Remember when the most exciting accessories for your iPhone or iPad were cases and speakers? Today’s iGadgets are truly amazing, from flying drones and universal remote controls to devices that track your pets or monitor your abode when you’re on the road. Have a family full of iOS devices? Take a good look at what Crayola and Lego are doing to modernize classic toys. Even cases and speakers are getting much more versatile and powerful. Here the add-ons for iOS devices that makes us say "wow."
SuperTooth HD ($129)
The SuperTooth HD hands-free solution allows drivers to answer their phone, call predialed numbers, check voicemail and send text messages in the car just by speaking. This clever device will even let you send Facebook and Twitter updates using your voice. Just tell SuperTooth HD what to say and it’ll get the word out.
Cobra iRadar Detection System ($129)
While we’re not condoning breaking the law, Cobra’s iRadar Detection System can tell you when the fuzz is near. The compact unit detects all radar and laser guns and protects your vehicle from 360 degrees. The iOS app for iPhone and iPod touch enables you to change settings, view visual alerts and get red light camera alerts.
Belkin’s TuneBase FM Live ($79.95)
Belkin’s TuneBase FM Live makes it easy to listen to your iPhone behind the wheel. Download the free ClearScan Live app from iTunes and launch it from your iPhone or iPod touch, then kick back, relax and enjoy your ride. ClearScan technology uses GPS scanning to find the best FM station for audio quality, so you don’t have to flip through stations.
BodyMedia FIT CORE Armband ($179)
Think of BodyMedia FIT CORE armband as a wearable personal trainer. The armband, which can be worn on the body or clipped to your clothing, features four sensors that capture mor than 5,000 data points per minute. The device tracks everything from steps taken and calories burned to the quality of your sleep, and free apps for your iOS or Android device help you keep track of your progress.
iHealth Wireless Blood Pressure Dock ($99.95)
Now there’s an easier way to track your health than trekking to your doctor’s office. The iHealth Wireless BLood Pressure Dock takes your blood pressure and pulse rate in the comfort of your own home using the free app. Connect the dock to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and wrap the cuff around your arm. You can track the testing process to visualize, graph and calculate historical progress and share health information with your friends and family via email.
Mophie Juice Pack plus Outdoor ($119)
Going hiking this summer and nervous about getting lost? Pack the Mophie Juice Pack plus Outdoor. The Juice Pack envelops your iPhone 4/4S in a protective case and includes a rechargeable battery, so your iPhone won’t get damaged or die on the trail. Its “track” feature lets you monitor your speed and distance and tag photos along the way. And if you’re not sure where to take a hike, the search feature accesses more than 1 million outdoor points of interest across the country.
Belkin WeMo Home Control Switch and Motion Sensor ($49.99/$99.99)
Belkin’s WeMo home automation system makes programming appliances a cinch. Download the WeMo app and you can hook up either the Home Control Switch or the Motion Sensors to control on/off settings. Whether you’re going out of town and want to leave a light on at night or want to turn a light on to guide your walk from the driveway to the front door, program the home system to turn on at the touch of a button.
iDevices iShower ($99.99)
iDevices’ iShower lets you sing in the shower or get your morning news while getting ready for work. The waterproof device hooks up to any Bluetooth audio-streaming phone, tablet or computer. With a 200-foot range, you can even take the iShower outdoors if you want to relax by the pool. The iShower features play, pause, forward, rewind and volume buttons, and offers 15 hours of streaming audio on a charge.
Are you sick of babysitting whatever’s in the oven or the barbecue until it’s reached its desired temperature? iDevices’ iGrill is for you. Compatible with the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad, the iGrill pairs with Bluetooth and lets you monitor food from up to 200 feet away. Just download the free iGrill app from iTunes and stick the probe in whatever meat you want to cook, then wait for it to alert you when your meal is ready. The device also works as a standalone thermometer. iDevices plans to release an Android version soon.
