CE Week 2013: The iPad, iPhone, iPod + Mac Show Report
iLounge’s editors have canvassed the floor at 2013’s CE Week in Manhattan, where dozens of companies are showing off new iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Mac products. Some of the top items were previewed in our CE Week: 10 Things We’re Excited To See article; this full report looks at the many companies and products spread out at the growing show. Expect an additional update with more photos and details soon.
Inside + Around iLounge NYC
Amzer: Debuted Shatterproof ($30/iPhone or iPod, $60/iPad), a new screen protector capable of resisting damage as significant as a power sander running across the device’s screen surface. Each piece of film ships with a serial number so that you can get a replacement from the company without shipping the original piece back, and application is designed to be easy for the user, with no bubbling.
Audio-Technica: As expected, Audio-Technica debuted ATH-ANC70 ($200), an improved sequel to the already superb ATH-ANC7b mid-range active noise-cancelling headphones. The new model features a highly flexible headband that makes folding and one-ear use possible, larger ear cups, and improved noise cancellation—currently rated at 90% of ambient noise. For the time being, it won’t replace the ATH-ANC7b, but will appear in different stores.
A new SonicFuel line of three in-ear headphones starts at $50, climbing in fanciness (flat cables, then driver size) as they move upwards in price. Each features ear stabilizers, and both the entry and mid-priced versions have ball joint ear tips that swivel to match the positions of your ear canals.
Braven: Publicly revealed the Braven 855s ($300), which is literally identical in sound, wireless functionality, and battery performance to the Braven 850 we just reviewed, but with a ruggedized rubber and metal industrial design taken from the Braven 625s. Notably, 855s can be dual-Bluetooth paired with the 850, or with another 855s.
Brydge: Brydge is showing off its iPad-compatible Bluetooth wireless keyboard, which also has a built-in speaker. Instead of a proper back shell, it uses two clips to hold the tablet in landscape orientation for typing. It also showed a metal and suction cup iPhone stand called Oona, which was Kickstarter funded before Brydge.
Case Scenario: Showed off a series of iPhone cases based on the work of late pop artist Keith Haring, as well as neon-colored flip cases. Additionally, some non-case plastic frames designed by Giovanna Battaglia were shown for the iPhone 5.
Hifiman: Displayed two previously announced in-ear headphones with metal housings, one at the $100 price point and another at $400, each with a single audio driver inside. The $100 version will be updated later this year with a single-button remote and microphone, and an iPod/iPhone/iPad version will follow for around $120.
id America: Demonstrated its new TouchTones speaker ($70-$80), which will compete against the Jawbone Jambox at a much lower price point with nine different color options, nice touch-sensitive controls, and surprising power for its budget price.
iGotcha: This new case company showed a plastic iPhone 5 shell with an integrated rubber band that can be used as a handstrap or mounting tool as necessary. It packages the shell with a plastic passive audio amplifying dock that can connect to a self-supplied Apple Lightning to USB cable.
iHome: While all of its Apple-focused products were shown previously at CES, iHome announced impending availability of its soft touch rubber Bluetooth boombox and dual Lightning dock clock radio.
IK Multimedia: In addition to previously-released products, IK again showed iLoud ($300), a portable speaker billed as reference-grade with flat, musician-accurate audio. While it was impossible on the show floor to give iLoud the sort of detailed sonic testing we’d have preferred, the finished unit uses a DSP chip to optimize the quality of high-volume output from its four speaker drivers, performing louder than would be expected from something so compact. It also has a guitar input port on the back, unlike any other Bluetooth speaker we’ve seen, enabling it to be used in wired mode with musical instruments. We’re anxious to test this unit in the real world.
InNuevo: Unveiled a long-gestating iPad keyboard case solution called DockR that leverages Apple’s Wireless Keyboard and a large, device-agnostic top frame to approximate the look of a laptop computer. A 4-8-hour battery is built-in for recharging your device, as are speakers to amplify the iPad’s volume.
Kensington: Debuted two new iPad mini keyboards, one an attachable cover called KeyCover ($70), the other a full case with a different keyboard design ($80).
Klipsch: Showed the $299 KMC1 wireless music system that’s soon to hit stores as a “Big Jambox” competitor, complete with twin 2.5” drivers and two 3” passive bass radiators, plus 8 hour battery life—a less expensive but very cosmetically similar version of the $399 KMC3 already in stores. Also announced (but didn’t show) Gig ($199), a competitor for the original Jambox with superior sound quality and a similar form factor.
