The week in iOS accessories: sleep like a baby
This week's roundup of new iOS accessories includes gear to help you listen to music, make music, or simply get some rest. Read on for the latest.
Cell Drive: The $55 Cellink I is a mobile charger for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It plugs into your iOS device's dock-connector port on one end, and a USB port on the other, letting you power and sync your mobile device from a computer. But it also works as backup power, providing a 40 percent boost to your iPhone's battery. And finally, it works as a memory card--if you don't want to keep your data in the cloud, this is a way to transfer files between devices.
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Denon Electronics: This company has introduced three new AirPlay-enabled stereo receivers to wirelessly stream music from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac. The $580 AVR-1913 offers 7.1 channels of stereo sound; the $450 AVR-1713 and $400 AVR-1613 each offers 5.1-channel sound, though the latter with slightly less power. All three receivers feature an onscreen Setup Assistant that guides the user through the setup process, including speaker connection and calibration, as well as network configuration to help you play music directly from your favorite Apple device.
Gear 4: The $200 Renew SleepClock is something more than the usual docking station for your iPhone or iPad. Used in conjunction with the free Renew app, the system measures your sleep, wakes you up at the optimum time in your sleep cycle, then offers analytics to show you when and how you're getting the best rest. The device also includes an FM radio, and you can charge your iOS device while you're resting.
iHangy: One thing about the $15 iHangy Necklace: It's difficult to misplace your iPhone if it is always hanging from a cord around your neck. The necklace adds value by including a stylus to use with your iPhone, and it adds style by giving you a choice of pink, black, or white. We sort of hope that they come up with one of these for the iPad, so we can be the Flava Flav of the 21st century.
Samson: The $90 Carbon 49 Midi Controller is an electronic keyboard that integrates with the iPad for music-making. The 49-key keyboard is small enough to be portable, but has enough range to enable public performing--particularly when used with the transpose and octave features that give the device a four-octave range. The Carbon 49 can actually draw power from the iPad.
Sony: Over in Europe, Sony has introduced two new iOS-docking speaker stations:the CMT-V75BTiP and the CMT-V50iP. Each includes a CD player, but the former also features Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio streaming, while the latter features a USB connection for wired-in sound. The company hasn't yet provided details on pricing or availability, however, and the products don't appear on its U.S. website.
USBFever: There's a trio of new products from this company, some fun and some useful. The $34 USB Powered Rubik Speaker looks like our favorite 1980s three-dimensional puzzle, only it plugs into your iOS device's headphone jack to provide bigger and better sound. The $25 Alcohol Tester works with both your iPhone and iPad, plugging into the device's dock-connector port. Just blow into the tester to determine if you've had too much to drink. And the $150 Wheel Glass Floor Stand provides a place to hold and display your iPad for hands-free use.