Ecoball sound system – portable solar-powered speakers

While probably not as sleek on the front of a Marinoni Fango cycloross bicycle as the Cy-Fi wireless sports speaker, Pedro Gomes’ Ecoball is a great idea for hikers, picnickers, beachers, and sportsters who love the outdoors. Sporting solar power strips, your speakers shouldn’t run out of juice (as long as you use them outside), and they fold up into a big, tight ball (TWSS), for easy toting. As with many enterprising designs out there, Ecoball doesn’t have a manufacturer yet, but I can promise that its design is sound. iPod accessory makers – let’s get running!

Wanna know more? Check out the Pedro Gomes’ Ecoball sound system at Behance
Thanks for the tip, Yanko!

iPad Case: Marware Eco-Vue for iPad in Review – ain’t no flower girl

If the iPad was a perfect device, a lean-to would have been magically embedded into its smooth backside. Instead, it is almost perfect and we, the heavy-walleted consumers, have to shell out for lean-to’s and keyboards for typing, cases, and other accessories of all sorts to protect its polished posterior. Ever faithful case manufacturer, Marware, have adopted the ‘leather’ Kindle Eco-Vue case for the iPad to help typing, presenting, travelling iPad users part with their money in the confidence that their metal investment is safe and sound.

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Griffin’s upcoming PartyDock – a whole new dimension of gaming?

Griffin, renowned third party Apple accessories maker hints at expanding the media and gaming possibilities with its FCC filing of the PartyDock, an interesting device that will allow up to four players using iPads and iPhones to play casual/family games via iTunes which are specifically adapted to the PartyDock. In addition, the device is also optimized for viewing photos, movies and videos. Furthermore, PartyDock plays music and supports composite and component video.

Griffin promises an easy set-up out of the box, with three free mini-games and one full-version game, four controllers, cables and power supply thrown in.

From the looks of it, PartyDock just might be the next step in mobile gaming development. More images after the gap.

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Beautiful Leica and Nikon Rangefinder skins for the iPhone 4

Leica M9 minus the 8000$

Photo enthusiasts, when Steve Jobs said the iPhone was “like a beautiful old Leica camera”, the heaven’s shook and water poured from the pores of expectant camera fans. Leica cameras have been sexy for decades, but they are really, really expensive. Thankfully, the precisely designed iPhone 4 shares some shocking similarities with a few Leica cameras and costs thousands less. Thanks to the clever use of seals and iPhone cases, users can enjoy their iPhone 4′s in mock Leica goodness. For the poor in spirit, Nikonjin have unearthed Nikon rangefinder skins as well.

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DIY iPad case: ぞうのハナコ (the elephant flower girl)

Introducing the elephant flower girl DIY iPad case

While big name livery gets all the headlines, it’s the products of real makers that stand out. Really, what’s 5$ of felt and a few hours of your time? The above is the product of my genius wife, who having run out of room in her Celtic colouring book, decided to make a case for her iPad. I showed her my scheduler-esque Marware Eco-Vue iPad case (certainly svelte for a scheduler – and pictured here for the Kindle), but she wasn’t impressed. She wanted cute. We headed to PixDix, to the Apple Store, to BestBuy, to #Apple, and to various online retailers; not a one presented anything quite cute enough. Frustrated, but still kicking, my wife found SopoShop, and a really cute elephant pouch. Every poet is a thief and every biology lab researcher can replicate the finest of details, so while we bypassed SopoShop’s unfortunate dearth of iPad cases, we did come away with the elephant flower girl.

Piccies and more after the gap:

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Pair up your Guitar and iPhone with Guitar Sidekick

You’ve undoubtedly heard of the phrase “There’s an app for that” by now. But what about “There’s a clamp for that!” ? Probably not, but that’s what Castiv’s recently released contraption does; it serves as a guitar mounting system that will prop up your iDevice (sorry no iPads allowed) while you serenate your hot date. The Guitar Sidekick should also come in handy for players who wish to follow along guitar lessons on YouTube, display tabs and more importantly, be able to more comfortably use the hundreds of App Store apps like  Scale Cards, GuitarToolkit and MySongbook – Lyrics & Chords. Some of its features include:

  • Easy to install and use
  • Works on acoustic, classical and electric guitars
  • Does not effect the acoustics of your
  • You can still tune your with the Sidekick on
  • Can rotate to accommodate either portrait or landscape view

