Apple’s online Apple Store is, believe it or not, one of my favorite webshops for iOS-related accessories. For some reason, the accessory categories there have things I’ve never even heard of anywhere else, and as such, it frankly works as much as a news source for me as anything else. I love accessories, and while I rarely buy some of the weirder ones, I do love to see what’s going on. Here are some of my top “wow that exists?!” products available there right now.
When I saw this, I was surprised. It was only back in September that a iOS-controlled lightbulb made the rounds on Kickstarter, and now Phillips is offering up what’s essentially the same thing. It does say that it will ship in 3-4 months, so it’s not in stock now, but the concept seems very similar. You essentially have a base station that can control up to 50 light bulbs, and it’s all tied back to your iOS device. Listed are features such as relaxation programs and light colors based on photos, which is also very similar to the LIFX on Kickstarter. I currently have a home automation system that allows me to control the lights from both my iPads and my Android phone, but if not, this would have been high up on my wish list. At $199, it’s not the cheapest though.
Anaglyph 3D has been something of an obsession of mine, as proved by the articles I’ve written about it. Quality-wise it’s nothing like true 3D screens, but the method of using different colors to give a 3D effect with special glasses works on pretty much any screen (and paper) with $2 worth of equipment. Crayola has done iPad accessories before, and this time they’re doing something based on this method of 3D. Using a hilarious dual-tipped stylus it allows you to draw two lines in a special color combination that looks 3D with the included glasses. This is the “ultra pack”, which seems to be a combo pack with three drawing-related stylus-based kits that can also be bought separately, so you also get some other tools besides the 3D gear.
For $50 it’s really a bunch of overpriced weird shaped plastic styli, but darn it if I’m not half tempted to track down the 3D kit on its own just to see what it’s about. I guess Crayola is feeling the pressure these days with everything being digital, and if nothing else, it’s trying to stay with the times.
This is an “accessory” I’ve known about for a while, and while it’s not in the US online Apple Store, it’s in the Norwegian one. GoPro is a brand of rugged action cameras made to survive all sorts of extreme situations, from surfing to parachuting. It’s been through a few iterations, and gained a huge following, and the HERO3 version takes it a bit further. It comes with both built-in WiFi and a waterproof housing as standard, shoots 1080p, and can be mounted pretty much anywhere.
The really cool feature of the HERO3 is the app control, allowing the camera to be remote controlled over local WiFi to an iOS device. We’re talking full control here, including a video preview and camera settings. GoPro cameras are the kind of cameras that are designed to be mounted in weird places, so having a remote control is definitely useful. These are cameras professionals use too, so the starting price of $250 is actually quite reasonable for a camera that comes with WiFi and a waterproof housing. One of my favorite YouTubers uses GoPro cameras a lot, and his channel really shows what these things can do.
The Sennheiser PX 100 have been my favorite ultra-portable headphones since my high school days. I still have my original pair, they work, though I’ve shortened the cord (on purpose) to better work with a Bluetooth receiver. I’ve been semi-drooling on the upgraded (?) PX 100-II for a couple of years, and then the other day I discovered the PX 100-IIi (that’s two capital and one small letter i). It’s essentially an Apple-compatible version, adding a 3-button remote to the PX 100-II. I have a pair of IEMs with a 3-button remote, and while I mostly use it on my Android phone, the middle button of 3-button Apple-compatible headsets are also often compatible with Android devices, and can be made to control everything through various clicking and holding patterns.
Anyways, the PX 100 was great. I assume the PX 100 are better, and adding a remote to that is just epic. They’re unfortunately quite expensive, as $90 is $40 more than the remote-less version costs on Amazon, but a decade’s worth of using the PX 100 has proven them worth even that price.
I don’t really like Apple, but I have to say that it’s doing a great job getting relevant products collected in one place. There are tons of weird, fun accessories in the store, and while I never really buy anything, it’s a place to keep an eye on just for information’s sake. You have to wonder who is running marketing at the companies whose products I’ve never heard about until they pop up in the Apple Store, but I guess that when it all comes down to it, that’s not a bad place to be if you want to reach the average consumer.