeable distortion as well as puffs of air with every boom of the bass. It has adjustable treble and bass and comes in four colors.
The ears are touch-sensitive volume controls. IPig will also charge your iPod. Although it will play audio from an iPhone, you'd have to switch it to airplane-mode. The speaker can be used with other devices, using its 3.5-millimeter jack. Too bad it's not also a piggy bank. It costs $120.
Things that make you say hmm...
TV Hat: When I first saw three women walking with immense brims this afternoon, I thought there wasn't anything going on under those caps.
I came to find out that these things are really designed for personal video viewing. You put your mobile video player in a flap in the front, put the hat on and get lost in your own world.
When I slipped on a TV Hat, I did notice the viewing experience wasn't horrible. But that was offset by the fact that I was fully aware of how ridiculous I looked in public.
The $20 "personal private theater" comes in five colors and choice of either hat or visor. Seeing someone else in one: priceless.
Apple earphone covers: You know how you can tell when someone has an iPod just by looking at the telltale white Apple earphones? Deos has a solution for that. Bling for your earphones. Why should the devices themselves have all the fun? They come in a variety of colors in silicone, aluminum and Swarovski crystal-covered options. (The crystal-covered ones go for over $100. The earphones themselves are typically about $20.) They're available at Target and the Wynn Las Vegas. Go figure.
Fingerist: This one topped the "things that make you say hmmm" list for me. With so many virtual guitar apps available, it was just a matter of time until someone came up with a virtual guitar accessory, transforming you into a "fingerist" rather than an actual guitarist when you strap it on.
You just pop in your iPod or iPhone and launch one of the programs. Fingerist is powered by three AA batteries, has a built-in speaker and line-out to plug into an actual amplifier. It claims two hours of continuous fake guitar playing.
And if you're too lazy even to strum your iPod, it can be used as an audio player.
Fingerist will be going for $150 and should be available from online retailers around the end of February.
-- Michelle Maltais
Follow me on Twitter: @mmaltaislat