For guitar players who are still learning the ropes (chords, scales etc), the Sidekick certainly has its appeal. No more trying to set your iDevice at different angles on a table just so you can take a better look at the screen.  It’s been awhile since I had some quality time with my guitar, but I’m quite eager to check this out on my Ovation and make better use of the guitar apps I own. Price? $29.99 on Amazon. Take a look at the brief Youtube slideshow after the gap…

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Suing negligence, or competition? Apple VS iPod accessory makers

We’ve all got ‘em: docks, earphones, cases, speakers, keyboards – you name it – the iDevice is a virtual swamp for accessory flora. There are loads of great options out there, but according to Apple, a number of products of ‘inferior quality’ have also crept in. So what? Well, Apple being Apple, have attached a couple of strings to the whole thing.

Yes, the iDevice accessory market is lucrative, but entering it requires Apple’s blessing, i.e., licensing. Unblessed items are now targeted by the turtlenecks in Cupertino on the grounds that they both infringe on Apple’s trademarks and “damage Apple’s products”. Apple’s suit cites faulty accessories such as battery chargers that deplete, rather than charge Apple products. Remember, this is the same Apple who are responsible for exploding iPhones and faulty iPhone 4 antennas. I think the real issue, however, is illuminated pretty well over at Bloomberg:

The suit is an example of the tight grip Apple keeps on its products, including approval of accessories and applications. Apple has a program called “Made for iPod” under which manufacturers get a license to sell accessories for devices. Apple collects a royalty of 20 percent to 25 percent from each sale of a licensed accessory, according to Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros. LP in San Francisco.

“If you sell speakers for $100, Apple gets $20 to $25,” said Wu, who has a “buy” rating on Apple shares and doesn’t own them.

From a consumer’s perspective, I don’t get it. If I buy a Made for iPod accessory, I know it will work. I also know it will cost more money. My money can go elsewhere, to knock-off brands or my own DIY work – who cares? Right, poor Apple miss out on 20-25% of their bottom line and the chance to play babysitter for their poor, naive customers.

Pioneer Audition XW-NAS3-K – iPhone/iPod touch audio/video – kitchen sink included

Pioneer are the latest in a long line of well-known audio/video companies to release a fully iDevice-integrated speaker dock. “Been there, done that”, you say? Think again. Pioneer’s Audition may be another 2.1 device, but comparisons can stop there. Once plugged in, the Audition strips the iDevice’s cheap DAC, processing music digitally instead. Users can also enjoy A2DP Bluetooth audio from their iPod touch 2-3G, iPhones, and other mobiles. That, my friends, is a step up from both the Bose SounDock and the now legendary Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin and the Zeppelin Mini. It’s also got component and composite video outputs and a Bluetooth adapter port.

At 449$, it certainly isn’t cheap, but Pioneer’re obviously aiming pretty high with the Audition’s long feature list.

It is compatible with the following iPods and iDevices:

iPod Classic, iPod Nano (2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Generations), iPod Touch (1st and 2nd Generations), iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS

Full spec and more piccies after the gap:

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The Icon Battery pack for iPhone – EL guapo

Essential tpe’s Icon Battery pack for iPhone is a freakin’ battery icon-looking battery… for the iPhone! It’s a tongue twister to say, and thanks to a lot of extra juice flowing in its veins, it’ll let you twist your tongue for another 3 hours in 3G mode, or 7 in 2G. Don’t care to talk? Icon’ll grant you music magic for 18 hours, or for the real geek, another 5,5 hours of Wifi internet usage. Granted, it ain’t the most mobile-looking of battery packs, nor as do-it-all as EMVY’s case or Mophie’s Juice, but it’s bootylicious, especially toting the world’s first EL film display for a mobile phone.

“the icon”, was inspired according to the battery icon on iPhone, is designed specifically for the iPhone backup power solution. From “the icon” unique outlook, and able to extend your iPhone talk time up to 3 hours and audio play back up to 18 hours, it will be your best choice for the battery solution, not only outside appearance, but functionally solve the power problem with daily use of the iPhone. Moreover, “the icon” has an innovative design which is using EL film on its front panel to display its power status clearly, which also the world’s first one who use EL lighting film as power indicator. The easy operation is another aspect of “the icon” even though there is no extra button on it. “the icon” would charge your iPhone once you connect to the iPhone, and it will show you the remaining power while you remove it from your iPhone.

The Icon Battery pack isn’t for sale on Amazon (yet), but if you happen to be hopping around Asia, you might find one. Essential tpe store locator.

For more info, visit essential tpe