As you all know, CES came to a close Friday afternoon at the Las Vegas Convention Center, but only after an exciting week of new product announcements and unveilings. Sebastien and I made the Vegas trek to see the action first hand and we scoured the floor looking for the hot new iOS compatible products that will be hitting it big in 2013. Step inside for a run down of what we really liked and what could be making a splash over the next 12 months…
Hands down, the best iOS compatible product I played with at CES was the Celluon portable projection keyboard. This pocketable device, the newer of which is about the size of two chap stick tubes, projects a keyboard through a glass lens, then uses a distance laser technology to determine which keys you are pressing. To use the keyboard, the device must be placed on a flat, non reflective surface.
Hovering my fingers above the keyboard and only tapping the keys I want to type, exactly like typing on an iPad, I found the device to be extremely accurate and absolutely ready for prime time. The QWERTY keyboard can even be disengaged and the surface becomes a trackpad for devices with mice or trackpad input, even two finger scrolling. Lasting 3-5 hours depending on the model, it is rechargeable and connects via Bluetooth.
You can currently purchase a bulky model on the Celluon website, but I look for this to be marketed more heavily once the company finds a buyer. After speaking with Celluon’s representatives, the smaller version and an iPhone case option will be available by the end of the year. Celluon attracted a lot of attention at their booth to never be mentioned on any mainstream coverage. Look for this company to do big things. This is projection keyboarding done right.
Scosche earns a top spot in the cases category for their new iPhone 5 compatible RAILkase. It is currently available for iPhone 4S, but the new iPhone 5 version is much more trim and streamlined. Using a double hinged system on the bottom and top right side of the case, slide the phone into the aluminum bumper and lock it into place. The inner silicon bumper prevents scratching and gives extra support against bumps. Look out for this case at the end of Q2, start of Q3.
Element’s Ronin case takes the show, but is second behind the RAILkase because of the price point. At a whopping $200, you can take home the most elegant case system we found on the show floor. A luxury combination of nickel plated 6061 aluminum, machine cut wooden side rails, and genuine leather backplates is wrapped in a genuine leather slip pouch, which is included with your purchase. The iPhone 5 model debuted at CES and is now live for purchase. If you have the money, I say, go for it.
Continuing what seems to be a new trend in iPhone cases, Case-Mate revealed two new lines that offer a high end option for the discerning taste. The Crafted collection includes hand lain mother of pearl, rosewood, and tortoiseshell. The gem quality mother of pearl option rings in at $150, truly taking Case-Mate to a new level of iPhone accessories. The highest range cases will come in the Vaja collection, which is not currently listed on the website. The Vaja collection is a quality line up of genuine leather and natural materials. This new line, pictured below, will be available in stock options or customize the leather type and color during the ordering process. From iPhone clutches to iPad mini portfolios, the new Vaja line will make a splash when it releases early this year.
Speaking of splashes, Lifeproof, as you know, is one of the first companies to deliver a fully waterproof case for iPhone, then iPad. This company set a standard in the case market that was not easily matched. However, many companies this year sported cases that were sunk in the bottom of an aquarium while playing videos, music, and taking movies. Incipio and Otterbox were among those additional companies sporting waterproof designs for iPhone 5. Otterbox’s Armor waterproof design is actually crush proof as well. But, Lifeproof has managed to stay ahead of the competition, announcing the “nuud,” which is a case that is water and shockproof, but does not use a front screen protector. Confused? Watch the video below for a full explanation.
Toast is a company we have worked with previously for a review and giveaway. Toast’s products are 100% wood and not simply a faux wooden print. At CES they revealed a new wooden side skin that compliments their current line. With the release of their new wraps, your iPhone can have full five sided wood coverage and a nice engraving. In addition to the side skins, Toast unveiled their new iPad mini skins which curl around the mini’s edges and have a slot for a smart cover and the SIM card, if necessary.
All of these cases are all well and good, but I am a minimalist. I usually never leave my devices in a case unless I am working on a review or if I am doing an activity that requires one. Although this is in the case category, I consider the new Bluelounge Kicks for mini, the anti-case. My biggest worry when setting my iPad down around the home or office is scratching the nice anodized aluminum back. Enter the Kicks. These small rubber bumpers set on each side of iPad’s back and give just enough clearance to prevent it from touching the table surface, dust, crumbs, or other iPad enemies. I cannot wait to get my hands on them.
In close relation with the case category is the wide array of docks on the market. Rokform is shattering the dock competition with its new Rokdock, a three pound chunk of anodized and machined 6061 aluminum. The Rokdock is comprised of three separate pieces of aluminum and screwed together from the bottom, which allows the user to install their own Lightning cable with a set screw. What you get is a hyper-masculine, solid, and dominating addition to your desktop. The top has a black adjustable prop to accommodate different size cases. It is available now for $100 and we hope to get one for review and giveaway in the near future.
At PepCom’s Digital Experience on Monday night, LEGO announced their evolution three Mindstorms set, which is iOS compatible through a companion app. Launching mid-year, the EV3 system will include a brain kit and enough LEGOs to build five different structures, from a spider to a snake. As you see in the video below, the snake is completely functional, with forward and back movement, including a striking mechanism. The snake will strike when the iPhone is pushed forward, shake side to side with a similar iPhone movement, and strike when something is placed in front of the eyes, which contain proximity sensors. The system will clock in around $350 at launch.
For the tikes, Fischer-Price enters the iOS compatible market with a barn yard toy. The base of the toy is an iPad, which projects an interactive display that matches the hardware. The barn yard reacts in certain ways based on which animal is placed on the screen or how the child interacts with the hardware. For example, if the water pump is pressed too many times on the hardware, the barnyard app will flood the playing space with water. It is a very exciting product for children and looks to drop sometime mid-to-late this year.
There were a lot of things to see at CES, but we think these iOS compatible products are excellent additions to a crowded market. There were isles and isles of cases, docks, bumpers, skins, backs, sacks, packs, keyboards and the like, but we hope you like these upcoming products as much as we did at the show. Throughout the year, as the products release we hope to have them reviewed and posted in a timely manner. Who knows, maybe we can even give some of them away!
Which of these products interests you the most?