iSpy: Gadgets to get the most out of your Apple product
by Chris Pittman
cpittman@annistonstar.com
Jan 13, 2012 | 6435 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hub Innovations' Couture Case for iPhone 4/4S. Photo: Special to The Star
Hub Innovations' Couture Case for iPhone 4/4S. Photo: Special to The Star
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Christmas has come and gone and maybe you scored an Apple product or two. Lucky.

Now you need to accessorize your new beauty with a case, stand or keyboard. Here are some reviews of products that will play nice with your new iPhone, iPod or iPad.

iKurv by Speakal — $89.99

The latest iOS dock packs a lot of punch into its 1-pound frame. The iKurv from Speakal is a futuristic way to play music from your iPhone or iPod.

If aliens are real — and you can’t prove that they’re not — I’m sure they would love the iKurv’s look. The dock can glow at four different brightness settings that provide an eerily out-of-this-world experience. It’s a space station for your music. How cute.

The device supports all versions of Apple’s phone and music player lines. iPod Classic, Nano, Shuffle and Touch will all work flawlessly. The iOS device will charge as it blasts your music through the room.

A remote is provided to give the user full control from the couch to the kitchen.

The iKurv can be connected to a television or game console to amplify their sounds.

You can grab the fancy iOS dock in black, white, yellow, green, pink and blue.

The only real negative against other devices of the same nature is the lack of a clock. Sure, you can get the time displayed on your phone, but the screen won’t always be on. A minor flaw.

Otherwise, the iKurv is one of the coolest ways to show off your iPhone or iPod.

InCharge Home BT by XtremeMac — $79.99

Want to share your iPod playlists with a group of friends without all the wires? XtremeMac changes your iOS device into a wireless audio receiver with the new InCharge Home BT.

The solid black plug looks similar to a MacBook Pro AC adapter that has been painted. It’s a little strange that the company went against the normal white color of most Apple products.

However, this plug adapter holds many more secrets than one would expect on something used to charge their phone.

The big difference is a Bluetooth button that is found on the lower right side of the device. You connect the adapter to your stereo through a 3.5 mm cable and then go through the simple process to sync your iOS device to the adapter. It’s easy.

The sound quality that is played is rather good. It’s very clear and I found no major flaws during my testing.

It’s important to note that iPhone users won’t be able to use the product with calls.

One thing I love is that the adapter takes up very little room when plugged into the wall. You’ll still have full access to the top outlet if you’ve plugged your InCharge Home BT in the bottom one.

The InCharge Home BT is a bit pricey but worth it if you’re looking for an iOS dock that sports a few unique features.

Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard by Verbatim — $84

New tablet owners might struggle with typing on their new device for the first few months. The premise is the same, but many are just used to the good ol’ fashioned keyboard. Luckily, there are plenty of wireless options, including Verbatim’s latest effort, dubbed the Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard.

It’s easy to fall in love with this keyboard on first glance. It’s small, lightweight and even comes with a carrying bag. I was able to put a test version into my iPad bag without any conflicts.

The addition of Bluetooth means the product can be synced wirelessly with whatever device you might be using. I found no qualms or even signal interruptions during my time with the Ultra-Slim.

The keyboard boasts a unique addition of a built-in rechargeable battery. You simply hook it up to the USB port of a computer and it’ll charge. I don’t like this feature personally, because a positive of carrying around an iPad or Galaxy Tab is that you don’t need a computer. This is counter-productive to those who travel frequently.

Smart Keys are available for options like adjusting volume, device locking and using copy/paste.

The slim nature of the keyboard is actually its biggest flaw. The small keys are very hard to press without accidentally hitting another key. Thus, it actually takes longer sometimes to type what you want to say on this keyboard as opposed to the touchscreen of your device.

I recommend getting the wireless keyboard by Apple instead. It’s cheaper, better built and boasts almost all of the same features. The key advantage being that it’s easier to type on.

Isn’t that what a keyboard is all about?

Case Stand for iPad by AViiQ — $24

AViiq’s Case Stand for iPad provides four different viewing angles for your tablet: two in portrait mode and two in landscape.

The body of the product is extremely thin, a plus for all tablet cases in my opinion. It won’t add a bulkiness that other tablet cases provide.

An aluminum finish covers the product, which almost gives it the appearance of an official Apple case.

The four viewing angles work in almost any kind of lighting situation I used. The developers clearly took the time to make sure that users would have no problems seeing the screen of their device.

The case also feels natural while in your hands. I was a big fan of the weight and feel of the overall product.

My only real qualm was that I had issues in getting the iPad to snap into the case on some occasions. Everything works well if you put in a little elbow grease, but I hate having to push so hard on my precious tablet to get it to fit.

AViiQ’s Case Stand for iPad is easy to recommend as the product does exactly what it calls for and the price is incredibly reasonable.

Couture Case for iPhone 4/4S by Hub Innovations — $79.99

I’ve seen a million iPhone cases over the past few years, but none of them come close to the jaw-dropping look of Hub Innovations’ Couture Case.

Couture designs influence the latest in haute fashions, including designer handbags, jewelry and clothes. Oh, and I guess iPhone cases, too.

Things got a little crazy when I went to the website to see what they were all about. The shade of pink on the companies “about us” page should never be used online ever. Ever!

The Couture Case features a black body with some sort of crazy rhinestone design on the back. I really have no idea how to describe it. It looks a little like someone took a cross to Hobby Lobby and let kids go wild with the rhinestones.

I allowed my lovely girlfriend to use the case over the course of a few days. I observed her while she texted, talked and surfed the web. Creepy, I know.

She didn’t seem to do anything out of the ordinary. I heard no requests for a fashion catwalk in the living room, at least.

In fact, she does like the Couture Case’s thin nature. It still protects the phone rather well. Not as good as her Otterbox, mind you, but Hub Innovations’ product is way more fancy. It fits better in a pocket, too.

Unfortunately, some of the design began to fall off the case after only two days of use. The case might be well-built, but you’ll have problems with the funky bling-bling, for sure.

The price tag is insanely high for an iPhone case. Though, I suppose that a would-be fashion model would fall in love with it.

Maybe walking around town rockin’ the Couture Case is just what you need to be discovered.

America’s Next Top Model City is waiting in the wings.
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iSpy: Gadgets to get the most out of your Apple product by Chris Pittman
cpittman@annistonstar.com

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