Logitech Harmony Link ($99)
The Logitech Harmony Link eliminates the need to dig under couch cushions for various remotes. The gadget connects to your home Wi-Fi network and pairs with a free app for your iOS device or Android phone to control your TV, set-top boxes and other home entertainment gear. If you want to switch from listening to music to watching a movie, for example, the Harmony Link takes care of changing the input. The device also connects to your TV service provider’s channel guide to help you find something good to watch.
Stem Innovation iZON Remote Room Monitor ($129)
Stem Innovation’s iZON Remote Room Monitor lets you watch all the action in your house even when you’re not there. Compatible with the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, this app-based wireless video camera lets you stream live audio and video over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi networks. If you’re going out of town, the system will alert you if it senses motion or sound. Homeowners have even caught thieves in the act with the Remote Room Monitor.
Tagg—Pet Tracker ($99.99)
A lost pet is a scary thought, so pick up the Tagg Pet Tracker to make sure Fido is always on your radar. The lightweight device clips to your dog’s collar and the GPS tracker inside documents your pet’s every move. The Pet Tracker is even waterproof. Once you set up an account, you can create a “Tagg zone” and be alerted via text or email if your pet goes out of bounds. After virtually locating your pet, zoom in to see the exact location and get directions provided by Tagg.
Zomm Wireless Leash Plus ($89.99)
The Bluetooth-powered Zomm Wireless Leash Plus works with its iPhone app to track down important objects. Whenever you separate from your phone or keys, the Wireless Leash Plus will alert you. And to help you find what you’re looking for, it shows you the last location of said object. The device also features a one-button system that connects you with 911 or loved ones in case of emergencies.
AAXA P3 Pocket Projector ($269)
It’s like having a big screen with you wherever you go. The pint-size P3 Pocket Projector lets you blast 1024 x 600-pixel images up to 80 inches large, whether it’s a presentation or the latest flick on iTunes. Measuring a mere 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.2 inches, the P3 offers the highest HD resolution of any battery-powered pico projector. Just hook up your Apple device via HDMI, VGA or composite and enjoy the 50-lumen LED light engine.
Bose SoundLink Wireless Mobile Speaker ($299)
Get the sound quality you’d expect from Bose in a speaker that’s designed to easily travel from room to room. This Bluetooth device not only easily pairs with your iOS or Android device, its built-in cover doubles as a stand. Expect up to eight hours of playback on a charge.
Gear4 PocketLoops ($79.99)
For all you budding musicians out there, Gear4 PocketLoops lets you record music, loop it and share with friends. The electronic keyboard attaches to your iPhone or iPod touch. You can then create a drum beat, play keys by choosing an instrument such as an organ, piano or synthesizer (a total of 13 instruments are offered), then top the mix off with up to four more instruments per song.
Looxcie 2 $1(49/$179)
Looxcie 2, a hands-free, wearable video camera, gives you the freedom to record an experience like a concert or your kid’s soccer game. Attach the clip to your left or right ear and adjust the lens to focus on whatever you want to film, then press the record button. Make your friends jealous by sharing 320p video instantly, uploading content through your iPad or iPhone.
The Olloclip gives iPhone 4/S users one less reason to carry a DSLR, combining a fisheye, macro and wide-angle lens in one package. Made of sturdy metal and available in red or black, the device easily clips onto the corner of the iPhone. The fisheye lens is good for panoramas, while wide-angle mode doubles your field of view. The macro lens is so good we use it to compare smartphone screens up close.
Satarii Swivl ($179)
Now you can cook dinner or get some housework done all while connecting with loved ones through the Swivl remote/camera device. The sensor-enabled base pairs with your Apple iOS device’s video camera to follow your every move, so people you’re Facetiming with can see you even if you’re moving around the room.
Belkin Keyboard Folio for iPad 2 ($99.99)
Belkin’s Keyboard Folio for iPad 2 provides an easy typing experience as well as a stand on which to prop your tablet. The keyboard uses TruType keys, which feature springy motion and function keys such as copy, paste and volume. The Keyboard Folio also serves as a case, with its suedelike exterior protecting your iPad's screen.