LifeProof: Recently acquired by OtterBox, waterproof case developer LifeProof was showing off the brand new Nuud for iPhone 5 ($90) and previously-debuted Fre for iPad mini.
Macally: Publicly showed the Keyboard with Lightning ($60), a wired keyboard solution for iOS devices that are unable for various reasons to use a Bluetooth keyboard. The cabled keyboard has integrated lights to signal low battery conditions for the connected device, plus nice-feeling keys, and comes with a stand to hold an iPad upright alongside it.
Monitor Audio: The one-time iPod speaker maker returns to the Apple accessory market with a set of AirPlay speakers, notably including the $500 AirStream S300 standalone unit—four audio drivers, 140W amplification, and the intriguing ability to adjust its performance by sensing ambient room conditions with an integrated microphone. Monitor also showed an AirPlay amplifier called AirStream A100 ($500), which can turn existing speakers into an AirPlay-ready receiver, complete with a high-quality amplification source. WS100 computer speakers and a large TV soundbar called ASB-2 rounded out its new AirPlay offerings.
Nio: Demonstrated a $70 Bluetooth 4 “keep things from getting lost” fob that interacts with an app to keep your iOS device near keys or another attached object of your choice.
OlloClip: Well-known for its 3-in-1 lenses for iPhone and iPod touch, OlloClip now has a seriously impressive 2X Telephoto Lens for iPhone 5 ($100), which comes bundled with a circular polarizer—a filter that attaches to both the Telephoto lens and the 3-in-1 Fisheye, as well as a lensless iPhone, radically improving photo quality when shooting reflective surfaces such as glass and water.
Outdoor Technology: Had a very impressive showing at CE Week thanks to the debut of multiple new products. One highlight was a pair of retro-styled Bluetooth headphones called Privates ($100), which use Bluetooth 3.0 and have an actually usable touch-sensitive control panel on one ear cup.
An upcoming version called Tuis ($150) will use Bluetooth 4 and feature an angular design that’s visually consistent with the company’s speakers.
The company also showed Buckshot ($50), a tube-shaped weatherproof bike speaker with an angular rubber jacket, and the previously announced but not yet released Armadillo, a larger version of its Turtle Shell portable speaker.
Stelle Audio: Fashion-forward speaker maker Stelle Audio is showing off the Pillar and Audio Clutch, which we previously wrote about at CES in January. Audio Clutch is just beginning to hit retail stores now, and the company spotlighted a huge collection of different and impressive designs—some in collaboration with major brands.
Tucano: The Italian laptop bag maker used CE Week to spotlight its collection of fully leather Mac and iPad bags, as well as a handful of familiar iPhone and iPad mini cases. It notably showed a unique sleeve for MacBook Air with a Smart Cover-like folding stand on the bottom, capable of elevating the computer’s keyboard for easier typing.
Basis Science: Showing a $199 health and heart rate monitor that looks decidedly watch-like, and incorporates a variety of sensors including body and ambient temperature monitors. Offers four days of battery life between recharges. Currently only for Android, with an iOS app coming later this year.
Beddit: Showing a new $149 sleep tracking accessory that’s placed in your bed, under a sheet, instead of on your wrist. It will ship right around the holidays this year, with preorders at $99.
BuQu Tech: Showing Magnetyze, a combination case and charging solution that adds the equivalent of a MagSafe connector to iPhones. When connected to accessories, the case can rotate on 90-degree angles while continuing to charge your device, handy for widescreen apps and in-car GPS. The iPhone 5 version of the case will sell for $60, including a magnetic charging cable, with a $40 desk stand, $35 wall charger, and $55 car charger.
Etymotic: Rather than showing completely new Apple-specific products, Etymotic is using CE Week to debut new colors of its previously-released Ety-Kids in-ear headphones. It’s also showing Bean ($375/1, $700/2), a “quiet sound amplifier” that is akin to a battery-powered hearing aid, and a hearing test kit ($150) that works with PCs to let users measure their hearing at home with audiologist-caliber tools.
Goji: One of several companies showing off wireless/iOS-compatible door locks that can be opened using an iPhone. The twist here is that the $278 lock has a camera built in to shoot photos of each person who tries to use the door, and opens up to reveal a deadbolt. It can unlock automatically when you approach from the outside—not the inside—and can be programmed to work with key fobs for people who aren’t carrying iPhones.
