Griffin at 2012 CES: Crayola Gear, iOS Music Tools + More
Well-known for its innovative accessories, Griffin is taking a more iterative approach at the 2012 International CES, debuting many logical extensions of existing product lines alongside at least one genuinely awesome idea. The company previewed several new kid-focused products from its collaboration with Crayola, including two new entries in the MyPhones line of volume-limiting headphones. Crayola MyPhones Earbuds ($15) are available in a variety of colors, and come in a crayon-shaped case that also houses additional silicone tips. For those looking for an on-ear solution, there’s Crayola MyPhones Headphones ($25). Coming in either pink/purple or blue/green combinations, each set comes with stickers and markers, allowing children to customize the design. They’re both volume-limited so as to avoid damage to young ears.
Also part of the collaboration are two new cases. Crayola Crayon Classics for iPod touch 4G ($25) are simple hard shells that feature one Crayola crayon color a piece—purple pizzazz, cotton candy, caribbean green, and blue berry. There’s also Crayola Color Clickers for iPod touch 4G ($25), a polycarbonate shell that’s recessed in the middle, allowing users to customize the design with 28 included color strips.
Griffin also showed off three new apps. Crayola Lights, Camera, Color! HD ($2) allows users to take a picture or use one already on the device, drain all the color from it, and then color it in with Crayola’s color pallet. Crayola Silly Face Swaps HD is also a coloring pages type app, but this one allows you to insert your own face photos into coloring pages. It will cost $2 when it’s released in the Spring. Finally, there’s Crayola Case Creator. The app itself is free, but it’s made to work with a case and inserts sold by Griffin. Users will be able to design their own cases, print them onto the inserts, and slide them into an iPod touch case akin to the previously-released Reveal. The set will retail for $30 in the Spring.
Travel accessories are also a big part of the new lineup, including PowerBlock Reserve. Now with a larger, 2,000mAh battery and a complete redesign, the unit maintains its flip-out charging blades. An Apple-specific version shipped with a Dock Connector cable will cost $60, while a cordless version is priced at $50. They’ll be available in Spring. The company also showed off two new mounting solutions: WindowSeat 3 HandsFree ($40) is the newest iteration of the car phone holder, now redesigned to accommodate pretty much any smartphone with a three-point adjustable security bracket, and also now featuring a levered suction cup for added security. That accessory is becoming available now, while Tray Table Latch Mount will be coming at some point later in the quarter. It allows for an iPhone, iPod touch, or e-reader to be mounted on the latch of an airplane’s tray table. The idea is genuinely cool and much needed, we can’t wait to see it in action. No price has been announced yet.
We also saw some new iOS music accessories from the company. MIDIConnect ($80), available this Spring, simply provides MIDI input and output ports to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. StudioConnect ($150) takes that a few steps further, adding an iPad resting and charging dock, wall power, and audio in through a mono 1/4” plug or the stereo 3.5mm input. It has RCA ports for output, and there’s a very nice glowing-rimmed volume control on the top. StudioConnect will be available very soon.
Our favorite new product from Griffin at this year’s show is one that looks like it’ll be genuinely awesome. Twenty is a digital amplifier for Apple’s AirPort Express, and it’s really a first of its kind accessory. On the top of the device is a dock for the router; simply plug it in, hook up a pair of speakers, and you have an AirPlay system ready to go. As a neat touch, there’s a brushed aluminum volume dial on the top of the unit. Without pricing or date information, however, Twenty is being shown only as a “sneak peek” to CES attendees, and it’s really unclear as to when it will be out.
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