Although Macworld Expo which now has iWorld added to its name, is a mere shadow of the grand expo of years past, this year’s event was active and full of interesting gadgets, apps and accessories. There was no shortage of iPad and iPhone cases and skins which we presume you can never have enough of however, for this roundup, we concentrated on some of the other cool stuff and picked out a handful of interesting things many of which we would actually like to buy ourselves and some we even have.
Go Paperless With This Super-Fast Scanner
It’s hard to get excited about a scanner but this Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 was so cool I was tempted to plunk down the $500 for one on the spot. It isn’t a flatbed so it won’t do books but it does two sided scanning in one pass and it zips through documents at an amazing clip, aligning and adjusting the image before it cranks out a PDF. Seriously, you could take all those bankers boxes of files and digitize them in one afternoon. It even feeds documents to Evernote which if you don’t already use, you should check it out.
Turn Your 7-Inch Tablet Into a Real GPS With CoPilot
Google maps is a great app that even supports turn-by-turn navigation but it has one big limitation; it needs to be connected to the Internet in order to fetch and display maps as you move into new territory. There are a few navigation apps that allow you to download maps for offline use but we were very impressed with CoPilot Live from ALK who is an established “GeoLogistics” company that was just acquired by Trimble. We’re anxious to see how a $200 Nexus 7 with $14.99 Copilot running on it compares to a $450 Garmin GPS. We’ll keep you posted.
Make Thunderbolt Scream Like Greased Lightning With Corning Cables
Intel and Apple collaborated with a high speed 10Gbps serial data technology they called Light Peak that was supposed to replace Firewire. Apple renamed it Thunderbolt and added ports to most of their computers. Unfortunately it never seemed to gain widespread popularity; of course, fast wireless connectivity hasn’t helped its cause. In any case, at iWorld, Corning showed their “active” fiber optic cables they call Optical Cables by Corning which can be used with USB 3 or Thunderbolt to provide high speed data links for cable lengths much longer than a few meters. One example they mentioned was a situation where you might want a “noisy” hard drive far away from where recording is taking place.
A Very Cool iPad Camera Mount Rig
On the show floor we ran into Taz Goldstein who was walking around with a rig that included a device called a Padcaster that holds an iPad and adds threaded holes so you can attach all the other devices like a light, mic, and lens that turns in into a “great” video rig. Goldstein recently wrote a book called Hand Held Hollywood’s Film Making that talks about the whole process of using handheld devices to produce films and videos.
Three-In-One iPhone Lens Add-On Called Olloclip
Not that Olloclip is anything brand new but we still think this a very cool add-on that we have used ourselves and can tell you it could come in handy to create some fun looking photos or videos. For about $70 you get a fisheye, wide angle and macro lens that snaps on easily to an iPhone and works as advertised.
Wireless Pedals Can Be Useful for Musicians, Public Speakers and Other Folks Too
A company named AirTurn showed their pedals that works wirelessly with a tablet that can be used by musicians to turn or scroll though pages and control effects, used by speakers to control teleprompters, or lots of other places where you can’t use your hands to control something on your tablet. A four pedal unit is available on their web site for $159.
Retractable Stylus Comes in Handy in Cold Weather
A company named Hand Stylus was selling an attractive stylus that comes in different colors and resembles a retractable ballpoint pen. They say they are using the smallest point that touchscreens are able to sense. They sent us home with one and we can say it’s quite fun to draw with on a tablet or use instead of your finger on a phone. The founder of the company Steve King told us he had just come from a colder area where he used the stylus on his phone with gloved hands. You can buy one for $30 on handstylus.com.
Some Fun Add-Ons From A Crowdfunder Coop
A collective for newly hatched companies from crowdfunded incubators like Indiegogo and Kickstarter called tinylightbulbs showed a sampling of the products they are helping bring to market. One product, a sound guide, called SoundJaw costs $13.99 is a small plastic device that clips onto an iPad and boosts the sound level; it works but we’re not sure how it would work with most cases. Another product on display called Gulp CableKeep works with Apple chargers, holding a device and keeping cables tidy.
Gaming Device Company Doing Its Part For Fitness
This device has to get the most novel award for iWorld but it’s a clever product that might just get couch potato game enthusiast up and around as the Nintendo Wii has done for the masses. The product is called BowBlade and it does in fact look like a bow, minus the arrow. The idea is that you mount your iPhone or iPod Touch on one side, stretch the bow, move the phone around to pick up the motion, and pull the trigger to “fire” things on the game. You can preorder one of these for $185.