Huckleberry: Having made its mark on CES with iPhone 4/4S cases featuring impressive cartoony likenesses of Marvel and DC Comics characters, Huckleberry is spotlighting a variety of new licenses including Sanrio, Despicable Me 2, Iron Man 3, Yo Gabba Gabba, My Little Pony, Adventure Time, Transformers, and Big Bang Theory. iPhone 5 cases are coming in the Fall—some really neat new designs were shown, even including one based on the musician Slash.
iLuv: The audio and case company is showing a variety of small speakers, headphones, and Lightning chargers. Most have been announced already, but the Time Shaker ($100) is coming in September as a Lightning-equipped alarm clock with a vibrating attachment to help rouse sleepy users. Aud5, a conventional speaker dock, is now priced at $130.
Jabra: Demonstrating prototype versions of Jabra Sport Wireless+ (~$100), an in-ear stereo wireless headset made for sweat resistance, and Stone 3, a sub-$100 monaural headset with a stone-shaped charging station—the third-generation version of this design.
Kicker: Having previously released the impressively powerful Amphitheater speaker for iPads, iPhones, and iPods, Kicker is showing an updated Amphitheater with Bluetooth.
Kribbit: Showing a rubberized iPad/tablet stand option with an unusually wiry shape and angle adjustability.
Kwikset: Another company showing off wireless/iOS-compatible door locks that can be opened using an iPhone.
LandingZone: Showing MacBook Air docking stations we’ve previously covered on Mac.iLounge.com, as well as announcing a new version for the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, coming in September.
Libratone: With no new products to show here, Libratone is focusing on promoting its previously-released AirPlay audio systems, including the outfit-swapping tube speaker Zipp.
LIFX: Demonstrating a new LED color-shifting $79 lightbulb with Wi-Fi controls, akin to Philips’ Hue and BlueBulb. The difference is that this bulb promises 1000 Lumens of light output, compared with 600 Lumens in Philips’ Hue, and includes 20 white LEDs in addition to RGB LEDs for superior color and brightness. A nice app provides considerable control over color changes, as well as a palette of different white tones.
Lumenplay: Showed $50 wireless Christmas light strands that can be controlled using Bluetooth 4 and chained together for more impressive visual effects—assuming you want to spend $150 to fully deck out the average-sized Christmas tree. An app enables you to shift the colors of the relatively large bulbs, program them with patterns, and turn them on or off automatically using proximity controls. Developed by a company seeking crowdfunding, the first batch will be available in late 2013, with more coming in 2014.
Mobio: Offers a collection of minimalist iPhone and iPod stand options using magnets and chrome.
Nitro Glass: This company is showing tempered glass screen protectors for iPhones.
Pioneer: Debuted AppRadio 3, the latest version of its touchscreen in-car integration system for iPhones and iPods. The good news: the latest AppRadio adds true Siri Eyes Free support, activating the little-known iOS 6 feature whenever you hold down a center button on the AppRadio screen bezel—a small purple bar appears on the iOS device’s screen with a tiny microphone icon as Siri voice input is awaited. Expanded app support and interface tweaks take good advantage of the 800x480 color touchscreen display.
Unfortunately, Apple Lightning and other issues have made the iPhone 5/iPod touch 5G electronic interface ridiculously expensive: in addition to the $400 AppRadio, users will now need a $50 Pioneer cable, a $49 Apple Lightning to Digital AV Adapter, and a $19 Lightning to USB Cable just to connect their devices. They’ll also need to pair their devices over Bluetooth to take advantage of AppRadio’s interface. After all that, AppRadio 3 will support playback of non-DRMed videos, some app-specific in-car interfaces, music, and phone calls from the connected device.
Sodacase: Showed customizable iPhone shells, which you can submit a photo to decorate as preferred.
Soen Audio: Formed by a number of former Harman/Kardon-JBL developers, Soen showed off Transit ($249), a really nice-looking portable Bluetooth speaker designed with smart audio optimizations to deliver better than expected sound given its small size. Roughly the footprint of a book, Transit uses high-quality audio drivers, a nice bass port, and a very cool metal kickstand to stand out from rivals, though the price is a bit high given the overall concept.
SoundCast: The speaker maker is showing Melody ($450), a compact outdoor-ready/weather-resistant Bluetooth speaker with a 20-hour battery, omnidirectional sound, and carrying handle—more compact than its prior-generation version.
Withings: Mentioned in our 10 Things We’re Excited To See at CE Week article, Withings’ new Pulse is an attractively designed fitness tracker.
We’ll update this article throughout the day as we check out new products and fully explore the many booths at CE Week.
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