We have to give Portable Sound Labs credit as the “most improved” developer we spotted at CES: after some stale past products, the new design direction it was showing off at this year’s International CES has us genuinely excited. On display were some unique speakers, many of which are still in the prototype phase but are slated to be released later this year. The first is Aire SideKick, an iPad 2 speaker that doubles as a cover for the tablet. It attaches with magnets much like Apple’s Smart Cover, and the final version will be made out of aluminum. This will make the flat speaker thin and light.
Next up are Pipeline and Base, both portable wireless speaker systems. Each is modular and works in sets, or as individual pieces. Pipeline’s central unit is a long horizontal tube, and it comes with two satellite speakers called Drops that attach to either side with magnets. Base, on the other hand, is a large dish-sized cylindrical shape, with detachable speaker units called Slices.
What’s unique is the satellites are also Bluetooth-enabled, which means they can serve as standalone units on the go. Both Pipeline and Base come with two of the smaller speakers, but more will be able to be added if purchased individually.
We also saw AllSpark, which has a very different design from anything we saw on the show floor. The set is made up of two pyramid-shaped speakers that attach to one another with magnets in their bases, creating a cube that can be held at an angle in the included stand. AllSpark supports a Bluetooth connection, with one speaker acting as the receiver and carrying the audio to the other over a cable. Each of the items is being targeted for very aggressive pricing; AllSpark for instance is slated for a $100 selling price.
One of the Apple accessory areas of particular interest to iLounge’s editors are products for kids—speakers, cases, and headphones if they’ve been designed to be safe for little ears. Here are a few of the more noteworthy items we saw at this year’s CES, which is just now winding down in Las Vegas.
Case-Mate: Showed off a huge collection of kids’ cases, including many made from multi-layered rubber with different cool artwork—ice cream, animals, and the like. Some of the cases are abstract versions of animals, others are obviously so. Case-Mate also showed Marvel/Disney-licensed hard shells that had great iconic art from the comic company’s biggest-named series.
Electric Friends: This division of Noetic showed four different animal speaker systems targeted at a sub-$60 price point, and they were seriously cute—like Chew Chew the Dog, each has its own name and backstory, with two big speaker grilles protecting eye-shaped audio drivers. The price is right, the design is right, and the sound is respectable.
More images and details are below.
While our focus tends to be on mainstream consumer products, there are several companies here at the iLounge Pavilion that are aiming at the higher end of the market, including the ones we’re spotlighting below.
Known for their carbon fiber cases, Moncarbone is taking the material to the next level with its Art Collection, which features graphics that are subtly integrated into the material using dye injection methods. A nice change of pace from standard carbon fiber cases, which have become a bit stale recently. The cases are priced at $60 each.
We’ve seen loads of leather cases for the iPhone over the years, but few as simple or elegant as Eblouir’s slim pouch. Made from high-quality leather, it features two interior slots—one for the iPhone and one that’s cash-sized—as well as a simple closure that uses a long strip of leather to hold the entire thing closed. It sells for $45.
Continuing an ongoing trend, there are a number of exhibitors here focusing on female users—and among them is Tyla Rae. This fashion-focused brand offers a wide range of bags for the iPhone , iPod, and iPad. The bags are made primarily from leatherette, and range in price from $60 to $220.
We can tell you it contains over 350 companies. We can tell you it’s over 80,000 square feet in size. But until you see the iLounge Pavilion with your own eyes, it’s hard to understand its enormousness. This panoramic, birds-eye shot shows you the whole of our North Hall area in all its glory, including overhead booth shots of a wide variety of familiar companies from the Apple accessory universe. Click on the image above to view it full-size, keep reading for more photos from the Pavilion, and don’t forget to check our dedicated mini-site for more coverage from the 2012 International CES!
It’s been a busy last few days here in Las Vegas, and we’ve now posted a YouTube video highlighting the best items we’ve seen at the 2012 International CES. The video contains pictures and details of all 25 award winners—the highest number in recent memory—including exciting new products and the best booths we saw at the show. It’s the best five minutes you’ll spend checking out new Apple products this week.
It’s not the only battery case of its style being announced at the 2012 International CES, but Boostcase has taken the opportunity to unveil its Hybrid Snap-On Case & Detachable Extended Battery for iPhone 4/4S; it’s scheduled for a January 2012 launch. The solution combines a hard plastic shell that features a pear-shaped cutout surrounding the Apple logo and a 1900mAh battery that snaps into place, using the opening to anchor it. At launch, the shell will be available in seven colors while the battery will come in black or white. Boostcase says pricing hasn’t been finalized, but it’ll sell for between $70 and $80.
Lethal Protection’s Life-Phorm is certainly one of the standout accessories we saw at this year’s International CES, and accordingly, it was a finalist for our Best of Show award. The stand and holder works with all of Apple’s handheld devices and with its six articulating plastic legs, can stand on or wrap around pretty much any surface. When it launches in March 2012, Life-Phorm will be available in black, gunmetal grey, or army green, and sell for $60.