Brookstone iConvert ($149)
Preserve important photos and documents with Brookstone’s iConvert Scanner for the iPad. Place your tablet in the scanner and the device will take detailed, 300 dpi JPEG images and save them in folders for easy organization. In addition to being extremely useful, the iConvert Scanner is incredibly compact, measuring 12.1 x 4.4 x 2.8 inches.
iLuv WorkStation ($149)
iLuv’s WorkStation turns your iPad into a desktop. Snap your tablet into the bracket, which tilts and rotates for easy viewing (vertical or horizontal) and slide out the keyboard to work on documents or emails. You can sync with your iTunes account on your computer to listen to music, or simply charge the device through the dock. This 1.7-pound workstation is pretty portable, too.
Livescribe Echo Smartpen ($169)
Livescribe’s Echo Smartpen seriously facilitates productivity with its recording and transferring capabilities. Students can listen in class while the pen records the lecture, and professionals can take verbal notes during the course of a business day. The Pencast Player app for iOS lets you view your uploaded pencasts and play them anywhere.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could supersize your iPad’s screen for giving presentations and watching movies? The Monitor 2Go does just that, packing a 1600 x 900-pixel, 15.6-inch LED display and a dock made especially for your tablet. The screen on this 3-pound device rotates 180 degrees, which makes it easy to show off those fancy Keynote transitions. The Monitor 2Go can also double as a secondary monitor for laptops.
ThinkGeek Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard ($179)
For frequent travelers who don’t want to lug around a bulky laptop or keyboard case, the ThinkGeek’s Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard for iPad and iPhone is calling. The Bluetooth device is only slightly taller than a matchbook and projects the image of a full-size QWERTY on any flat surface, then lets you type away. The virtualization even makes key clicking sounds.
Appfinity AppBlaster ($19.99)
The AppBlaster takes augmented reality games to the next level. This bright orange toy gun can be configured into a 9mm pistol or a 12 gauge for your iPhone or iPod touch. Choose from a free game or six others that cost $1.99 each and use trigger-tap technology to shoot at moving targets on your device’s screen.
Crayola Trace & Draw ($39.99)
With Crayola’s Trace & Draw for iPad 2, kids can decide exactly what they want to color and trace the object. Slide your iPad 2 into the case, connect to the Trace & Draw app and apply the screen protector. Then choose a picture and trace with a Crayola Fine Line Black Marker right on the screen. After coloring, stash the masterpieces in one of the Trace & Draw’s two storage drawers.
ION All-Star Guitar ($TBD)
By placing your iPad in the dock of this electric guitar controller and opening the free All-Star app, you can rock out to your favorite songs. An easy way to learn guitar, the device features 14 fretboardfret buttons and guitar strings. There’s even a distortion option for when you want to get fancy. The All-Star Guitar is also compatible with other iPad apps such as GarageBand, so you can further enhance your musical capabilities.
LEGO Life of George ($29.95)
LEGO Life of George mashes up real-world LEGO bricks with an app for your iPhone or iPod touch to make building creations more fun. As you improve, the challenges get harder, from building George himself to a palm tree to a guitar. As soon as you’re finished, snap a photo using your iOS device and the app times your results.
Orbotix Sphero ($129)
You’ll have—ahem—a ball with the Orbotix’s Sphero. Control this fun spherical robot from your smartphone (iPhone or Android), iPad or iPod touch and play games such as Sphero Golf and Sphero Drive. Sphero currently offers five free games and apps, and expects to release space action and color matching games soon. And by the holidays, you’ll see accessories such as ramps, skins and even specially-made Sphero chariots.
Parrot A.R. Drone 2.0 ($299)
Looking for a high-tech toy that will get the neighbors talking? Available on iOS and Android, the upgraded Wi-Fi-enabled Parrot A.R. Drone 2.0 features a front HD camera as well as a bottom VGA camera so you can stream and record video from different angles. The flip feature allows you to literally flip the device through the air, while the pressure sensor helps stabilize against weather conditions up to 140 feet in the air. The new A.R. Drone will be available at select retailers for $299 in May.
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