U.K.-based DBEST has introduced two new speakers at the 2012 International CES, although no price or release date has been announced for either. The first is Transformative Bluetooth Hi-Fi System (a.k.a. PS4007BT). Packed with two 3W loudspeakers, a microSD slot, an auxiliary port, and Bluetooth connectivity, the speaker can be used for music playback or as a speakerphone. It has rechargeable batteries that last for up to 50 hours of continuous playback per charge. Eiffel (PS4501), on the other hand, is a much smaller speaker but has the same input options. Nicknamed by DBEST as “The Terminator of Mini-Speaker,” Eiffel has an 800mAh battery inside and allows you to customize the colors based on your preferences.
Although it’s not nearly as large as the comically oversized iNuke Boom, Haier’s Evoke Soundbar with 3D Sound is still one of the biggest speaker systems we’ve seen at the 2012 International CES. Measuring in at 40” long, it’s certainly the widest practical docking station we’ve come across, and it supports not only iPhones and iPods, but iPads as well. It’ll retail for $400 when it’s released in early 2012.
IDAPT has previously been in the business of making multi-device chargers, but now has added a speaker system to its lineup with the introduction of S1, which will launch this February for about $150. Not only is the device a Bluetooth 2.0 speaker capable of working with pretty much any gadget you may have lying around, but it also has two docking chargers with interchangeable tips and a USB port too. On top of that, there is FM radio and alarm clock functionality built-in. The design seems to fall somewhere in between classic and modern; some of our editors see allusions to famous Dieter Rams Braun pieces.
At its booth in the 2012 International CES iLounge Pavilion, Camalen has introduced Hexa case for iPhone 4/4S. Borrowing from the design of the company’s previously released iPad 2 case of the same name, the protective leather holder can be used as a stand in a number of angles and either landscape or portrait orientation. No release date has been announced, but the case will sell for $59.
It may not be a necessary addition for the average home user, but Kanex’s Sydnee definitely stuck out at the 2012 International CES. This docking station—which will be available for$149—allows users to charge up to four devices at once off of its four 2.1A USB ports. That means that it can fully power that many iPads at full speed, but iPhones and iPods are also supported. There’s also a built-in cable management system, although none of the cables are included; you must provide your own.
Adding to its lineup of solar accessories for Apple products at this year’s International CES, Eton has introduced the Rukus Bluetooth speaker system. The lithium ion battery can be charged through a standard wall adapter, but there’s also a monocrystal solar panel on top to gather energy from the sun. On the front of the unit are an e-ink display and playback controls.
We covered Henge Docks’ MacBook Pro docking stations a few months ago, and now we’re excited to see that the company has used the occasion of the 2012 International CES to unveil its MacBook Air version of the accessory. The units are now up for preorder at $55 and $60, with Mini DisplayPort and USB passthrough—no Thunderbolt though. It may be a good solution for those looking to dock an Air and save space at a pretty reasonable price.
Today is the first day of the 2012 International CES, and the iLounge Pavilion is full of activity! Here are just a few of the new products that caught our eye.
AirStash is showing off the newest version of its Wi-Fi flash drive device. It uses an SD card for storage—packages are available with either 8GB or 16GB cards—and can stream files to iOS devices. This includes, photos, music, iTunes-protected videos, and more. Up to three devices can connect at a time, and battery life is specced at seven hours of continuous SD video playback. The smaller capacity version is priced at $150, and the larger costs $180.
We wrote about BulletTrain’s Express a few weeks ago on iLounge+Mac, but the company has updated the accessory in time for a March release. Now, instead of aluminum, the Magic Trackpad and Wireless Keyboard holder is made of plastic. This allows for a better clip system and new colors too. The silver version will cost $80 when it’s released, while the colored versions will retail for $100. BulletTrain also announced a partnership with MusicSkins, who while be offering all of its designs for the Express.
Other World Computing (OWC) is here at CES showing its well-known line of SSD and Mac expansion products, among them its new miniStack Max expansion unit for the Mac Mini. Building on last year’s miniStack, the new Max version adds an optical drive and SD card slot to the front while maintaining the same general industrial design to match Apple’s recent Mac Mini models. The miniStack Max also includes internal hard drive storage available in capacities of up to 4TB and in integrated USB 3.0/2.0, FireWire 400/800 and eSATA hub.
iSkin is expanding its Q-West line this year into a wider range of fashionable bags and cases. Going forward, the company is taking a more boutique approach, focusing on fashion trends in its product designs.
Serious runners are going to be excited to see 4iiii’s 2012 International CES introduction of Sportiiiis, a heads up display and audio feedback system that hooks on to any pair of sunglasses. It presents custom LEDs to relay information such as power, cadence, speed, heart rate or pace, and can be programmed from Macs, PCs, and iOS devices. Sportiiiis will cost $199 when it is available.
For those looking to prevent their iPad or iPad 2 from moving around without actually putting it in a case, Wrapsol is showing off Non-Slip Grip Pad at its booth at the 2012 International CES. A polyurethane sticker, it attaches to the back of the device and provides grip on surfaces where the device might otherwise slide. The pads are available immediately for $15 each.
We were really wowed by Yantouch’s showings at last year’s International CES, at least in terms of originality. This year the company is taking the same ideas and slightly altering them with the introduction of Black Diamond Lamp. Set to be released in March for $59, this iteration removes the iPhone docking capability; instead, there’s a USB port on the back to which it can be attached. The lamp can be controlled by either the included remote or by blowing into an opening on the top. We’ll definitely have more details on this once we get our hands on it.